Renowned Rock Pianist Leon Russell at Altar Bar; Byham Hosts Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance (CPs Sat., 4/26/14)

1) American blues rock icon Leon Russell, whose piano playing has threads running through the music of Elton John, Badfinger, and the George Harrison-led Concert for Bangladesh, is in concert at Altar Bar tonight. Russell first rose to solo success on the Muscle Shoals-recorded album Carney released in 1972. The album reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart and contained the song  “Tight Rope,” which reached #11 on the Hot 100 chart. Carney also contained the song “This Masquerade” which several other artists recorded, including Pittsburgh native George Benson, whose version rode the charts to#10 on the Hot 100 in 1976. This is a great opportunity to see a legendary American musician. Special guests are Derek Woodz Band and Mia Z Trio. 8 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District.

2) “Wayne McGregor is doing some of the most exciting work on the planet” says the New York Times about Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance company. He’s known for his productions which fuse anatomy-challenging dance moves with film, visual art, and technology. This evening the company will perform FAR, a production inspired by the Age of Enlightenment and the 18th-century French philosopher Diderot’s Encyclopaedia. Presented by the Pittsburgh Dance Council. 8 p.m. Byham Theater, 101 6th St., Cultural District.

3) Rock vixen Lita Ford first cut her teeth playing lead guitar in the young all-female band The Runaways, which then included Joan Jett. In the ’80s, Ford struck out on her own and scored commercial success with her third album Lita, which reached #29 on the U.S. charts and achieved platinum sales status. Here’s the Hollywood pitch: a hot blonde playing great lead guitar. Opening is Akron, Ohio’s all-female band 11after. 7 p.m. Rex Theater, 1602 E. Carson St., South Side

4) Norm Nardini, Pittsburgh rock royalty, has said many times he’s a “rock ‘n roll lifer.” His passion and energy drive him in his continuing mission of rocking for the people. Nardini has played with top rockers John Bon Jovi, Ted Nugent, Big Mama Thornton, Aerosmith, Kansas, and others. He’s fronted his own band, Norm Nardini and the Tigers. Nardini once told someone in New York City that he was from Pittsburgh. The man replied “Pittsburgh? Where’s that, Pennysltucky?” Norm’s from a rockin’ family; brother Art is the bassist for Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers. Catch Norm Nardini in concert with his talented band tonight at The Map Room. 9 p.m. 1126 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square.

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Rick Handler

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