Gang of Four Ready to Rumble at Altar Bar; ‘Jersey Boys’ Continues Its Benedum Run (Tues. 9/29/15)

1) Taking their name from a Chinese political faction that included Chairman Mao’s wife, Gang of Four combined punk instrumentation, Marxist lyrics, and a dance beat. Andy Gill played the “anti-guitar” solo, where he would drop out entirely and let the drums and bass carry on, as he does on the brilliant “Not Great Men.” The quartet formed in 1977 in Leeds, England, and released their debut album, Entertainment!, in 1979. Though far from a commercial breakthrough, that debut went on to inspire everyone from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Franz Ferdinand. The continued interest has allowed the band to continue to tour, though these days Gill is the sole original member. They released an album this year, What Happens Next. Perhaps the title is a nod to a future without original vocalist Jon King, who departed in 2012. In his place is John “Gaoler” Sterry, who gets a little help from The Dead Weather’s Alison Mosshart on “England’s in My Bones.” The band’s touring in support of the record, including a stop at Altar Bar. 8 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. (CM)


2) There were people who couldn’t stand the sound, but millions more who loved it. The sound was the otherworldly, phenomenally high falsetto of lead singer Frankie Valli. It was the centerpiece of The Four Seasons’ distinctive musical style, helping to drive the group to fame and fortune in the 1960s from the members’ rough-and-tumble beginnings in the blue-collar world of Newark, N.J.—a climb so colorful that it inspired the musical Jersey Boys by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by The Four SeasonsThe touring-company show is slated for a generous run of 15 performances here in Pittsburgh. Which isn’t surprising, given that the Broadway original won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2006 and was recently made into a movie. Unlike the stage show and the group itself, the Jersey Boys film didn’t chart, but as the video sampler above reveals, it was directed by none other than Clint Eastwood. And if tough-guy Clint is enthralled by songs like “Sherry” and “Walk Like a Man,” who can resist? 7:30 p.m. Through October 4. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District. (MV)


3) Everest – There’s very little I dislike in this world more than cold weather … so the chances of finding me at Everest are slim to none. But if action movies set 29,029 feet above sea level are your thing, you’ll probably love it.

It’s based on the true story of an expedition in 1996 to scale Mount Everest. Two groups ascended the mountain from different sides – unfortunately both got caught in a blizzard resulting in the deaths of eight climbers. More than six books written by participants in the climb have been published and a few movies, TV movies and documentaries have been made concerning the incident.

Writers William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy have combed through all of them, and more, to create a screenplay of that fateful climb in a film directed by Baltasar Kormákur. Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright, Josh Brolin, Sam Worthington, Jason Clarke and Emily Watson star.

And if you’re looking for me, I’ll be at home under a sun lamp. Check Fandango for screens and times. (TH)

4)  The baseball season is growing shorter and there’s only five regular season home games remaining for the Pirates. None is as important as this home stand that continues tonight against the Division leading St. Louis Cardinals, every game the Bucs win against the Cards doubly winnows the gap between the two teams. As of press time, 3 games separate the Cardinals and Pirates. These next two games have no premiums or promotions, none are needed. 7:05 p.m. PNC Park, 115 Federal St., North Shore.

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Rick Handler

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