Wino Riot
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Wino Riot

Band Rock Pop


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This band has not uploaded any videos




By Harry Funk
For The Washington Observer-Reporter

You know you're in for a good night when they sing some Frank Zappa during the soundcheck.

And so I settled in for the late show at Club Cafe on the South Side, a couple of cups of coffee keeping me going, to watch a pair of bands, Big With Seed and Wino Riot, put on some distinctive and tightly played performances.

My first impression of Wino Riot (besides some of the guys' apparent affinity for Zappa) was the instrumental configuration: a keyboard rack was set up smack in the middle of the stage, which struck me as kind of unusual. But after hearing keyboard player/lead singer Doug Fitzsimmons exercise his vocal power, I understood. His soul-drenched style served the band's repertoire well: funky, boogie-down sound that projected well within the friendly confines of Club Cafe.

The band cites Stevie Wonder as a prime influence - the lengendary early '70s stuff, like "Livin' for the City," which they cover - along with the numerous George Clinton aggregations collectively known as P-Funk. And Doug drew sounds from his Hammond, Roland and particularly his mini-Korg that you don't hear too often this side of P-Funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell - that bent-tone, outta-space synthesizer that propelled numerous R&B hits a couple of decades ago.

Situated on either side of Doug were Wino Riot's guitarists, Charles Kubacki and David Bruno Barton. The two work very well together, trading off licks and riffs to great effect, with the stereo image created by the amps on either side of the stage. David played a good bit of the show using just the clean tone through his Marshall. Of course, Charles' Fender amp held up his end of the bargain as well.

The rhythm section - bass player Nick Michaels, drummer Marc Martinka and percussionist Joe Bellinconish - drove the band through a set of mostly originals that displayed a knack for writing catchy, well-constructed tunes. Their set closer, "Monkey Spine," developed into a ferocious jam that left the crowd wanting more music. - Washington Observer-Reporter

"'Spice' adds fresh flavor to local bar scene in Oakland"

By Kyle Lawson
For The Globe

It's 11 p.m. on a frigid January night in Oakland and Julian Davenport, Point Part University student and veteran to the Pittsburgh bar scene, is en route to his usual Saturday night hangout, the Oakland Café on Atwood Street.

Two blocks down, the friendly funk of local jam band, Wino Riot, is beginning to draw potential fans out of the cold and into the Spice Café. The trendy, basement level establishment's intimate setting and easy going crowd offers a fresh alternative to the dance clubs and mega bars found in the Strip District and the South Side.

Davenport squints his eyes in confusion as he nears the relatively unknown bar and restaurant, wondering what is beckoning fellow bar-hoppers ahead of him down the cement staircase.

"Is there a bar down there?" he asks long-time friend Tony Altos. Before Altos can answer, the music stops them in their tracks. After some brief coercion by Davenport, the two decide to descend the narrow set of steps and find out what they may be missing.

Upon entering, the 23-year-olds are greeted by the warm glow of neon rope lights, which line a fully stocked bar. The walls and ceiling are clustered with a wide array of quirky antiques that include hand-carved African style masks, a revolving "Killians" beer sign and a disco ball hanging above the band.

"I usually prefer a place with a DJ and a bigger dance floor," says Davenport, "but this place has character."
It could be the character that is keeping him from his normal Saturday routine, but more likely, or the savory smell of Indian spices that occasionally escapes the kitchen area.

The four-page menu consists of items that have a unique Indian and Creole flavor.

"I love the blend of cultures, both with the food and the whole design of the place," Davenport said.
The interior design and eclectic menu were put together by co-manager Pia Das when the café opened two years ago. Her goal was to take elements from some of the strictly Japanese, Mexican and Indian restaurants in Oakland and blend the food and design into one place. When Jay Masood was hired as bar manager in 2004, he came with some fresh ideas to increase the business at the bar on weekends, one being weekly live music.

"The bands are bringing in decent crowds on the weekends," Masood. said. "What's even better is when students that came here on the weekend will come back with their parents during the week to eat dinner."

On this night, the booty-shaking bass lines and catchy, Phish-like vocal harmonies of Wino Riot seem to be drawing a larger crowd than usual. By midnight Masood is pleased to see an unusual mix of long-time patrons and first-timers.

Marc Martinka, drummer and founder of Wino Riot, accredits a days worth of phone calls by the band packing the place but says that he's seen decent crowds on nights with no live music.

"I think that it [Spice Café] is still somewhat of a secret in Pittsburgh, but it gets enough business to create an energetic vibe in a laid-back environment."
The Spice Café's cultural blend of American and Indian food, candlelit atmosphere, and jam band/funk music isn't for everyone, but Davenport's first-time experience proves that it could be a new and positive experience.

"This isn't my typical bar scene or music, but I like it," says Davenport. "I don't know if I want to tell anybody about it. I might keep this place to myself." - The Globe (Point Park student newspaper)


"The Zygote" (2007)
"2005 Emerging Artists Compilation"
"GyroFishChili" (2004)
Shows available at Live Music Archive



Wino Riot is a band rooted in strong melodies and catchy hooks that are tied together by intricate vocal harmonies. Drawing upon classic influences such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd, to more contemporary artists like The Flaming Lips, Ween and The Good The Bad And The Queen, Wino Riot aims to create a unique take on psychedelic pop/rock. The group is comprised of David Barton (guitar, vocals), Doug Fitzsimmons (keyboards, vocals), Charles Kulbacki (guitar, vocals), Marc Martinka (drums, percussion), and Nick Michaels (bass).

With the release of their first full-length album - GyroFishChili - in June of 2004, Wino Riot started a string of live performances in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region gathering a loyal fan base along the way. After being featured on a 2005 Emerging Artists of Pittsburgh compilation, they developed a set of new material and started planning to record a new album. After a minor personnel change, the decision was made to scrap the new material and start writing a new album from the ground up. That decision led them to Mr. Small's Studios, located on the north side of Pittsburgh, to begin a new journey. Recording in a top-notch facility and working with noted engineer Larry Luther, Wino Riot developed their most creative and unique work to date.

The result is "The Zygote," thirteen songs by experienced musicians dealing with the ups, downs and questions of everyday existence. The album caught the attention of Mike Speranzo and Liz Berlin (co-owners of Mr. Small's) and led to Wino Riot and the new album being backed by their non-profit label, Creative.Life.Support records. Throughout the process, the support and guidance of Speranzo, Berlin and Luther led Wino Riot to where they are now, with their eyes and minds on the future and sharing their vision (or perspective) with anyone who wants to look inside.