1) Slip on your cowboys boots, button up your finest flannel, and head down to First Niagara Pavilion, where musical icon Jason Aldean takes center stage for a night of country music fun. One of the most successful names in country music today, Aldean has accumulated many awards over his 11-year career, including Male Vocalist of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year at 2013’s Academy of Country Music Awards. These accolades are a sure sign that Aldean is currently one of the hottest artists in the world, and his hype train shows no signs of slowing down. Aldean was born in Macon, Georgia, and moved to Nashville at 21. His 2005 self-titled debut cemented his success; “Why” became his first number-one single on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. Now Aldean is on his Six Strings Circus Tour 2016. Pittsburghers will get to see him just two weeks after the release of his seventh studio album, They Don’t Know. Thomas Rhett and A Thousand Horses open. 7:30 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (RH/CM)
2) If you like ‘90s rap and R&B, then you will love the night of music that the Petersen Events Center has billed this month. Vanilla Ice, Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio, Color Me Badd, Rob Base, and Tone Lōc will come together for a show called “I Love the 90’s.” Vanilla Ice we know from “Ice Ice Baby,” with its earworm of a bassline lifted from Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure.” Salt-N-Pepa had a string of hits dating to before the ‘90s, like 1988’s “Push It.” (Younger audiences will know their song “Shoop” from 2016’s superhero film Deadpool.) Coolio also stands out for penning the Grammy-award winning “Gangsta’s Paradise” off his 1995 album of the same name and the soundtrack to the movie Dangerous Minds. 1991’s C.M.B., the debut album by Color Me Badd, produced a string of hit singles, including “I Wanna Sex You Up.” Other acts may not ring a bill initially, but their music certainly will. You know Rob Base from “It Takes Two,” which he wrote and performed with the late DJ E-Z Rock. As for Tone Lōc, if you’ve heard “Wild Thing” or “Funky Cold Medina,” you know Tone Lōc. So don your parachute pants, attach your slap bracelet, and get ready to party like it’s circa 1995. 8 p.m. 3719 Terrace St., Oakland. (CM)
3) Capping off a week of talks on leadership, innovation, sustainability, and technology, the musical leg of the Thrival Festival begins when gates open Friday, September 23 at 3 p.m. and Saturday, September 24 at noon. The focus of the music schedule is an interesting combination of established national bands and local groups. On the national front is Metric. a Toronto rock band; Ty Dolla $ign, a multi-instrumentalist and rapper from L.A.; Rubblebucket, a fun indie dance band; and many others. On the local front are funkateers Beauty Slap and indie rock trio, and Donora, a pop rock band, plus other area bands and artists. The music this year takes place at the Carrie Furnace, a pre-World War I iron plant turned National Historic Landmark. The name of the game at Thrival is capitalist enterprise, and local startup/innovation incubator Thrill Mill powers the festival. Thrival is a rich brew of entrepreneurship, empowerment, and culture. For a full schedule of events and performances, visit Thrival’s website. Carrie Furnace Blvd., Rankin. (EC/CM)
4) Chris Robinson is best known for the long-time and highly successful, collaborative effort with his brother Rich, which created The Black Crowes. The Robinson brothers sometimes had differing opinions on how to do things and this led to production and touring breaks from the band. Now Chris, formerly married to actress Kate Hudson, has reignited his side project—The Chris Robinson Brotherhood. The band’s style is of a blues/rock nature with Robinson’s rich vocals combining with great guitar, organ, keyboard and drum work and a touch of southern jam rock. Don’t expect to hear many Black Crowes’ tunes in the sets; Robinson and band are playing songs from their latest album Phosphorescent Harvest, plus songs from past side projects, and noted covers like Hank Ballard and the Midnighters’ “Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go” and “Poor Elijah / Tribute to Johnson” by Delaney & Bonnie.
Chris Robinson in his bio info sums up the spirit of the Brotherhood : “We don’t make music that can sell iPads. Our music will not sell you a Prius. I like that. Writing songs has always led me to good things in my life. The songwriting saved me through the dark times, and the songwriting makes it that much sweeter when it’s good. Real success can only come in pursuit of an authentic sound. We’re all very committed to this music, beyond money and egos. That’s a unique place to be.” The group’s local visit promises to be a top concert and one that may be flying under the radar. This is also a Thrival festival after party. 10:30 p.m. Rex Theater, 1602 E. Carson, St., South Side.