November Concert Guide: Trucks, Outlaws, A Wolf, and Mr. Las Vegas

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi have fun jamming together at an outdoor concert in 2014. photo: Michael F. O'Brien and Wikipedia.

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi have fun jamming together at an outdoor concert in 2014. photo: Michael F. O’Brien and Wikipedia.

There’s no big gigantic show this month except for the band Big Gigantic’s show at Stage AE. The 1975 spills over into November with their second sold out concert. Would you like to see an all female Japanese punk band? Well, you’re in luck, Shonen Knife plays a gig at Cattivo with local power punk bands Murder for Girls and The Lopez.

The Tedeschi Trucks Band, a husband and wife rock outfit led by Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, plays a sold out concert at the Benedum. Rusted Root, one of the biggest rock bands ever to rise out of Pittsburgh, is in concert at Stage AE. Meanwhile, their original drummer, Jim Donovan, leads his band The Sun King Warriors into action at the Hard Rock Cafe over Thanksgiving weekend.

November also sees a tasty double shot of Southern rock with The Outlaws headlining a show at the Pepsi-Cola Roadhouse with the Henry Paul Band opening. The Palace Theatre is playing host to Mr. Las Vegas, Wayne Newton, no word yet if they’ll be setting up a few slot machines in the lobby. And Peter Wolf—lead singer for The J. Geils Band—brings his Midnight Travelers to Jergel’s. There are several other concerts we’re highlighting for November below and many more we haven’t mentioned. So get out there and support your favorite band or go and discover a new one.

Tuesday, November 1

The 1975 play the second of two back-to-back concerts at Stage AE tonight. When Halloween’s concert sold out, the November 1 show was quickly added. That show soon sold out too, proving that The 1975 are one of the most popular rock ‘n’ roll bands in both their native England and here in the States. The quartet’s breakout single was “Chocolate,” and they are currently touring their sophomore album, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It. The album hit No. 1 on the UK chart and the US Billboard 200 and has spawned five singles, including “The Sound.” Throughout the music video, criticisms of the band’s “sound” flash on the screen. The song reached 15 on the UK chart, their highest charting single yet in their homeland. Looks like The 1975 got the last laugh. 070SHAKE opens. Doors at 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

Thursday, November 3

When Kurt Cobain’s journals were published in 2002, many fans noted his top 50 albums. Some inclusions were unsurprising, such as The Pixies’ Surfer Rosa. You can hear The Pixies’ influence in many Nirvana songs. Also included was Burning Farm by Shonen Knife, an all-female, Japanese, pop-punk trio. What were they doing on Cobain’s list? Well, listen to a song like “On a Plain,” and beneath all that grunge, you can hear some pop. No wonder Cobain not only admired them but also asked them to open for Nirvana in 1991, which they did. Shonen Knife have inspired bands around the world since forming in Osaka, Japan, in 1981. Their show at Cattivo provides a perfect combination of musical acts, with some of Pittsburgh’s finest female-dominated bands opening. The Lopez craft noisy, hooky garage rock armed with only a keyboard and guitar. Murder for Girls are hot off the release of their superb debut LP, All the Wishes. And Boiled Denim, fronted by vocalist/bassist Sarah Ellis, who delivers all songs with a smile and sneer. 8 p.m. 146 44th St., Lawrenceville. (CM)

Big Gigantic will bring their “livetronica” to Stage AE. The electronica portion comes courtesy Dominic Lalli, who lays the beats and samples. The live portion—Jeremy Salken, who plays drums, as well as Lalli, who also plays tenor saxophone. Wild stage lighting will ensure the show is as much a visual feast as it is an audio one. The duo, based out of Boulder, Colorado, have released six albums, beginning with 2009’s Fire It Up. Their newest, this year’s Brighter Future, features rapper Waka Flocka Flame, electronic peers Cherub, and many other contemporary names in rap and electronic dance music. Big Gigantic have remixed plenty of songs too, including Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow.” On The Brighter Future Tour, Big Gigantic will donate a portion of all ticket proceeds to a local charity as part of their #ABigGiganticDifference Initiative. Grow Pittsburgh, which promotes urban agriculture, will be the Steel City recipient. Illenium open. Doors open 8 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

