I found out about Red Hands when looking up another Pittsburgh band that had broken up, A Voice Like Rhetoric. AVLR was a post-hardcore, mathy-type outfit with dueling finger-tapping guitarists, a sick drummer and a groovy bass player that rocked my socks off every time I saw them. I fell in love with AVLR while studying at Slippery Rock University and since they were from that neck of the woods, I got to see them often and continued to see them as much as I could post-graduation. However, their shows became infrequent and they eventually got into other projects. I still remained facebook friends with Erik Pitluga, one of AVLR’s guitarists. I had worked with Erik at Movie Gallery in Slippery Rock, which of course went out of business with the advent of the Netflix/Gamefly/Gaming System/At Home Entertainment singularity destroying the concept of rental places.
Sidenote/soap box rant: I feel quite terrible for the youth of America who will never get to experience the joys of working at a movie rental store. You can’t get drunk off tequila, sell weed, learn to manage money, open and close a business with a key and no prior experience or title, and sharpen your communication skills through phone and face-to-face customer interactions at just any job these days. That’s a shame. Shout out to all my OG Movie Gallery peeps, I’m pouring out a little bit of chocolate milk for y’all as I speak.
At the time, Erik was doing some acoustic solo stuff and had recently joined folk/indie/pop outfit The Color Fleet, who I will be posting about on a later date. After all the talking I’ve done about AVLR, I probably should post a postumous memorium article of them in the future, too. Ah, this shit writes itself! Anyway, I found the Color Fleet interesting, but I was craving something a little more hard-rocking and wanted to check out what the other guys from AVLR had gotten into. Well, low and behold, bass player Justin Campbell had joined Red Hands, a band formed from the ashes of several awesome Pittsburgh bands such as AVLR and Cali AC. And their influences are, wait a second….Deftones, Circa Survive, Thrice, Jawbox and PANFUCKINGTERA?!
Thrice has been one of my favorite bands since middle school and I’m completely bummed I’m going to miss their farewell tour show. Deftones is in the all-time favorites, which should go without saying for any dude in his late twenties. Anthony Green is one of my vocal/songwriting idols and Circa Survive is, by far, my favorite of his projects and one of my favorite bands period. And I have put in plenty of head-banging, lifting and rage-out-punch-the-wall-time with Pantera.
I immediately jumped in hoping for a standout savior of the Pittsburgh music scene, and was not disappointed. ‘The Waves Won’t Destroy Themselves’ was the first song I listened to by Red Hands and is still my favorite of theirs. Tyler Kirin’s vocals are on point and I had to google/youtube stalk his old band Cali AC after listening to Red Hands. I found that in addition to his vocals, Tyler has got an incredible stage presence and must do a lot of cardio. When I finally saw them live in January at Mr. Roboto Project with my ex-girlfriend, she commented that he looked, “like a muppet…in a good way!” Seriously, dude looks like Kermit the Frog just snorted a bunch of crystal meth when he’s performing.
One last side note: Cali AC did a cover of my favorite Journey song ever, Separate Ways. That is my siren song at karaoke and I frequently get standing ovations at most bars around Beaver County when I sing it. Tyler, if you read this, I issue you an open challenge to a Journey-Off at a karaoke bar of your choosing.
Red Hands is having their EP release party at Stage AE on May 4. If you like what you see and hear, RSVP for the event here: http://www.facebook.com/EveryoneHasRedHands#!/events/210542199059977/. There are a bunch of other awesome bands playing that night. Anyway, without further ado, Red Hands!