July 2023 Concert Guide: Ed Sheeran, Foreigner, Phish, Bret, Metric, Gov’t Mule, Wiz and Snoop

Metric looking mystical in the fog and stage lights.

Metric looking mystical in the fog and stage lights at the 2016 Thrival Music Festival. (Photo: Rick Handler)

The summer concert season, like the flowers, is now in full bloom. Acrisure stadium is seeing regular concerts, this month it’s Ed Sheeran with his Mathematics Tour. The Pete is also heading in the right direction this month with Falling in Reverse. Routes 22 and 18 in Burgettstown are keeping very busy with a cornucopia of concerts at The Pavilion at Star Lake. Stopping by the outdoor stage, acts include Eric Church, Shania Twain, Bret Michaels. Phish, Post Malone, and Foreigner, who are on their farewell tour. And if you see dense smoke, it’s not from the Canadian forest fires, it’s just Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg joining forces for a Star Lake show.

Toronto-based band, Metric, bring their melodic, modern rock to the Roxian Theatre. Gov’t Mule is performing their regular concert set at an outdoor show at Stage AE plus their Pink Floyd tribute set, The Dark Side of The Mule. Ska punk band Less Than Jake will put on more than a great show at Mr. Smalls.

This guide features (in chronological order) Spotlight Picks, Other Shows of Interest, and Big Shows on the Horizon. Get out and see what pleases you, whether it’s one of our concert picks or something entirely different. Mike Vargo (M.V.) also contributed to this guide.

Spotlight Picks

Wednesday, July 5

Ronnie Radke, founder and frontman of Falling in Reverse, is one of the most controversial (or as some would say, “most hated”) figures on the modern music scene. If you’re interested in a history of his feuds, altercations, and legal hassles, you are welcome to search the web. We won’t attempt a summary here, choosing instead to note just three facts. One: It is not true that Radke was once convicted of murder. Rather, he served time for an offense related to a brawl in which another man shot and killed a person. Two: Falling in Reverse has produced songs in which Radke either pleads for understanding—see the video of “Last Resort (Reimagined)” above—or reflects, ironically, on the phenomenon of being successful while being loathed. “Popular Monster” is the classic example of the latter. Last but not least, fact three: Radke and Falling in Reverse visit Pittsburgh as part of their Popular MonsTour, with special guests Ice Nine Kills. Tickets are going fast, so act faster. 6:30 p.m. Petersen Events Center, 3719 Terrace St., Oakland. (M.V.)

Friday, July 7

Metric, who rocked Thrival Music in 2016 will be rocking the ‘Burgh this month at the Roxian Theatre. Metric, who formed in Toronto in 1998, are touring in support of their latest album, Fometera which was released in 2022. One of its tracks, “Doomscroller,” speaks to the inequalities in our present day world and not to give up. Fometera reached no. 11 on the UK Independent Albums Chart. It has also been rated highly by other rock critics. Their sound is a musical, molecular fusion of strong, crystal clear lead vocals (Emily Haines, and keyboards), fiery guitar (James Shaw, and vocals), explosive drumming (Joules Scott-Key, and percussion), and a steady bass beat (Joshua Winstead, and vocals).  Their music lives in the Venn diagram where indie rock, synth, and art punk music intersect. A top-notch Metric song that especially displays these elements is “Help I’m Alive.” Founding members Haines and Shaw also as a side project play in the group, Broken Social Scene. Broken Social Scene has also performed in Pittsburgh in recent years. Opening is Sweat. 8 p.m. 425 Chartiers Ave., McKees Rocks. (R.H.)

Emily Haines, lead singer for Metric, bathed in red light while performing at the Thrival Music Festival in 2016. (Photo: Rick Handler)

Emily Haines, lead singer for Metric, bathed in red light while performing at the Thrival Music Festival in 2016. (Photo: Rick Handler)

Saturday, July 8

He’s a Grammy and BRIT-award winner, regular tabloid fodder, and possibly the most famous redhead in music right now. Ed Sheeran has moved up in popularity and venue size from PNC Park to Acrisure Stadium. Having recently won a copyright infringement case about the song “Thinking Out Loud” over the estate of the late Marvin Gaye, he will most likely be performing that big hit and many others. Sheeran has performed in his native England since 2004; he broke internationally after co-writing and performing on Taylor Swift’s “Everything Has Changed,” from  her 2012 album, Red. He later opened for her on The Red Tour. His affinity for numerical equation functiion signs has been quite evident over the years with albums titled +, x, ÷, =, and now his most recent album, . Subtract was released in May, reaching no. 1 on many international charts and no. 2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. Hot singles from the album include “Eyes Closed,” “Boat,” and “Life Goes On.” The National’s Aaron Dessner produced the album. It’s no surprise that Sheeran is calling this the Mathematics Tour. Sheeran’s headlining show is a treat; those who don’t know his sweet, folky tunes are likely to have their hearts quickly stolen. Special guests are Khalid and Rosa Linn. 6 p.m. 100 Art Rooney Ave., North Shore. (C.M., R.H.)