Friday, November 4

Freak Out! is the seminal debut by The Mothers of Inventions, featuring the late Frank Zappa. Who better to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its release than Zappa’s own son Dweezil? He and his own tight backing band are bringing 50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%k He Wants – The Cease and Desist Tour to the Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall. The tour’s name has a backstory. After Dweezil’s mother died, The Zappa Family Trust, overseen by two of Dweezil’s siblings, sent a letter to him saying he could no longer use the name Zappa Plays Zappa, the moniker for the tribute shows Dweezil’s been performing for the past 10 years. So he changed it to Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa. Another cease-and-desist letter followed. Thus, the new name, one hopefully devoid of any unintended trademark infringement. Dweezil is an accomplished musician with his own discography. His latest album is 2015’s Via Zammata. He and his band are sure to make Frank Zappa’s songs come alive, regardless of the tour’s name. 9 p.m. 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall. (CM)

Saturday, November 5

Identical twins Tegan and Sara Quin, who hail from Alberta, Canada, have been together for quite a while, clearly, However, they didn’t get around to collaborating musically until they were 15. The twins cut a demo using studio time won from Calgary’s Garage Warz competition in 1998, which led to their debut album, 1999’s Under Feet Like Ours. They spent a decade or so gaining momentum on the indie scene with a smattering of mainstream success (2010’s “Alligator” peaked at No. 32 on the US Hot Dance Club Songs chart). With 2012’s “Closer,” which was certified platinum in Canada, they burst onto the scene. The follow-up, “I Was a Fool,” went gold. They later performed the theme song to The Lego Movie, “Everything Is Awesome,” which was nominated for Best Original Song at the 87th Academy Awards. Love You to Death, their eighth studio album, was released this year. The sisters’ Love You to Death Tour will be at Stage AE with opening act Torres, who headlined Club Cafe this January. Doors open 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (EC/CM)

Friday, November 11

Southern rock finds its way north to the Pepsi-Cola Roadhouse with the Outlaws. For over 40 years the band has been thriving in the Southern rock genre along with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Charlie Daniels, and The Allman Brothers (now disbanded). Founded in Tampa, Fla., in ’67, the Outlaws put forth a Southern rock opus with “Green Grass and High Tides” and scored a major hit with “There Goes Another Love Song.” Outlaw trademarks include beautiful vocal harmonies and intricate lead guitar play. Surviving the test of time, the inevitable evolution of popular music, and bandmates’ deaths, the Outlaws are definitely alive, kicking, and, it would seem, stronger than ever. Some things really do get better with age. Extra special guest is the Henry Paul Band. Paul is also a member of the Outlaws who broke away to form his own namesake band and additionally the band Blackhawk. He is performing again as a member of the Outlaws. This is a dinner and a show event. Concert is at 8 p.m. 565 Rt. 18, Burgettstown.

Sunday, November 13

The Goo Goo Dolls began in 1986 as a trio from Buffalo, New York, with a penchant for the sound of their alt-rock heroes, The Replacements. Paul Westerberg, The Replacements’ singer, would later contribute lyrics to the Goo Goo Dolls song “We Are The Normal.” The Goo Goo Dolls released four albums in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, but it was their fifth album, A Boy Named Goo, and the single “Name” that brought them fame. 1998’s Dizzy Up the Girl was a bigger smash loaded with more hits, such as “Slide” and “Iris.” The band would perform the latter song and a cover of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ “American Girl” as part of The Concert for New York City, a benefit show for those affected by the September 11 attacks. The group continues to release new music every three to four years; their latest is this year’s Boxes. They play The Palace Theatre this month. SafetySuit opens. 7:30 p.m. 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. (CM)

Tuesday, November 15

Part country, part rock, Lydia Loveless’s music draws from her childhood in rural Ohio and her adolescence in Columbus. The 26-year-old is also prolific: she released her fourth LP, Real, this year, and she released her debut, The Only Man, in 2010 when she was 19. Her music is highly literary as well. “Verlaine Shot Rimbaud,” a track off her third album, Somewhere Else, recounts a shooting between the two 19th-century French poets and lovers. (She’s also been known to perform a Kesha cover.) Music runs in the family: her father owned a country-western bar, and her two older sisters and her younger brother all play in bands. She is no stranger to nearby Pittsburgh. Last year, she, bassist/husband Ben Lamb, and the rest of her band brought their brand of cowpunk to Club Cafe. They return a little over a year and a week since their last performance there. Aaron Lee Tasjan opens. 8 p.m. 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. (CM)

Wednesday, November 16

“So bye, bye Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry” was all over the airwaves in ’71 when Don McLean‘s American Pie album, with a single of the same name, rose to the number one spot on the U.S., U.K., and Canadian album charts. “American Pie” has somewhat cryptic lyrics whose meaning many people have been trying to discern for years. It is generally regarded that the phrase “the day the music died” refers to the ’59 plane crash that killed three of the top acts in the burgeoning rock ‘n roll genre—Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.). McLean had success with other songs, though none as big as “American Pie.” He’ll be performing at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale.  (RH)

