As we enter the last month of the summer concert season, this is not the time to go quietly into September— because it’s party time. Just like Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes proudly exclaim, “We’re having a party!” You want rollicking, good-time concerts? Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes are performing at Jergel’s this month. We also have Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band, who sing about a mythical place called “Margaritaville,” and Toby Keith, who wrote a hit song about the virtues of a “Red Solo Cup.” Plus, hometown guy Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg will be performing at First Niagara Pavilion. (The smoke cloud rising from there won’t just be from tailgating.) For a cool island vibe, check out the late Bob Marley’s former band, The Wailers, and for a little Cajun frolicking, there’s Buckwheat Zydeco at Club Cafe.
You say that’s all well and good, but what’s happening on the festival scene? How about the EQT Three Rivers Regatta, The Flood City Music Festival, and RANT (Rock All Night Tour)? In addition to some great national talent at the festivals, many hometown heroes will be performing, too. In this month’s legends category, we proudly preview Brain Wilson, David Crosby, and Booker T. Other big shows include Coldplay, Brad Paisley (a West Virginia native), Drake, and Florida Georgia Line. Rising stars playing the ‘Burgh this month include Wye Oak, Gary Clark Jr., American Authors, and Best Coast. So get out there for a hot concert and a cold drink.
Tuesday, August 2
If things had gone differently for Josh Groban, he could have been a Pittsburgh actor rather than a multi-platinum recording artist. The “popera” star was accepted to drama school at Carnegie Mellon University but left in his first semester to focus on singing. That’s worked out quite nicely for him so far: He’s sold more than 25 million records to date. Groban’s blend of pop and classical styles has earned him five number one singles on the U.S. adult contemporary charts and three number one albums in the U.S.: 2003’s Closer; the 2007 Christmas album, Noël; and 2013’s All That Echoes. But he’s also been winning over another audience with his humor—following up his popular 2011 appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” when he set Kanye West tweets to music, he did the same with the tweets of Donald Trump. Groban comes to Pittsburgh as part of his North American tour promoting Stages, his seventh album, a compilation of musical theater songs featuring “Anthem” from Chess, “Bring Me Home” from Les Misérables, and “What I Did For Love” from A Chorus Line. He also has out Stages Live. Opening is popular singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan and Foy Vance. 7.30 p.m. First Niagara Pavilion, 665 Route 18, Burgettstown. (HM/RH)
Wednesday, August 3
The group Heffron Drive is composed of two members of Big Time Rush—a boy band on hiatus since 2014— Kendall Schmidt and Dustin Belt. Schmidt and Belt had formed Heffron Drive back in 2008. They had met and wanted to form a group together. A name for the band suddenly appeared when they discovered that they both lived on Heffron Drive in Malibu, California. A year after that excursion started, they both joined Big Time Rush—Schmidt as lead vocalist and Belt as touring guitarist. Now with Big Time Rush on hiatus, they started up their original band, Heffron Drive, once again. The group’s sound draws on the rich vocal history of Big Time Rush (minus a few singers) along with rock, dance, and electronica influences. Heffron Drive’s latest album releases are Happy Mistakes in 2014 and ’15’s Happy Mistakes (Unplugged). Special guests are This Is All Now and Gavin Becker. 8 p.m. Mr. Small’s Funhouse, 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (RH)
Thursday, August 4
