Backstreet’s Back at First Niagara Pavilion; “Passionate Kisses” From Lucinda Williams (CPs Sat., 6/14/2014)

1) The Backstreet Boys were a cultural touchstone in the late ’90s. Their music is anthemic of the years around the turn of the millennium. Their self-titled debut U.S. release didn’t hit until 1997, yet still managed to become one of the top 10 best-selling records of the decade thanks to a handful of chart-topping singles. Globally, across nine studio albums, one live album, and one “Best of”, they’ve sold over 130 million records, and they still pack arenas when they go on tour. They have been a quartet since 2006 when Kevin Richardson left the group, but the remainder of the original lineup of A. J. McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, and Brian Littrell remains intact. They will be at First Niagara Pavilion with special guest Avril Lavigne at 7:30 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown.

2) Americana artist Lucinda Williams has been called America’s best songwriter, though she has stayed out of the spotlight for the most part. Her most acclaimed song won two Grammies in 1994 … when it was recorded and released by Mary-Chapin Carpenter. Watch the linked videos, though, and you’ll hear something a bit more honest and visceral about Ms. Williams’ version, even if it isn’t quite as radio-friendly. Lucinda debuted in 1979 with the album Ramblin’ and spent the next two decades honing her craft before hitting gold with 1998’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, which was a hit commercially and with the critics. Proving that she only gets better with age, 2008’s Little Honey was her first effort to crack the top 10 on the American charts. Lucinda Williams headlines Saturday night at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, performing on the Dollar Bank Stage in Point State Park. 7:30 p.m. Free. 101 Commonwealth Pl., Downtown.

3) The Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh is bringing Chaka Kahn to town for this year’s Pride in the Street concert. Kahn arrived on the scene as the front-woman for Rufus in 1973 and spent the next five years cranking out hits before breaking away to record on her own in 1978. Her solo career took off with the mega-hit “I’m Every Woman” that year, and though she continued as a member of Rufus until the band split in 1983, it was clear that her star would rise higher on its own. Over her nearly 40-year career, the Queen of Funk has sold over 70 million records and won 10 Grammys. 2011 brought a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for her and Rufus. She released her 13th studio album, iKhan, last year, and continues to tour the world. Chaka Kahn’s Pride in the Street performance starts at 5 p.m. Liberty Ave. between 9th and 10th St., Downtown.

4) Terry Bradshaw and the Pittsburgh Steelers won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1974 and ’75. They made it to the AFC Championship in 1976 but lost to Oakland 24-7. Though team injuries were a factor, perhaps their star quarterback was distracted by his burgeoning singing career. What? You didn’t know that Bradshaw, the Hall of Fame quarterback who threw the Immaculate Reception, could sing? Well, then maybe you should watch this. Convinced? Good. Bradshaw hit #17 on the US Country charts with that rendition of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonely I Could Cry” in 1976, released an album of the same name, and followed it with two more albums in 1981. Since retiring from the NFL in 1983, Bradshaw has dabbled in TV, film, and even a bit more singing. He’ll be at Meadows Racetrack and Casino tonight for a concert and a bit of storytelling. 8 p.m. 210 Racetrack Rd., Washington.

5) Chuck Prophet was born in Whittier, California and has been a prolific rocker since the mid-’80s when he debuted with established rock outfit Green on Red. Prophet has played and recorded with Green on Red frequently ever since, releasing several albums with the group and a dozen more as a solo artist. His latest effort, 2012’s Temple Beautiful, was written as a tribute to his adopted hometown of San Francisco, an attempt to musically showcase the many facets of the city by the bay. While you probably haven’t heard Mr. Prophet on the radio, you may have heard his unique brand of rock on hit shows like True Blood, Californication, and Sons of Anarchy. Catch Chuck Prophet with his band, The Mission Express featuring Stephie Finch, Kevin White, Vicente Rodriguez, and James DePrato, at Club Cafe. 7 p.m. 56 S. 12th St. South Side.

6) Mixed martial arts fighting has risen further and faster than any alternative sport in the history of the United States. A far cry from the unregulated sideshow that first appeared stateside back in 1993, MMA fights, now with weight classes and standardized rules, are providing entertainment to a new generation of fight enthusiasts who have tired of boxing and professional wrestling. The names of MMA champs like Anderson Silva, Chuck Liddell, and Randy Couture are familiar to more and more people every day thanks to first-class promotion by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Pittsburghers will get to see some young MMA talent at the fifth Gladiators of the Cage event at Stage AE. 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., 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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