Cowabunga! The awesome wave of concerts that we’ve been waiting for has formed and is breaking now. This wave contains many streams, including country, classic rock, soul, metal, dance/hip hop, alternative, pop, jazz, and more.
There are so many cowboy crooners in town that we could start our own rodeo. And what a fine rodeo it would be with Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, and Ricky Skaggs. Classic rock acts roam the hills near and far. In town this month are big names, such as Steve Miller, Peter Frampton,Hall & Oates, Foreigner, Journey, Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Jason Bonham, Tommy James and the Shondells, and Herman’s Hermits.
Dance/hip hop is represented by Justin Timberlake and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kendrick Lamar. Alt-rockers include Jack White (who headlines XFEST), Grizzly Bear, Spoon, Everclear, Marcy Playground, and Dr. Dog. And what’s a summer concert season without Dave Matthews Band, who perform at KeyBank Pavilion.
There’s also a little bit of a metal band rematch happening this month as both Code Orange and Mastodon are in the ’Burgh to do a little screaming and shredding. Code Orange, from Pittsburgh, was edged out by Mastodon for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in this year’s ceremony.
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has two big shindigs this month with the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival and the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival. TRAF opens with the legendary pop/soul singer Mavis Staples and features a musical headliner each night. There are also many local bands that play TRAF, so get out and see some new local music. Marcus Miller headlines the Jazz Festival. The annual Ladyfest features top female-oriented, local punk/rock bands like The Lopez, Garter Shake, little good bad (+ -), and Blak Rapp Madusa. This year’s national headliner is L.A. punk rock pioneer Alice Bag. We are also fortunate to have a visit this month from bluegrass/country singer and musician Alison Krauss.
Remember, as The Beach Boys once sang, “Catch a wave and you’ll be sittin’ on top of the world.” Enjoy our wave of concerts that we’ve curated for your musical pleasure.
Entertainment Central Spotlighted Concerts
Friday, June 1
The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival brings many popular and unique performers to Pittsburgh every year for free concerts, but if there were one not to miss, it would be Mavis Staples, who headlines opening day. An icon of not only music but also civil rights, Staples began her career with her family’s band, The Staple Singers. The group recorded inspiring songs, such as “Long Walk to D.C.,” and covered some of the most political songs of the time, including “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” by Bob Dylan. (Mavis Staples later befriended Dylan, and she opened for him during his concert at Heinz Hall last year.) The Staple Singers also recorded on the legendary Stax Records. Mavis Staples never goes out of style. Other artists have always been eager to collaborate with her. Some of these include Curtis Mayfield (1977’s A Piece of the Action soundtrack), Prince (1989’s Time Waits for No One and 1993’s The Voice), and Arcade Fire (2017’s “I Give You Power”). She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. Her latest album is 2017’s If All I Was Was Black, which was written and produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. 7:30 p.m. Dollar Bank Main Stage, Point State Park, Downtown. (CM)
Back when posters of boy bands adorned the bedroom walls of every teenage girl in the country, naysayers said all those J Crew model-esque pretty boys would be exiled from the limelight in 10 years—and the naysayers were mostly right, but not in the case of Justin Timberlake. The ever-charismatic breakout star from ’N Sync has shown rare staying power, contributing songs like “Cry Me a River” and “SexyBack” to the canon of 21st-century classics and branching out to movies. You remember him as a devil-may-care dot-com guru in The Social Network. He also voiced Branch in 2016’s Trolls and recorded “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” for its soundtrack. Through it all, Timberlake hasn’t taken himself too seriously; his sly, self-referential humor made him an often-invited-back host of “Saturday Night Live.” He has performed at three Super Bowls: one with ’N Sync and two as a solo artist, including Super Bowl LII. ’N Sync also briefly reunited this April to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Timberlake performs at PPG Paints Arena in support of his latest album, Man of the Woods, released this year. The Shadowboxers open. 7:30 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (EC, CM)