If you’ve been near a television, smartphone, or radio, or if you watched the Super Bowl 50 halftime show this year, you’ve probably heard the synth-y guitar hook from Coldplay’s “Adventure of a Lifetime.” The ubiquity of this hook speaks to the continued relevancy of Coldplay, a British four-piece arena rock band which just turned 20. (Although, in 1996, the then-duo was called Pectoralz. Starfish came next and finally Coldplay.) In 2000, “Yellow” caught the ears of music-listeners around the world and their sophomore album, A Rush of Blood to the Head, canonized them as rock royalty on par with U2 and Radiohead. And like U2, Coldplay are also known for their humanitarian work; Amnesty International is one of their prominent causes. Into the 2000s, more albums followed, and the band become one of the most commercially successful music artists in the world. They shared the stage of this year’s Super Bowl halftime show with Beyoncé and Bruno Mars. Now they come to another sporting arena—Consol Energy Center. Alessia Cara and Foxes open. 7 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (CM)
Billed as “a celebration of American roots music,” the AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, showcases blues, country, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, and soul. Nearly 30 acts are scheduled. One of them is Grace Potter, hot off of the release of 2015’s Midnight and returning to the festival after appearing there in 2009. She is a living survey of American music, having performed with Kenny Chesney, The Rolling Stones, and alternative psych-rockers The Flaming Lips. Charles Bradley, who will be playing with His Extraordinaires, has similar crossover appeal. He is a soul singer known for covering Black Sabbath’s “Changes.” Many Pittsburgh acts, both old and young, from the Billy Price Band to Bastard Bearded Irishmen, will perform as well. The festival takes place at Peoples Natural Gas Park. Its origins hark back to a 1989 street fair that commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Great Johnstown Flood. This year, the festival begins Thursday, August 4 and runs through Sunday, August 7. 90 Johns St., Johnstown. (CM)
Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes are bringing their wall-of-sound to Jergel’s Rhythm Grille tonight. The band features a New Jersey rock sound complemented by a talented horn section. Southside Johnny’s first three albums were arranged and produced by the co-founder of the band and Bruce Springsteen associate Steven Van Zandt. The albums were mainly composed of songs written by Van Zandt and/or Springsteen. They are known for songs “Trapped Again,” “Without Love,” and “We’re Having A Party.” Gary Douglas opens. 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. (RH)
Friday, August 5
Country musician Brad Paisley has been instrumental in leading flood relief efforts for his home state of West Virginia. Luckily for local fans, he’s also somehow finding time to play some gigs. Paisley recently dropped “Without a Fight,” a duet with Demi Lovato, this May. It will be the lead single off of Paisley’s upcoming new album. His latest release and 10th studio album is Moonshine in the Trunk. The first single, “River Bank,” is a catchy, summery ode to the simple joys of messing about in the water with an inner tube. The album’s third single is “Crushin’ It,” which features a music video depicting country stars as superheroes. And if the animation seems a little rough around the edges, that’s because Paisley drew it himself (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t tried to draw themselves as a superhero). It’ll be interesting to see whether he brings out his alter ego, “Steel Moonshiner,” on stage at the First Niagara Pavilion. Tyler Farr and Maddie & Tae open for him on this stop of Paisley’s Life Amplified World Tour. 7:30 p.m. 665 Route 18, Burgettstown. (HM/RH)
This year’s EQT Three Rivers Regatta promises a variety of music in a range of places. The Main Stage at Point State Park will feature the most acts. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, shows begin at noon and continue through the afternoon and evening. Friday sees a double shot of ‘90s alternative with Better Than Ezra taking the stage at 7:15 p.m. followed by the Gin Blossoms at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, American Authors, who are arguably best known for their super-catchy single “Best Day of My Life,” play at 8 p.m. Many local artists will perform over the weekend, including, but not limited to, Beauty Slap, Good Brother Earl, and The Andy Davis Band. Lovebettie, also from Pittsburgh and a Rolling Stone “Band To Watch,” will play an acoustic duet Saturday at noon.
