Salvation can come from several sources. Divinity doesn’t only come desired inside church doors. Spirituality can be savored in uncertain sectors. A congregation of people coming together for a coinciding cause can create their own communion and celebrate their own convictions. Fidelity can be found in the form of a musical faction. Revelation can occur while in observance of a different kind of devotion: music.
The Altar Bar in the Strip District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania used to be known as St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church. Although it is now a bar known for its musical message, it still has a faithful following. Men and women still come there to worship, just to a slightly different, though no less potent power: music. Controversy can’t be counted out, but surely the similarities aren’t hard to see, the transition not hard to hatch: a place built for praise, meant for masses, accommodating to acoustics, and besides – you better believe and I know that you can testify that music in itself is a rapturous, religious revival! The Altar Bar also has a musical mission: to resurrect live music in the strip district!
On Saturday, August 28th the Altar Bar successfully summoned a band and breathed life back into the strip’s musical bones. To say that the bar is beautiful is by far being modest. The black bar is breathtaking — from the red, flare-like, fiery crosses that light up the first floor to the spiral staircase that leads to the third story steeple. It’s intimate and inclusive, and bestowed on the stage was a band that belonged there: Gypsy Grin.
If you are a fan and follow my antecedent articles then you already know how I feel about this band. Gypsy Grin is a band I can see again and again and “good” doesn’t go nearly far enough into the depths of definition to describe what they do. They are glorious! To see them not only on a significant stage, but also being broadcast on the two big screens and six smaller sets within the bar was blessed.
They are a band that not only belongs onstage at a bar — they belong in Blender, ranked in Rolling Stone. Mike Morelli is a fantastic front-man, and I don’t know what more I can say about his voice other than it is meant to be heard. Behind him the band invokes immaculate, inescapable intonations. Gypsy Grin has a sacred sound that you shouldn’t miss and the Altar Bar’s doors are open — worship at your own will!