Sound Scene Express

The Mystery Lights, Denzell and Bat Zuppel: Behind the Lens with Zach Nellis

Mystery Lights
w/ Denzell & Bat Zuppel
August, 15, 2016

Photos and re-cap by Zach Nellis

This summer has been a pretty big one for the Pittsburgh music scene. It seems like every weekend there has been a local festival going on somewhere showcasing local musical acts. If you’re like me and happened to miss a few nights of R.A.N.T Fest or the Deutschtown Music Festival, Spirit in Lawrenceville last Monday was the place to make up for it. Up and coming local acts, Bat Zuppel and Denzell shared the stage with touring band, The Mystery Lights of New York.

The show kicked off around 8:30pm with Bat Zuppel, who I must say I have very much been sleeping on. I’ve seen these dudes name on a bunch of different show lineups around Pittsburgh but never had the pleasure of seeing them until now. It seemed like every song these guys played featured a ridiculously shredding guitar solo backed by some cool guitar distortions. Between songs the band had a very calm and collected stage presence, which completely changed as soon as they would get into the next song. Earlier this year they released their album “Skin Man” with some dope album art done by local artist Keith Caves (check out his stuff as well, very cool) which you can find along with older music and merch over at the Bat Zuppel bandcamp.

The good ol’ boys of Denzell took the stage a little after 9pm. I may be slightly bias when it comes to these dudes since I’ve been best friends with most of them since high school or earlier. With the exception of their new drummer, Tyler Gallagher (who is also super chill and plays in another band, TrashBag, who are also definitely worth checking out if you get a chance). These guys always put on an entertaining show, which usually features at least one broken guitar string, but to me that just shows how into their performance they get. With 5 dudes all thrashing about on stage, something like that is bound to happen. It was a pretty significant show for the Zells as they played a brand new song, “Soft Reset” which fit right into their lineup of fast paced garage rock sounds with multiple guitar parts layered overtop of each other. The band was also stoked to announce they had just received their first batch of band shirts to sell, which in the words of homie/bassist Roman Benty, “If you’ve been following the saga of Denzell, this is a milestone.” You can check out these dudes on bandcamp and soundcloud, as well as YouTube for a music video for their song “Super Super” (directed by me).

Headlining band, The Mystery Lights came on shortly after 10pm with a very cool, synthy surfer punk sounding set. Fresh off a self titled album release the band embarked on a 5 week long tour to various spots around the east coast. It was easy to see that there was quite a few Pittsburgh fans that had been waiting to see The Mystery Lights. When the band got on stage the bar cleared out and the front row filled up with people eager to dance around a little bit. The band had great energy on stage, I would have never been able to tell they were on the tail end of a non stop 5 week tour if they didn’t mention it. To hear more from The Mystery Lights you can stop by their bandcamp or check out a review PitchFork did for their song and video, “Follow Me Home” from their 2016 self titled album.

The Mystery Lights


Bat Zuppel

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