Nervous Comic Plays Improv; Reflective Musicians at Brillobox (CPs Thu., 2/27/14)

1) Skinny, nervous-seeming Taylor Williamson took second place in the most recent season of America’s Got Talent, losing to the weird but acrobatic dance artist Kenichi Ebina. You’ll hear about the rivalry in Williamson’s act, which he takes to The Improv this week. He loves to talk about his (factious) disdain for all things Japanese and his new-found hardline stance on immigration. But mostly, the 26-year-old Los Angeles-based comic talks about life as a mousy dude unnoticed by women, a self-effacing stage persona that makes him sympathetic enough to get away with a (feigned) bitterness towards a race of people. And besides, the acrobatic wonder did come between Williamson and a million bucks! 8 p.m. Through March 1. 166 E. Bridge St., Homestead.

2) Road Runner, a Pittsburgh duo consisting of two guys both named Ryan, plays heartfelt folk-rock that also has stomp. Their new five-track EP, Greetings From the Wilderness, covers an impressive emotional range, with tributes to beautiful girlfriends and anxiety for parents far away, and it was one of the best local releases from last year. (They wisely recruited a handful of back-up musicians for a fuller sound.) Hear cuts from it live at Brillobox tonight. Opening are Wreck Loose (who also put out a pretty good EP in 2013) and songstress Morgan Erina, one half of the gentle, folkie twosome Broken Fences. Doors open at 9 p.m. 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield.

3) Jazz is a genre that is uniquely capable of absorbing new, experimental sounds, and you’ll hear plenty of that at Club Café tonight. First up is Stranger Convention, a self-described “nujazz” group that mixes electric and acoustic instruments and plays covers of such challenging artists as Radiohead and Bjork. Following them: Kinetic, an ensemble that stacks R&B, hip-hop, and the rhythms of West Africa into their jazz sandwich. Cultures and eras collide tonight! 8 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side.

4) Out of all the regular theme nights in Pittsburgh, few are as well anticipated, attended, and celebrated as Belvedere’s Neon ’80s Night, overseen by DJ Hatesyou. For years, those who were hitting up the mall and Ratt concerts in the Reagan era have mingled with those who were potty-training and watching The Snorks at that time. Now kids born after Tiananmen Square make their way to Belvedere’s each Thursday to get down to the glorious sounds of Depeche Mode, The Smiths, New Order, and other folks who loved hairspray and synthesizers. 9 p.m. 4016 Butler St., Lawrenceville.

5) Redbeard’s Bar & Grill’s downtown location is hosting a Downtown Comedy Adventure tonight with talented local comics and musicians. Comedian Day Bracey is hosting, on the bill are Ray Zawodni, Krish Mohan, Matt Light and headliner Ed Bailey. 9 p.m. in the upstair’s bar area. No cover. 522 6th St.

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Nick Keppler

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