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VIA Festival bigger, wider, more experimental in 4th year

Fred Pessaro

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Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The first year of the relentlessly cutting-edge VIA Festival was held in a giant Strip District steel mill that was being transformed into a movie studio — which ought to supply you with enough rebirth-of-Pittsburgh metaphors for years.

Since then, it's gotten even bigger, if more decentralized. Now in its fourth year, VIA events are all over the city, some in conjunction with the the Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Carnegie Mellon University, and many others.

Early highlights include an Oct. 1 show at the Brillobox, headlined by US Girls — a one-woman '60s girl group with lo-fi, minimalist tendencies — along with electronic-surf-punk from Pittsburgh's Shockwave Riderz, and Pittsburgh punks Nic Lawless & His Yung Criminales. Tickets are $10, and the show starts at 9 p.m.

VIA has a film component this year, starting with two documentaries about African music: “Voudon Gods on the Slave Coast” and “The Divine River: Ceremonial Pageantry in the Sahel.” The screening starts at 7 p.m. Oct. 1 at Pittsburgh Filmmakers in Oakland, admission is $8.

On Oct. 2, there's an audio-visual performance by Raime, whose towering, tunneling, unclassifiable soundscapes are typically experienced with the whole body — amplified by special sub-packs attached to each seat in the Melwood Screening Room, so you don't miss any rumble of bass. The opening act is Dream Weapon at 7 p.m.; tickets are $10.

Afterward, at Brillobox, there's a huge showcase of experimental music featuring Container, Richard Pinhas, Aaron Dilloway, Pharmakon, Forma, and Unicorn Hard-On, with original visuals created by Jeremy Bible. Tickets are $15, and the show starts at 9 p.m.

The festival continues through Oct. 6. Look for more details in next week's Ticket.


Michael Machosky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-320-7901.

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