On the North Shore Riverwalk, local DJs begin spinning Friday and Saturday at 5 p.m. DJ Bamboo, who is the Penguins’ official pre-game DJ, opens both days followed by DJ Petey C. on Friday. Sunday sees Country-singer Rodney Atkins closing the Main Stage at 8 p.m. followed by Purple Rain Fireworks and FX, a tribute to the late musician Prince. Pyrotecnico, a fireworks company based in New Castle, will be shooting the rockets, and you can probably guess what the dominant color will be. See the Regatta’s event schedule for a full list of performances. (CM)
Saturday, August 6
For Wye Oak’s fourth studio album, 2014’s Shriek, Jenn Wasner put down her guitar and picked up the bass. This might not sound like a big deal, but consider that Andy Stack is the only other member of this Baltimore duo. And consider, too, how big a record their previous LP, 2011’s Civilian, was. The A.V. Club voted it the best album of 2011, and the title track was used in “The Walking Dead” and in the indie film, Safety Not Guaranteed. The instrument swap could signal only sonic departure—hipsters were freaking out. And, yes, a sonic departure it was—the flash of “Holy Holy” traded for the slow-burn of “Glory”—but it worked. Shriek was similarly lauded by fans and critics. This year saw the release of Tween, songs which originated between Civilian and Shriek. The band is now touring Tween, including a stop at Club Cafe. Tuskha opens. Sold Out. 56- 58 S. 12th St., South Side. (CM)
Wednesday, August 10
Wiz Khalifa’s rap songs have been nominated for 10 Grammys, including the hometown fave “Black and Yellow” (Khalifa is a Taylor Allderdice alum). “See You Again,” which features singer Charlie Puth, appears on the Furious 7 soundtrack. The song pays tribute to one of the film’s stars, Paul Walker, who died in a car accident before the movie was completed. Worldwide, “See You Again” sold more copies than any other song in 2015. It also was nominated for three Grammys and a Golden Globe. In 2016, Khalifa released a self-titled album; it debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard 200. He has also collaborated with artists like Snoop Dogg, whom he is touring with this summer.
Snoop Dogg raps plenty of verses on Dr. Dre’s solo debut, 1992’s The Chronic, but it was 1993’s Doggystyle, with hits like “Gin & Juice,” that made Snoop a bonafide rap star. He’s recorded 13 more solo albums since, most recently this year’s Coolaid. In 2011, he and Khalifa recorded an album together, Mac & Devin Go to High School. They also star in the film of the same name. Now they will appear side by side on their High Road tour at First Niagara Pavilion. Kevin Gates, Jhene Aiko, Casey Veggies, and DJ Drama open. 7 p.m. First Niagara Pavilion, 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (CM)
Thursday, August 11
Michael plays guitar and cello and sings. Kevin—guitar, vocals, and percussion. So are the frontman for The Bacon Brothers. Younger brother Kevin Bacon is known for his acting roles in Footloose, Apollo 13, and, most recently, the Fox television drama “The Following.” Michael Bacon has had an equally successful career, albeit one behind the scenes. He composes scores for film and television. His music for “The Kennedys,” a documentary which aired on PBS, won the Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Music. The music of the Bacon Brothers, however, is all Americana, as demonstrated by their single, “36 Cents,” from their latest album, 2014’s 36 ¢. Their band has been active since 1995, but the brothers have been playing music together since they were kids in Philadelphia. They also approve of eggs, “‘cause who knows eggs better than the Bacon Brothers?” Michael and Kevin are currently touring with a full band and are coming to Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. Derik Hultquist. 8 p.m. 103 Slade Ln., Warrendale. (CM)
Friday, August 12
Lawrenceville’s fifth annual Rock All Night Tour, aka RANT, is this month, and it now stretches over three days. Butler Street and the boulevards running off it are home to some of the ‘burgh’s hottest spots: bars, restaurants, and, of course, Arsenal Lanes, a popular bowling alley. Many of these venues, including the bowling alley, will serve as performance spaces for the festival, which begins 5 p.m. Friday in Arsenal Park. There will be a DJ, live music, and a showing of 2015’s Cinderella. The party continues at Hambone’s with more live music. Saturday is the big event, though, with most of the 200 bands scheduled for the festival performing that day.
