Wednesday, September 29, 2010

LA Ink on TLC

Every Wednesday night on TLC you can catch a show called LA Ink at 10 p.m. LA Ink is a reality show based on a tattoo shop called High Voltage in West Hollywood, California, and stars the highly talented tattoo artist, Kat Von D, who owns the shop. The show also incorporates not only the world of High Voltage, but another tattoo shop called American Electric, which is located in Los Angeles.

On the show, the world of tattooing for these Californian shops is revealed, along with backgrounds of the cast members' lives, conflicts, and personal accomplishments. Another strong focus of the show are the customers that come into the shops to be inked. Each customer on the show reveals a background story of their tattoo, along with presenting the final product when the artist has completed their work. Many different customers come in from not just California, but all over America, and even overseas from Europe. Musicians are often on the show getting tattoos as well, such as Travie McCoy from the band Gym Class Heroes.

But not only are musicians getting the tattoos, there is one musician in particular that works as a tattoo artist at High Voltage, and is also one of the stars of the show, Dan Smith. Dan Smith plays in a band called The Dear & Departed. While Dan works at High Voltage as a tattoo artist, he also takes time to leave for tours with The Dear & Departed, as shown in previous episodes of the current season of LA Ink.

The Dear & Departed approach their music with a dark form of a mix between punk and new wave, as stated on their Web site. As I attended an Alkaline Trio concert last year, The Dear & Departed helped open the show and Dan Smith mentioned his origins from New Zealand, though the band launched their first album in Orange County, California.

Check out LA Ink tonight at 10 p.m. to see Dan Smith tattooing at High Voltage.

Photo courtesy of

Monday, September 27, 2010

Check Out This Style: Celtic Punk

If you didn't already know, there are quite a few different variations of punk rock. These types of punk still have the quick punk sound and strong lyrics, but also include a more unique twist that either "makes it or breaks it," in my opinion. An example of this is Celtic Punk, a form of music that incorporates Irish culture to provide a different sound. To create this unique Irish cultural sound, instruments such as the bag pipe and mandolin are used. To see an excellent example of this type of punk, check out the band Flatfoot 56 from Chicago, Illinois, who represent Celtic style while also keeping punk music alive. Flatfoot 56 currently is on tour with the Street Dogs.

Video: Flatfoot 56 opening their set in Pittsburgh, shot by me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Street Dogs Live

The Street Dogs, a punk band from Boston, Massachusetts is currently on tour and just played a show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last Wednesday night at the Rex Theater. Due to mishaps with promoting, the band had to switch venues last minute from where they were originally scheduled, and many were unaware of their show. On a brighter note, the fans who were their, including myself, got to be close to the stage and the bands that played. The experience was awesome and though large concerts are fun, small concerts can be just as exciting. Street Dogs current tour dates.

Photo: Michael McColgan, lead singer of the Street Dogs, taken by me.