Springsteen Kicks Off U.S. Tour at Consol; Strip District Music Fest All Day (Sat., 1/16/15)

Bruce Springsteen with Guitar. Photo: Bill Ebbesen and Wikipedia.

Bruce Springsteen with Guitar. Photo: Bill Ebbesen and Wikipedia.

1) The first song that I can remember hearing by multi-Grammy-award winner Bruce Springsteen was “Born to Run.” I loved the music and the lyrics! What I especially noticed was what sounded like tiny bells playing throughout the song. Only later did I learn this was the result of a glockenspiel played by the late E Street Band member Danny Federici. Other early favorites were “Backstreets” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.” I then went on to ravenously enjoy every song on Darkness on the Edge of Town, which produced songs like “Prove It All Night,” and The River, which gave us “Out in the Street” and “Hungry Heart.”

Springsteen and band will be performing all the songs from The River album on this tour of the same name. The songs will be played in a different order at every stop. Each concert of this tour will be recorded and available for download. The tour is in support of Springsteen’s box set The Ties That Bind: The River Collection with the entire The River album and outtakes from those recording sessions.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band have had continuing success over the years despite obstacles that included the deep loss of saxophonist Clarence Clemons and Federici. However, like great champions, they’ve moved forward and found a new path. When the sum of great musical parts—like Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band—comes together in a positive way, magic happens. This concert sold out quickly, but tickets can be found on re-seller sites. 7:30 p.m. Consol Energy Center, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.


2) Created as a way to promote local music during a typically slow time of the year, Strip District Music Fest will surely cure your winter doldrums. Now in its second year, the festival boasts some of Pittsburgh’s biggest acts. Like poppy shoegaze? Try Donora or Meeting of Important People. Want something more rockin’? Seek Nevada Color. Prefer your Celtic music infused with some speed? Bastard Bearded Irishmen are your band. How about classical music with a kick? Cello Fury all the way. There are DJs and stand-up comedians as well. The number of acts has increased, from 80 to over 100. Ditto with venues, from 11 to over 20, all located in the Strip. These venues include old standards like Altar Bar as well as non-traditional spots like the Pittsburgh Winery and Wigle Whiskey. Food trucks, like those from BRGR and South Side BBQ, will also be on hand. Although the event is “pay what you want,” patrons are encouraged to donate to artists that they like through the festival’s official website. Like all the artists? Click on a VIP Donation Package, to be split between every act. These packages come with a SDMF T-shirt or a T-shirt and drink vouchers. 12 p.m. – 2 a.m. Penn Ave./Smallman St., Strip District. (CM)


3) Mr. Smalls Funhouse is hosting a concert that’s a veritable cross-section of new music on the Pittsburgh scene. The lineup consists of five new and emerging local bands in a variety of genres. Steel City Ruins (above) is a highly experimental instrumental group playing music that the members call ambient / progressive / jazz fusion. Blackbird Bullet will be on hand to blast through hard-driving ballads like “There’s No Reaction to the Action.” Post-punkers Rainbow Machine released a self-titled EP in October 2015 which includes appropriately titled tracks such as “Fruit Bat.” For a complete change of pace, The Annajames Band (fronted by vocalist Tiara Jeffers) plays in the singer/songwriter ballpark (here’s “Head Over Heels”). And rounding out the bill is a group called Opposite Day—not the semi-well-known Opposite Day from Austin, Texas, but the all-new Opposite Day from Pittsburgh, a band that may or may not be the opposite of Austin’s Opposite Day. Altogether it should be an intriguing evening at Mr. Smalls. 7 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (MV)