February Concert Guide: February Is for Music Lovers

Panic! at the Disco performing at the Shorty Awards in 2015. photo: JD. LaVanway and Wikipedia.

Panic! at the Disco performing at the Shorty Awards in 2015. photo: JD. LaVanway and Wikipedia.

This month, there aren’t really any current mega acts visiting the ‘Burgh except for Panic! at the Disco. However, the February concert scene is something you will enjoy, especially if you’re a true music lover. Sometimes it’s good to stretch and go deep, whether for a long pass down the sideline or casting your line out a little farther at the ol’ fishing hole. In music, when we go deep, we may find hidden gems—performers that are less well-known—or rediscover those who have been out of top rotation for a while. With this month’s concert guide, we feel that we found some performers that fit those criteria.

Some of the acts this month that have seen chart success over their careers include Little Anthony and The Imperials, George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, Foghat, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, and Geoff Tate (formerly of Queensrÿche). Promising, newer performers in town this month are the innovative Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, Memphis’s soul-rock band Southern Avenue, Ontario’s Royal Wood, and we’ll even throw in a Flux Capacitor for good measure.

On the local front, we have rising metal band Arcane Haven, who will be shooting a music video at their Mr. Small’s performance this month. Another hometown hero is Dallas Marks, who is performing country, southern, and classic rock songs at Jergel’s. There are many other enjoyable acts this month, so get out and make some new discoveries or support your favorite performers.

Wednesday, February 1

Ever want to hear a doo-wop version of “Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus? How about a ragtime version of “Tainted Love?” Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox plays both as well as dozens of other jazzy covers of popular hits. To call Bradlee’s rotating ensemble, which has featured 70 different performers, a schtick would oversimplify things. Bradlee himself is a talented pianist and arranger, who cut his teeth in New York jazz clubs before beginning to record humorous yet sincere ragtime versions of ’80s songs. The result was a medley titled “Hello, My Ragtime ’80s.” A Motown Tribute to Nickelback came next, and soon Postmodern Jukebox was formed. Their first viral video was a cover of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop.” Many more covers and videos have followed; a version of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” arrives just in time for her Super Bowl concert this year. Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox plays Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall. 8 p.m. 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall. (CM)

Thursday, February 2

Sometimes blues, sometimes hip hop, sometimes rock—G. Love & Special Sauce certainly run the gamut, and on their newest release, 2015’s Love Saves the Day, the Philadelphia trio delivers a smorgasbord of all their sounds often in one song. Just look at who’s featured; it’s not often where one can find Money Mark, Lucinda Williams, and David Hidalgo (of rock band Los Lobos) on the same record. G. Love & Special Sauce have always had some great friends. Love Saves the Day comes off of Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records, and the trio has also recorded with Johnson. That’s not to say they’re not an impressive group all their own. How else would they have remained a viable act over 20 years into their career? For further proof, check out their show at Mr. Smalls. As a special bonus, bassist Jim (“Jimi Jazz”) Prescott returned in 2014 following a five-year hiatus. It’s the original lineup with Jeffrey (“Houseman”) Clemens on drums/vocals and Garrett (“G. Love”) Dutton on guitar/vocals. Ripe open. 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (CM)

Flux Capacitor visit Club Cafe not from 1885, 1955, 1985, or 2015 Hill Valley, California, but from present-day West Reading and Philadelphia. In 2007, the psychedelic, jam trio, composed of brothers Jason, Michael, and Peter Specht, formed Flux Capacitor, named after the time traveling device in the Back to the Future movie franchise. The band’s first full-length release, They Know We Know, was released just two years later. They have steadily built a following, touring the United States, Canada, and England. Twice they have received Philadelphia’s Tri-State Indie Jam Band of the Year Award (2013, 2015). Umphrey’s McGee, Keller Williams, and Rusted Root are just a few of the bands that Flux Capacitor have shared the stage with. 2013’s Cycle 9, their third album, is their latest release. No new music yet, but Pittsburgh fans eager to get their flux on can check out this month’s live show. Chillent opens. 8 p.m. 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. (CM)

Friday, February 3

Shut the Folk Up and Listen at the Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall will feature two singer-songwriters performing separate, complete sets. One is Leo Kottke. A longtime resident of the Minneapolis area, he is arguably best known for his finger-picking style; unique baritone; and his 1969 album, 6- and 12-String Guitar (or The Armadillo Album after its cover artwork). Kottke’s last album, Sixty Six Steps, was his second collaboration with Phish bassist Mike Gordon. Keller Williams also joins the bill. The phrase “one-man jam-band” may appear oxymoronic, that is, until you see Williams live. The Virginia native often loops guitar, bass, and percussion while playing solo, creating the effect of a full band. However, Williams isn’t beneath asking for a little help from his friends. In addition to this tour, he has recorded and performed with numerous ensembles, such as bluegrass group The String Cheese Incident. This year, his Keller Williams KWahtro, a quartet, recently released a studio album titled Sync. 8 p.m. 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall. (CM)