Saturday, November 19

World music royalty (and hometown favorites) Rusted Root headline a concert at Stage AE this month. If you’re an older fan, you may best know the band from their legendary shows at the late Metropol. If you’re younger, you may know them and their 1994 single “Send Me on My Way” from the Matilda or Ice Age soundtracks. Rusted Root formed in Pittsburgh in 1990. They have continued to tour and record music ever since while never forgetting their loyal base here at home. 2012’s The Movement is their latest album. They recently finished a nationwide summer tour with ‘90s alternative rock band Toad the Wet Sprocket. After not even a three month break, they hit the road again, this time with opening act Devon Allman Band. Devon Allman is the son of Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band. The younger Allman is also the frontman of Saint-Louis-based Honeytribe. Doors open 8 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

Another great musical performance this month is by the Grammy winning Tedeschi Trucks Band. Susan Tesdeschi and Derek Trucks are band mates and a married couple. They formed the band in Jacksonville, Florida in 2010 after both had already tasted career success. Trucks was a member of the Allman Brothers for a number of years, fronted his own band, and worked on projects with many musicians including Eric Clapton  He’s known as one of the guitar greats and was ranked No. 16 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists  of All Time in 2011. Before becoming a headliner of her own Susan Tedeschi opened for top acts like B.B. King, Bob Dylan, and even the Allman Brothers (that’s how they met in 1999). Known for her eponymous vocals, she is a respected guitarist in her own right.  Over her career she has been nominated for five Grammy’s. She’s won one as a member of the Tedeschi Trucks Band in 2012 for the album Revelator. Before flying the banner of Tedeschi Trucks Band the two collaborated in their previous band Soul Stew Revival. Their soulful, blues-rock twelve piece band is a big reason for their success and they are playing a sold out show at the Benedum Center. Opening is Amy Helm and the Handsome Strangers. 8 p.m. 237 7th St., Cultural District. (RH)

Tuesday, November 22

Peter Wolf began his artistic life not in music but in painting. He was a student at Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, but attendance at a loft party would change everything. While at the party, he jumped on stage to sing with the blues band, The Hallucinations. He later convinced the group to have him as a full-time member. In 1967, he and other Boston-based musicians formed a different group: The J. Geils Band, whose name comes from guitarist J. Geils. They recorded and performed blues rock, with vocalist Wolf and keyboardist Seth Justman the principal songwriters. Shortly after a shift to new-wave and the No. 1 hit “Centerfold,” Wolf left to pursue a highly successful solo career, beginning with 1984’s Lights Out. At 70, Wolf continues to record and perform music. His newest album is this year’s A Cure for Loneliness. He and his backing band, The Midnight Travelers, come to Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale.

Alejandro Escovedo’s career spans multiple genres: rock, punk, Americana, alt-country. All of it, though, is music of the heartland … and the soul. He started in The Nuns, a punk group from San Francisco. In the ‘80s, after moving back to Texas, his home state, he played in Rank and File and The True Believers, bands with more of a country sound to them. 1992’s Gravity was Escovedo’s debut solo album. Although Escovedo has skirted the mainstream, many musicians, such as Bruce Springsteen, were “Always a Friend.” Other friends (and fans) include R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and The Minus 5’s Scott McCaughey, both of whom co-wrote and produced Escovedo’s newest album, this year’s Burn Something Beautiful. His family includes niece Sheila E. (The “E” is short for “Escovedo.”) She is a noted drummer and singer and was a frequent collaborator with the late Prince. Alejandro Escovedo will perform at Club Cafe this month. Jesse Malin (Duo) opens. 8 p.m. 56 – 58 S. 12th St., South Side. (CM)

Saturday, November 26

One of Las Vegas’ top acts is in town this month, Mr. Las Vegas, Wayne Newton. A talent scout discovered Wayne Newton while he was playing with his brother Jerry and signed them to come play a two week stint in Vegas. That two week gig turned into a lifetime of entertaining people. Wayne Newton started to open for many top acts including Jack Benny and appeared on “The Jackie Gleason Show” many times. He even had a TV part for a while when he acted and sang as Andy, the young Ponderosa ranch hand on the classic western series, “Bonanza.” Newton asked for and received his own headliner in residence contract at the Flamingo Hotel in Vegas. One of the first of its kind. He scored a big hit in 1963 with “Danke Schoen” which hit No. 3 on the U.S. adult contemporary chart and No. 13 overall.  The song was even used in the classic 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which was lip synced by Bueller.

