Arnez J at Improv; Frank Vieira at Hard Rock Café (CPs Fri., 1/17/14)

1) Though he never got the big break Dave Chappelle or Martin Lawrence did, Arnez J has been there every step of the way for the mainstreaming of Def Jam-style black comedy. He was a regular on Def Comedy Jam, BET’s Comic View, and various Comedy Central shows during those pivotal years. The routine in which the fearless Arnez spots Rodney King in the audience and congratulates him for taking “the greatest a** beating ever” would have gone viral if there had been an internet back then. Though frequently political, Arnez is just as great when he imitates his uptight uncle who wears suspenders and his pants’ waste line “up to his nipples.” During a three-day stint at the Improv, he could say anything. 8 and 10:15 p.m. 166 E. Bridge St., Homestead.

2) It’s a testament to how far, geographically, country music has come that an Upstate New York boy like Frank Vieira is trying his hand at it. When 23-year-old Vieira (now headquartered in Pittsburgh) was coming of age, country acts were continually vying for the top of the Billboard album charts and any FM radio ranking. So it’s just as likely this star high school athlete in a frozen bit of the Northeast would dream of being the next Eric Church—which he’s making a go for with his newly released, slick-sounding debut album—as he would the next Jack White or Eminem. Still, we have no idea where Vieira got that accent. He plays the Hard Rock Café today. The Justin Fabus Band opens. 10 p.m. 230 W. Station Square Dr., Station Square.

3) Get ready to reap the benefits of living in a big, multicultural city when Choro No Vinho takes the stage of Club Café today. The band is Pittsburgh’s first (as far as we know) dedicated to choro, the Brazilian form of instrumental jazz filled with wailing horns, steady beats, and enticing strings. The group, consisting of four members and a rotation of guests, has been playing around the city since 2011 and is sure to heat up this winter night. The local tango quartet Cuidado opens. 7 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side.

4) It’s time once again for the Thunderbird Café’s grab bag of local music, the Three-Band Evening. On tonight’s bill: loftily named alt-country foursome Dan Getkin and the Masters of American Music, bearded acoustic troubadour Mark Williams, and, of course, the perpetual performer at this event, honky-tonk hero Slim Forsythe. 9 p.m. 4023 Butler St. Lawrenceville.

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Nick Keppler

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