Dave Matthews was at KeyBank Pavilion last year for Farm Aid, and he returns this year with his band for a headlining show. “Ants Marching” or “Gravedigger?” “Crash Into Me” or “Crush?” So go the speculations as to what Dave Matthews Band will play live. Attendees will likely get a sneak peek at some new songs, for the concert comes one week before the release of the band’s upcoming album, Come Tomorrow. Beginning in Charlottesville, Virginia, the group has become one of the world’s premier live acts for over 20 years. They’re also great in the studio, with six consecutive albums debuting at number one, which set a record. Their mix of rock, jam, and jazz has moved hearts and feet across generations. It’s been nearly six years since their last album, 2012’s Away from the World. “Crash Into Me” was the pillar of the throwback soundtrack to last year’s critically acclaimed Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut. 8 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (CM)
Code Orange define their genre as hardcore on their Facebook, but the Grammy voters nominated their song “Forever” for Best Metal Performance this year. Regardless of genre, the song seamlessly alternates tempos as Reba Meyers’s backing vocals provide a melodic frame around Jami Morgan’s growl. The song lost to Mastodon’s “Sultan’s Curse,” but the nomination and their major-label debut, 2017’s Forever, no doubt earned them exposure outside of their hometown: Pittsburgh. The group formed in 2008 as Code Orange Kids and released their debut album, Love Is Love/Return to Dust, in 2012. They dropped “Kids” from their name with the release of their sophomore album, I Am King, in 2014. Now it’s time for a homecoming with a headlining show at Mr. Smalls Theatre. Harm’s Way, King Nine, Too Pure To Die, and Eternal Sleep open. 7 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (CM)
Saturday, June 2
It’s been over 40 years since Journey originally formed, and they haven’t stopped rocking (or believing!) since. Indeed, the band famous for “Don’t Stop Believin’” has been absolutely relentless in its success over the years; to date, their Greatest Hits album has sold more than 15 million copies. Top songs include “Wheel in the Sky,” “Faithfully,” and “Any Way You Want It.” They now tour with lead vocalist Arnel Pineda, who is a talented vocalist from the Philippines and who’s covered many a Journey song in his rock and roll career. Original lead singer Steve Perry left the band in the ’80s to pursue a solo career.
A top-selling, classic rock band, Def Leppard is one of only five bands that have had two original studio albums with sales of over 10 million each. The others sharing this distinction are The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, and Pink Floyd. Top songs like “Photograph” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me” are some of the reasons for Def Leppard’s massive success. Lead guitarist Phil Collen played the Palace Theatre in February with his blues rock band Delta Deep on Joe Satriani’s G3 tour. Collen is an amazing guitarist in his own right. The co-headlining tour stops in Pittsburgh at PPG Paints Arena. 7 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (EC, RH)
People will be partying in the parking lot and on boats with their boots on before country superstar Kenny Chesney takes the stage for a Heinz Field concert. One of the most accomplished names in country music, Chesney has released over 20 albums, 14 of them going at least gold. He’s also a successful crossover artist with many of his songs hitting the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. After studying advertising at East Tennessee State and playing local bars, Chesney moved to Nashville and began his amazing rise. His latest album Songs for the Saints will be released on July 27. Chesney’s the headliner of his Trip Around the Sun Tour, which this year sees Thomas Rhett (who won Male Vocalist of the Year at the 2017 Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards), Old Dominion, and Brandon Lay opening. 5 p.m. 100 Art Rooney Ave., North Shore. (RH)
XFEST turns 20, and to celebrate, the organizers booked Jack White. The rock star clinched immortality at 26 when the White Stripes released “Seven Nation Army,” a song which sports fans chant, marching bands cover, and DJs still spin. After Jack White parted ways with drummer (and ex-wife) Meg White, and the White Stripes dissolved, Jack White began his remarkable run of solo albums, starting with 2012’s Blunderbuss. 2014’s Lazaretto followed. He released the eccentric Boarding House Reach this year. “Ice Station Zebra” sees White mashing bluesy piano chords with rapped lyrics and a guitar riff reminiscent of Metallica’s “One.” White also plays drums in the Dead Weather and is a member of The Raconteurs. He produced Van Lear Rose by Loretta Lynn in 2004. Also on the bill: Cold War Kids, who are known for singles such as “Hang Me Up to Dry” and “First.” Awolnation, who opened for the Rolling Stones in Pittsburgh in 2015, will perform as well, plus Sir Sly, lovelytheband, and more. 4 p.m. KeyBank Pavilion, 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (CM)
