Howard Jones Plays Jergel’s; Mr. Smalls Hosts Twin Peaks; ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ at Mullaney’s (Thurs., 3/12/20)

1) “Things Can Only Get Better” Howard Jones sang in his snyth-pop, British new wave song in 1985. The positive, infectious hit featured a catchy base groove and vocals, great keyboard and horn runs, and backing vocals from the all-female group Afrodiziak. The song even crossed over and was a success on the R&B charts. Jones had success with other songs, with 15 Top 40 hit singles worldwide between 1983 and 1992. Those hits included “No One is to Blame,” “Like to Get to Know You Well,” and “Everlasting Love.” His 1984 album Human’s Lib entered the U.K. charts at No. 1 and stayed on the charts for 57 consecutive weeks. Not content to just revel in the glow of past hits, Jones’ works with music equipment-makers to help develop new models of keyboards and synthesizers. He also has a CD and DVD of his multimedia show Engage. “A highly interactive live experience designed to immerse audiences in an audio/visual feast. It embraces EDM, contemporary classical, cinematic and pop music influences, and fuses it with ballet, modern dance and philosophy,” is how the show is described on Jones’ site. His new LP release is Transform. He’s in concert at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille on his Acoustic Trio Tour with Nick Beggs and Robin Boult. 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. 

2) Chicago band Twin Peaks sound has been described as being somewhere between garage rock and garage punk. They draw inspiration from a diverse set of influencers including The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, The Strokes, and The Stooges. Twin Peaks has four studio albums out, with the latest being 2019’s, Lookout Low. Videos like “Butterfly” use Chicago places and scenes as a backdrop. Special guests are Rookie and James Swanberg. 8 p.m. Mr. Smalls Theatre, 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. 

3) Are you up for exploring the mysteries of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth? There’s no more comical or musical way to do it than by attending a re-enactment of the good old Irish song “Finnegan’s Wake.” The song, from the 1860s, inspired James Joyce’s novel of the same title. It’s about a hod carrier named Tim Finnegan who suffers a seemingly fatal accident but revives when a brawl at his wake sprays whiskey into the coffin. Pittsburgh’s Donnie Irish Band performs the dramatic staging (which features a “live corpse”), and the fellows just might do a few more tunes as well, at Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle. Festivities commence at 8 p.m. 2329 Penn Ave., Strip District. (MV)

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Rick Handler

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