Indigenous Plays Hard Rock; Ralphie May Stands Up at Pittsburgh Improv (CPs Thurs., 6/12/2014)

1) The story of blues-rock outfit Indigenous is really the story of front man Mato Nanji (Ma-TOE NON-gee), a member of the Yankton Sioux of South Dakota. A second-generation rocker, Mato formed Indigenous in his teens with his brother, sister, and cousin—a lineup that lead to an award-winning debut in 1998 and an invite to join B.B. King’s Blues Tour in 1999. The family would stick together through three more releases before splitting in 2006, but Mato found even more success on his own as songs from his solo album Chasing the Sun wound up on the soundtracks of Deadliest Catch and Sons of Anarchy. Mato currently tours with guitarist/singer Derek Post, drummer Charles Sanders II, and his wife and lyricist, Leah. Catch Indigenous at Hard Rock Cafe. 8 p.m. 230 W. Station Square Dr. South Side.

2) Ralphie May doesn’t pull punches. The larger-than-life stand-up comic has been leaving audiences rolling in the aisles for years because he calls it like he sees it, regardless of what anyone might think. Fans of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” will remember May as the runner up to Dat Phan in that show’s first season, in 2003, though it is pretty clear who’s emerged as the real winner since then. May was noted by Variety as one of their “10 Comics to Watch” in 2008, and he has lived up to that billing, recently releasing his record-setting fourth special on Comedy Central. Catch Ralphie May at the Pittsburgh Improv nightly June 12-15; today’s show  begins at 8 p.m. 166 E. Bridge St., The Waterfront, Homestead.

3)  The Smithereens formed in 1980 in Carteret, N.J., five years after band mates Jim Babjak, Mike Mesaros, and Dennis Diken graduated from the local high school and teamed up with guitarist and singer Pat DiNizo from a neighboring town. (That lineup continued until Mesaros left in 2006 and Severo Jornacion took over bass guitar.) Soon after their first album hit, the track “Blood and Roses” was picked up as the theme for the 1986 film Dangerously Close and was also featured on an episode of “Miami Vice” in 1987. They released a total of five studio albums in the 80s and followed that with another three throughout the 90s. Their simple and bass-heavy arrangements are said to have influenced Kurt Cobain’s writing during the Nevermind years. The Smithereens are the main event following local band Meeting of Important People at Dollar Bank Stage during the seventh night of the Three Rivers Arts Festival. 7:30 p.m. Free. Point State Park, Downtown.

4) The lineup of country group Girlz in Black Hats has seen a few changes since they first performed in 2004 at a high school talent show, a collaborative effort between siblings and friends. The current lead singers and resident “girlz,” Hayley Prosser and Sara Zebley, have been together since 2011, and in just a few short years, they have written more than 70 songs and taken the group to bigger and better venues. The pair appears in their signature black hats both as an acoustic duo and backed by a trio of young men on guitar, bass, and drums. And every time they play, this southwestern Pennsylvania group proves that great country music doesn’t have to come from south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Catch the pair at acoustic night at Meadows Casino. 7 p.m. Free. 210 Racetrack Rd., Washington.

5) The Pirates wrap up a seven-game home stand against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. 115 Federal St., North Shore.

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Daniel J. Dombrowski

Daniel J. Dombrowski is a freelance writer and editor living and working in Pittsburgh, Pa.

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