This weekend, try hunting down a new-wave rock band

By Patrick Wagner

The Dear Hunter

With Thrice and The Polar Bear Club


Nov. 15, 6 p.m.

$17 advance /… The Dear Hunter

With Thrice and The Polar Bear Club


Nov. 15, 6 p.m.

$17 advance / $21 day of show


In a time of creative and beardedpost-hardcore playing 17-year-old scenesters, it’s easy to write off The Dear Hunter.

With its newest album, Act III: Life and Death, and a stop at the South Side’s Diesel this Sunday, the band hopes to show Pittsburgh that it’s better than the average furry-faced hipsters.

Since The Receiving End of Sirens’s vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Casey Crescenzo created the band in 2005, The Dear Hunter grew from a demo tape made in the winter of that year to a sextet that cracked the Billboard Top 200 in July of 2009.

“It’s nice for our label, family members and our friends,” Crescenzo said of this recent success, “[but] our validation comes from the creativity in what we do.”

That creative spirit is what allowed the six-member group to explore a variety of sonic soundscapes that might seem out of place to the average alternative rock fan. From lighter songs with doo-wop flavor to full-blown orchestral assaults, Act III is The Dear Hunter’s ideal album.

“I’m proud I made the record I wanted to make,” he said.

Crescenzo said he enjoys the freedom he has in expressing himself with The Dear Hunter.

“Whatever comes out just comes out,” he said. “I think that’s much more rewarding than just saying, ‘I’m in a pop-punk band’.”

The album tells an expansive story that allows Crescenzo to explore “a large scope of experiences and emotions.” The Act series — which plans to span six installments — represents titular character The Dear Hunter and his “life from birth to death and everything in between,” Crescenzo said.

Admitting to the seemingly grandiose nature of such an expansive project, Crescenzo said that Act III is “not excessive, but definitely intense.”

This intensity isn’t just something that exists in the studio for The Dear Hunter, but also on the road. Since they are very different, Crescenzo and the band don’t try to do exactly the same thing in both settings.

“Live is a different kind of animal than a record,” Crescenzo said. “We get a lot out of playing live, and we hope that the people watching us do too.”

On Act III, other members of the group contributed musical ideas for the album, as well.

“It’s great to have people around who respect my vision,” he said.

With his eye toward his future, Crescenzo looks forward to the holiday season and what lies beyond it. From production work for other bands to more work for The Dear Hunter and even some family time, he’s got a busy schedule. But his ambitions — from orchestral music to long form film — keeps him exploring more ways of self-expression.

“If I didn’t feel like I had any unfulfilled ambitions at this point,” he said, “I’d feel like I should give up.”