There’s too many acts and venues to list, but here’s a quick sampling: Want country-swing and a succulent fried fish sandwich? Frequent Nied’s Hotel. Slim Forsythe and his Payday Loaners, including noted drummer Brad Smith, will host the other nine acts scheduled at this historic establishment. Another notable act includes punk rockers Murder for Girls, hot off the release of their debut LP, All the Wishes, and their appearance at Ladyfest Pittsburgh. They will play Cattivo. The newly reopened Belvederes has seven acts on the bill, including Chet Vincent & The Big Bend. Rising rockers Native Alloys will be performing at Javos Studios on Saturday. Singer-songwriter, folk, metal, rap, and other genres will all be represented throughout the day. Sunday at 11 a.m., the festival ends with a full roster of bands at Arsenal Park. For a complete list of performers, performance times, and venues, be sure to visit the festival’s website. Free. Lawrenceville. (CM)
Saturday, August 13
Toby Keith, one of the biggest current superstars in country music—if not the biggest—visits First Niagara Pavilion on his Interstates and Tailgates tour. Musically, Keith is known for his traditional twangy country-style, featuring lyrics about cowboys, horses, beer, patriotism, and other all-American topics, and for his prolific discography spanning more than 20 years: over 18 studio albums, numerous compilations, two Christmas albums, and nearly two dozen number one singles. He’s also known for the raucous party scenes associated with his visits to Pittsburgh. He’s sure to play his big hit “Red Solo Cup” (re: the color and brand of cup used at many parties, tailgates, and keggers). As is often the case with musicians who have cult-like followings, there’s probably a sizable crowd already planning to attend this concert. So if you’re going, grab your cowboy hat and boots, plaid shirt, and daisy dukes (for those so inclined), and saddle up. Opening is Eric Paslay. 7 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (RH)
Pittsburgh native, singer-songwriter Bill Deasy performs his annual Live by Request show at Club Cafe. Best known for his work as the former (and current, for reunion shows) lead singer of The Gathering Field, Deasy deals in easygoing, mellow, acoustic folk rock. In this annual performance, the audience picks the set list; it’s a great opportunity to force Deasy to flex his musical muscles because he has little idea beforehand what songs he’ll be asked to play. When you enter Club Cafe just fill out a request form and drop it in the open guitar case on stage. Deasy has an impressive background, having released and toured nationally in promotion of 13 studio albums, including four with The Gathering Field and seven as a solo artist. He’s also dabbled in the authorial arts—in 2006, he released Ransom Seaborn, his first of three books so far, which are now collectively known as the Finbar Trilogy. Deasy’s most recent musical release is 2013’s Start Again. 7 p.m. 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. (EC/RH)
Sunday, August 14
Much more than sidemen, Booker T. & the M.G.’s were an accomplished band all on their own. (You’ve probably heard their instrumental single, “Green Onions,” even if you don’t recognize its curious title.) Fronted by Booker T. Jones, who played organ, the M.G.’s were the house band for Stax Records, a famous Memphis record label which pioneered soul. The M.G.’s backed Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas, and numerous other soul icons. The band was also racially integrated, having both white and black members. 1971’s Melting Pot was the last M.G.’s record on Stax as Booker T. had already left for California a year earlier. He would produce and collaborate with other artists, including Neil Young. The M.G.’s would become Young’s touring band in the early ‘90s. In 2013, Booker T. released Sound the Alarm, his first album on Stax in over 40 years. Gary Clark, Jr.; Estelle; and others made guest appearances. Booker T.’s Stax Review comes to Hartwood Acres Park Amphitheater for a free show—a primer on ‘60s soul sure to be enjoyed. 7:30 p.m. 200 Hartwood Acres, Hampton and Indiana townships. (CM)
Monday, August 15
It won’t take listeners long to figure out which coast Best Coast thinks is “best.” Their new album, released May 2015, is called California Nights, and the duo itself is from Los Angeles. Then there’s the group’s sound: the surf-rock shimmy of the guitar, the sunshine vocals—West Coast, all the way. Their music may remind one of another Los Angeles group with female vocals: The Go-Go’s. Appropriate, as Best Coast are opening for The Go-Go’s this summer on the New Wave Pioneers’ Farewell Tour. Best Coast are also playing plenty of headlining shows in between, including one at Mr. Smalls. On recordings, the group consists solely of frontwoman Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno. On stage, they are joined by a full band so that they may recreate the lush sound found on those records. The Stargazer Lillies open. 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (CM)
Tuesday, August 16
Every four years, the Republican presidential nominee has a problem—most of the best rock is performed by Democratic-leaning performers and groups. Problem solved—the “Motor City Madman” Ted Nugent, an ardent gun rights advocate, hunter, and Republican, known for his conservative stances and bombastic statements, would and probably has already played for the party’s political events. How about candidate Donald Trump entering to Nugent’s song “Stranglehold,” “Great White Buffalo,” or “Cat Scratch Fever?” Now is your chance to see the “Nuge” perform on his Sonic Baptizm tour at Stage AE. Gene The Werewolf opens. Doors at 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.
