The Summit in Columbus and Diesel in Pittsburgh, a Tale of Two Shitty Venues

I went to four concerts (and an AMAZING Zombie Opera) in two weeks. So…I’m kind of insane. For those interested, the concerts were Jill Sobule, The Octopus Project, Foxy Shazam and The New Pornographers.

I go to many, many concerts, but four in two weeks is a lot even for me, especially since the Foxy concert was in Columbus and I am in Pittsburgh. Making that three and a half hour trek back at 12:30 was really fucking stupid. Even stupider was that the New Pornographers show was the next day, meaning I slept about five hours, woke up, worked, then drove to the concert, which was thankfully in Pittsburgh. By the end of that show I was about ready to sleep for 80 hours.

The Jill Sobule and Octopos Project concerts very fun. Sobule is still a blast to see even in the tiniest of venues, and The Octopus Project remain one of the most intense live acts I have ever seen. I even reviewed The Octopus Project show. You should read that.

I also reviewed the Foxy Shazam show. Read that. Read about how Foxy Shazam was nearly ruined by the shittiness of The Summit in Columbus.

I touch upon it in my review, but allow me to elaborate. The Summit in Columbus is a shithole. A horrible, hard-to-find, disgusting shithole. It has nasty bathrooms (even for a dive bar) and a shit bar that doesn’t serve water! No, for that you have to go to a self-serve cooler where you pour water into dixie cups. Yeah, that’s sanitary. There was no lock on that cooler either, meaning anyone could spike it with anything.

But worst of all, the place sounds like shit. The aucoustics are junk and the sound system looks like its held together by duct tape and a dream. Like I say in my review, Foxy Shazam’s audio kept cutting out during their set, because the sound system wasn’t powerful enough to handle them. It’s too bad that Eric (the lead singer of Foxy) lost his cool during the show and took it out on the promoter, because I talked to the promoter beforehand and he seemed like a really nice, really cool guy. Maybe that explains how he got sucked into booking a show at such a god awful shithole. My advice to that guy is to cut his ties with anyone at that blight upon Columbus and find another dive bar to book shows at, maybe one with a professional sound guy.

While The Summit at Columbus sucks, there is a bit of purity to its suckiness. When you walk into a dive like The Summit, you don’t exactly expect quality sound and sanitary bathrooms. That’s what makes Diesel in Pittsburgh a way worse place to see a concert; it looks like it should be a great place for a show. The stage is well lit, there appears to be plenty of room to see the band from wherever you are in the club, and the bars look well stocked and clean.

The reality is that Diesel is by far, one of the worst places in the country to see live music. Each end of the main floor is bookended by these bizarre raised sections that are nearly the height of the stage. That makes them a great place to see the show, but it also means anyone behind them won’t see shit.

It’s even worse on the second floor, which is a balcony that surrounds the main floor below. The entire balcony is lined with VIP seating areas, complete with couches and tables. These look really neat, and I’m sure they are a great place to do coke on a Saturday night, but they screw everyone else over. While a group of 4-8 people enjoy the lush VIP area, the poor masses huddled behind them can’t see shit because they can’t get close enough to look over the VIP’s heads. And I couldn’t see shit, and I’m 6’6”, so that is saying something.

The biggest problem with Diesel is that it sells its shows to capacity, and when that place is filled to capacity its impossible for everyone, or even half the audience, to get a good view of the stage. Its a giant clusterfuck that’s really hard to explain, but take my word for it. In the event of a sell out I would venture that at least 30-40 percent of the crowd wouldn’t be able to see shit for the entire show.

And the place sounds like shit because, as Neko Case pointed out during the New Pornographers’ set, the entire place is coated from head to toe in relfective surfaces.

I don’t to go out on that negativity, so let me end with a recommendation. If you’re in Pittsburgh and want to see a show, go to Mr. Smalls. That’s the best live venue I’ve ever been in. It has perfect acoustics, a nice bar and even the bathrooms aren’t that terrifying.

Black Book
Bustin’ + Dronin’
Headist/Into Another
Metal Hip Slop – Graham’s Bugman Remix
Money Makes Me Crazy (Marrakech Mix)
So You
Tender (Cornelius Remix)
Trade Stylee – Alex’s Bugman Remix
My ratio of “Amount of Blur singles I own” to “Amount that I actually like Blur” is crazy out of whack. Don’t get me wrong, I dig Blur, but I only  own three proper Blur albums (and none are Parklife) while I own about a billion Blur CD singles, an import copy of Bustin’ + Dronin’ and even a few 12” singles.  Why? They were cheap. And in the case of some of these, I needed to hear me some remixes of Bugman. I love that stupid-ass song. I posted slightly shittier sounding versions of “Bustin + Dronin'” and the remix to “Tender” before, but the rest of these are all new and taken from CD singles I picked up a few months ago. “Headist/Into Another” is amazing by the way.

Umbrella (Jody Den Broeder Destruction Radio Edit)
Umbrella (Jody Den Broeder Destruction Remix)
Umbrella (Jody Den Broeder Lush Club Remix)
Umbrella (Jody Den Broeder Lush Radio Edit)
Umbrella (Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel Radio Edit)
Umbrella (The Lindbergh Palace Dub)

Ela-ay ay ay. Why not? These are from a promo CD single I bought used for a buck. I love this song.

7 Responses to “The Summit in Columbus and Diesel in Pittsburgh, a Tale of Two Shitty Venues”

  1. darkneurotic says:

    thanks for that post, I love blur and their rarities… I always read your blog, cheers!

  2. Fictional Queen says:

    Wow,just reading about those places made me cranky!
    And 4 concerts?Good for you!Hee.

  3. Mike says:

    Unfortunately, Diesel seems to be a decent venue for shows that are only sparsely attended. I’ve gone to many shows there, with only the Breeders reaching a somewhat sold out level of attendance, and haven’t had any complaints about the sound, but I can understand your complaints about the crowds the terrible sightlines. I do think the remodeling they did with the booths ringing the second floor hurt tremendously, since you could get a good vantage point of the stage without being a “VIP.”

  4. Andrew says:

    Love the rare Blur. Can you by chance re-post Black Book; it`s tagged as `mp2` and won`t download properly… Cheers!

  5. Lost Turntable says:


  6. Bill V says:

    You ever see a show at the Graffitti? Too bad a Mellon-heir fuck is using the space to park his cars…

  7. kosmische says:

    can you re-up promo remixes of “Bang” & “She’s So High”? Please!!

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