The music video for Hayley Kiyoko’s “Girls Like Girls” tackles young sexuality in a serious way. It may be because of its sincerity, along with Kiyoko’s hypnotic vocals, that the video garnered over 91 million views and counting. The song appears on her second EP, This Side of Paradise. She’s released two other EPs and an LP, this year’s Expectations. “Curious,” a single from that album, squeaked onto Billboard’s US Mainstream Top 40 when it peaked at no. 40. It’s her first single to chart, and it also reached no. 37 on the US Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart. Prior to her solo career, she was a member of The Stunners, a now defunct pop girl group. Her film appearances include the horror movie Insidious: Chapter 3. She had a recurring role on “CSI:Cyber” and played Velma Dinkley, the brains of the group of “meddling kids,” in two made-for-TV Scooby-Doo movies. See her live at Mr. Smalls Theatre. Gavin Turek opens. 8 p.m. Sold Out. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (CM)
Wednesday, June 6
Lukas Nelson met drummer Anthony LoGerfo at a Neil Young concert in 2008 and they started playing gigs together around Los Angeles, California. Soon thereafter, Nelson left his studies at Loyola Marymount University to pursue his music dreams full-time. He added several other musicians to form Promise of the Real. The versatile band has a sound that can range from rock, to country, to Americana. In 2009 they opened for Lukas’ dad, the legendary country singer/songwriter Willie Nelson, for a nine show tour. Since then Nelson and the band have released five studio albums with 2017’s self-titled album reaching no. 2 on Billboard’s country chart. Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real are also Neil Young’s backing band (since 2015) and have even recorded two albums with him. Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real will also be in the upcoming remake of the film A Star is Born with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. They appear as Bradley Cooper’s band. Nelson co-produced the music and even wrote some songs for the movie with Gaga. Nelson and his band play the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. 7:30 p.m. Point State Park, Downtown. (RH)
Friday, June 8
She’s got the voice, she’s got the violin, and she’s back. Alison Krauss visits Pittsburgh for a concert at the Benedum Center. Krauss will pack the house, as usual. She is one of the leading performers of bluegrass/country music, with a staggering 27 Grammy Awards so far. And though it may seem as if she’s been around forever, Krauss is only 46 and still very much in her prime. The Decatur, Illinois, native started early, learning the violin in childhood, then releasing an indie album as an early-teen prodigy in 1985. Not long after, she joined the band Union Station and has stayed with them for the duration. Krauss has also done solo work and collaborated with artists ranging from Robert Plant to Yo-Yo Ma. Career highlights? Too numerous to recount—though her rendition of the folk hymn “Down to the River to Pray“ for the 2000 Coen Brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou? was a vocal masterpiece; the song remains a favorite among her fans. Krauss’s latest album is last year’s solo release Windy City. Catch her in our city at 7:30 p.m., 237 7th St., Cultural District. (MV)
Primus’s Les Claypool is arguably as well known for his prowess on bass as he is for his big personality. The band’s performance of “My Name Is Mud” at Woodstock ’94 is remembered for the audience throwing mud on stage and Claypool’s quip, “You know, when you throw things on stage, it’s a sign of small and insignificant genitalia.” The trio solidified its lineup in 1989 with Larry “Ler” LaLonde on guitar and Tim “Herb” Alexander on drums. Frizzle Fry, their debut, followed in 1990. This lineup released The Desaturating Seven in 2017 and will play Stage AE. Opening is Mastodon, a progressive sludge metal band from Atlanta, Georgia. The band’s 2004 release, Leviathan, was based on the novel Moby-Dick and named album of the year by several music publications. Its latest albums are Emperor of Sand (an LP) and Cold Dark Place (an EP), both released in 2017. The group’s “Sultan’s Curse” bested “Forever” by Pittsburgh-based Code Orange for the Best Metal Performance Grammy this year. JJUUJJUU also opens. Doors open 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (EC, CM)
Saturday, June 9
Hall & Oates—the blue-eyed soul group that rose out of Philly in the 1970s—are bringing their stellar harmonies and back catalog to PPG Paints Arena. Billboard magazine named the group, composed of Daryl Hall (lead vocals, piano, multi-instrumentalist) and John Oates (vocals, lead guitar), as the most successful duo of the rock era. Six No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100—”Rich Girl,” “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes,” “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” “Maneater,” and “Out of Touch”—figured heavy into that accolade. Oates and Hall met while they were both students at Temple University. Although in separate bands at the time, they joined together. They achieved platinum sales status with their second album, Abandoned Luncheonette, which contained “She’s Gone.” 1975’s Daryl Hall & John Oates generated the major hit “Sara Smile” and “Camellia.”
