Justin Townes Earle in Town at Mr. Smalls; Islands Wash Ashore at Altar Bar (CPs Thurs., 9/18/14)

1) Singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earleson of country singer Steve Earle—is “just in town” (I’m sorry, it couldn’t be avoided) for one night. The prolific young musician is stopping by Mr. Smalls Theater to share his Americana blend of folk rock. The 32-year-old got his start in his hometown of Nashville, playing live with various bands of his own machination, and he toured with his father’s band, the Dukes, for whom he played guitar and keyboards. Since his self-released EP, Yuma, in 2007, he has released five full-length studio albums that showcase his natural talent and the fact that, despite his age, he is a seasoned performer, with swagger and soul in spades. Earle’s most recent release was 2012’s Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, so we should likely look forward to a new release from Earle sooner than later. Joined by special guests American Aquarium and Essential Machine. 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale.

2) Freewheeling indie rockers Islands visit Altar Bar on their U.S. tour. Hailing from Montreal,  this quirky quartet—Nicholas Thorburn, Evan Gordon, Geordie Gordon, and Adam Halferty—is in good company among illustrious indie acts like Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend. The band has released five full-length studio albums since their debut, Return to the Sea, in 2006, and have featured a regularly revolving door of band members. What has remained consistent over the years is the band’s eccentric, often inexplicable sound. Take, for instance, the opening track, “Wave Forms,” from their most recent release, Ski Mask: It has tropical undertones, slight hints of surf rock, and beautifully harmonized vocals, all held together by the glue of fluffy, spacy synth work. Islands’ music doesn’t shy away from odd instrumentation, resulting in a sound that, though quite polished, sounds highly experimental. Also on the bill are TEEN and I Am A Sea Creature. 8 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District.

3) Coverers of favorites from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s—both oldies and rock ‘n’ roll—The Bronx Wanderers wander into Greensburg’s Palace Theatre. This trio is composed of father Yo’ Vinny and his sons Vinny “The Kid” and Nicky “Stix,” and they identify their mission simply: to celebrate musical champions of yesteryear, “the dreamers who dared to produce and perform [the soundtrack of an era].” It’s appropriate that on visit to the Bronx Wanderer’s official web page, guests are greeted by the sound of “That Thing You Do,” the title track from the movie of the same name about  a fictional Beatles analog climbing to fictional glory—the champions who “dared to perform it.” Indeed, as the band notes, something very special is happening when an audience composed partially of 20 year olds and partially of 70 year olds is entirely on their feet, dancing along to the sweet sounds emanating from the stage. 7:30 p.m. 21 W. Otterman St.

4) The Pittsburgh Pirates hosts the Boston Red Sox at PNC Park in conclusion to a three-game home stand. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. 115 Federal St., North Shore.

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Dan Hoyt

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