Starship Feat. Mickey Thomas at The Meadows; Keybank Hosts Bush, The Cult, and STP; Pgh Blues and Roots Fest (Sat., 7/21/18)

1) There are two derivations of the former Jefferson Airplane currently touring, and both will be in Pittsburgh this month. Jefferson Starship, which was revived in 1992, had a founding Jefferson Airplane member, Paul Kantner, as its leader until his death in 2016. The other band is Starship featuring Mickey Thomas. Thomas was not a founding member of Jefferson Airplane but joined the remnants of Jefferson Starship in 1979. Thomas is the lead singer who was on the hits “Jane,” “Sara,” and “We Built This City.” There have been lawsuits over name usage and retirements and un-retirements over the years, but both bands are touring and playing the wonderful Jefferson Airplane/Starship tunes. Isn’t rock and roll grand! Starship featuring Mickey Thomas plays The Meadows Racetrack and Casino. 8 p.m. 210 Racetrack Rd., Washington. 

2) Bushan English grunge band formed in London in 1992—gained early success with its first album, Sixteen Stone. The rockers’ 1996 release, Razorblade Suitcase, went to number one on the Billboard album chart, thanks to singles like “Swallowed.” Bush is currently touring in support of its latest album, 2017’s Black and White Rainbows. The band plays KeyBank Pavilion along with The Cult, who is also from England. “She Sells Sanctuary” is a standout song. Stone Temple Pilots, now fronted by Jeff Gutt after the death of Scott Weiland, are also on the bill. 6:30 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (EC, CM)

3) The second annual Pittsburgh Blues and Roots Festival will take place over two days at the Syria Shrine Center in Cheswick. The nonprofit group Band Together Pittsburgh organized the event. Proceeds will benefit the Autism Society of Pittsburgh. The strong lineup of blues musicians includes headliners John Nemeth (Saturday) and Walter Trout (Sunday). Tas Cru, Bernard Allison, Gathering Field, Jimbo & the Soupbones, The Nied’s Hotel Band, a Tribute to the Legendary Women of Blues, and more perform. 1:45 – 11 p.m. Saturday; 1:45 to 9 p.m. Sunday. There will also be a pre-festival party with Billy Price at Moondogs in Blawnox on Friday, July 20 at 8:30 p.m. Syria Shrine Center, 1877 Shriners Way, Cheswick. (RH)

4) Pittsburgh rock royalty Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers have remained a constant on the Pittsburgh music scene as the city morphed from steel mills to high-tech foundry. Grushecky is a consummate singer/songwriter Grushecky and The Houserockers have recently released their new first-rate album, More Yesterdays than Tomorrows. There are many hot tracks on the album including the introspective rocker title song; classic sounding Houserocker songs “Got to Go to Work Today,” “Blood, Sweat and Beers” and “Rev It Up;”  blues rock burners —  “Burn Us Down” (with a nice acoustic guitar flourish at the end) and “Hell to Pay” (with a little “Bo Diddley Beat” in it): and “That’s What Makes Us Great” with several vocal passages contributed by Grushecky’s friend, Bruce Springsteen. Another truly remarkable song is “The Voice” with very impressive melodic vocals by Grushecky, pleasing female backing vocals, and brilliant lead guitar work. The song’s about being in gratitude, listening to people, and to “stay strong” throughout life’s challenges. Grushecky and The Houserockers shine on all tracks. 8 p.m. The Meadows, 210 Racetrack Rd., Washington.

5) For five Saturdays every summer and fall, Walnut Street in Shadyside shifts its focus from the usual bustling bevy of bistros and boutiques to putting a bit of music in the air, courtesy of the Shadyside Chamber of Commerce. The annual Jam on Walnut series brings some big names out for free concerts that stop traffic and pack the street. Tonight’s edition features alt-rock band The Brighton Boys from New Brighton, PA. The Delaneys open. All of the Jams On Walnut are free to attend and proceeds from food and drink sales benefit Humane Animal Rescue. 7 p.m. 5442 Walnut St., Shadyside.

Pogopalooza— world championships of extreme pogo. July 21-22, Community Forge in Wilkinsburg.

6) Pogo is an extreme sport. How extreme it is hits home when you watch young athletes soaring  ‘way up and somersaulting on high-tech pogo sticks, rebounding off stairs and slanted surfaces, and generally wreaking controlled airborne havoc. Once again this year Pittsburgh hosts Pogopalooza, the world championships of pogo. The “once again” occurs because Xpogo, a company dedicated to producing extreme pogo events and promoting the sport, is headquartered here. The video above is from Pogopalooza 2016, held at the Carrie Furnaces site in Rankin. This year’s Pogopalooza is on the grounds of the new Xpogo offices in Wilkinsburg. The company has teamed with a host of volunteer activists and nonprofits to renovate Wilkinsburg’s former Johnston Elementary School, converting the historic structure to a resource housing community groups, businesses, and special events. The place is now called Community Forge, and extreme pogo (along with music and refreshments) happens there July 21-22. 1256 Franklin Ave., Wilkinsburg. (MV)

A Riverhounds forward takes a shot on goal as a defender closes fast. Photo: Chris Cowger.

A Riverhounds forward takes a shot on goal as a defender closes fast. Photo: Chris Cowger.

7) One of Pittsburgh’s hottest sports team takes the field tonight—The Riverhounds. The squad, who are currently in second place in the USL Group A standings, take on the third place Charleston Battery at 7 p.m. at Highmark stadium. We’ve seen some outstanding soccer with the recent World Cup Championship, now you can see some good action up close and in person. 510 W. Station Square Dr., Station Square.

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Rick Handler

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