Hall and Oates rode the turbulent, changing musical tides of the late ’70s and early ’80s with a string of hits. As new wave took hold, they incorporated some of those sounds into their songs while still maintaining their soul underpinnings. They remain a very popular act and are always a big draw in the ’Burgh. Many people may know of Daryl Hall from his TV show, “Live from Daryl’s House.” Oates played Club Cafe several months ago with his Good Road Band. Also on the bill for the concert is San Francisco pop-rockers Train. “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me),” “Hey, Soul Sister,” and “Meet Virginia” are several of the band’s top songs. Train and Hall & Oates together recorded a new tune, “Philly Forget Me Not.” Special guest is Kandace Springs. 7 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (RH)
Sunday, June 10
Alt-country musicians The Mavericks, fronted by Cuban-American lead singer Raúl Malo, have a distinctive sound with elements of everything from Hispanic big-band to you-name-it. Darlings of adult alternative-contemporary radio stations, The Mavericks have gained a huge following since starting in Miami in 1989. They won back-to-back CMA Awards as country Vocal Group of the Year in 1995-96. The band broke up from 2004 to 2012—during which time Malo built a successful solo career—but now The Mavericks ride again, at full force. In 2015, they won another best-group award, this time from the Americana Music Association. Last year, they released their ninth studio album, Brand New Day. The video for the title track (above) features hard-to-miss symbolism … but what really shouldn’t be missed is Malo and The Mavericks performing live. Their free concert is the wrap-up act at this year’s Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. 7:30 p.m. Dollar Bank Main Stage, Point State Park, Downtown.. (RH, MV)
Tuesday, June 12
After singing and performing with Rilo Kiley for 16 years, creating hits like “Silver Lining,” the band broke up and Jenny Lewis decided to strike out on her own again. It wasn’t easy at first as her father had died, she suffered from severe insomnia, and her album was overdue. As Lewis recounted in a “CBS Saturday Morning” interview, the reason for the delay was that she was scared—she didn’t want the album to suck; she wanted it to be first-rate. The result of that quest was 2014’s The Voyager, a top-quality album that includes the hits “She’s Not Me” and “Just One of the Guys.” The album, partly produced by Ryan Adams, debuted at number nine on the Billboard 200 chart in July 2014. Lewis’s pleasant melodic voice, ability to hold a note, nice appearance, and cool stage dances heightened her popularity. Her band members are all very talented musicians. 2016 saw her in the trio Nice As Fuck with Erika Forster (Au Revoir Simone) and Tennessee Thomas (The Like). Karl Blau opens. 8 p.m. Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall, 510 E. 10th Ave, Munhall. (RH)
Thursday, June 14
The story of blues-rock outfit Indigenous is really the story of frontman Mato Nanji (Ma-TOE NON-gee), who was born and raised on the Yankton Sioux Reservation of South Dakota. A second-generation rocker, Nanji formed Indigenous in his teens with his brother, sister, and cousin—a lineup that lead to an award-winning debut in 1998 and an invite to join B.B. King’s Blues Tour in 1999. The family would stick together through four more releases before splitting in 2006. Nanji found even more success on his own as songs from his solo album Chasing the Sun, released under the Indigenous name, wound up on the soundtracks of “Deadliest Catch” and “Sons of Anarchy.” It was also the No. 2 Billboard Blues Album of 2006. Nanji has been a member of the Experience Hendrix Tour since 2002. He plays a mean version of Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” As Indigenous, Nanji currently tours with Levi Platero (guitar), Bronson Begay (bass), and Douglas Platero (percussion). The band’s latest release is 2017’s Gray Skies, an album of bootlegs and rarities. Catch Indigenous at Moondogs. 7:30 p.m. 378 Freeport Rd., Blawnox. (RH)
Friday, June 15
The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival takes over the Cultural District June 15-17, with a full slate of free noon-until-night concerts Saturday and Sunday at outdoor stages on Liberty Avenue and Smithfield Street. Launching the festival is a free TGIF show by the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra at 5:30 p.m. Friday the 15th. Then right after that comes the festival’s sole indoor, ticketed concert: bass guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Marcus Miller at the August Wilson Center. Brooklyn native Miller comes from a musical family, and though he’s a classically trained virtuoso on the clarinet, he is perhaps best known for his pioneering jazz/fusion work on the bass. Miller has collaborated with notables ranging from Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie to David Sanborn and Luther Vandross. He has won several Grammy Awards for his producing work and is a Pittsburgh favorite for his live-on-stage work. Miller’s newest album is the June 1 release Laid Black. His Jazz Festival show is sold out, so check your aftermarket sources and/or generous friends for tix. Other free concert highlights include shows by Shemeika Copeland, Gregory Porter, Kenny Garrett, and Pedrito Martinez. 7:30 p.m. 980 Liberty Ave., Cultural District. (MV)
