1) The fourth-annual Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival kicks off today. This is the first day in a weekend of live music and dancing throughout the Cultural District and beyond. Among today’s events is the JazzLive Crawl (5:30-9 p.m.), during which many downtown restaurants and bars feature live jazz performances. There is no cover at the participating venues, and the JazzLive International Festival is free. The Night Market (5:30-11 p.m.) is an opportunity to buy hand-crafted products from regional artists and indulge in delicious chow prepared by Pittsburgh’s well-loved food trucks. Jam On Ninth (5:30-11 p.m.) is an outdoor concert at the intersection of 9th Street and Liberty Avenue and features a number of talented performers. First up is DJ Nate Da Phat Barber (5:30 p.m.), followed by the Pittsburgh Line Dance Off (7:30-8:30 p.m.), and finally Grammy-winning Snarky Puppy (9:15-11 p.m.). At the end of the night, join host Sean Jones at the Sonoma Grille (947 Penn Ave.) for the JazzLive Jam Sessions (beginning at 10 p.m.). Your best bet is to simply go downtown, open your ears, and see where the music takes you. Cultural District.
2) Across the Allegheny River, a distinctly different scene unfolds; alternative rock bands Everclear and Soul Asylum perform at Stage AE. Originally formed in the early 90s and early 80s, respectively, these bands complement each other well. For those (like myself) who grew up in the 90s, Everclear is sure to prompt pangs of nostalgia, with hits like “Father of Mine,” “Santa Monica,” and “Wonderful.” Everclear is truly a product of that decade, mixing West Coast surf/pop punk and a hint of grunge, two key genres that helped define the era. Soul Asylum, best known for the 1992 hit “Runaway Train,” often takes things slightly slower than Everclear, with down-tempo jams like “Misery.” They share in the 90s spirit, however, exemplary of the disaffected frustration that bands like Nirvana made well-known. The concert is part of the Summerland Tour 2014 and also features fellow 90s rockers Eve 6 and Spacehog. “In the Meantime” is a great rocker from Spacehog that should get AE moving for the main acts.. 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.
3) Buckwheat Zydeco brings his accordion-powered Cajun flair to the South Park Amphitheater for another event in the 2014 Allegheny County Summer Concert Series. An upbeat, exciting blend of R&B, blues, soul, and the traditional Creole music zydeco—the genre from which Buckwheat derives the second half of his stage name—is the sound that you probably conjure when thinking of traditional Louisianan music. Born Stanley Dural, Jr., Buckwheat has grown from humble roots—the son of a Creole farmer—to musical legend over the course of his more than 30-year career. He hasn’t slowed down, either; he recently helped Jimmy Fallon celebrate his final “Late Show” before taking over as host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” Additionally, he’s performed with such musical legends as Eric Clapton and U2. Buckwheat brings ideal musical accompaniment to heat up Western Pennsylvania’s hot summery weather. 7:30 p.m. Near Brownsville and McCorkle roads, South Park.
4) You might want to check out Night Life, a local five-piece dance band, at the Meadows Racetrack and Casino. Armed with a repertoire of new and old dance classics, Night Life is sure to get energy flowing and bodies moving. So when you take a break from the slots, join Night Life for what’s sure to be a good time. And come prepared to dance. 8 p.m. 210 Racetrack Rd., Washington.
5) Finally, on the other side of town, check out local musician Jeff Jimerson and his band, Airborne, at the Baja Bar & Grill. The group is highly sought after for private parties, with shows booked more than a year in advance. One possible explanation of their popularity: Jimerson is probably best known for his work as an anthem singer for our own Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s done so for over 20 years; he even appeared in that capacity in the 1995 Jean-Claude Van Damme film Sudden Death, which famously took place at a Penguins’ game. Another possible explanation is the talent: Airborne is a skilled, high-energy cover band. They’re not merely content to “play the music”; they bring the original tunes to life in a way that electrifies audiences. 8 p.m. 1366 Old Freeport Rd., Fox Chapel.