Country star Eric Church visits The Pavilion at Star Lake on his Outsiders Revival Tour. His most recent album is Heart & Soul, which he released as three records (Heart, &, and Soul) over three different days in April 2021. & was released exclusively to his fan club, the Church Choir, as a vinyl record. Church is from North Carolina, but like many country artists before him, he pursued his musical dream in Nashville. He released his debut album, Sinners Like Me, in 2006. His first song to enter Billboard’s Hot 100 Top 20 was “Springsteen.” You bet a song named after the Boss is going to have crossover potential. It helped that the tune told a vivid story over uplifting guitar chords, just as the Boss’s songs do. The video’s pretty good too. Special guests are Koe Wetzel and Shane Smith & The Saints.  7 p.m. 665 PA Route 18, Burgettstown. (C.M., M.V.) 

Wednesday, July 12

Post Malone, born Austin Richard Post, the singer blends rock with cloud rap for a heady sound, such as on “Wow.” Other popular songs include his collaboration with rapper Swae Lee for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: “Sunflower.” Another collaboration includes a remix of Lorde’s song “Homemade Dynamite” with SZA and Khalid.  2018’s Beerbongs & Bentleys broke the record for most songs simultaneously in the top 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100 with nine total. Malone has received nine Grammy nominations and is one of the top selling artists of recent vintage. His 2022 album Twelve Carat Toothache featured two top ten songs: “I Like You (A Happier Song)” (featuring Doja Cat) and “One Right Now” (with The Weeknd). His latest LP, Austin, will be released later this month. The name of his tour is If Y’all Weren’t Here, I’d Be Crying. So come on out and lift his spirits even more. 8 p.m. The Pavilion at Star Lake. 665 PA Route 18, Burgettstown. (C.M., R.H.)

If you want to relive ska punk’s glory days of the late ’90s, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Mr. Smalls with Less Than Jake. Combining the distinctive beats of punk with the horns and saxophones of ska, Less Than Jake hit the mainstream in 2003 with the album Anthem. We can hope to hear their famed “She’s Gonna Break Soon” as well as old and new favorites. Less Than Jake’s latest LP release 2020’s Silver Linings. Also on the bill are Voodoo Glow Skulls and Pink Spiders. 7:30 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (C.M., R.H.)

Thursday, July 13

Shania Twain is the Canadian country-music legend who keeps on coming back. In 2015 she visited Pittsburgh on her supposed farewell tour. Then she returned in 2018. Now the most famous Twain since Mark is headed our way again, playing The Pavilion at Star Lake in support of her new album, Queen of Me. Over the years Twain has compiled an awesome resume. She’s one of the best-selling artists of all time; she has collected five Grammys plus 39 BMI Songwriter Awards; she is a member of at least four Halls and Walks of Fame—and, with 1997’s Come On Over, claimed the title of best-selling country album and best-selling album by a female artist. Featuring hits “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” and “You’re Still The One,” the album was a country-pop-rock crossover juggernaut. After a long struggle with voice problems, she returned to performing with Shania: Still The One, a two-year residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas from 2012 to 2014. Currently there appears to be no stopping her, as you may notice if you catch her show. Special guest is Breland. 7:30 p.m. 665 PA Route 18, Burgettstown. (C.M, M.V.)

Saturday, July 15

He’s the good-looking guy from right around here! You can bet the joint will be jumping when Butler native and diehard Steelers fan Bret Michaels revisits his home turf for a gig at The Pavilion at Star Lake. Michaels, born Bret Michael Sychak, has won fame in practically every way available. In addition to the solo career he launched in 1998, he’s been a founding member and longtime lead vocalist of the glam-metal rockers Poison. He wrote, directed, and starred in the movie A Letter from Death Row, with his friend and colleague Charlie Sheen. Michaels has even had his own reality TV shows. Expect to hear him doing metal/country hits like “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” maybe “The App Song,” and more. The show is a highlight of Bret’s Parti-Gras 2023 tour. Also on the bill are Night Ranger, Jefferson Starship, Mark McGrath, and Steve Augeri. 7 p.m. 665 PA Route 18, Burgettstown. (M.V.)

Bret Michaels performing in New York in 2014. (Photo: Rjkowal and Wikipedia)

Bret Michaels performing in New York in 2014. (Photo: Rjkowal and Wikipedia)

Tuesday, July 18

 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. Khalifa’s latest album is 2022’s Multiverse. In 2021 he competed in the Fox TV show. “The Masked Singer,” coming in in third place. He has also collaborated with artists like Snoop Dogg, whom he is touring with again 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 18 more solo albums since. Look for a new album, Missionary, to be released this year. In 2011, Dogg and Khalifa recorded an album together, Mac & Devin Go to High School. They also starred in the film of the same name. Snoop bests Khalifa on Grammy nominations by four. He also has stated that he is a Steelers’ fan. Catch Dogg and Khalifa on their High School Reunion Tour at The Pavilion at Star Lake. Special guests are Too $hort, Warren G, Berner, and DJ Drama. 6 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (C.M., R.H.)

