The xx at AE (CP’s Sat. 9/21)
1) Rock bands usually toil in obscurity for a few years before making it big. Yet every now and then, one is raptured to fame as soon as it drops its first album (The Doors, Van Halen, Guns ’N Roses, The Strokes, etc.). The latest such group is The xx. The British band members had barely graduated high school when their self-titled debut was impressing critics with its mesmerizing rhythms, minimalist approach, and surprisingly mature songs of devotion and heartache. The record took the Mercury Prize (the U.K. equivalent of the Grammy for Album of the Year) in 2010, and the much-awaited follow-up, Coexist, came last year. The xx is on track for a third record next year. Before that, the band is on a tour that stops at Stage AE tonight. 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.
2) Maybe only a musicologist could adequately explain the sounds you will hear at tonight’s Garfield Artworks-sponsored show at the Thunderbird Café. First on the bill is Cedric Watson, who baffled his peers growing up in East Texas with his disinterest in rock and hip-hop and his love of zydeco. A talented violinist, Watson took his skills to Lafayette, Louisiana, where he played a mean and mighty version of the Acadian folk sound. And headlining is Sidi Touré, a guitarist/singer from Mali, where the traditional folk music of communal dances has been influenced by French colonizers and American blues. Since the ‘80s, Touré has been trying to spread the sound of Mali and has gained a reputation for his lightning-fast fingertips. Shows don’t get more exotic than this. 7 p.m. 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville.
3) If you have small children, Disney no doubt has ultimate control over your DVD player, toy chest, and vacation plans. It is also claiming this weekend. The entertainment behemoth is licensing its musical, Disney’s My Son Pinocchio: Geppetto’s Musical Tale, to theater groups across the U.S., and Greensburg-based Stage Right! is taking it to the Palace. Expect the story of Pinocchio, told from the perspective of his puppeteer dad, in the peppy, family-friendly musical format that is Disney’s hallmark. 7:30 p.m. 21 W. Otterman St, Greensburg.
4) We’ve reached that golden season when all three major Pittsburgh sports teams are either in their season or preseason. Today, take your pick between the Penguins facing off against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Consol Energy Center in an exhibition game (4 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown) or the Pirates taking on the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park. There will be a post-game concert by the group Neon Trees and a Zambelli Fireworks Skyblast. (7:05 p.m. 115 Federal St., North Shore).