Jefferson Starship Performs at Jergel’s; The Meadows Hosts 38 Special; Jeffrey Osborne at Rivers Casino (Fri., 5/17/19)

1) 1965 was the year rock turned seriously psychedelic. Among other things, three new groups emerged from the San Francisco area’s folk-rock scene sounding more like musicians from another planet: the Grateful Dead, Country Joe and the Fish (remember them?)—and Jefferson Airplane. Airplane’s co-founder, Paul Kantner, started his successor band, Jefferson Starship, to play the music of Jefferson Airplane and more. Kantner died in 2016 at the age of 74, but the music goes on. David Freiberg (acoustic guitar and vocals) has played with the band intermittently since 1972 and is a rich source of wisdom and history for the other members. Starship’s female vocalist, Cathy Richardson, has a big voice that wakes the echoes. It’s impossible to replace Grace Slick, who is a painter now, but Richardson does a mighty fine job in her own right. Expect to hear Woodstock-era numbers like “Volunteers” and “White Rabbit” in a show that should be a trip. So trip on out to Jergel’s. 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. (MV, RH)

Cathy Richardson , of Jefferson Starship, performing at the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta at Point State Park. Photo: Martha Rial

Cathy Richardson , of Jefferson Starship, performing at the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta at Point State Park. Photo: Martha Rial

2) Jacksonville-based rock band 38 Special was formed in the mid-‘70s by friends Don Barnes and Donnie Van Zant (brother of Lynyrd Skynryd lead singers Johnny and the late Ronnie Van Zant). Although Donnie left 38 Special a few years ago, Barnes is still there on lead vocals and multi-instruments, and the group hasn’t eased off the gas at all. 38 Special’s genre at its inception was something that wouldn’t sound out-of-place on Dazed and Confused’s soundtrack—kind of a southern-style rock ‘n’ roll. However, their sound has shifted and evolved considerably. For example, compare 1978’s “I’m A Fool For You” with their breakout hit “Hold On Loosely,” only three years later (which was their first major hit and remains their biggest hit to this day). The difference is notable—but what each entry in 38 Special’s library has in common is that every song showcases their outstanding ability to rock out. Which they’ll be doing at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino. 8 p.m. 210 Racetrack rd., Washington. (EC, RH)

3) When you hear the term “singer-songwriter,” you tend to think of somebody doing folk-type tunes with a guitar—but think again, because here comes Jeffrey Osborne. Doesn’t matter whether you call it soul or funk or R&B; Osborne has done it for a long time at a high level. Born into a musical family, he is one of 12 children of the late jazz trumpeter Clarence “Legs” Osborne. Young Jeffrey broke into the big time during the 1970s, starting as the drummer and co-lead vocalist (with his brother Billy) for the band L.T.D., then becoming the main front man. Osborne went solo in 1980 and has had quite a career since then: 13 albums (including five that made the top-10 on the U.S. R&B charts), hit singles like the 1988She’s on the Left,” TV and movie work, and writing for and/or recording with female vocalists such as Whitney Houston and Dionne Warwick. Osborne performs here at the newly opened Rivers Casino Event Center. 8 p.m. 777 Casino Dr., North Shore. (MV)

4) Nox Boys will celebrate the release of their sophomore album, Out of Touch, at Mr. Smalls Theatre. The boys are from Blawnox and include an uncle on slide guitar. They play garage rock, such as on “Military School.” Pet Clinic and Josh Verbanets from Meeting of Important People open. Max T from the Attic Record Store will also perform a DJ set. 7 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (CM)

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Rick Handler

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