Tom Segura Stops at Improv; Battlecross Storms Smiling Moose (CPs Thurs., 8/7/14)

1) Comedian Tom Segura’s aptly sums up his philosophy during a bit in which he discusses the virtue of buying a new set of teeth following a $350 lottery win: “Some of you […] are the people who say, ‘I don’t judge people.’ I think you’re lying—and if you’re not lying, you’re stupid. You should judge people—all the time. That’s how you get through life.” That attitude simmers beneath and informs Segura’s stand-up performances—ever-acerbic Segura does not pull punches. For instance, a person without teeth, he concludes, probably knows where to buy crystal meth. Segura’s comedic timing is impeccable, his subject matter bluntly honest. It’s often painfully easy to tell when comedians are making things up, fabricating tales they believe will be uproariously entertaining. Though indeed those tales may be funny, it’s tough to shake the feeling that they’re simply not true. Segura dodges this common pitfall: Whether his anecdotes are fictional or non-, much of his mastery lies in his ability to make you trust him. He doesn’t rely on excessive whimsy or distract audiences with exaggerated gestures; he stands onstage with microphone in hand and, as deadpan as can be, forces his audience to laugh. That talent has led to appearances on national television, at major comedy festivals, and in comedy clubs across the U.S.. See for yourself at the Pittsburgh Improv. 7 p.m. Through Aug. 10. 166 E. Bridge St., Homestead.

2) With an apocalyptic war cry, the Detroit-based metal band Battlecross invades the Smiling Moose—axes sharpened, tuned, and cranked to 11. Battlecross stand out in their masterful fusion of an assortment of heavy metal sub-genres. Between their harmonized guitars, deathly screaming vocals, rumbling bass grooves, and relentlessly aggressive rhythm, you’ll leave Smiling Moose soaked in sweat, whether you do battle in the mosh pit or not—their sound is simply that intense. Equally intense is the rapidity with which this five-piece band has grown in popularity since their debut album, Pursuit of Honor, in 2011; truly, they’ve turned heads at neck-breaking speed. Not only have they appeared at the prestigious SXSW festival in its Metal Blade Showcase, but they’ve also received generous play on satellite radio, garnered millions of views on their official YouTube channel, and played alongside major metal acts like System of a Down. Battlecross shows no signs of slowing down, either. Just over a year ago, they released their sophomore album, War of Will, and have barely stopped to breathe between national tours. Joined by Crimson Shadows and Ikillya. 5:30 p.m. 1306 E. Carson St., South Side.

3) Another performer in the Mellon Square Summer Concert Series—our homegrown Highland Brothers Band—takes up residence in Mellon Square for a couple of hours—just enough time for your lunch break. As self-described purveyors of “blue collar words for the everyday working stiff,” these guys might be just what the doctor ordered to push you through a grueling work week. Led by the titular Highland brothers—David and Justin—the band’s sound is raw and angry, defined by Justin’s rugged and raspy vocals. They liken their sound to that of the Dave Matthews Band, O.A.R., the Rolling Stones, and Mumford and Sons—a somewhat disparate selection. To get a real (live) sample for yourself, what better opportunity than a free concert? Summer’s almost over—tune in to the their music while you enjoy the sunshine and eat lunch. 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sixth Avenue and William Penn Place, Downtown.

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Dan Hoyt

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