Vanderbilt University is one of the nation’s finest, and while many college-bound youths enroll there to become scientists or scholars, young Dierks Bentley chose Vanderbilt for a different reason: it’s in Nashville. The hard-working undergrad from Phoenix, Arizona, earned his B.A. in 1997, officially studying English and the liberal arts while unofficially pursuing the highly competitive art of country music. By 2001, Bentley had progressed from fighting for open-mic slots to cutting an indie album. That release, Don’t Leave Me in Love, didn’t sell much but is now a collector’s item. It led to a contract with Capitol Records Nashville, which led to Bentley’s self-titled platinum album in 2003, and the rest is history. Bentley has been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards, and not having won one yet probably has him feeling like soap star Susan Lucci, who was nominated for a Daytime Emmy 18 times before eventually winning one. So hang in there, Dierks! Bentley is on his Mountain High Tour in support of his album The Mountain, which is to be released on June 8. You can catch him at KeyBank Pavilion with Brothers Osborne and LANCO. 7 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (EC, RH)
Saturday, June 16
Top Dawg Entertainment’s Championship Tour comes to KeyBank Pavilion. Reigning among the record label’s signees is Kendrick Lamar. Just when it seems Lamar’s career is about to plateau, it reaches new heights. This April, the rapper’s fourth studio album, DAMN., became the first non-classical or non-jazz album to win a Pulitzer Prize for Music. It follows two other classics: 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d city and 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Lamar, a native of Compton, California, also collaborated with other artists on The Black Panther soundtrack this year. Many of those artists, such as R&B-singer SZA, are on Top Dawg and will perform on this tour. SZA’s 2014 EP, Z, flew under the radar, but 2017’s Ctrl, her debut LP, received the attention that it deserved. As its title suggests, the album is all about control. On “Love Galore,” SZA both spurns and asserts sexual dominance over an abusive lover. Also on the bill are Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, SiR, and Lance Skiiiwalker. 7:30 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (CM)
The Clarks, one of Pittsburgh’s top rock bands, gained a strong local following in the early ’90s gigging at clubs like the notable Graffiti, and have remained together and active long after nearly every other band on the scene during that era called it quits. After 30 years, 17 albums, countless gigs and zero line-up changes, The Clarks have gone from being a regional favorite to a local institution. And the band members, who formed at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, have never forgotten their home turf. The Clarks release their new album Madly In Love at the End of the World on June 8. It is a more rootsy, alt-country type of sound for the group. They have added pedal steel guitar and Hammond organ to their guitar rock signature sound. The album was produced by Dave Hidek at The Church Recording Studio in Overbrook. June is also the 30th anniversary of The Clarks’ first album I’ll Tell You What Man. To celebrate that auspicious occasion rocker/producer Rod Schwartz (11th Hour) has organized an opening program where several of Pittsburgh’s top musicians will perform a track from that album. On the bill are Joe Grushecky, Paul Luc, Jon Belan, Bill Deasy, Jay Wiley, Kelsey Friday, and more. Doors Open 6:30 p.m. Stage AE, 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (RH)
Wednesday, June 20
In the 1970s, the Steve Miller Band was one of the hottest acts around. Miller was born in Milwaukee and grew up in Dallas, where in high school he met friend and future bandmate (for one year) Boz Scaggs. He also lived in Chicago and New York before settling in San Francisco and finding his groove. His first taste of major chart success came in 1973 with The Joker, with the title single hitting number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. When the follow-up album, Fly Like an Eagle, dropped in 1976, the title single flew up the charts—nesting at number two. The song speaks to finding a solution for humanity’s ills.
