Katy Perry Ready to Roar at Consol; Natalie Merchant Plays Carnegie Library Music Hall (CPs Tues., 7/22/14)

1) In 2008, when Katy Perry kissed a girl (and liked it), it  would have been easy to write her off as a one-hit wonder who used shock value to get attention in the pop world. But six years later, Ms. Perry has proven to be a pop culture juggernaut. Her 2008 debut album, featuring the attention-grabbing “I Kissed a Girl,” sold over five million copies worldwide. The 2010 follow-up, Teenage Dream, peaked at over six million. And her most recent, Prism, has sold close to three million in the first eight months. From those three albums, she;s had nine number one singles and dozens of platinum certifications. Perry keeps her fans happy with upbeat, energetic music and a stage with visuals and production value that blows audiences away. You have a chance to experience it at Consol Energy Center. 7 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.

2) In 1981,18-year old Natalie Merchant began her singing career as the lead singer of 10,000 Maniacs. She stayed with the band until 1993, releasing seven studio albums and an MTV Unplugged album before striking out on her own. As a soloist, she has released six studio albums since 1995 with all but one charting in the Top 30 on Billboard. A favorite on the adult-contemporary charts, Merchant had four Top 10 singles in a row from 1995 to 1998, with 1996’s “Wonder” peaking at #2 on the Adult Top 40 and #20 on the Hot 100. She released a self-titled album earlier this year, and she will be at the Carnegie Library Music Hall for a 7:30 p.m. show. 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall. POSTPONED, new date TBD.

3) Fans of country band Nickel Creek have reason to celebrate. In 2007, the band announced it would be breaking up indefinitely after the conclusion of that year’s appropriately named Farewell (For Now) tour. They recently told their fans that they would be reuniting for a summer tour and are releasing a new album, A Dotted Line, their sixth as a group. The trio of Chris Thile on mandolin, Sara Watkins on fiddle, and Sean Watkins on guitar has been playing together since 1989. Proving that they only get better as the years go by, their fourth album, Nickel Creek, won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 2003. Their song, “Love of Mine,” has already climbed to #7 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Bluegrass and Folk charts. The trio will be at Stage AE with special guest The Secret Sisters; doors open at 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.

4) Matthew Sweet did a lot in the 80’s in Athens, Ga. He collaborated with R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe under the name Community Trolls, played with Stipe’s sister Lynda’s band Oh-OK, and formed The Buzz of Delight with Oh-OK’s drummer David Pierce. Buzz’s debut album, Sound Castles, garnered enough attention to land Sweet a solo recording contract with Columbia Records. Before the 80’s were over, though, he would release two solo albums, Inside and Earth, both of which were well liked by critics and largely ignored by the public. In the 90’s, Sweet hit his stride. His 1991 album Girlfriend was again well received by critics, but this time, the title track single struck a chord with listeners. The song peaked at #10 on the Billboard Modern Rock charts, and the anime-infused music video was a favorite on MTV. Sweet has released 12 more studio albums since 1991, though only 1995’s 100% Fun duplicated the Gold status of Girlfriend. Sweet will be at Club Cafe with special guest Tommy Keene for an 8 p.m. show. 56 S. 12th St., South Side.

5) The Pirates play the fifth game of a six-game home stand tonight against the Los Angeles Dodgers. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. 115 Federal St., North Shore

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Daniel J. Dombrowski

Daniel J. Dombrowski is a freelance writer and editor living and working in Pittsburgh, Pa.

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