Wiz Khalifia rapping with a smile on his face as his band Kush and Orange Juice performing in the background.

Wiz Khalifa rapping with a smile on his face as his band Kush and Orange Juice performing in the background at the 2017 Thrival Music Festival. (Photo: Rick Handler)

Friday-Saturday, July 21 & 22

Phish is so good you’ll be getting a chance to hear them twice. The band performs two shows at The Pavilion at Star Lake on consecutive nights, with tickets sold either as a two-night package or one by one. Phish formed at the University of Vermont in 1983. Thanks mostly to word-of-mouth and tape sharing, the musicians garnered a following with domestic album and DVD sales passing the 8 million mark. The group went on hiatus in 2000 and in 2009, but the current lineup has been intact for over 30 years. Phish is a jam band, but its sound encompasses bluegrass, psychedelic, rock, and other genres. Live shows are known for the members’ improvisation and audience interaction. The band has also been a mainstay at festivals such as Bonnaroo. 1994’s Hoist, Phish’s fifth album, increased their popularity as did their Ben & Jerry’s flavor, Phish Food, which debuted in 1997. Phish covered í rokk by Scandinavian prog-rock band Kasvot Växt on Halloween 2018 at Las Vegas’s MGM Grand Garden Arena—but both the album and band were fake, so the concert was really new Phish songs. 7:30 p.m. each night for the Pittsburgh engagement. 665 PA Route 18, Burgettstown. (C.M., M.V.)

Tuesday, July 25

Gov’t Mule led by the legendary singer/songwriter/guitarist Warren Haynes, is playing an outdoor show at Stage AE this month. They are reprising, their Dark Side of the Mule set which first debuted during Halloween 2008. The Pink Floyd tribute set will be retired after this tour. The set was also the basis for a 2014 live album. The tribute marks the 50th anniversary of the seminal Floyd album, The Dark Side of the Moon. Gov’t Mule is also touring in support of their latest album, Peace…Like a River, released last month. Its tracks demonstrate the versatility of the band. The group will perform a full concert of their songs too. 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 26 albums, including 2021’s Heavy Load Blues. The Mule’s melodic guitar-drenched sound can be heard in songs like “Soulshine” and “Beautifully Broken.” Doors open at 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (R.H.)

Saturday, July 29

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. Canadian rockers Loverboy opens. Catch Foreigner on this, their farewell tour. 7 p.m. The Pavilion at Star Lake, 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (R.H.)

Other Shows of Interest

Tuesday, July 4
Pittsburgh Fourth: The Clarks, Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers, The Billy Price Band, Byron Nash and Jacquea Mae

Friday, July 7
Right Turn Clyde (Moondog’s Pub)

Saturday, July 7
Bill Toms and Hard Rain (Pittsburgh Shrine Center)

Tuesday, July 11
Weezer (Stage AE)
Roger Humphries + RH Factor (Katz Plaza)

Wednesday, July 12
The Struts (Roxian Theatre)
Yungblud (Stage AE)

Friday, July 14
Matchbox 20 (Pavilion at Star Lake)
Dave Mason (Palace Theatre)

Saturday, July 15
The Delaney’s (Rivers Casino)

Tuesday, July 18
Kevin Howard (Katz Plaza)

Saturday, July 22
Clutch, Dinosaur Jr. (Stage AE)

Sunday, July 23
Dirty Heads (Stage AE)
Reverend Horton Heat (Vinosky Winery)

Thursday, July 27
Lyle Lovett and His Large Band (Stage AE)
Kels (Thunderbird Cafe and Music Hall)

Friday, July 28
Pantera and Lamb of God (Pavilion at Star Lake)
The Commonheart, The Vindys, and Beauty Slap (Stage AE)

Saturday, July 29
The Clarks and Jim Donovan & Sun King Warriors (Fayette County Fair)

Sunday, July 30
Granger Smith (Stage AE)
Tommy Castro & the Painkillers (Pittsburgh Shrine Center)

Big Shows on the Horizon

August 5
Pink (PNC Park)

August 6
The Beach boys (Palace Theatre)

August 11
Gabby Barrett (PNC Park)

August 12
Outlaw Music Festival (Pavilion at Star Lake)

August 15
Jelly Roll (Pavilion at Star Lake)

August 18
Guns N’ Roses (PNC Park)

August 19
Luke Bryan (Pavilion at Star Lake)

August 26
Rod Stewart (PPG Paints Arena)

August 30 & 31
Morgan Wallen (PNC Park)


Rick Handler is the executive producer of Entertainment Central. 


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