A song chronicling two young lovers—who were also bandits and wanted by the police—was another of Eagle’s hits: “Take the Money and Run.” Every time Texas is referenced in the song, it’s followed by five hand claps. 1977 saw the release of Book of Dreams, which generated the hits “Jungle Love” and “Jet Airliner.” With all that success, Miller’s career zenith was definitely in the 1970s, but he has released other quality material over the years. A popular draw on the concert circuit, Miller and his band continue to shine.
The year was 1976, the bicentennial of the United States, but an Englishman was ruling America’s radio airwaves. Peter Frampton was that man. Formerly of the English group Humble Pie, Frampton embarked on his own in 1971 and recorded four albums before his 1976 release of Frampton Comes Alive! That release had several songs that burned their way up America’s rock charts—especially “Show Me the Way“, “Baby, I Love Your Way,” and “Do You Feel Like We Do.” The album became the top-selling one up to that point, and it has been certified platinum eight times. Since then, Frampton has had some missteps and dormant periods, but he’s managed to remain relevant by continuing to write, record, and perform great music. It also doesn’t hurt that he appeared as himself on Fox’s “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy.” Frampton’s most recent release was 2016’s Acoustic Classics. 7 p.m. KeyBank Pavilion, 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (RH)
Friday, June 22
Grizzly Bear and Spoon respectively wrote some of the most recognizable rock hooks of the past 15 or so years. You doubt? Ask the barista what song is playing the next time a catchy riff starts to resound through your local coffee shop, and don’t be surprised if it’s “Two Weeks” by Grizzly Bear or “The Way We Get By” by Spoon. The former song comes from 2009’s Veckatimest. The latter comes from 2002’s Kill the Moonlight. Both albums are solid entry points to each band’s respective discography. Grizzly Bear is from Brooklyn, New York City. The quartet, which began as a solo project of Ed Droste, rose from the New York City rock revival of the early aughts. Painted Ruins, released in 2017, is the group’s latest album. Spoon originated in Austin, Texas, in 1993. Their latest album is 2017’s Hot Thoughts. The bands co-headline an outdoor concert at Stage AE. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith opens. Doors open 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)
Saturday, June 23
New Zealand-Australian-raised country music star Keith Urban is on tour and rolling into Pittsburgh for a show. Urban first moved to the U.S. in 1992, and his first American album, Keith Urban, was certified platinum in 1999. Thirty-seven of his singles have landed on Billboard’s U.S. Hot Country Songs chart. Eighteen of those have reached No. 1 as long as you include “You Look Good in My Shirt,” a duet with Brad Paisley. Some of his top songs are “Somebody Like You” and “You’ll Think of Me.” Urban married actress Nicole Kidman in 2006. She sings backing vocals on “Female,” the first single from his latest album, Graffiti U. The album was released in 2018. “Female,” a song of empowerment for women, was written and recorded in part as a response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Kelsea Ballerini opens. 7:30 p.m. KeyBank Pavilion, 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (EC, CM)
Wednesday, June 27
Veteran rockers Foreigner are famous for power ballads such as “I Want to Know What Love Is” and rockers like “Rev on the Red Line” and “Juke Box Hero.” Mick Jones is the only remaining original member of the band, which formed in 1976 and was composed of several Americans and several Brits (including Jones). The group had a major hit with its eponymous, five-times-platinum first album, released a year after it formed. The hot singles “Feels Like the First Time” and “Cold As Ice” were from the album. Other top-selling albums followed, including Double Vision (1978) and Head Games (1979). Lead singer Lou Gramm (a Yank), who co-wrote many of Foreigner’s hits with Jones, left the band for good in 2003. Their most recent studio album is 2009’s Can’t Slow Down. Foreigner is one of the world’s top-selling bands with over 80 million records sold. Jones and the band are frequent visitors to Pittsburgh and have a good following here.
