Guitar Slinger Joe Bonamassa Plays Benedum; Wu Tang’s GZA at The Rex (Thurs., 3/2/17)

1) Joe Bonamassa is a blues rock guitar virtuoso, whose soaring lead guitar riffs are heavily influenced by British players, including Eric Clapton, John Mayall, and Jeff Beck. He opened for B.B. King when he was all of 12 years old.  Bonamassa’s albums have occupied the number one spot on the Billboard Blues Chart 11 times. Many people will remember Bonamassa from his PBS concert specials. Live at the Greek Theater is his latest release. Pittsburgh has many great guitarists who enjoy seeing other talented players, which is evidenced by the brisk ticket sales for these shows. There will be a second show on Friday, March 3. Both shows start at 8 p.m. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District.

2) No release date is set for GZA’s highly anticipated album, Dark Matter, but the rapper is playing a handful of live dates this year, including one at the Rex Theater. There’s a reason GZA (née Gary Grice) also goes by The Genius. His second solo album, 1995’s Liquid Swords, is often lauded by fans and critics alike as the paragon of lyrical prowess. Its reputation has only grown; almost 20 years after its release, it went platinum. Plus, what topic won’t GZA rap about? Dark Matter will allegedly cover physics, science, and space. He also champions science education for New York City high school students. With Columbia University Professor Christopher Emdin and the website Rap Genius, he helped to pilot Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. (Bringing Attention to Transforming, Teaching, and Learning Science), an initiative which teaches science through hip hop. GZA is a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, arguably the greatest hip-hop group of all time. Amir Miles, NXFCE, and Hubbs open. 8 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. (CM)

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Rick Handler

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