Pabstolutely turns it up to 11
Pabstolutely embarks on it’s 11th year Saturday. That is 11 years of helping the community as an all-day festival celebrating local creativity while helping adults with disabilities.
Proceeds from the event at Royal Oaks benefit Golden String Inc., a nonprofit organization that works with adults with disabilities and provides an adult daycare environment. It operates its own Internet radio station, Golden String Radio, and has its own music education class, The Purple Cat Music Class (PCMC).
This is the first year that PCMC is playing all original songs, according to Jason Murphy, director of the program. PCMC now resembles more of a traditional band instead of a music class at a day program.
“The members of the PCMC have become comfortable and settled at home with the fact that we are a functioning band,” Murphy said. “The members are now learning different facets of working in the music industry, which includes everything from marketing, graphic design, recording banter in between songs (to make the albums sound more cohesive) and updating the PCMC’s Facebook page.
“Pabstolutely is monumental for us in getting exposure in the Youngstown music scene. It’s the most important gig of our summer tour. When you are a new band, it’s rough getting gigs, but Pabstolutely has given the PCMC a springboard into jumping into the local scene. John and Louie Kennedy and the Royal Oaks have been supportive of the PCMC.”
Also playing this year is Pittsburgh’s The Long Hunt, featuring Youngstown natives Allison Kacmar Richards and Trevor Richards, along with Mark Lyons. Richards said that the band just released its first full-length album, “All Paths Lead to Here,” in June. It was produced by Mark Kramer, who has worked with such acts as Galaxie 500, Boogie Man Smash and Low.
“The album features six songs, one of which, ‘Cantiga 166: Tower of Set,’ is our original take on the 700-year-old folk tune ‘Como Poden Per Sas Culpas,'” Richards said. “The songs on this record reflect the style that the band has moved into since the (2017) EP — longer format songs, somewhat heavier in mood and tone, and with more of a post-rock and heavy psych element. If the goal of ‘Wilderness Tales’ was about creating musical space, ‘All Paths Lead to Here’ is about filling that space up. It’s added mass and density, elemental earth versus elemental air.”
Soundwise, The Long Hunt plays a mix of post-rock, drone, heavy-psych and doom metal. The band is very influenced by artists such as Swans, Earth, Sleep and Neurosis. Even though the album only has been out for a couple months, the band has been playing a new song, “Procession of Dust,” in its set.
“We usually get a song about 90 percent done before playing it in front of audiences, with the remaining 10 percent getting written and changed on the spot,” Richards said. “That’s kind of where this one is now. It’s that element of the unknown that makes new songs so exciting to play. There’s a vitality and sense of danger that comes from improvisation that I think the audience can really connect with.”
Another Pittsburgh act, Action Camp, draws from a broad sphere of musical influences, including the indie melodic traits of The Pixies and PJ Harvey intertwined with the goth post-punk textures of Killing Joke and the cinematic expertise of David Lynch.
Earlier this year, the band released a compilation of its EPs released since 2006, and vocalist / bassist Maura Jacobs said the band is in the process of writing and recording its next full-length album.
“The EP Collection was an opportunity for us to not only show how we have grown as a band after more than a decade together, but to also showcase songs we have that didn’t fit neatly onto one of our albums,” she said. “While our overall aesthetic reflects our love of art rock and post punk, all three of us love a good pop song and the opportunity to stretch into other genres.”
Jacobs also is a member of Garter Shake, another Pabstolutley act, and Steve Gardner also will be doing double duty as a member of both Garter Shake and Rebreather. Garter Shake’s sound hearkens bask to such acts as X-Ray Spex, The Raincoats and The Slits.
Pabstolutely 11 also will feature some new vendors this year, including West Side Bowl, Penguin City Beer and the local clothing brand The Radical Notion, which was developed two years ago by Steph Blair of Girard and Heather Seno of Youngstown.
“We love Pabstolutely and look forward to this event every year,” Blair said. “The music is awesome, the atmosphere is electric. It’s a super fun way to contribute to Golden String Radio.”