There are certain items that pop up in your news feed and make you stop and take notice. Late this past year, a simple Tweet caught my eye and eventually spurred my latest Style Guide road trip. Yes, the announcement that one of my favorite bands, California indie rockers Local Natives, had extended their Sunlit Youth tour into 2017 was enough to shake up my day — and make me pull out my calendar. If you recall, I hit the road to Providence last fall to see them — it was such a stirring show, I knew I had to catch ’em again. So, that’s how I ended up on a Pittsburgh-bound Greyhound bus this past weekend with my favorite #menswear in tow and another excellent live show on my mind. From a December trek to Baltimore to this past weekend’s adventure — to name but a couple — I’m truly lucky to be able to take in great music and great cities in style. Now, my packing list was quite different than my recent spring break trip to Florida, but I had my winter packing routine down pat — and luckily, I hauled plenty of late winter travel essentials for a crisp weekend. That all of this gear fit nicely into my Owen and Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender and my Brothers Leather Supply Roma Messenger was just an added bonus (Pro tip: Here’s another stylish weekender bag for your travels).
It was with Local Natives’ excellent third album, “Sunlit Youth,” spinning in my headphones that I hit the road — my last Style Guide trip took me to New Haven to see Young the Giant, and I knew I’d need similar cold-weather gear this time around. For a very early Saturday bus trip down to Pennsylvania, I layered up accordingly, starting with a classic Pistol Lake henley in a unique shade of Antique White. I topped it off with my reliable-as-ever Taylor Stitch Jack in Indigo Star Shirt and a seasonally appropriate Levi’s Trucker Jacket in a spring-friendly light wash. Because temperatures dipped into the high 30s in parts of the day, I still needed my Johnston & Murphy Faux Shearling Aviator (last seen on this blog in a weekend trip to upstate New York).
On the footwear front, my pick for stomping around Pittsburgh and checking out Stage AE on Saturday night just had to be the cool and crisp Lawrence Boot from Sutro Footwear. The jodhpur style looked sleek beneath my Levi’s 505C denim and proved comfortable for a full day of wear. If you want to dress in rock-inspired style for your next concert, I’d recommend you look into Sutro Footwear men’s boots and other similarly edgy menswear moves. Oh, and if you want more travel style tips for men, peruse this site when you get the chance.
Of course, staying on time is critical for any road trip — particularly when it came to hitting up Nicholas Coffee & Tea and trekking through downtown Pittsburgh. In this instance, that meant I drafted my vintage-inspired Timex + Todd Snyder Military Watch into duty once again. It’s versatile, it’s subtly stylish and it’s tough enough to stand up to a rock show — perfect for this trip. Fully caffeinated, the real exploration of Pittsburgh rolled on, from trekking across the iconic Roberto Clemente Bridge to checking out the incredibly well-designed, unique Mattress Factory Museum and making a pit stop for excellent craft brews at the rustic, home-y Allegheny City Brewing — it’s a bit of a hole-in-the-wall location with a food truck out front and delicious brews (like the Deutchstown Brown) being poured inside. The early evening also took me to renowned Pittsburgh craft beer bar Beerhead — all the while rocking my comfortable, durable Lawrence Boots from Sutro Footwear and prepping for a stellar show, of course.
Now, to be fair … I’d seen Local Natives three times on this tour previously, but to say that lowered my expectations at all … is quite far from the truth. In fact, it made me look forward to this show even more! When a band brings as much energy and passion to the stage as Local Natives does — from blissful opener “Past Lives” through to classic closing track “Who Knows Who Cares” — it’s a treat the entire time. Seriously, I can’t recommend this band enough. There’s nothing like their show — from start to finish, majestic lights, great sound and a heck of a set list, The show included deep cut “Mt. Washington” (off of their excellent 2013 album “Hummingbird”) and another crowd-pleaser, “Ceilings” — that one’s a personal favorite. . They harkened back to their first Pittsburgh show with fan favorite “Airplanes,” and broke out a show-stopping rendition of “Breakers” to go along with a rousing version of “Fountain of Youth” — what a band!
They also wove in a soul-stirring version of “You and I” — not to mention a beautiful performance of “Colombia,” honoring vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Kelcey Ayer’s mother. Of course, “Who Knows Who Cares” brought the house down, too — this is a band that really can do no wrong! There’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing your favorite songs are coming … and being blown away by them all the same.
As seems to be the case after a great live show, I was plenty tired — but there was no time to waste in terms of getting around Pittsburgh in style. To combat weather that was both chilly and a bit rainy, my functional, well-made and supremely durable Fisher + Baker Anorak proved exceptionally tough. The simple black colorway was sleek and city-ready and the Ventile cotton waterproof shell more than stood up to the elements — the hood was a nice touch on a blustery day, too. It layered easily over both a nautical-inspired Dockers cable-knit sweater. I paired the combo with classic-yet-slim Dockers garment-dyed chinos and a cozy red-and-blue plaid flannel shirt from the master menswear purveyors at Frank and Oak. The next time you need style that can take you from brunch to the park — as I did when checking out Point State Park — I’d recommend you team versatile staples with sturdy footwear. On this particular Sunday, my OluKai Pahoa Chukkas filled that part of the equation quite nicely, blending a bit of Hawaii cool with a sturdy chukka silhouette and burnished black leather. For rugged style that also fit the bill, I had to break out my Timex + Todd Snyder Red Wing Leather Chronograph,With a busy day on tap in Pittsburgh, my menswear picks proved crucial.
It was time to head back to NYC too soon, though — I did so with plenty of amazing memories from a brief-yet-incredible Pittsburgh trip spinning in my head. The chance to see one of my favorite bands really is something I can never pass up — even if it means hopping on a bus to get there. And the opportunity to explore a neat city with a burgeoning arts scene is always welcomed — as is the chance to try out a few local brews and check out a new music venue! But to reiterate — if you want to listen to music that makes you think, try out Local Natives. Oh, and see them live as soon as you can — just be sure to pack your favorite travel essentials for the journey. Join us tomorrow for a new #OOTD series entry, and in the meantime — stay stylish!