The Sewerheads have played maybe six or seven shows, and they have about that many songs to their name.
No matter: their Friday, May 22 headlining set at the Thunderbird was proof that The Sewerheads, made up of members from some of Pittsburgh’s grungiest rock bands, are already one of the city’s most compelling musical acts.
Eli Kasan, of The Gotobeds, sings and plays guitar; Shani Banerjee, of Empty Beings, sings as well. More notably, she plays electric violin.
Outside of ELO, Hot Rats era Zappa, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, electric violin is a rarity. Here, it’s used throughout, to tremendous effect: The Sewerheads make gloomy post-punk melodies that tear at your heart while melting your face simultaneously.
Kasan and Banerjee trade bittersweet lines back and forth on “Your Old Bedroom,” their electric strings treading mostly in minor chords. The rhythm section — Rave Ami’s Evan Meindl on drums and Matt Schor on bass — holds it down throughout, and aren’t afraid to pummel.
Show closer, “Trick of the Rain,” built to a frenzy, with Banerjee’s violin swirling faster and faster around Kasan’s roaring guitar, eventually collapsing, into enthusiastic applause from the 100 or so people at the Thunderbird Friday, who spilled into the streets with the sound of something new still buzzing in their heads.
After the show, The Sewerheads went to Brooklyn for a Sunday set at Baby’s All Right. Before the show, they played a live set on WFMU, which is available for streaming. (Besides some demos, there’s nothing else of theirs online.)
Kasan says a 7″ single should be ready soon, and he hopes the band lays down their first full-length album in Chicago this fall. With his indie rock pedigree – Kasan’s other band, The Gotobeds, are signed to Seattle’s Sub Pop Records – and with the band’s distinctive, well-developed sound, it seems like only a matter of time until The Sewerheads emerge beyond the scene in Pittsburgh.
Here are some shots from “Mat the Saints Go March In Sin,” which included performances from Silver Car Crash, Big Baby, and Blinder. Catch The Sewerheads July 22 at The Government Center in Pittsburgh’s East Allegheny/Deutschtown neighborhood.