There’s always been a little bit of mystery surrounding Newton and possible mafia ties, which Newton has always denied. Another curious happening in Newton’s life was when in ’92 his Elvis inspired song “The Letter” went to No. 1 on the Cashbox pop and country song charts but failed to register on the Billboard Hot 100. The first and only time this ever happened. Newton has done numerous charitable works and succeeded Bob Hope in ’02 as the chairman of the USO Celebrity Circle. He is currently touring his Wayne Newton Up Close and Personal show where he sings, plays the 13 instruments he has mastered, tells stories, and takes questions from the audience. This is a great opportunity to see a legendary Vegas entertainer. 7:30 p.m. The Palace Theatre, 21 West Otterman St., Greensburg. (RH)

80’s group The Go Go’s once sang “We got the beat” and that can also truly be said of the highly talented Pittsburgh percussionist Jim Donovan. The original drummer for the multi-platinum album selling Pittsburgh group Rusted Root, Donovan co-wrote the song “Send Me on My Way” which was used in the films Matilda and Ice Age. He retired from Rusted Root to concentrate on his young family and work as a college professor. After a long hiatus he now fronts his own jam band—Jim Donovan and the Sun King Warriors. One of the ways that he has achieved this high level of percussive performance is through studying the rhythms and drumming of other cultures. Donovan has studied and performed African rhythms with various drum masters including Congolese drummer Elie Kihonia, Mamady Keita, and Mbemba Bangoura. Another mentor in African music for him was the well-known Kwabena Nketia from Ghana. Donovan is a scholar himself, earning a B.A. in Music Performance from the University of Pittsburgh and a Masters of Educational Leadership from Saint Francis University where he’s an instructor in the Fine Arts department. He’s even published a book, Drum Circle Leadership: Learn to Create and Lead Your Own Transformational Drum Circles, and believes drum circles can be used to enhance social connectivity and wellness. 2008 was a big year for Donovan, he was the winner of the Best Drum Circle Facilitator award, and was nominated for Best Percussion Performance in Drum! Magazine.

2016 is also a good year for Donovan and the Sun King Warriors having played some big local shows recently. In September they opened for his former band Rusted Root at the Allegheny County Music Festival and a few weeks ago opened for The Clarks at Greensburg’s Palace Theatre. The Sun Kings also have their first album out, a self-titled one, which Donovan worked on for five years in between his duties as a father, husband, and college professor. Now you can catch the groove rock group at the Hard Rock Cafe in Station Square. 10 p.m. 230 W. Station Square Dr., South Side. (RH)

Sunday, November 27

1999’s Human Clay, Creed’s sophomore album, achieved a diamond certification by the RIAA—that’s over 10 million copies sold in the U.S. alone. Worldwide, sales reached an estimated 20 million. A single off that album, “With Arms Wide Open,” also earned a Grammy for Best Rock Song. In 2004, Creed split (they’d reunite in 2009), and frontman Scott Stapp went solo, releasing The Great Divide in 2005 and Proof of Life in 2013. With acts 7 Aurelius and The Tea Party, Stapp contributed a song to The Passion of the Christ soundtrack. With the Florida (now Miami) Marlins, he adapted his song “You Will Soar” into a theme for the ballclub—“Marlins Will Soar.” These days, after struggling with bipolar disorder in 2014, Stapp is soaring once again with a new tour, one which took him to South Africa for the first time. He is back stateside for a solo show at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. Adelitas Way and Citizen Zero open. 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. (CM)

The “Reverend” is in town. The Reverend Horton Heat, that is. The Reverend is Dallas-based musician Jim Heath and his band. Their music has been described as “psychobilly,” with influences of surf, rock, big band, punk, country, and several other genres, making for an eclectic, energetic fusion of sound. Heath formed his band in 1985; the name “Horton” nods to country music and rockabilly singer Johnny Horton, who is known for his version of “The Battle of New Orleans.” The Reverend Horton Heat have released 11 albums since 1990, most recently 2014’s Rev. It peaked at 111 on the U.S. Billboard 200, their highest charting LP yet. Their song “Psychobilly Freakout,” from 1990’s Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em, has been used in a variety of media, including “Beavis and Butt-head” and in a commercial for Buell Motorcycle Company. The Reverend’s service is at the Rex Theater. Assisting in the service are Unknown Hinson, Nashville Pussy, and Lucky Tubb. 8 p.m. 1602 E. Carson Street, South Side. (RH/CM)

Rick Handler is the executive producer of Entertainment Central and loves great music.

Christopher Maggio also loves great music and was a major contributor to this guide.