Wednesday, August 17
With the “Hotline Bling” music video, Drake made “dad dancing” (and owl-emblazoned hoodies) cool. Inspirer of multiple memes, “Hotline Bling” is also the paragon of an earworm. That chorus! So innocuous on the first listen—until you find yourself humming it to the amusement of your cubicle or classmates. Drake later included the single on this year’s Views, his fourth studio album, which hit number one on the US Billboard 200. Drake, born Aubrey Drake Graham, is from Toronto, Ontario, and got his start playing Jimmy Brooks on the Canadian teen drama “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” As a musician, he has collaborated with multiple artists, notably the Atlanta-based rapper Future. The pair released What a Time to Be Alive, a mixtape, in 2015; it also went to number one on the US Billboard 200. Like Drake, Future released his fourth studio album this year: Evol. They are now touring together and will play Consol Energy Center along with Roy Woods, DVSN, and other special guests. 6:30 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (CM)
Renowned reggae royalty The Wailers come to Jergel’s Rhythm Grille this month. The legendary backing band for Bob Marley, The Wailers have stayed true to their Jamaican musical roots and are led by longtime member Aston “Family Man” Barrett. After Marley’s death in 1981, The Wailers continued to tour and release music, sometimes with other artists and sometimes just as a group. They play an average of 200 shows per year and are no strangers to Pittsburgh. Marley’s last concert was played at The Stanley Theater (now The Benedum), and since then, The Wailers have played shows in the area at numerous venues over the years. They continue to perform classic cuts, like “No Woman, No Cry” and “Buffalo Soldier.” Let the positive vibrations lighten your mood and move your feet. 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. (RH/CM)
Thursday, August 18
Southern rock jam band Gov’t Mule follows the trail to Pittsburgh. The Mule started in ’94 as a side project for the Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes and bassist Allen Woody, who passed on in ’00. Haynes has led the band forward through an additional 15 albums, including Shout, which reached a peak position of 32 on the U.S. album charts. The Mule’s melodic, guitar-drenched sound can be heard in songs like “Soulshine” and “Beautifully Broken.” With the Allman Brothers currently disbanded, Gov’t Mule is a great band to get your Southern-fried rock fix from. In addition to their own songs, The Mule includes covers from such artists as The Beatles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, Robert Johnson, and Neil Young. Also on the bill is Blackberry Smoke. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Stage AE 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (RH)
Tuesday, August 23
A best-selling author, successful restaurateur, and beverage manufacturer will be making an appearance in the Pittsburgh area. Who might that be, you ask? Jimmy Buffett! The quintessential singer-songwriter has successfully transformed his brand of fun and vacation-y party music into a series of books, restaurants, and libations. Oh, don’t worry, he still has time to visit with Parrot Heads (Buffett fans) in Pittsburgh every year. Some likely sounds on the setlist for Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band include “Margaritaville,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes,” and “Fins.” Buffett, who upon college graduation worked for a while as a correspondent for Billboard magazine in Nashville, first started out performing in the country arena and busked for tourists in New Orleans. A busking trip to Key West gave him the inspiration for his island sound, one which is a unique mix of country, folk, pop, and tropical melodies. 8 p.m. First Niagara Pavilion. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (RH)
Thursday, August 25
Brian Wilson is one of the key ingredients of the great American songbook created by the Beach Boys. Surfing, racing, and love were some of the thematic elements in their tunes. Many of them written by Wilson, he is credited with writing more than two dozen Top 40 hits for the Beach Boys. Wilson’s innovative writing and recording techniques became well-respected in the industry. He is a true champion who overcame the incapacitating challenges of mental illness to again achieve greatness through his music.
