First Night Pittsburgh; Lotus at Stage AE; Commonheart in Daptone Tribute (12/31/17)

"Light-Up Night" takes on a new meaning with Steel Town Fire.

“Light-Up Night” takes on a new meaning with Steel Town Fire. photo: Martha Rial.

1) Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2018 is the biggest New Year’s Eve party in the ‘Burg, and happening all over the Downtown’s Golden Triangle. Musical highlights include Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers (Benedum Center, 7 – 7:45 p.m.) and Lee Fields and the Expressions (Benedem Center, 10:30 p.m.). The entertainment and attractions lined up for First Night are amazing: bands, dancers, comedians, balloon-animal creators, acoustic musicians, dance lessons, buskers, caricature artists, face painters, clowns, puppets, storytellers, sports mascots, theatrical performances, large scale games, fire performers and ice carvers. Oh, and of course, fireworks! Events start at 6 p.m. and go until midnight. Visit Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2018 for details.

2) Lotus are no strangers to Pittsburgh on New Year’s Eve. In 2016 they brought in the new year at Stage AE. In 2015, they played two shows at Stage AE: one in January and another on New Year’s Eve. They return to Stage AE once again helping Pittsburghers usher in the New Year. Lotus, originally from Indiana, are known for incorporating electronic elements into their music. On their latest album, 2016’s Eat the Light, they tried something new: vocals, with a different guest musician on every track. In concert, the band uses elaborate lighting and occasionally performs themed shows. One 2009 concert saw David Bowie costumes. During themed shows, the band plays covers as well as originals. (Some Bowie covers, if not an outright theme, would definitely be appropriate to honor the late Ziggy Stardust.) Doors open 8 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

3) The Commonheart is one of the hottest bands on the local music scene. Led by frontman Clinton Clegg and his impressive rock/soul pipes, the band delivers inspiring performances. Strong guitar, rhythm, and horn sections along with harmonious background singers add to the aural delight. Since releasing their first full-length album, Grown, last year, The Commonheart has been touring the country far and wide—but there’s no place like home for the holidays, and the band has a special show lined up at Club Cafe.  It’s a tribute to Daptone Records artists Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley, both of whom passed away recently. If you are familiar with the music of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings—and if you know why Bradley was called “the screaming eagle of soul”—then you can imagine what the sounds will be like when The Commonheart honors their music. 9 p.m., 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. Tickets are going fast online and are being sold as a “two-show pass”: You also get entry to The Commonheart’s New Year’s Eve show, the next night at Mr. Smalls. The Club Cafe show is sold out but separate tickets for only the Mr. Smalls event are available, with Cisco Kid and Selecta on that bill as well: Dec. 31 at 9 p.m., 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (RH/MV)


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Rick Handler

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