Saturday, February 4

Hey, kids! Did you ever want to be in a metal music video? Well, now is your chance! Pittsburgh metal outfit Arcane Haven will film a new live music video for their song “Hollow Bodies” as part of their performance at Mr. Smalls. The show will also be a homecoming, the last of an eight-city tour with St. Louis-based Polterguts. Arcane Haven are a quartet, who formed in early 2009. They have released two EPs since 2011. Be ready for a full-length debut sometime early this year. Until then, you can listen to the demo version of “Hollow Bodies” on YouTube, learn the words, and be ready to sing along at the show. Greywalker, Onyx Eye, and Ember’s Fall also open. 7 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (CM)

Monday, February 6

Punk and country can be friends. Los Angeles band X arguably first proved this on albums like 1981’s Wild Gift and 1982’s Under the Big Black Sun. Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles continue to keep the genres on good terms. In fact, their 2007 LP, Diamonds in the Dark, takes its name from the X song “Come Back to Me” off of Under the Big Black Sun. Diamonds in the Dark includes a cover of the song too. The Broken Singles disbanded in 2011, and Borges took a few years off from music to raise her son. Borges, a native of Taunton, Massachusetts, then released two solo recordings: 2014’s Radio Sweetheart and 2016’s Good and Dirty EP. She and the Broken Singles recently reunited and are touring. They will play Club Cafe. They are also crowdfunding a new record through Borges’s website. Eric Ambel, who produced Borges’s last two releases and played with Joan Jett, is tapped to produce. The Shiners open. 8 p.m. 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. (CM)

Wednesday, February 8

That 1 Guy is just that—one guy. His real name is Mike Silverman, and his homemade instruments, such as The Magic Pipe, redefine the concept of the one-man band. Sprinkle in some esoteric lyrics and a churning baritone, and you’ve got one guy who could give Beck a run for his money in originality and sheer weirdness. Although based in Las Vegas, he tours relentlessly; he is a fixture on the international festival circuit (Electric Forest, Big Day Out, and the Montreal Jazz Festival to name a few). 2014’s Poseidon’s Deep Water Adventure Friends is his latest album, the first of a four-part “magicland” series according to Bandcamp, which also describes the LP as a “dense deep water journey of discovery.” His collaborations with guitarist Buckethead as the Frankenstein Brothers have certified That 1 Guy as one of the most freakish men in music today. Freakishly awesome, that is. 8 p.m. Club Cafe, 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. (CM)

Friday, February 10

If you want to relive ska punk’s glory days of the late ’90s, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Stage AE with Less Than Jake. Combining the distinctive beats of punk with the horns and saxophones of ska, Less Than Jake hit the mainstream in 2003 with the album Anthem. The band has toured with Bon Jovi, The Warped Tour, and Bad Religion. We can hope to hear their famed “She’s Gonna Break Soon” as well as old and new favorites. Less Than Jake are touring in support of their latest EP, Sound the Alarm, which drops on February 3.  Also on the bill are Pepper—a Hawaiian rock band by way of San Diego. Openers are The Bunny Gang and The Attack. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (EC/RH)

Saturday, February 11

“Slow Ride” turned 40 in 2015, and to celebrate, Foghat re-recorded the hit for their seventeenth studio album, 2016’s Under the Influence. If you missed the anniversary, you can catch Foghat at the Palace Theatre. The hard rock act had plenty of other hits in the ’70s, such as their cover of “I Just Want To Make Love to You” by Willie Dixon. But it’s “Slow Ride” that’s connected music fans from boomers to Generation Z. Foghat formed in 1971 in London. Although the band continues to record and perform, drummer Roger Earl is the only founding member remaining. Bassist Tony Stevens  departed in 1975, rejoined in 1993, and departed in 2005. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist “Lonesome” Dave Peverett, who wrote the lyrics to “Slow Ride,” died in the ’00s as did Rod Price, who gave the band its trademark slide guitar sound. Earl has assembled a group of talented replacements, including vocalist/guitarist Charlie Huhn, who has played with Ted Nugent and Humble Pie. 8 p.m. 21 West Otterman St. (CM)