Wilson is a highly talented singer, songwriter, pianist, and arranger who is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a two-time Grammy winner. He is touring under the banner of the 50th Anniversary of the album Pet Sounds. The album was the Beach Boys’ 11th studio album and was one of the first concept albums, incorporating, rock, jazz, psychedelic, classical, and avant-garde influences. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” “Sloop John B” and “Caroline, No” were all notable hits from the album. Wilson’s intent was to make the greatest rock and roll album ever. It peaked at no. 10 in the U.S. and at no. 2 in the U.K. Special guests are Beach Boys’ founding member Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin. 8 p.m. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District.
Friday, August 26
On this summer’s solo acoustic tour, singer-songwriter David Crosby takes the stage with just his voice and guitar for company. The veteran performer, of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash fame, promises to draw on music from throughout his 50-year career, from both solo albums and collaborative works. At 74, the two-time Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer hasn’t lost his urge to create new music. His latest solo effort, Croz, was released in January 2014 after a long recording hiatus, and was described by Rolling Stone as “a triumphant solo return.” The producer on the album was Crosby’s son, James Raymond, who also co-wrote some of the tracks and recorded them in his home studio. It’s easy to imagine the spare, stripped-back tunes translating beautifully into an acoustic show. He’s again working with Raymond on a followup album to Croz. Additionally, Crosby has another album, Lighthouse, slated for October release, one which he worked on with Michael League of the band Snarky Puppy. 8 p.m. The Palace Theatre, 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. (HM/RH)
Saturday, August 27
Country duo Florida Georgia Line consists of Tyler Hubbard (he’s the Georgian half of the pair) along with Brian Kelley from Florida. It’s only the second time they’ve headlined their own tour, after opening for Luke Brian, Taylor Swift, and Jason Aldean in recent years. The duo formed in Nashville in 2010 and have since put out two albums: 2012’s Here’s to the Good Times and last year’s Anything Goes, the latter of which went to No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and the Country Albums chart. Dig Your Roots, the group’s third LP, is scheduled to come out the day before their Pittsburgh show. They were apparently the first group to be labeled as “bro-country,” a rock and hip-hop influenced style, best demonstrated by their smash single “Cruise” (which was later remixed by hip-hop artist Nelly and given an even more leery video). Opening is Cole Swindell, The Cadillac Three, and Kane Brown. 7 p.m. First Niagara Pavilion, 665 Route 18, Burgettstown. (HM/RH)
Tuesday, August 30
Blues/rock guitarist Gary Clark Jr. started appearing on the national radar when he played the Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2011 and 2012. Also in 2012, he performed as part of a musical tribute at the White House called “Red, White, and Blues.” For that concert, he performed solo and with the legendary musical performers B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck, and Buddy Guy. PBS televised the concert. Clark Jr. rose out of Austin, Texas, playing at the same club—Antone’s— that launched brothers Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughan years earlier. Clark Jr.’s incendiary runs on his Epiphone, Gibson, or Stratocaster guitars can be heard on songs like “When My Train Pulls In” and “Bright Lights.” He’s touring in support of his 2015 album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim. Clark Jr. has also landed some TV and film roles. His songs can be heard in several soundtracks as well. Doors open at 7 p.m. Stage AE, 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (RH)
Rick Handler is the executive producer of Entertainment Central and loves great music.
Christopher Maggio also loves great music and was a major contributor to this guide.