Vampires, Harley Quinns, and at least one Californian packed the sold-out Rex Theater on a Halloween weekend night to see SoCal-based band The Dirty Heads. I’m not sure if it was the Halloween vibes, or if Pittsburgh just has a passionate Dirty Heads following, but the crowd on Saturday night was the loudest I’ve heard at any Pittsburgh concert of that size. The shouts, whistles, and screams between songs were almost deafening, and band leaders Jared Watson (“Dirty J”) and Dustin Bushnell (“Duddy B”) fed off this energy to provide an equally passionate performance.
It’s hard to fit the Dirty Heads into a single genre, and the band showcased this by seemingly splitting their act into three parts (with a couple exceptions). They opened with “Burn Slow” and continued with more of their alt-pop hits. The music was great for these first songs, but I felt like their stage presence was more or less standard until they reached “part two” where they entered into hip-hop-heavy territory. The band reached their peak intensity of the night with a hard-hitting performance of “Medusa” and seemed to have settled into a groove. The Dirty Heads then let everyone catch their breath, singing “Moon Tower” under the pseudo-starry-sky-lit roof of the Rex. To conclude their main set, the band transitioned into their older, acoustic sound with an interesting blend of “Spread Too Thin” and “Lay Me Down,” which caught me off guard, but ended up being a solid end to the show.
With a crowd this loud, the Dirty Heads might as well have never left the stage before the encore. But they did leave, and for what was almost an unreasonable amount of time the fans were cheering as loudly as possible and calling for the band to return. When the Dirty Heads finally came back out, they gave the audience two more songs, The Goonies inspired “Sloth’s Revenge” being my favorite, before leaving the stage for the final time. I left the Rex Theater with a new appreciation of the Dirty Heads and Pittsburgh concert-goers.