Riley Alice Writes
12 Feb 2024
Live From Oakland: Genesis Premiere
It’s an unusually warm Saturday night in February in South Oakland, which for local university students means an excuse to get out and party. However, enough people have set aside the usual house parties and shows to congregate at 401 Atwood Street for the first night of Live From Oakland: Genesis, officially selling out the event over a day in advance. Genesis is part two of a series of concerts hosted by local collective Post-Genre, founded by Adam Klenovich, 20, Eli Alfieri, 23, and Mark Riggio, 20. Within the hour between doors opening at 7 and music starting at 8, the main room of the church fills with a mixture of Post-Genre staff, freelance photographers, students, band members, and local Pittsburgh music enthusiasts. The former organ balcony hosts a collaged shrine of sorts to the concept of Genesis, which sits adjacent to an L-shaped merch setup with both the bands’ and Live From Oakland’s shirts. Photographers congregate around the steps, on the balcony, and line the front of the stage crouched amidst fake plants and rugs that contribute to the “bohemian” cultivated vibe. “I’ve just been going to shows forever,” an audience member donning a Heading North shirt in the front row says, waiting for the first band to take the stage. “I try to listen to lots of different kinds of music. I’m a little bit older than college age, but a permanent venue in Oakland would be so great for the environment. It would be nice to be able to support something more local instead of big companies.” Heading North, first band to christen the space, takes the stage with a respect for the historical space combined with an eagerness to rock out and make it a night to remember for the over 200 people crammed into the room. Passersby outside onto bustling Atwood Street are mesmerized by the lights shining through the formerly abandoned stained-glass windows of the church and the cheers of the crowd leaking out onto the street. The audience carefully pushes against each other and dances without jumping, to avoid putting any pressure on the old floorboards. There is a collective sense of admiration for what has been born that night. “If Post-Genre opened a permanent music venue in Oakland, we would be at every show,” Heading North drummer Mike Stolarz’s parents say. “We go to all of our son’s shows, and it would be great to have a space to go with good parking– that’s key!” A space that is accessible for people of all ages and walks of life, with different reasons and interests in shows, is universally important to audience members. Clay Coast takes the stage next, romancing the crowd with pop-punk tunes, followed by 9fiftyseven, who close out the night with a set reminiscent of their first show with Live From Oakland back in September. The sound and light quality throughout the night is unprecedented, and maintained by an expansive staff of volunteers throughout the night. “You don’t see a church venue normally in a trashier place like South Oakland,” one of many photographers for the bands says. “It’s so cool that they get to use professional equipment and have an actual space.” The temporary church space is incredible, but Post-Genre aims to achieve something more permanent in the future. “It would be so nice to be able to see a lineup ahead of time and be able to plan to go out on the weekends instead of trying to figure out who is playing at what house,” Pitt sophomore says. “I definitely would be going to a lot more shows.” “Having a permanent venue would be great for local college bands wanting to get their sea legs, or older bands who don’t have the ‘in’ to house venues or the desire to hang out with a bunch of drunk teenagers,” Giovanni Orisini of Pittsburgh hard-punk band the Inebriators says. “It would be a great space for creatives to meet each other and connect.” Pitt graduate Jake Kelley of local Saddle-Creek-signed Feeble Little Horse agrees, saying, “It could become a really fucking cool thing, especially if they get good touring bands. As long as there’s good parking. But, Pittsburgh, though.” He laughs. The first Live From Oakland: Genesis show definitely hit the mark, and left those who were able to snag tickets with a memorable night and hope for the future of the DIY scene in Pittsburgh. Be sure to stick around to see what they craft up with nights 1 and 2, February 17 and March 1. Post-Genre has begun to carve out their niche in the scene, and the way the next few months play out will solidify their impact on not only local bands, but the entire reputation of Oakland and Pittsburgh music.
Riley Alice Writes
Pgh music journalism & poetry
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