Chicago and Brian Wilson at Star Lake; Deutschtown Music Festival Begins: Cultural District Gallery Crawl (Fri., 7/22/22)

1) Classic-rock mainstay Chicago has remained vibrant and popular throughout the decades despite lead singer Peter Cetera leaving the band for a solo career in 1985, personnel changes, and a lack of latter-day chart successes. Why has Chicago remained so popular? The answer is in the music. Every musician is highly accomplished, and the band’s big wall of sound brings it all together. Best known for its brassy horn section—which gives extra depth to hits like “25 or 6 to 4,” “Saturday in the Park,” “Just You ‘n’ Me” “Beginnings,” and “If You Leave Me Now“—Chicago had a longer name at its start in 1967. The rockers called themselves Chicago Transit Authority but were forced to change it—by the Chicago Transit Authority. The group is releasing Born for This Moment (a.k.a. Chicago XXXVIII), their 38th album on July 15th, right before their Pittsburgh concert. 

Brian Wilson is one of the key ingredients of the great American songbook created by the Beach Boys. Surfing, racing, and love were some of the thematic elements in their tunes. Many of them written by Wilson, he is credited with writing more than two dozen Top 40 hits for the Beach Boys. Wilson’s innovative writing and recording techniques became well-respected in the industry. He is a true champion who overcame the incapacitating challenges of mental illness to again achieve greatness through his music.

Wilson is a highly talented singer, songwriter, pianist, guitarist, and arranger who is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a two-time Grammy winner. He is touring with another classic rock heavyweight—Chicago. Wilson in 2016 brought his 50th Anniversary of Pet Sounds tour to Pittsburgh. The album was the Beach Boys’ 11th studio album and was one of the first concept albums, incorporating rock, jazz, psychedelic, classical, and avant-garde influences. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” “Sloop John B”  and “Caroline, No” were all notable hits from the album. Wilson’s intent was to make the greatest rock and roll album ever. It peaked at no. 10 in the U.S. and at no. 2 in the U.K. Many of those hit songs could be on the set list for this show. Wilson’s latest release is 2021’s Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road, which accompanied a documentary of the same name. Performing with Wilson are Beach Boys’ founding member Al Jardine, and Blondie Chaplin. 7 p.m. The Pavilion at Star Lake, 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (R.H.)

Friday, July 22 through Sunday, July 24

2) The Deutschtown Music Festival helps to promote local music and a neighborhood hidden in plain sight. Also known as East Allegheny, Deutschtown is east of the Children’s Museum and Allegheny Commons Park. The neighborhood is home to some lively bars and restaurants; many will serve as venues as will seven outdoor stages. Now in its tenth year and once a Saturday-only event, the festival has spilled over into Friday and Sunday. The lineup features 500 Pittsburgh acts, including Murder for Girls, Joe Grushecky and Friends, Andre Costello and Forestry Division, INEZ, The Nox Boys, Chandra Rhyme, Byron Nash, ALLISSA, Sierra Sellers, Tjuan Benefactor, Mars Jackson, Gene the Werewolf, Bastard Bearded Irishmen, Big Blitz, Eagleburger Band, The Flow Band, The Weird Paul Rock Band, and Fuck Yeah Dinosaurs!. Bluegrass, punk, rap, rock, and other genres are represented. Some venues, like Penn Brewery, are outside Deutschtown. For a complete list of venues and acts, check out the festival’s website. Food trucks, art vendors, and a beer garden will be on site. 3 p.m. – 1 a.m. Fri., July 22, and 11 a.m. –1 a.m. Sat., July 23, and noon to 7 p.m., Sun. Free. Deutschtown (East Allegheny), North Side. (C.M., R.H.)

3) Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District is happening tonight; it features visual arts, musical performances, and interactive exhibits. All events are free and take place at a variety of galleries, art spaces, and venues. Some galleries offer drinks and hors d’oeuvres. What a great way to sample some of Pittsburgh’s great arts and entertainment! 5:30 – 10 p.m., Cultural District.

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Rick Handler

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