Pittsburgh band redefines berlesqu, Yinzer style.
by Kelsey muchnok
Against the backdrop of brass based punk rock, down in the basement of Cattivoin Lawrenceville, was a gentleman hanging a champagne bottle from hooks in his eyelids.
With the band, iNCO FIdO, ripping into the saxophone solo of a new song, a woman emerged to swallow a sword.
As the punk jazzed infused band fills the basement, a burlesque girl dressed as angel times her moves into her devil costume to their music.
After nearly six years, of leading-edge jamming of SKA like rock music, this 10 piece punk orchestrated group has not only pulled off the music festival of circus acts and burlesque called Yinzer-lesque, but has turned their band’s jam sets into their newly released 3rd album.
C-Daddy, the lead singer, leads the way as new songs get hashed out, “It’s like wrangling cats.” Much of what created this group of misfits start out at just how unpoetically well they all came together.
The idea of Yinzer-lesque was a collaboration on iNCO FIdO and the burlesque performers. In turn, the event brought other friends of the strange, such as the daring acts of the Stolen Stitches. A collection of 3 individuals who hooked champagne bottles from eyelids, swallowed coat hangers and swords and ate entire lightbulbs. It also brought the comedic talent of Arla White, who started off the night with a round of jokes about relationships and the shenanigans they can bring. When asked about the show’s success, the band only had positive reviews of the outcome.
“Yinzer-lesque is definitely one of the most fun shows we have had,” Always Ray,
saxophone, said. “It was a really good turn out.”
Much of what started this band of misfits had to do with past and current
relationships, with a handful of coincidences. Mr. Halloween, trumpet, is
brothers with C-Daddy. C-Daddy is also brothers-in-law with Bubby, percussion.
DreamCatcher, saxophone, is engaged with Mr. Halloween, soon to be
sister-in-law to C-Daddy. C-Daddy and Smooth McGroove, drummer, grew
up on the same street.
One particular interest that this band shared was the ability to keep their work
and personal life separate from band life. The reasons for the stage names varied,
some chose a stage name to keep a professional appearance at their chosen
careers. “It’s harder to keep things separate, it’s important to have a social
media image for the band, but not as much for my personal life.”Max Philigan,
bass, commented. “I don’t even have Facebook.”While others chose to have
a stage name because they have a family that didn’t need to be in any type
of spotlight. Some of the band stage names are what these individuals carried
over from their previous bands, as much as their instruments, since they had
already had a connection to their stage alter egos.
“My name is C-Daddy because my name starts with C and I have kids.”
C-Daddy explained.“I also want to stay in Pittsburgh because I despise traveling.”
Further, into the relationships of iNCO FIdO, many connections had been
made well beforehand, just by coincidences. Either by sharing rehearsal
spaces or attending the same shows, until 2014, most of the band knew
each other in passing.
“My last band had just broken up,” Just Jason, keyboards, started out by saying. “We were all apart of different bands that had broken up, but we all still wanted to play.”
Each member of the band was reached out in one way or another, whether it was through email or by being approached in a beer store for the opportunity to be in a band again.
“Max Philigan, Smooth McGroove, and I had been jamming for years,” C-Note, guitarist, starts. “I had moved down to Charleston, South Carolina when Smooth McGroove told C-Daddy he had a guitarist and a bass they could call up.”Those who could meet in person did, and those who couldn’t were emailed music. It wasn’t until their first gig, did they all meet and play together for the first time.
“It was pretty amazing,” Smooth McGroove, drums, recalled. “Everyone knew C-Note, but not all of us played together until that night and it all worked out.”
Since then, iNCO FIdO has gotten together every Sunday, hashing out two albums, and opened with Ska bands around the Pittsburgh area. The name ‘iNCO FIdO’ came from C-Daddy, who happened upon the name in graffiti passing a street near his home. The letters were formed later into the current logo of their band, signifying each member and the circle of the music they play. It has a deeper meaning than that of a brand according to different members. It brings their collective energy together, something that is hard to express in the right words but can be exposed through the music they produce. One way to translate this feeling would be Egregor, a concept representing a ‘thoughtful’ or ‘collective ground mind’. When the band plays together, they all refer to this collective energy as ‘Dave’.
