Meat Puppets Play Mr. Smalls; City Theatre ‘Ironbound’ with Latest Production (Wed., 5/15/17)

1) Many ’90s bands burned hot and faded out. One band that kept going through periods of highs and lows was Phoenix’s Meat Puppets, whose heavy but flexible sound has incorporated punk, country, and psychedelic rock in their three decades. One of the band’s biggest hits was “Backwater.” They were so respected by the alt-rock vanguard that Nirvana invited them on stage for their “MTV Unplugged” performance. But the mainstream limelight was not for the eclectic and uncompromising Meat Puppets. They are still touring these days and tonight come to Mr. Smalls—the kind of cozy but much-loved club they’ve inhabited since they began. The band’s last album was 2013’s Rat Farm. The core of the group is brothers Cris and Curt Kirkwood. Special guests are Stooges bassist Mike Watt and The Jom & Terry Show. 8:15 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (EC/RH)

JD Taylor as Maks and Rebecca Harris as Darja in City Theatre's 'Ironbound.' photo: Kristi Jan Hoover.

JD Taylor as Maks and Rebecca Harris as Darja in City Theatre’s ‘Ironbound.’ photo: Kristi Jan Hoover.

2) Theater reflects the times, so it is not surprising that in today’s socioeconomic climate, plays that deal with the trials of working-class life are growing numerous and popular. A current hot ticket on Broadway (and winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) is Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, about workers in a factory where layoffs are looming. Meanwhile Pittsburgh’s City Theatre is presenting a play that scored strongly off-Broadway last year: Martyna Majok’s Ironbound. The Ironbound is a traditionally blue-collar district of Newark, New Jersey, so called because it is girdled by railroad tracks. And the central character of the play is an immigrant, but neither Hispanic nor a factory hand. She’s a Polish woman who had high hopes when young but now finds herself a middle-aged, odd-job-working single mother with a troublesome son and a cheating boyfriend. How did things turn out so suboptimally? That’s the question that Ironbound explores, tracing the story of the woman’s life through flashbacks and dark-humor dialogue. 7 p.m. Performances continue through June 4. 1300 Bingham Street, South Side. (MV)

3) Our battlin’ Buccos play the Washington Nationals again tonight in the second game of a three-game match. The Phillies come to town on Friday. 7:05 p.m. PNC Park, 115 Federal St., North Shore.