Jason Aldean and Miranda Lambert Play PNC; Bill Maher at Heinz Hall; Mayhem Festival Thrashes Through First Niagara (CPs Sat., 7/26/14)

1) Slip on your cowboys boots, button up your finest flannel, and head down to the PNC Park where music icon Jason Aldean takes center stage for a night of country music fun. One of the most successful names in country music today, Aldean has accumulated many awards over his nine-year career, including Male Vocalist of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year at 2013’s year’s Academy of Country Music Awards. These accolades are a sure sign that Aldean is currently one of the hottest artists in the world, and his hype train shows no signs of slowing down. Aldean is the headliner on his 2014 Burn It Down tour and is touring in support of his latest single of the same name. This mega-event also includes Miranda Lambert, a country music superstar in her own right, and the hot, rising band Florida Georgia Line, and Tyler Farr. Gates open at 5 p.m. with the music starting at 7 p.m. The show is Sold Out, but tickets may be available on re-seller sites. 115 Federal St., North Shore.

2) For over a decade, comedian Bill Maher has torn his (mostly conservative) political targets to pieces on his talk show, HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Now he comes to Heinz Hall for one night of stand-up comedy, armed with a full battery of his sharp-witted satire and political observations. Be warned: If nothing else, Maher is extremely opinionated. His sarcasm-laced polemics deal with subjects including, among other things: marijuana legalization, same-sex marriage, gun control, global warming, and religion. If it’s a divisive issue, Maher’s got an opinion on it, and that opinion invariably lies to the far left. Moreover, don’t expect him to waltz about within the boundaries of political correctness. A previous show Maher hosted was even called “Politically Incorrect” and he’s more likely to lampoon PC than adhere to it. 8 p.m. 600 Penn Ave., Cultural District.

3) Calling all metalheads! It’s that time of year again: The Mayhem Festival comes to First Niagara Pavilion. Kick off your loafers and don your steel-toed boots; armor up and get ready to mosh. Headlining this year are Avenged Sevenfold and Korn, joined by more than a dozen of the country’s most promising hard rock, heavy metal, and metalcore bands (a full list is on the Festival’s site). California-based Avenged Sevenfold (a.k.a. “A7X”) has skyrocketed to superstardom over the past decade. The band members are known for their rapid, melodic shredding, their theatrical, ghoulish vocals, and their dark, imaginative imagery. Korn, also from California, is led by founder Jonathan Davis. Korn’s music consists of slower rhythms and a deeper thrash, as well as a significantly creepier motif. 1 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown.

4) As it happens, Bill Maher isn’t the only politically-charged entertainer in town tonight. Pittsburgh’s own political punk rockers, Anti-Flag, play a set at the Rex Theater. Formed in 1988, this anti-establishment quartet has built a following far beyond the local region. The band has headlined shows across the U.S., and will touch down at the Rex tonight in between a pair of European tours. One reason for the group’s popularity may be the publicity that comes with their rampant activism—whether the issue is anti-war, anti-pollution, anti-racism, anti-greed, or anti-corruption, the Anti-Flag musicians are intrinsically loud about it. They make their stances known and they get involved, having involved themselves with groups such as Greenpeace and PETA, both known for their acts of civil disobedience. One ought not to let the band’s politics eclipse the music, however. With fast, angry, loud (and catchy) music to carry it, Anti-Flag’s message definitely gets noticed. Joined by Brendan Kelly, Timeshares, and World’s Scariest Police Chases. 8 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side.

5) The summer’s second Jam on Walnut commences in Shadyside. This event closes part of Shadyside’s main street to auto traffic for one of the city’s biggest block parties, attracting close to 5,000 revelers. With  a few beer stands on Walnut Street and great music, it’s not hard to imagine why. On a Saturday night, you might be planning to go out anyway, so why not let your beer money support a great cause? With proceeds benefiting the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, you can feel good about parting with your hard-earned dollars. In case that’s not enough, tonight’s featured bands are local indie pop/rock trio Donora and one of Pittsburgh’s premier disco/dance party bands, Dancing Queen. Come jam out! The block party begins at 6 p.m.; live music goes from 7 – 11 p.m. Walnut St., Shadyside.

6) In their final game of the Arena Football season, the 14-and-3 Pittsburgh Power host the Philadelphia Soul at Consol Energy Center. 5:00 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Hill District.

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Dan Hoyt

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