Umphrey’s McGee Set to Jam Stage AE; Pittsburgh Humanities Festival Opens (Fri., 3/22/19)

1) Progressive rock jam band Umphrey’s McGee, from the Fighting Irish town of Notre Dame, Indiana, will be in concert at Stage AE. Influenced by the likes of the Grateful Dead, Yes, King Crimson, and Pink Floyd, their unique sound can be heard in the songs “Wizard Burial Ground” and “Mulche’s Odyssey.” In 2018, they released their 11th album, It’s Not Us, to mark their 20th anniversary. Guitarist and vocalist Brendan Bayliss got the idea for the record during a Cubs game that he attended. The game was six months before the Cubs won the World Series in 2016. Then, a week after they clinched that series, the band members entered Chicago’s I.V. Labs Studio. (Nothing like America’s pastime to get the creative muse speaking.) The band continued the anniversary celebration with a 12th album, It’s You, also released in 2018. Umphrey’s McGee, who performed at the first Bonnaroo Music Festival, are known for their live shows: all solos and bright lights. Big Something open. Doors open 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (RH, CM)

Kevin Kwan, author of 'Crazy Rich Asians.'

Kevin Kwan, author of ‘Crazy Rich Asians.’

2) What does it mean to be human? The Pittsburgh Humanities Festival, held annually since 2015, is set to tackle that topic beginning today. The three-day festival explores the human experience through the lenses of various disciplines including culture, art, music, dance, theater, fashion, and literature. A joint production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Humanities Center at Carnegie Mellon University, the festival is being billed as Smart Talk About Stuff That Matters. Talks and other activities will be held at various locations in the Cultural District.

Headlining the 2019 Humanities Festival are two featured events. One is “An Evening with Kevin Kwan: Crazy Rich Asians and the Power of Representation.” Kwan, author of the Crazy Rich trilogy of novels, will speak at the Byham Theater on Friday, March 22 at 8 p.m.

Last Podcast on the Left is the other featured attraction. The cast members provide an in-depth, humorous look at all things macabre, including cults, killers, cryptic encounters, and more. They’ll make an 8 p.m. appearance at the Byham on March 23. For information on all of these events see our preview or visit the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival 2019 website.