Defying Expectations for Decades, AWB to Perform at Jergel’s; Tegan and Sara Get “Closer” at AE (CPs Thurs., 6/19/2014)

1) The members of Average White Band (AWB) must have had their tongues pressed firmly in their cheeks when they named themselves after a phrase frequently used by friend and British diplomat Robert Wype, who was fond of declaring foreign lands “too hot for the average white man.” If you’re still a little confused, picture a group of shaggy Scotsmen playing jazzy funk and R&B in platform shoes, then try to rectify that with their branding. They are best known for their instrumental hit “Pick Up the Pieces,” from 1974’s AWB, despite the fact that the majority of their extensive catalog includes vocals. The group has toured consistently since the 70’s, and although two of the six founders, Alan Gorrie and Onnie McIntyre, are still with the group, the band’s lineup has seen quite a few changes (the list of former members stretches to 17). Current and former members have played with everyone from Paul McCartney to Duran Duran to Hall & Oates. They’ll be at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille at 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale.

2) Identical twins Tegan and Sara Quin will see your funky Scots and raise you identical twin Canadian indie rockers. The pair have been together for quite a while, clearly, though they didn’t get around to collaborating musically until they were 15. They 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 #32 on the US Hot Dance Club Songs chart) before bursting onto the scene with 2012’s “Closer,” which was certified platinum in Canada, and the follow-up “I Was a Fool,” which went gold. The sisters’ Let’s Make Things Physical Tour will be at Stage AE with opening acts My Midnight Heart and The Courtneys. 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.

3) In 2003, Erik Griffin decided to walk away from his day job and pursue a career in comedy. Ten years later, he has an album (2013’s Technical Foul: Volume One), a long list of TV and comedy tour credits, and a forthcoming Comedy Central Presents special. Perhaps best known for his recurring bit part on Comedy Central’s “Workaholics” as the over-sharer Montez, Griffin has proven he has the chops to carve out a spot for himself in the entertainment world. The mustachioed first-generation American likes to poke fun at others for the reactions he gets because of his unclear ethnic background, and at himself for being a bit out shape. He will be performing through June 22 at the Pittsburgh Improv. Tonight’s performance kicks off at 8 p.m. 166 E. Bridge St., The Waterfront, Homestead.

4) Sharon Van Etten likes harmonies. While she is billed a solo artist, she is rarely heard singing on her own for an entire song, or even an entire verse. She claims that the dual vocal lines she writes are intended more as parallel melodies than true harmonies, but regardless of their intent, they have given her music an ethereal quality that sets it apart. A true indie artist, Van Etten released several hand-made recordings before signing to a label for her debut album, 2009’s Because I Was in Love. Her second effort, 2010’s epic, was released by Ba Da Bing Records, a company she had somewhat-covertly worked for as a publicist. Her breakthrough came in 2012 with the release of Tramp, a critically acclaimed album that debuted at #75 on the Billboard Top 200. Van Etten will be at Mr. Small’s Funhouse with special guest Jana Hunter for an 8 p.m. show. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale.

5) The Pirates wrap up a short stint at home with a businessperson’s special against the Cincinnati Reds. First pitch at 12:35 p.m. PNC Park, 115 Federal St., North Shore.

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Daniel J. Dombrowski

Daniel J. Dombrowski is a freelance writer and editor living and working in Pittsburgh, Pa.

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