Polyphonic Spree Bring Unique Sound to Mr. Smalls; Club Cafe Hosts Lydia Loveless (Fri., 11/6/15)

1) Listeners didn’t know what to make of The Polyphonic Spree when they began appearing on indie rock radio a decade and a half ago. The group, originally from Dallas, Texas, wore matching white gowns, and on stage there stood more members than concert-goers could count. Were they an ensemble? A cult? Then “Light and Day / Reach For the Sun” came out and suddenly none of that mattered. The mainstream had found the group. That single appeared in a Volkswagen Beetle/iPod ad, and the band performed the song on an episode of NBC’s “Scrubs.” The single also comes from the group’s debut album, The Beginning Stages of …, currently being performed in its entirety to celebrate its 15th anniversary. Tour stops include Mr. Smalls. Fans can also expect some covers as well as deep cuts. Bring your extra-large autograph book: the band currently counts 21 active members. Past members include indie rock darling St. Vincent, and the group is fronted by Tim DeLaughter. The Sharp Things open. 9 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (CM)

 

2) “Loud introvert.” That’s Lydia Loveless’s self-proclaimed moniker. The label comes through in her sound. Part country, part rock, her music draws from her childhood in rural Ohio and her adolescence in Columbus, respectively. The 25-year-old is also prolific: she released her third album, Somewhere Else, in 2014, and she released her debut, The Only Man, in 2010 when she was 19(!). Her music is highly literary as well. “Verlaine Shot Rimbaud,” a track off Somewhere Else, recounts a shooting between the two 19th-century French poets and lovers. (She’s also been known to perform a Kesha cover.) Music runs in the family—her father owned a country music bar. Forget pillows or decorative throws. Musicians, crashing for a night, were often the family’s living room ornamentations, a bellwether of Loveless’s later life on the road. Her stop in Pittsburgh takes her not terribly far from her home base of Columbus, Ohio. She, bassist/husband Ben Lamb, and the rest of her band will be bringing their brand of cowpunk to Club Cafe. The Red Western opens. 9 p.m. 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. (CM)

 

3) Over the years, Pittsburgh Dance Council has brought many of the world’s best modern dance companies to town. Next up is the entrancing and enigmatic solo artist Aakash Odedra, who bills himself as Aakash Odedra Company, though he’s usually the only one dancing. Born and still living in England, Odedra mixes classical Indian dance with his own inventive choreography and eerie stage effects. But he also works collaboratively. In Pittsburgh he will perform Rising (see video excerpts above), a feature-length show made up of four shorter pieces created for him by other choreographers. The performance is part of the Cultural Trust’s India in Focus series. 8 p.m.Byham Theater, 101 6th St., Cultural District.

4)  Unblurred: First Fridays on Penn features a variety of visual and performing arts at galleries, clubs, and restaurants along Penn Avenue (4800-5500) in the Garfield, Bloomfield, and Friendship neighborhoods. 6 p.m. – 2 a.m. Most events are free.