Graham Nash Plays Library Music Hall; Queens of Stone Age at AE (CP’s Sat. 9/14/13)
1) Crosby, Stills and Nash worked not just because of their excellent vocal harmonies, but also because each member was a wellspring of fine songs in his own right. Thus, when any third of the trio tours solo, it’s not a cause to shrug one’s shoulders and wait until the full band comes around; it’s an opportunity to focus on the individual musical prowess of one of these fine gents. Today, Graham Nash (who came to CSN from the criminally underrated British band The Hollies) plays Carnegie Library Music Hall. For a taste of what you’ll hear, Nash’s CSN songwriting credits include “Marrakesh Express,” ” Teach Your Children,” “Our House,” “Just a Song Before I Go“ and “Wasted on the Way.” We’re kinda hoping he still breaks out The Hollies classic “Carrie Anne.” 8 p.m. 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall.
2) Sometimes, slow and steady really does win the race, even in the fast-paced world of hard rock. Throughout their journeymen days during the late ’90s and early ’00s, Queens of the Stone Age could have adjusted their sound to better suit alt-rock, Linkin Park-style nu metal or the stuff featured at Ozzfest — to further align themselves with popular trends or the acts for which they opened. But they didn’t. This California band gambled on their hardcore, bedrock audience to appreciate their stellar musicianship and fierce, hard-edged rock. Now the Queens, who play Stage AE tonight, are critical darlings and cult favorites. Trendier bands from back in the day would beg to open for them. Opening act is Guards. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.
3) If the costumed, shock-driven bands were a family, GWAR would be the middle child, shoved between Kiss and Insane Clown Posse, and like Jan Brady or Malcolm Wilkerson, this band is too often overlooked. Kiss has become a staple of pop culture, and ICP gets kids’ attention by doing things that are memeworthy. GWAR is best remembered by the Gen Xers for their appearances on “The Jerry Springer Show,” appearing in elaborate costumes of demonic masks and giant foam spikes on every shoulder. Yet they continue to record and tour regularly, with Mr. Smalls a frequent stop. For a fan who knows exactly what he or she wants–grimy heavy metal and dudes pretending to stab each other with giant novelty medieval weapons–GWAR continues to deliver night after night. C0-headlining is Hatebreed with special guest Iron Reagan, 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale.
4) The Strip District is one of the most deliciously multicultural neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, with rows of eateries and groceries offering a mix of Latin, Asian, Italian, Polish and traditional American flavors. While the Strip usually caters to our sense of taste, this weekend it will provide the same sort of auditorial diversity during World Festival. Penn Avenue will be closed off from 22nd to 25th street for a stage that will host (the likes of) polka virtuoso/accordionist Henry Doktorski (11:30 a.m.), vocalist Liz Vitalbo singing Italian classics (1:30 p.m.), jazz/Latin saxophonist Kenny Blake (3 p.m.), and Springsteen cover band Glory Days (a two-for-one, as a Canadian tribute to an American icon, 5 p.m.). Sunday’s schedule includes Irish troubadour Mark Guiser, reggae quartet Freedom Band, Stones impersonators Jumpin’ Jack Flash and disco band Dancing Queen. If you are anywhere more multicultural today, you must be visiting the United Nations in New York. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Penn Ave., Strip District.
5) Two traditional lovable losers that aren’t so lost anymore face off today. The Chicago Cubs, who surprisingly won two division titles in the last five years, take on the Pirates, who are experiencing their first winning season in two decades, at PNC Park. A Zambelli’s Fireworks night and a Scratch ‘n Win” Saturday.7:05 p.m. 115 Federal St., North Shore.