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Starlicker at Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum

Mazurek, Adasiewicz and Herndon play big in a small room


When a genre-pushing group like Starlicker comes to Pittsburgh, they usually wind up playing at either a storefront art gallery or a neighborhood bar that typically books up-and-coming rock bands. Starlicker had the benefit of playing the Andy Warhol Museum’s comfortable auditorium, a boon for a band due to the space’s great acoustics and empathetic sound person. For the audience, the 100-plus seats are comfortable and there are no distractions from the music.

The room was less than half full, but that didn’t discourage Starlicker by any means. These three Chicago residents-cornetist Rob Mazurek, vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz and drummer John Herndon-took to the stage without so much as an introduction and launched into the title track from their Double Demon album (Delmark) as if they were playing for a packed house. Although Mazurek composes all the band’s work, there was clearly a three-way conversation going on, and a blending of styles. The cornetist often played in a series of short phrases, jumping back from his microphone after finishing one and bouncing up and down, reacting to his bandmates. Adasiewicz took on double duty, creating a swirling sound on his vibes that added a necessary density while simultaneously offering another lead voice. Herndon came close to overpowering his bandmates during the first set. He played all over his kit constantly, clearly in tune with the compositions, even as he added some thunderous tom crashes (evoking Elvin Jones a couple of times) and knocked one of his cymbals off the stand mid-song.

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