“Dave came around to sort of collect ourselves
together on stage,” C-Daddy explains. “Mostly
to refer to the band’s energy and to joke around,
like ‘Thanks for buying our CD, Mom.”
On the night of Yinzer-lesque, after the final
burlesque dancer was played off the stage by
iNCO FIdO, the band moved from playing in
the back of the stage to take the entire stage.
All ten members spread out to make room for
themselves. When they start to play, they move
as much as they get loud.
C-Daddy was the first one to start moving from
his original place to the side of the stage to the
center and is one of the most mobile out of the
group. When the horn solos of the music started,
the other members joined in. C-Daddy may have taken the front of the stage, but there was no one standing still on or off the small platform. They started playing the song ‘876’, an uplifting beat to get the crowd to move with C-Daddy leading them on with a percussion stick. Everyone started dancing with their instruments, a sign they were just warming up.
“He used it to help us stay on track.” AlwaysRaycommented later. “There was so much going on that it was easy for us to lose track.”
Once the band was in full swing, the energy they created on stage filtered through into the audience of the club. People who weren’t dancing up in front of the stage were moving in their seats at the bar.
One couple had heard about the event through word of mouth, “We didn’t know what to expect except for dancers and music,” They said.“We played iNCO FIdO on Spotify before coming down and were curious about how the dancers could dance to the music.”
The small pub height tables in the middle were crowded with audience members as well. People were jumping up and down from the music as well as to get a better look at the band playing. As the music continued, the audience members who had started sitting on the floor in front of the stage, got up and started to dance. Members who had a pub seat started to kneel on their seats in order to raise themselves up over the taller individuals at the front.
“I just purchased a CD and a t-shirt,” A young woman, Christie said. “It was a pretty good deal and I want to help support the band.”
Most of the songs played at Yinzer-lesque were from their second album, Elastic Reality. The songs of the album had different styles in both the music and the stories. The song ‘876’ talks about taking opportunities. Take the opportunity that presents itself, and if it doesn’t, you have to make the opportunity yourself. While other songs, such as ‘Squirt’ and ‘Gelid’ focus on relationships, different women that influenced how they shaped their lives of today, good and bad. Further into their music, there is a chance for the audience to sing along with the band in such songs like ‘Good Old FashionedSouthern Line Dancing’ with a collaborative “Yeah, Yeah” at the beginning where voices can join in. In their new album, iNCO FIdO sets to take on anew front in their music.
This long-term and has broken into the Pittsburgh scene with their new event Yinzer-lesque and has hit the ground running with their new album releasing soon, despite the slow start of their race. It never stopped these insatiable players from playing, as it was never the end goal to make others like their music, but it’s become a nice perk. It never stopped their creativity either.
“At some point, we had to give our CDs away with the t-shirts sold at shows.” Max Philigansaid. “People were more interested in the design of our logo on the t-shirt.” Now, there have more people coming out because INCO FIdO is part of the show.
The end goal for this band is to continue to play their music in Pittsburgh. Many of the members of the band are either originally from Pittsburgh or have developed strong connections all over the city. Whether it is a local bar in Bloomfield or playing in the annual Millvale Festival. The band has exhibited a rare commodity of intimate friendships with each other in their short time together that otherwise might take decades for someone to develop with another person. The strong relationships of the ‘before’ bands might contribute to it, in a way of letting it help evolve them into who they are today.
“We are all pretty weird.” Just Jason said. “We are all free to be as weird as we want when we
All of their lives have been integrated into the ‘Burgh and no band member has expressed to want to
change that. They all work ‘day jobs’, ranging from Education, Fiber optics, and Chemistry. The ages
of the band vary from the mid-20s to early 40s. Their roots and families have all integrated into
This new album, with the hopes to release it in April, is a new collection of just that. Their aspirations, life
experiences, and their motivations to keep playing music together. It continues to stable them, planting
their feet firmly on Pittsburgh's ground as they continue to call it home.
Keywords: Music, Artists, Pittsburgh, Sound, Shadow Lounge, Musicians, Talent, Punk, City, Influence
Kelsey Muchnok is a 2020 student who just completed her first year of graduate school. She hopes to receive her Masters in Communication in Documentary and start working for National Geographic.
iNCO FIdO, a Pittsburgh band coming out with their third album this month.
Where C-Daddy found the name
iNCO FidO Website