Also performing is British rock group Whitesnake, which was formed in 1978 by David Coverdale when he left Deep Purple. They are known for the high-charting songs “Here I Go Again” and “Is This Love.” Lead guitarist and Pittsburgh native Reb Beach has been playing with Whitesnake since 2002. And to round out a great lineup, Jason Bonham, son of the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, has masterfully recreated his father’s band’s music with his own band. He (and Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart) gave an amazing performance of “Stairway to Heaven” when the Kennedy Center honored Led Zeppelin in 2012. 7 p.m. KeyBank Pavilion, 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (RH)
Thursday, June 30
One of the biggest acts in country music, Luke Bryan, hits the region on his What Makes You Country Tour. Early in his career, Bryan earned his keep as a Nashville songwriter by penning tunes for the likes of Travis Tritt and Billy Currington. He proved to be more than capable of stepping into the spotlight himself, winning the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year award in 2015. More often seen in a baseball hat than a cowboy hat, Bryan has become a fan favorite by writing music that deals with some pretty popular themes (see tracks like “Wild Weekend,” “Cold Beer Drinker,” and “I’m Hungover”). “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)” went triple platinum and is the third-best-selling song by a male country artist. Bryan also won the Billboard Music Award for Top Country Artist in 2016, and the following year, he became a judge on “American Idol.” Bryan’s latest album is What Makes You Country, released in 2017. He performs at Heinz Field. Sam Hunt, Jon Pardi, and Morgan Wallen open. 5 p.m. 100 Art Rooney Ave., North Shore. (EC, CM)
Several Other Suggested Shows
Saturday, June 2
Pop-rock blasters Tommy James and the Shondells got their start in Niles, Michigan, but their big breaks came right here in the Pittsburgh area. Unknown to James, his group’s early and near-forgotten cover of “Hanky Panky” became a hit at local dance clubs in 1965—and from there, long story short, it was onward to stardom with late-’60s singles such as “Mony Mony,” “Crimson and Clover,” and “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” James and the Shondells have kept on rocking through personnel changes and changing times. They’re on track (literally) for a special show at The Meadows. 8 p.m. 210 Racetrack Rd., Washington. (MV)
Tuesday, June 5
Trombone Shorty, a native of New Orleans, shot higher on the national scene in 2013 with his hot brass rocker “Fire and Brimstone.” He draws on his New Orleans jazz heritage to create hooky music and genre-fusing songs. Shorty plays not only trombone and trumpet, but also drums, organ, and tuba. He will be performing with his group Orleans Avenue at Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall, 8 p.m. 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall.