Sunday, February 12

Two years ago, Skillet headlined Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, the largest Christian music tour in the country. That tour included a stop at PPG Paints Arena (née Consol Energy Center). This year, the quartet returns to Pittsburgh for a headlining show at Stage AE. Panheads (their word for members of their fan club) as well as believers and nonbelievers alike are sure to pack the venue. Skillet have had huge crossover success: their ’09 single “Monster” became a radio and YouTube hit and went platinum. With over 2.6 million sales, it is Christian music’s biggest digital single ever. (They weren’t kidding when they titled it “Monster.”) Formed in 1996 in Memphis, the group is something of a family act: members include John and Korey Cooper, who are respectively husband and wife. The band tours constantly, and they released their tenth album, Unleashed, in 2016. Sick Puppies and Devour the Day open. Doors open 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

Tuesday, February 14

If you haven’t heard Anthony Gourdine, you must click on the video above. At a time when falsetto singers were not uncommon in pop music, Gourdine stood out nonetheless with his distinctive voice and phrasing. And today—when it’s not at all uncommon for musicians to keep rocking at an age when you’d expect them to be in rocking chairs—it’s a pleasant surprise, nonetheless, to find Little Anthony and The Imperials still doing their R&B. The New York City group broke onto the charts in 1958 with “Tears on My Pillow” and kept turning out hits through the ’60s, becoming a popular act on TV music and variety shows. Since then, The Imperials have dissolved, re-formed, and drifted in and out of the media spotlight … but they’ve never lost the ability to light up an audience with numbers like “Hurt So Bad.” Little Anthony and the Imperials are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Their current lineup includes original members Gourdine and Ernest Wright, and they’re booked at The Palace Theatre. The Latshaw Pops open. 8 p.m. 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. (MV/RH)

Wednesday, February 15

Albert Lee, one of the world’s greatest and most unassuming guitarists, is playing Club Cafe this month, a great opportunity to see some underrated talent in a cozy venue. His name may not be recognizable, but his fingerpicking style, which melds country and rock, is. Also recognizable: the musicians that he has performed and recorded with, such as Emmylou Harris, the Everly Brothers, and Eric Clapton. While with the British band Heads Hands & Feet, Lee co-wrote “Country Boy,” which later became a hit for American country singer Ricky Skaggs. Lee also produced an accomplished solo discography. His most recent album, 2014’s Highwayman, coincided with his 70th birthday. The celebration included two concerts at Cadogan Hall in London and a documentary of his career. He began playing music as a boy in Blackheath, London. One of his first gigs was with the rock group The Crusaders; he replaced a young Jimmy Page on guitar. The Cryers open. 8 p.m.  56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. (CM)

Thursday, February 16

George Clinton has been on a musical journey of exploration for many years. He started out in a doo-wop group called The Parliaments, modeled after Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, while working in a hair salon. Then he became a writer, arranger, and producer for Motown Records before working for other Detroit musical companies. As the leader of Parliament-Funkadelic, he was one of the top innovators of funk music, along with James Brown and Sly Stone. Combining music like that of Brown, Stone, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, and others with different sounds and lyrical arrangements and a big dose of funky bass and drums, Clinton came up with an outline for his sound. This led to massive success for him in the ’70s with “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)” and “Flash Light,” among others.

It would also be remiss if Clinton’s creativity with shows, lyrics, titles, and costumes was not mentioned. He even had a spaceship that he called his Mothership, which descended to the stage at concerts. Parliament-Funkadelic also had an album called The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, which later spawned the Clinton-produced female funk group, The Brides of Funkenstein. His concerts are fun events. Clinton has been primarily a solo artist since the ’80s but periodically collaborates with others. His latest release, 2015’s P-Funk Live at Metropolis, is remarkably his fifth live album. Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic will usher in Mardis Gras at Stage AE. A George Clinton Mardis Gras party, bon ton roulet! Doors open at 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (RH)

Monday, February 20

One of the hottest, newer bands in Memphis, Tennessee—Southern Avenue—are stopping by Club Cafe on their current tour. The band is composed of a racially and musically diverse mixture of young but very talented musicians. Sisters Tierinii and Tikyra Jackson come from a Memphis church music culture and respectively provide the singing and strong drumming for the band. With her powerful vocals and energized dance moves, Tierinii is evocative of another female singer from Tennessee—Tina Turner. Ori Naftaly, an Israeli-born blues guitarist who came to the states as an accomplished solo artist; Daniel McKee, a skilled jazz-influenced bassist; and Jeremy Powell, keyboardist, the group’s newest member, and a graduate of Stax’s legendary music academy, round out the band. They make a powerful, beautiful sound. Southern Avenue, the band’s namesake street, cuts across Memphis all the way to Soulsville, where the legendary Stax Records once was. Fittingly, they are signed to the resurgent Stax Records. Opening is Nightgown. 8 p.m. 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. (RH)

