Local band to perform at the Underground

Boulevard of the Allies will be performing and promoting their newest album at the Underground. (credit: Courtesy of Joel Lindsey) Boulevard of the Allies will be performing and promoting their newest album at the Underground. (credit: Courtesy of Joel Lindsey)

It is 2007, and Joel Lindsey is getting ready to leave London to move to the United States, in part to explore his heritage on his American mother’s side of the family, and in part to simply see what else is out there. Sitting in Heathrow Airport, he pens the lyrics, “It’s time to get out of here, maybe come back a better man.” The lyrics will eventually become the song “Live Outside,” which is the final track in Boulevard of the Allies’ debut CD, The Man in the Photograph, released last May. Boulevard of the Allies will be promoting the CD at a concert at the Underground on Friday.

Currently the lead singer of Boulevard of the Allies, Lindsey made the decision to change his environment and leave London because he wanted to see what else was out there and “live outside” of his comfort zone. During his travels around the country, Lindsey found himself getting caught up in the Pittsburgh music scene. He found Pittsburgh’s musicality to be novel and unlike something one would be able to hear every day. While big cities run the danger of being “swayed by the latest sound,” Lindsey said, he feels that the smaller size of Pittsburgh makes it easier for local bands to cultivate their own sounds and write lyrics that are important to them.

Alongside Lindsey, Boulevard of the Allies is made up of Pittsburgh natives Jim Kurasch on bass, Tim College on drums, James Gaff on electric guitar, and Chris Massa on percussion. Boulevard of the Allies identifies its music as a cross between British rock and American soul. This fusion is heavily influenced by the Beatles and Stevie Wonder, with a folk-like twist. While Lindsay wrote all of the songs for The Man in the Photograph, the band as a whole is contributing more and more to the songwriting process as Boulevard of the Allies continues to grow and evolve.

Lindsey emphasized the viability of Pittsburgh’s music scene. “There are more opportunities than people realize for musicians [in Pittsburgh],” Lindsey said. “They’re not obvious opportunities, but if you take your art [into your] own hands and have the chutzpah to call up bars and restaurants, you can have the chance to play [for] weird and wonderful experiences.... In Pittsburgh, I have the chance to make a living playing music.” From the illustrious Bitter End in New York, the band has also accepted gigs at the penguin habitat at the Pittsburgh Aquarium and outside of a Giant Eagle grocery store.

In addition to being the frontman for Boulevard of the Allies, Lindsey is also the creator of the Acoustic Café, a nonprofit open-mic night for local bands. The Acoustic Café helps new and struggling musicians test out their songs and helps them to become more comfortable with performing. The café has a loyal following, and the artists are able to cultivate a base by playing there live.

Lindsey has big dreams for Boulevard of the Allies. In 2011, besides playing at the Underground this Friday, Lindsey is most excited to travel around Europe with his band to play and promote their music. After living in America for almost four years, he said that he realizes that “Europe doesn’t seem as big anymore.”