Bananastock: The Homecoming Concerts

Poster by Mark Zucco.
In recent years Pittsburgh has seen the RePunk 1, 2, and 3 and Non-Punk Pittsburgh reunions, all concentrating on the early years of the Pittsburgh punk rock scene.  But there has never been an event bringing together bands that cover the Electric Banana's entire 20-year run as the city's home for alternative music.  Until now.

BananaStock 1:  Friday, October 5, 2018 from 7:00 PM - 2:00 AM as part of the Spirit First Friday sponsored by Straub Brewery.

BananaStock 2: Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 3:00 - 8:00 PM presented by the

Location: Both events will be held at:  Spirit Lodge, 242 51st St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201 in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh.

Day 1 includes an opening reception for visual artist 3D Mark at 7:00 followed by live music at 9:00.

Bands Scheduled to Appear on Friday, October 5:
  • Standing Wave, with Carsickness founding members Stephen Sciulli and Dennis Childers, describes their music as "country music from an imaginary country" or "root-tronic music of the Elements."  Stephen's critically-acclaimed CD, High in the Mountain, was released in 2017 on Get Hip Records.  Paul Ferraro (Earthworms) on bass makes it a trio.
  • The Damaged Pies, who last May celebrated their 30th anniversary with the release of their single "Same Circus, Different Town" and the declaration of Damaged Pies Day in Pittsburgh.  They have performed in famous venues like CBGB's, the Cavern Club in Liverpool, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and have opened for Pete Best, Peter Case, and Marshall Crenshaw, among too many others to mention.
  • The Wurms, Bogus Records recording artists who released their fourth studio CD, Off the Hook, in 2017 and enjoy a strong following of enthusiastic Brookline denizens in Wurms tee-shirts everywhere they go.  They have opened for Glenn Tilbrook, the Flamin'  Groovies, and the Dogs.  This year marks the 35th anniversary of their 1983 single "Running in a Dream"/"Teenage Suicide", presently a hot item in Japan.
  • Modern Fossils, a newly formed multi-generational band with Bill Munz (Scapegrace, Hidden Truth), Larry Dawgiello (Society's Pliers, Shelter), and Ken Wolfe (Endless), who together account for 55 appearances at the Electric Banana.  Bill's son Brendan Munz and Larry's niece Danielle Dawgiello round out the band.  There are rumors of guest stars, too.
Admission: Free

Bands Scheduled to Appear on Saturday, October 6:
  • Tom Moran, a Pittsburgh scene elder statesman who played guitar at the Electric Banana in the Dark, the Five, and Deliberate Strangers, will play a set on electric sitar with hand percussionist Kip Ruefle (A.T.S., Callan).  Tom released his first solo CD, Oud Music for Snake Handlers, in 2011 and is the subject of the 2018 documentary Improvising the Divine:  The Music of Tom Moran.
  • A.T.S., the long-time, category-defying band that appeared a whopping 97 times at the Electric Banana from 1985-1999, second only to the Cynics.  They call their music "Post Punk No Wave Art Punk CowPunk Indie Alternative Power Twang Rock and Roll."  They ended an eleven-year hiatus from recording with their Watering the Plants CD in 2016 and their download Alternative facTS and other True Stories in 2017, during which time they headlined several Rock Against Trump shows throughout Pittsburgh.
  • Venus in Furs, who have been described as a dark, industrial electronic rock band and have had the pleasure of opening for the likes of Killing Joke, Nine Inch Nails, and Violent Femmes.  With two dancing girls in the band, their act is visual as much as it is musical.  They released their third album, Green, earlier this year. 
  • The Gothees.  Their Facebook page says it all:  "Imagine the bubblegum pop tunes of the Monkees and the Archies interpreted by the Velvet Underground with Ian Curtis of Joy Division on vocals."  They plan to release an EP of Monkees songs this year.
Admission: $8 in Advance; $10 at door

Gotta Go! Get me a Ticket!

About Bananastock

This won't necessarily be a "punk" or ""hardcore" festival or a trip down memory lane.  Many of these artists have moved on to other styles of music.  Each is different and if not for the common thread of having played at the Electric Banana, might not normally appear on the same bill.  Yet "the Banana" presented many different types of music from one night to the next.  This will be like eight nights at the Banana packed into one weekend.

Facebook event page is here!

You must be age 21 or over to enter.  Please bring a valid ID.  The Friday night event is free admission.  Tickets for Day 2 are available above.  Schedule of performers is subject to change, just like everything else in life.  Scroll down for more info.

Courtesy of Bill Munz (far right in this photo taken at the Electric Banana), who will be appearing with his new band, Modern Fossils.  Note that he is no longer taking phone calls. 

About Spirit
"Spirit is a two-level 10,000 square foot multi-purpose event space converted from the former 581 Moose Lodge in upper Lawreneville into a pizzeria, bar, and event hall with stages on both levels," according to its web site.

The Index of Directions
Here's a handy map that will help you find Spirit.  (Fun tip:  Go to street view, keep zooming in, go up and down 51st Street and eventually you'll see the Nox Boys crossing the street.  I'm serious.)

Vacation, all you ever wanted
If you're coming from out of town and need a place to stay, Nied's Hotel in Lawrenceville is not actually a hotel, although it was once, but in any event there are some hotels in the Bloomfield and East Liberty sections, just a short ride to Spirit:

Morning Sun Inn
1156 Portland Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Marriott Pittsburgh Shadyside
5308 Liberty Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Hyatt House Pittsburgh/Bloomfield/Shadyside
5335 Baum Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Happy Workers
For some of us who are old enough to have seen bands at the Banana but now have families and real jobs, staying out late might not always fit our body's schedule any more.  If this describes you, we highly recommend that you take Friday off work, take an afternoon nap, drink a cup of coffee or two (we recommend the special Code Orange brand at Black Forge Coffee), stay with us at Day 1 until the end, sleep in late on Saturday, and then join us for Day 2.

Here are some useful articles on how to take a good nap:
Napping by the National Sleep Foundation
11 Tips for Taking a Nap that Energizes You from Readers Digest.
8 tips for taking the perfect nap from Today.

On the health benefits of taking a day off work:
6 Health Benefits From Taking Time Off Work by Bustle.
Why Taking Time Off is Good for Your Brain from Inc.
A Day of Rest:  12 Scientific Reasons it Works also from Inc.

Ask yourself this:  When was the last time you took a day off work to see some live bands?  I'll answer it for you:  Never!  The first weekend in October is as good a time as any, when you can attend this once-in-a-lifetime event.  So do something for you for a change!

A Word from Joe
I get a lot of questions about how I went about selecting the bands for these events.  Plain and simple, I invited bands whose music I was familiar with.  I didn't invite bands whose music I wasn't familiar with.  I've always operated under the philosophy that the only way that any project turns out good is by sticking with what one knows.

Know, too, that I and everybody else here at are not making any money from this festival.  100% of all profits are going to the bands.  Furthermore, if you buy your tickets early, there are no service charges or fees whatsoever.  It's all being done with the bands and the fans in mind.  I hope you can get behind this concept and come out and see us on October 5-6. 

Special Thanks
A lot of good people volunteered their time to make this happen.  Thanks to Keystone by Design for creating the ticketing site, Mark Zucco of the Wurms for creating the event poster, and our own tech guru Tony for creating the Facebook event page. 

Keep watching this page and the Facebook events page for updates!

Page last updated 8/17/18.