Kiss Plays PPG Paints on Farewell Tour; Pittsburgh Opera Opens ‘La Bohème’; Bill Toms CD Release Event (Sat., 3/30/19)
1) Face-painted rock bad boys, Kiss, are one of the top-selling bands of all time. Started in New York City in 1973, the band was one of the early pioneers in rock theatrics incorporating fire, smoking guitars, flash pots and rockets into their shows. Still driven by founding members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, the band has ridden the wave of classic rock nostalgia and still attracts sizable crowds. The makeup and costumes are based on cartoon characters they created, with Stanley as The Starchild and Simmons as The Demon. Several of their biggest hits rose the charts to rock radio fame in the ‘70s including “Rock ‘n Roll All Night” “Beth” and “Detroit Rock City.” Yes, Kiss is a very dramatic band but they have also created powerful rock songs and ballads. Kiss is on their End of the Road World Tour. Catch ‘em while you can. 7:30 p.m. PPG Paints Arena, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.
2) A little extra publicity never hurts. Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, a longtime audience favorite, gets an added boost in modern times by being known as the opera that inspired the musical Rent. See (and hear) what made the original popular, as Pittsburgh Opera stages La Bohème. The opera is loved for its music, of course—the romantic duet O soave fanciulla (“O sweet girl”) comes across wonderfully even without English translation—and the story is richly engaging. It’s set during the 1830s in Paris, where the term “bohemian” was first applied to artistic types living at the fringes of society. Puccini knew the lifestyle from his younger days, and for La Bohème he worked with a pair of skilled librettists, Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. Together they crafted an opera that’s like an emotional roller coaster, following a group of young bohemians through hilarious escapades mixed with the tensions and perils of living at the edge. Singing the lead roles for Pittsburgh Opera are tenor Sean Pannikar as Rodolfo and Nicole Cabell, a heralded soprano making her first appearance here, as Mimi. In Italian with English supertitles. 8 p.m. There’s a pre-show talk from 7 to 7:30 p.m. Performances continue through April 7. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District. (MV)
3) Bill Toms and Hard Rain with the Soulville Horns will be rockin’ out Club Cafe for a new live CD release party from a performance they recorded there last year. Toms’ slightly raspy, deeply soulful voice and his guitar playing prowess combine with the drums, horns, and rest of the band to create a hot rock sound. Their last release was Good For My Soul. Should be a fun evening. Special guest is Jimbo Jackson. 8 p.m. Club Cafe, 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. (RH)
4) The Burgh Defenders are Pittsburgh’s new American Arena League Football team. Tonight they play their first home game of their inaugural season on the turf at Printscape Arena at Southpointe against the New England Bobcats. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. The National Anthem will be sung by Alyssa Fazzini, Navy veteran and NBC’s “The Voice” contestant. Fazzini will also be having a meet and greet during the pregame tailgate party at Bubba’s Gourmet Burghers & Beer at Southpointe. The arena is located at 114 Southpointe Blvd., Cannonsburg.