WYEP Summer Music Festival
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Photos and review by Randy Jarosz
In celebration of the independent radio station, WYEP’s 40th anniversary, the 17th annual WYEP Summer Music Festival was held on a Saturday for added activities. Along with a slew of vendors from I Made It! Market, children’s activities and teen bands performing on the main stage, WYEP lured some top talent with The Red Western, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Valerie June and the Sam Roberts Band.
Pittsburgh band, the Red Western opened the stage and braved the heat during their 40 minute set. The alt-country, power pop, indie rock quartet is led by singer and guitarist Lauren DeLorenze, Johnathan Gunnel on guitar and vocals, Jay Leon on bass and Sean Finn on drums. DeLorenze commands the stage with her powerful vocals, some whistling skills and even a little drumming. The group opened the evening with “Family Song,” continued on with “Everything Reminds Me of You.” DeLorenze showed off her sultry side with the song “16.” The group also played WYEP favorite “Love for Free,” and fan favorite “Ohio.”
Elizabeth Ziman of Elizabeth and the Catapult took the stage by herself with a keyboard for her opening song “Thank You for Nothing.” She was later accompanied by Jonathan Linden on electric guitar, David Heilman on drums and Jeske Hume on bass. “We came from New York City today, to be with you here, and there’s no place i’d rather be on earth than Pittsburgh,” said Ziman before breaking into “Happy Pop,” from her latest album “Like It Never Happened.” Ziman cleaned up the cuss words on “Wish I Didn’t,” for the family friendly crowd. “WYEP has been very good to me the last number of years, I just want to thank WYEP for existing,” continued Ziman. They also busted out a cover of “When My Time Comes,” by Dawes. “This next song did not get me into Julliard but I think it got me into Pittsburgh,” admits Ziman before playing “Secret.” Ziman closed out her set with “More than Enough.” WYEP disc jockey Rosemary Welsch summed it up best saying, “they write incredible songs, that will get stuck in your head.”
With a bit of rain that possibly could have added to some technical difficulty, Valerie June took the stage well past her scheduled start time. Fans in attendance knew immediately it was well worth the wait. June fittingly started her abbreviated set with “Raindance,” conceivably helping to keep a brewing storm at bay, for the most part.
June, with the help of only her guitar, banjo, ukelele and mesmerizing voice put on an intimate show for the folks that stuck around. Wearing a long blue polk-a-dot dress, June is a throwback to country, roots andblues legends, in her appearance, with her southern charm and vocal style. June pulled out her ukelele, which she calls her “baby,” for “Somebody to Love.” She excited the crowd with “Working Women’s Blues,” and a great cover of blues standard, “Rollin’ and Tumblin’.” June prompted a chilling sing-along to Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home to Me,” to closeout her set.
Sam Roberts Band closed out the evening with a high energy set. The 6 piece group is no stranger to Pittsburgh, having played the fest in the past. “It’s been a long love affair with the city of Pittsburgh, but it hasn’t come easy,” admitted Roberts. They came out blazing with new track “Shapeshifters,” from their recent release “Lo-Fantasy.” The Canadian rocker who’s parents were born in South Africa sang about war in the country during “Angola.” Roberts laid down a catchy riff during “Kid Icarus.” The true Sam Roberts Band fans huddled toward the front of the stage singing every word to older tunes like “Where Have all the Good People Gone?,” and “Bridge to Nowhere.” Roberts came back for a two song encore showcasing new song and instant classic “We’re All In This Together,” and sang I think my life is passing me by during “Brother Down.”
WYEP has been a staple in Pittsburgh for 40 years, bringing great music on the radio, live concerts and other great events to Western Pennsylvania. Do your part and donate what you can to keep this fixture around another 40 years.
The Red Western
Elizabeth & The Catapult
Sam Roberts Band