Wednesday, June 6
Everclear’s singles, such as “Santa Monica,” “Father of Mine,” and “Wonderful,” were arguably some of the best rock songs from the latter half of the ’90s and early ’00s. Frontman Art Alexakis may be the only original member, but who cares? The band stops at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille as part of its annual Summerland Tour. Joining them are Marcy Playground, whose single “Sex and Candy,” was the number one song on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks at the start of 1998. Local H, who had a hit with “Bound for the Floor,” open. 7 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. (CM)
Saturday, June 9
Would it be correct to call Ricky Skaggs country-music “royalty”? Well, he didn’t marry Meghan Markle, and he doesn’t wear a crown like the Burger King, but he sure has been at the top of his field for a while. Skaggs has won just about every award that a country musician can. His countless collaborators have included musicians in other genres, from jam-rockers Phish to Irish folk balladeers. His repertoire ranges from breakin’-the-speed-limit bluegrass to mainstream country tunes like “Heartbroke.” Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder play the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. 7:30 p.m. Dollar Bank Main Stage, Point State Park, Downtown. (MV)
Friday, June 15
Bob Dylan once said of listening to a Gordon Lightfoot song, “I wish it would last forever.” The man widely thought of as America’s greatest songwriter was paying homage to the man who is almost universally acknowledged as Canada’s best. Lightfoot is credited as a major influence in the folk-pop sound of the ’60s and ’70s. He’s had multiple singles cracking the top five on the US charts, one of his most memorable being “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” a memorial to a freighter that went down in Lake Superior in 1975. Another is 1970’s “If You Could Read My Mind,” which reached No. 5 on the U.S. Charts. Lightfoot’s songs have been covered by everyone from Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash to Sarah McLachlan and Toby Keith. 8 p.m. The Palace Theatre, 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. (EC, RH)
Founded in 2014, Ladyfest is an annual three-day, DIY event, which features and empowers female musicians. Pittsburgh-based performers include The Lopez, Garter Shake, little good bad (+ -), and Blak Rapp Madusa. The festival also includes some out-of-town acts, such as the Alice Bag Band, fronted by Alice Bag of the ’70s L.A. punk scene. Over 30 acts will play this year’s festival. Friday through Sunday, June 15–17. Performance times and locations vary. (CM)
Saturday, June 16
Herman’s Hermits was the most British-sounding group of the British Invasion. (“Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” sounds like it was recorded by John Cleese in a Liverpool pub while trying to imitate Wallace of Wallace and Gromit.) They’re still touring, even if lead singer Peter Noone is the only remaining member of the original lineup that recorded classics like “I’m into Something Good” and “I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am.” And lo, Herman’s Hermits re-occupy our fair land for a concert at The Meadows. 8 p.m. 210 Racetrack Rd., Washington. (EC, MV)
Sunday, June 17
The music of singer/songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter comes from the heart of the country. Actually, she hails from Princeton, New Jersey, but her 2012 induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame pretty much certified her status as a heartland hero. Hits like “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” and “Grow Old With Me” helped her become a household name in the world of country folk music. Carpenter has won five Grammy Awards. Her latest album is this year’s Sometimes Just the Sky, and she visits us to perform at the Byham Theater. 7:30 p.m. 101 6th St., Cultural District. (MV)
The doctor is in this month at Stage AE—Dr. Dog that is. The group hails from West Grove, Pennsylvania, and specializes in rock music with strong crystalline vocals and tight harmonies, such as those that can be heard on “Broken Heart.” 2018’s Critical Equation is their latest release. (Sandy) Alex G opens. Doors open 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (EC, CM)
Tuesday, June 19
We Are Scientists are a duo who write striking indie songs that skew slightly to the irreverent. They are one of many New York bands featured on the soundtrack to the romantic teen comedy Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist. Their contribution, “After Hours,” also appears on 2008’s Brain Thrust Mastery. This year’s Megaplex is their latest album. They play The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls. 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (CM)
The Magnetic Fields come to Pittsburgh, one of only three cities on their 50 Song Memoir Tour. Their sixth album, 69 Love Songs, released in 1999, made Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. 2017’s 50 Song Memoir commemorates each year of frontman Stephin Merritt’s life with a song, such as “’74 No.” The first show is Tuesday, June 19, and he and the band will play the first 25 songs on the album. They will play the next 25 songs on Wednesday, June 20. The concerts are at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland as part of the Warhol’s Sound Series. 8 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. (CM)
On the Radar
Ray LaMontagne and Neko Case (Heinz Hall)
Yes (Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall)
Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band (KeyBank Pavilion)
Arcade Fire (Stage AE)
Shania Twain (PPG Paints Arena)
Joe Jackson (Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall)
Greta Van Fleet (Stage AE)
Foo Fighters (PPG Paints Arena)
The Eagles (PPG Paints Arena)
Wiz Khalifa (KeyBank Pavilion)
Radiohead (PPG Paints Arena)
Rascal Flatts (KeyBank Pavilion)
Chicago and REO Speedwagon (KeyBank Pavilion)
Rick Handler is the executive producer of Entertainment Central. Christopher Maggio and Mike Vargo made substantial contributions to this guide.