The Lights Ahead
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The Lights Ahead

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The best kept secret in music



Most bands in their infancy must pay their dues by playing smaller venues in opening slots before getting the chance to play some of the area's well known stages, much less headline their own show. Miraculously, this wasn't the case with the Lights Ahead. Even when singer Jon Zebraskey and guitarist Josh Shapiro were playing as an acoustic duo back in October, they were turning heads. After enlisting drummer Jay Fanelli in January, they played, and nearly sold out, their first full-band show at the Rex Theatre. They have played shows with School of Athens and Mushcup, as well as with the newly re-vamped Tangerine. Sharing the bill with such diverse bands is made possible by their mix of sounds. Citing influences such as Wilco, the Cure, Interpol and Radiohead, along with Shapiro's stint in the hardcore House of Kali, their songs run the gamut from hard-hitting guitar riffs to mellow, keyboard-driven tunes. This week they play Club Café with one more piece of the puzzle intact; Devan Goldstein recently signed on as the band's bassist. Zebraskey's powerful vocals will have no trouble echoing throughout the intimate venue, and the musical chemistry of the Lights Ahead is its perfect complement. Each show the band plays is different from the last, as they take the time in between to hone and rework their music, providing multiple versions of the songs. If the previous months offered any indication of what's to come, this could be the last time that Club Café will be able to accommodate their crowd.

(note: The show mentioned in the review attracted a record crowd of 183 people at the 150-capacity venue. Over 50 people were turned away) - Pulp:


The members of The Lights Ahead have been making a name for themselves on the local scene with cutting material that ranges from the swirling sound of early Ride to more ethereal tracks that make the most of Jonathan Zebraskey's yearning vocals. They've taken their name from a Foo Fighters lyric and misheard lyrics by the Doves. But the sound is worlds closer to the Doves than anything Dave Grohl would do.

-Ed Masely
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


- "Ride" single (recorded w/ Peter Katis) - September 2004
- But I Knew God Was Listening to Me EP (2003)

- Song "Siphon" receives airplay on Pittsburgh's 105.9 the X (Clearchannel station)
- Live set broadcast on 105.9 the X (half hour)
- Also played on University of Pittsburgh 92.1 WPTS

Streaming Airplay
- Pittsburgh Net Radio (
- Various mp3s streamed from


Feeling a bit camera shy


Jay Fanelli discovered the name "The Lights Ahead" in the Doves song, "Satellites." Or at least he thought he did. The phrase Fanelli thought he heard was:

See the lights ahead
So hold on

Depsite the miscue ("Satellites ahead" is the actual lyric), the name stuck. In a conceptual sense, the name connotes the same feeling as do most The Lights Ahead songs: finding hope in despair, finding joy while going down in flames.

The Lights Ahead blend the reverb-heavy sound of 80s post-punk guitars, the air-tight song structure and powerful vocals of Brit-pop, and the layered keyboards, strings, and unrelenting distortion of post-rock.

The Lights Ahead are influenced by Radiohead, Doves, The Cure, Interpol, Sigur Ros, Fugazi, Elbow, Mogwai, Boards of Canada, and Air, among many others.

In only 7 months as a full band, The Lights Ahead have already played to record-setting capacity crowds in their hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and are poised to take the next step when they record their debut single, Ride, with Peter Katis (Interpol, Mercury Rev) in September. The band intends to make the most of their New York club dates in the fall, and prove that their own great expectations deserve to be fulfilled in the very near future.