The Deli showcases Pittsburgh’s DIY band scene


Amaya Lobato | Staff Photographer

The lead singer of Kicked in the Head by a Horse performs at The Deli on Friday night in Oakland.

By Elle Kenney, Staff Writer

The Deli, a new music venue in Oakland, is bringing house music to Pitt. According to Elizabeth Sidelnikov, a senior industrial engineering major who manages the venue, the Deli wants to create an inclusive space where everyone feels welcomed. 

“Every time we have a show, when I reflect upon it the day after we cleaned everything up, we finally have time to take a breath and we’ve just created such a great community center,” SideInikov, a senior industrial engineering major, said. “We really try to garner this sense of community. When they walk through the doors we greet them, we try to talk to them a bit, and we really just want them to feel like they belong.”

The venue is owned by four Pitt students, Alex Gosek, Max Kraning, Lizzy Sidelnikov and Gwen Valvona. Every month they host two to four shows for local and touring bands. Admission is $5 and information about upcoming shows can be found on their Instagram

The Deli hosted Pittsburgh bands Cutting Ties, Kicked in the Head by a Horse and Razorblade, as well as Darkroom, a touring band from Ohio, on Friday for a metalcore show, which is heavy and aggressive rock. Attendees listened to music, socialized and moshed. One person did a kickflip during a set and at the end of the show, and another person sprayed fake blood over the crowd. In between sets, attendees and bands mingled in the driveway, and artists sold their merchandise on the porch.  

Razorblade performs at The Deli on Friday night in Oakland.
(Amaya Lobato | Staff Photographer)

According to Gosek, a senior environmental science major, the venue tries to host a variety of bands and gives everyone an opportunity to perform.

“We try to do people that aren’t necessarily getting like Oakland playtime as often as I do for other bands from across Pittsburgh,” Gosek said. “It’s a good mix between like Pittsburgh and touring artists. Like this weekend, we had a band from Ohio, Cutting Ties. They don’t play that many house shows. So it’s cool to have a chance.”

According to SideInikov, it’s important that the Deli is so close to campus, especially for first-years who are new to campus and do not have cars or feel comfortable navigating public transportation. 

“What makes it so important is proximity to campus. It gives a lot of freshmen and older [students], but especially freshmen the opportunity to attend these shows,” SideInikov said. “When you’re new to a city like this, you won’t necessarily have a car. You aren’t necessarily familiar with the way the buses go. And we are 5-10 minutes walking distance from the dorms.” 

The Deli is a great way for people to get involved in the underground and house music scene, according to co-owner Valvona.

“As someone who doesn’t play music, and is unable to play music, it’s nice to be able to feel involved in the scene in some way,” Valvona, a senior studio arts major, said. “In a big way that is not being in a band or making actual music and being able to talk to and meet people that are also in a scene.” 

Attendants dance during a performance at The Deli on Friday night in Oakland. (Amaya Lobato | Staff Photographer)

The Deli highlights a lot of local bands like Feeble Little Horse, Her Suit and Milk Fountain, as well as touring bands like Repent from Chicago and Natural Rat from Morgantown, WV. Marcus Moan, drummer for Darkroom, said he was excited to perform at the Deli this past Friday, as Columbus does not have many house show venues. 

“Columbus has a laundromat called Dirty Dungarees that’s the go-to DIY venue, but not too many house shows right now, so it’s exciting to be here,” Moan said. 

According to Moan, DIY, or “do it yourself” has many meanings. He said to their band, it means booking shows, making merchandise and getting flyers by themselves with no outside help.   

“DIY means a lot of different things to a lot of different people,” Moan said. “I think to us it means that we are not going to wait for somebody to book us a show or make our merch or get our flyers. Just doing it ourselves.”

Nate Miller, vocals for Darkroom, said DIY can also mean bands recording and producing their own music without getting a producer or record label. 

“They [Darkroom] record everything, mix everything, master everything, and make it sound good,” Miller said. 

According to Kraning, a senior psychology major, the Deli is an important space for the DIY scene. He said attendees can see many amazing DIY bands for cheap, and for bands it’s a great place to begin performing. The Deli fosters a space for the DIY scene as it allows for people to connect and encourages people to return, according to Kraning. 

“I think that DIY spaces like this are so important for smaller bands. Because you pay a couple bucks and you get to see these bands that probably wouldn’t have an easy time getting a club gig or something like that,” Kraning said. “And it’s also a really great, great way to expose people because there’s such a regular crowd that we’re talking about that people just come back every time.”


Kicked in the Head by a Horse performs at The Deli on Friday night in Oakland. (Amaya Lobato | Staff Photographer)

Sierra Mitchell, an attendee of Friday’s show, said the Deli is a place where she felt comfortable and belonged. She also said the venue brought in a variety of people, which provided a great opportunity to meet new people. 

“Everyone’s pretty tight-knit. If you go to a show, you’ll know everybody there, so it’s very welcoming,” Mitchell said. “There’s so many cool people you meet and different personalities you clash with, it is so cool.”

Mitchell said she wouldn’t have discovered some of the underground music that she listens to without house shows. She said she recommends going to the Deli or other house shows whenever possible. 

“If you are looking for a fun time, you have nothing to do, you kind of want to meet some new people, find some new music, I think going to house shows is definitely the way to go,” Mitchell said. “There’s a lot of cool, like, underground music that I didn’t even know existed until I started going to house shows.”