Wednesday, February 22

Geoff Tate—the former lead singer of the progressive metal band Queensrÿche—has been ranked as one of the best metal singers of all time by several music industry publications. As a founding member of Queensrÿche, he is credited with being the force behind one of the band’s biggest albums, the 1988 platinum-selling Operation: Mindcrime. Tate was fired from the band after a backstage altercation in 2012. And until things got settled legally, there were actually two versions of Queensrÿche. Isn’t rock ‘n’ roll grand! In the settlement, he gave up his rights to the title in exchange for the exclusive rights to Operation: Mindcrime and its sequel, 2006’s Operation: Mindcrime II. He now tours with his band under the name Operation: Mindcrime and is also currently on a solo acoustic tour that takes him this month to Diesel Club Lounge. Opening is Voice of Extreme. 8 p.m. 1601 E. Carson St., South Side. (RH)

Friday, February 24

The last time Lake Street Dive were in town, they played the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival … the evening the Penguins won the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals. If you missed them then and were hoping to see them at Mr. Smalls this month, hopefully you already bought tickets because the show is sold out. The members, who met while students at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music, named their band after a dive-bar-rich street in Minneapolis, trumpeter/guitarist Mike Olson’s hometown. Their sound has touches of pop, Americana, jazz, and soul. For proof of their cross-genre appeal, check out 2016’s Side Pony, the quartet’s fifth studio album. It topped three Billboard album charts—Rock, Folk, and Alternative. “Call Off Your Dogs,” a song from that album, moves in many musical directions and features a music video filmed at the famed Electric Lady Studios in New York City. Joey Dosik opens. 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale.  (RH/CM)

Saturday, February 25

First, Royal Wood is his real name. Second, he is an Ontario, Canada, native currently based in Toronto, and if the Juno Awards (Canada’s Music Awards) were more popular stateside, then you might have heard of him. Wood has been nominated for a Juno twice: once in 2011 for Songwriter of the Year and again in 2013 for Adult Alternative Album of the Year. That album was 2012’s We Were Born to Glory, and glorious it is. “Not Giving Up” is lush with the piano sound that Wood perfected in Montreal jazz clubs while a student at McGill University. His newest LP is 2016’s Ghost Light, 90 percent of which, according to his website, he performed himself. The other 10 percent came courtesy other Canadian musicians, such as pop singer Hannah Georgas. Felicity Williams, who has played with Bahamas, also appears. He is touring both the U.S. and Canada, including at stop at Club Cafe. Diana Chittester opens. 7 p.m. 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. (CM)

Sunday, February 26

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, who celebrated 20 years of “Tha Crossroads” last year, return to Mr. Smalls. “Tha Crossroads” won the Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group; Bone Thugs-n-Harmony dedicated it to the late Eazy-E of N.W.A. fame. Eazy-E signed the Cleveland group to his record label, Ruthless Records, in 1993 and was the group’s friend, mentor, and business adviser until his death in 1995. Though crushed by his loss, the group persevered and has continued to make music. Their lyrics are heavy. Their raps, melodic. It’s perhaps this novel combination that’s kept them relevant for so long. They also hold the distinction of collaborating with 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., Eazy-E, and Big Pun while all four men were still alive. A new album, E. 1999 Legends, has been in the works for a few years, though no release date has been set yet. Special guest is Kipp-E Dbe-Srg 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (CM)

Tuesday, February 28

The last time Panic! at the Disco were in town, they shared a bill with their power pop forebears, Weezer. Appropriate, as both bands have a shared ability to sound youthful even as their respective members age. This month, Panic! at the Disco headline the Petersen Events Center. You can bet a portion of the crowd will be below the drinking age, although the band’s debut, 2005’s infectious A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, is now over 10 years old. Recently, they covered Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the Suicide Squad soundtrack. Their latest LP, 2016’s Death of a Bachelor, was their first album to go to number one on the Billboard 200. Some listeners may roll their eyes at the B-52’s “Rock Lobster” sample in “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time.” But a good time is exactly what will be had by fans, whether old or young. MisterWives and Saint Motel open. 7 p.m. 3719 Terrace St., Oakland. (CM)

Dallas Marks is the lead vocalist and rhythm guitar player for The Dallas Marks Band. They play a mix of top 40 country and southern rock songs. Their set list includes country and classic rock covers and some originals. The Dallas Marks Band has opened for such notable acts as Charlie Daniels, Randy Travis, and Trace Adkins. Sounds like a good night to wear cowboy boots and other western attire and get those toes tappin’ or Texas two-stepping. Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. 8 p.m. No cover. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale.

Rick Handler is the executive producer of Entertainment Central and loves good music. Christopher Maggio was a major contributor to this guide and enjoys his music too.