Deutschtown Music Festival Artist Spotlight–The Petals

Part 1 of the 2019 Deutschtown Music Festival In Review

The Petals are a Pittsburgh group that we’ve heard of before; a few weeks ago, I spent 30 minutes trying to decide which band their song “Mercy Kill” reminded me of (spoiler, it ended up being Biffy Clyro).

I kicked off my Deutschtown Music Festival adventure on the night of Friday, July 12th, in the slightly claustrophobic rathskeller of Max’s Allegheny Tavern. While I was waiting for The Petals’ set to start, a bartender generously gifted me a free Coors Lite that had been placed on the bar in front of me without my having ordered it; meanwhile, some Baby Boomers got rowdy while playing a round of tabletop shuffleboard. Also, in the upstairs bathroom, an inebriated man wholeheartedly recommended Max’s food while pissing in the stall next to me. Not usually where I get my culinary criticism, but the massive, Germanic bratwursts being served throughout the night looked incredible, so I’m guessing that my new friend does, in fact, have good taste in food.

Probably should’ve ordered this, to be honest (photo courtesy of Entertainment Central Pittsburgh)

The Petals put on a great set, replete with loud-soft-loud jams played in mostly 3/4 time (including a rousing rendition of “Mercy Kill,” to my great joy, I fucking love that song). Colin Humphrey’s drum work balanced power with precision; it’s not every day that you hear a rock band feature so many waltzing tempos, and Humphrey really locked down some fairly complex rhythms while keeping the energy level high. When things got loud, frontman Aaron Sheedy absolutely wailed on his guitar (without the use of a pick, it looked like), his arm spinning and blurring like the blade of a fan.

The Petals took advantage of the opportunity to run through some songs from their newly released album Seven Stops; alongside “Mercy Kill,” a few that stood out were “A Feeling,” a power ballad that opens with delicately curling tendrils of clean guitar before exploding into a tempest of distorted chords and piercing high notes, and “Pinhead,” a shorter track that peppers tuneful alt rock riffage with a few queasy, herky-jerky passages, making great use of pauses along the way. The latter is one of the album’s quirkier tracks, and only solidifies the Biffy Clyro comparison in my mind.

Seven Stops

Sheedy’s voice definitely reminds me of someone else’s, but, once again, I can’t quite place who it is. I think I’ve settled on a hybrid of Brandon Flowers from The Killers and Will Toledo from Car Seat Headrest, but I’m sure I’ll second guess that in a minute. Better wrap up now before I do. Support The Petals, they kick ass.

Check out the rest of Seven Stops and make sure to follow the band on Facebook.

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