Josh Groban, Death Cab for Cutie, and Echo & the Bunnymen Play Pittsburgh Concerts Tonight (Thurs., 9/17/15)

1) If things had gone differently for Josh Groban, he could have been a Pittsburgh actor rather than a multi-platinum recording artist. The “popera” star was accepted to drama school at Carnegie Mellon University but left in his first semester to focus on singing. That’s worked out quite nicely for him so far: He’s sold more than 25 million records to date. Groban’s blend of pop and classical styles has earned him five number one singles on the U.S. adult contemporary charts and three number one albums in the U.S.: 2003’s Closer; the 2007 Christmas album, Noël; and 2013’s All That Echoes. But he’s also been winning over another audience with his humor—following up his popular 2011 appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” when he set Kanye West tweets to music, he recently did the same with the tweets of Donald Trump. Groban comes to Pittsburgh as part of his North American tour promoting Stages, his seventh album, a compilation of musical theater songs featuring “Anthem” from Chess, “Bring Me Home” from Les Misérables, and “What I Did For Love” from A Chorus Line. 7.30 p.m. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Downtown. (HM)

 

2) Kintsugi—the title of Death Cab for Cutie’s eighth studio album, released this year, refers to a Japanese method of repairing broken pottery with a metal-infused lacquer, so the cracks are on full display. Embraced, even. The indie rock band, formed in Bellingham, Washington, are soldiering on without lead guitarist and founding member Chris Walla, who left after the recording of the album. However, the (now) trio are determined to make the best of it. With the help of touring musicians, they are promoting the record, including a stop at Stage AE. Also, in 2012, actress and musician Zooey Deschanel divorced the band’s frontman, Ben Gibbard. Rumor has it Gibbard channeled the heartbreak into the new songs. “How could something so fair be so cruel?” Gibbard asks on the lead-off single, “Black Sun.” The band’s also playing plenty of their back catalogue, including cuts from 2003’s breakout Transatlanticism and other hits like “I Will Possess Your Heart” and “You Are a Tourist.” Twin Shadow opens. Doors open 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

 

3) Echo & the Bunnymen are one of those bands with a lineage almost too complicated to follow: splits, reunions, solo careers, and deaths. But despite all that, the alt-rockers can still claim the distinction of recording and releasing music for almost four decades since forming in Liverpool, England, in 1978. At various times a three-, four-, and five-piece, today the Bunnymen are a band of two: original frontman Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant. The band is best known for their influential 1980s releases, including 1983’s Porcupine, 1984’s Ocean Rain—featuring the hit single “The Killing Moon”—and an eponymous 1987 album. As the McCulloch-Sergeant duo, the band has been recording and touring regularly since 2000, putting out four albums, including 2014’s Meteorites. The Pittsburgh show is one of five U.S. dates on this year’s world tour. 8 p.m. Mr. Smalls, 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (HM) 

4) Our battlin’ Buccos play the fourth and last game of a series against the Chicago Cubs.  It’s a Military tribute game with special recognition of those who have served. 12:35 p.m. PNC Park, 115 Federal St., North Shore.