October 19, 2020

2009-01-22 – Pittsburgh Post Gazette

2009 01 22 Pittsburgh_Post_Gazette_Thu__Jan_22__2009_



l I saw The Who three times — if
seeing them without Keith Moon
counts — and the “Tommy” and
“Quadrophenia” movies. I met Pete
Townshend as a teenager and inter-
viewed Roger Daltrey on the phone.

But from now on when I think of
The Who, one of the first things that’s
going to pop into my mind is the im-

age of Tommy Amoeba last Saturday

night at Howler’s.

The organizer of Maximum Who
Phoria and biggest Who fieak in the
room — emphasis on fireak — Amoeba
appeared on stage with his band Amoe-
ba Knievel dressed as a lit Christmas
tree playing a Fisher Price toy and sing-
ing, “It’s a girl, Mrs. Walker” to launch
an abridged, gender-bending version of
the rock opera “Tommy”

We use the word singing rather
liberally here, as this Tommy seemed
more like Daltrey having a convulsion,
but it rocked and the band was cook-
ing, sounding as much or more like
The Who as any band on the night. For
“Pinball Wizard,” the Amoeba, now
bouncing one of those big silver yoga
balls, defoliated into a skin-tight pink
polka-dot romper with a rainbow afro.

When you can match the weirdness
of “Tommy” and go one step further,
that’s really saying something.

After a “We’re Not Gonna Take It”
that took us to the mountaintop, the
Amoeba climaxed the set the way Pete
Townshend would — by smashing an
acoustic guitar.

It was part loving tribute, part
performance art, part freak show and
entirely unforgettable.

All in all, the Pittsburgh scene
did The Who proud, fi‘om Devilish
Merry’s “Happy Jack” to The Huh’s
“My Generation” to eD tROM oHIO’s
“Who Are You.”



Larry Rippel

Tommy Amoeba at the Who tribute show Saturday night.


And he kept a good heat, as well.

Johns, the drummer for Diamond
Reo, one of Pittsburgh’s classic rock
bands from the ’703, died Jan. 9 at the
age of 56.

He will be memorialized Sunday at
Moondog’s in a benefit concert for his
family to help pay funeral expenses.
Nardini, who fronted Diamond Reo,
has assembled a cast of more than 20
local musicians including Warren
King, Bob McKeag and Larry Sief-

Johns, of Swissvale, played drums
for the Yardleys as a teenager and
went on to Diamond Reo, which had
a Top 40 hit in 1975 with “Ain’t That
Peculiar,” appeared on Dick Clark’s
American Bandstand and toured with
Ted Nugent.

In the ’808, he replaced Bird Foster
in the Silencers and in more recent

years Johns. also a guitarist and vocal-


l Last year around this time we
had a Visit from indie buzz band Vam-
pire Weekend. Along those same lines,
now we get Frightened Rabbit play-
ing the Rangos Ballroom at Carnegie
Mellon on Monday

Frightened Rabbit, who sound
somewhat like Wolf Parade or The De-
cemeberists with Scottish accents, ap-
peared on year-end lists in Pitchfork,
Magnet and Stereogum with their
sophomore record, “The Midnight
Organ Figh .”

The show is at 8 pm. with Arc in
Round and Satin Gum. Admission is
$7; $5 students.


l Pittsburgh’s indie-folk scene
said goodbye to one of its bright-
est singer-songwriters when Anna
Vogelzang graduated from Carnegie
Mellon in 2007 and took off for Chi-