Music is back at Aster Cafe!
Zach Pietrini Band + Michael Gay $12
Saturday, November 5 @ 9:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Zach Pietrini’s Midwestern, indie americana songwriting aesthetic is the sonic embodiment of a well-worn denim jacket. At the forefront of the Americana resurgence, Pietrini—lead vocalist and guitarist for his namesake band—takes an everyman’s approach to the genre with a knack for honest storytelling and a wistfulness that comes across in both the music and lyrics. The band takes its cues from Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and David Ramirez, reinterpreting and rejuvenating American roots styles through a contemporary lens. Pietrini’s songs “situate him at the confluence of all that an urban Millennial audience finds relatable” (Milwaukee Magazine), performing old-soul themes of ennui, regret, disappointment, and nostalgia with a modern twist.
Pietrini came up on the Chicago music scene before moving to Milwaukee, where he honed his signature “foot-tapping and pensive steel-guitar-driven” style (Milwaukee Magazine), making regular appearances at Summerfest, Mile of Music, Bastille Days, and other festivals. The band has also toured prolifically throughout the United States, including opening for Huey Lewis and the News (5,000 in attendance) and playing SXSW, returning home often to play at local venues like Anodyne and Colectivo Backroom as well as house shows in living rooms around Milwaukee.
Pietrini’s dynamic live performances are intimate, yet high-energy, and his “beguiling friendliness” (88Nine), “nearly confounding” versatility (Shepherd Express), and laid-back stage presence bring a very Wisconsin sense of Gemütlichkeit to his shows. Voted Best Live Act in Milwaukee by Milwaukee Magazine and regularly in the running for Best Band in Milwaukee by 88Nine, The Zach Pietrini Band is preparing for its 9th release in 2022- Rock & Roll is Dead, and will be hitting the road late September.
MICHAEL GAY is a Minneapolis-based country folk storyteller. Starting off as a drummer and finding his way to guitar, he was inspired by the singer-songwriters of his dad’s generation–Willie Nelson, John Prine and Jerry Jeff Walker.
“I dove into that world head-first,” Michael says. “I love thrift stores, and I’d just buy whatever I could find for a dollar or two that had a name on it I recognized. 70’s singer-songwriters and outlaw country was kinda what got the wheels turning because it was cheap/free at the time. But my dad’s record collection is where it started to come together for me.”
Born in Denver and raised in Rochester, MN, Michael studied history at the University of Minnesota with the intention of teaching high school social studies until he moved to Minneapolis’ vibrant NE neighborhood and was drawn to the bands and songwriters playing corner bars like the 331 Club. He was hooked.
Best known for his project Almighty American, Michael quickly established his place among the Twin Cities’ finest Americana artists, winning fans and media praise for his honest, accessible songwriting. “Bus Brakes,” the single from Almighty American’s first full-length album Somewhere Ride (2017) was featured on The Current, drew comparisons to Jason Isbell and Boxcar Willie and was hailed as “the real deal” (Ear to the Ground Music). A magnetic presence on stage, Michael has opened up for such acts as Margo Price, The Mavericks and Kacy & Clayton.
Going from a full band to a more stripped-down sound, Michael Gay started performing under his own name in 2020, right around the time he started recording his new album in Nashville. Coming out of those sessions with more than enough for an album, he released the single “Long, Cold Winter” — “a song that brings to mind John Prine, both through its sound and its wry, witty lyrics” (Americana UK). Released with the B-side “Good Night,” the track made a splash on folk and Americana radio. Now, with the release of his full-length album Make It Right (June 18, 2021), he solidifies his place as one of the young songwriters to watch. Produced by John James Tourville and mixed/mastered by Paul Oldham, the album evokes the heartfelt storytelling of Guy Clark and the layered musical sensibility of Josh Ritter.
When not making his own music and not living through a pandemic, Michael Gay works as a tour manager and produces the Pony Ruglive music video series, which has featured Minneapolis-based songwriters like Chris Koza, Vicky Emerson and The Lowest Pair’s Palmer T. Lee. He dabbles in leatherwork, tinkering with motorcycles and woodworking. And he still loves thrift stores.
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$12 cover charge will be added to your tab.