Ah, summer in Pittsburgh, isn’t it grand? Concert sheds, stadiums, and other music venues are now all in full swing. With songs wafting on the summer breeze, there’s almost every flavor of music at this mid-summer picnic.
Do legends of classic rock tickle your fancy? Then step right up and get your ride tickets for Billy Joel, Def Leppard, Dead & Company, Tesla, Heart, Joan Jett, and Cheap Trick. Like your rock on the newer or alternative side? How about a heapin’ helpin’ of Weezer, Panic! at the Disco, Modest Mouse, Dawes, Bush, and the Vans Warped Tour. Kenny Chesney and Luke Bryan are bringing the country good times to our fair city. And, oh, the “Biebster,” Justin Bieber himself, is coming in for a visit with his Pittsburgh family of “Beliebers.” Hell froze over for the Eagles reunion tour to happen several years back and it seems that it has frozen over again as Guns ‘N Roses two main protagonists/antagonists have reunited.
July dance and soul groves will be supplied by The Temptations, The Ohio Players, plus Fitz and The Tantrums. On the local front many talented hometown heroes will be performing at the Deutschtown Music Festival and Ladyfest. Get out and have some summer music fun!
Friday, July 1
Many “Uptown Girls” (and Downtown ones, too) are heading to see the “Piano Man” in concert. They may check out the “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” and have a bottle of red or a bottle of white, but they won’t try to be a “Big Shot,” because Billy Joel likes you “Just the Way You Are.” Joel, the third-highest selling solo artist of all time in the U.S., was nominated for 23 Grammy Awards and won six. He also is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Joel has not written any new pop/rock material since ’93s River of Dreams album, and that’s OK, but wouldn’t it be great to see what new gems could come from this wellspring of musical talent? Tickets to hear Joel have been selling fast, so don’t be “The Stranger,” find a way to get to the show. 8 p.m. PNC Park, 115 Federal St., North Side. (RH)
Saturday, July 2
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 recorded 20 albums, 14 of them certified gold or higher by the RIAA. He’s also been successful as a crossover artist with many of his songs hitting the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, which demonstrates his broad appeal. After studying advertising at East Tennessee State and playing local bars, Chesney moved to Nashville and began his amazing rise. His latest album Some Town Somewhere will be released on July 8. Chesney’s the headliner of his Spread the Love tour which this year includes Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt, and Old Dominion. Lambert’s keeping busy on all fronts post-breakup with husband Blake Shelton and is also a member of the Pistol Annies, with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley. Attention concert attendees: If you bring a sofa to the tailgate party, please remember to take your furniture with you when you leave. 5 p.m. North Shore. (RH)
Sunday, July 3
If there’s one thing that Weezer and Panic! at the Disco have in common—besides a shared billing at this year’s XFest at Stage AE—it’s their ability to sound youthful even as the band members age. That’s especially true of Weezer, whose self-titled debut (or, The Blue Album) came out over 20 years ago. Yet “Say It Ain’t So,” a single from that LP, is still go-to catharsis for teenagers. Weezer fell to a nadir with 2009’s Raditude and 2010’s Hurley but bounced back in 2014 with Everything Will Be Alright in the End, arguably their most solid songwriting since the ‘90s. The White Album followed this year. Although it may not reach the highs of The Beatles’ White Album (few records do), songs like “Thank God for Girls” sound perfect for an outdoor concert. Panic! at the Disco aren’t contemporaries of Weezer. Their debut, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, was released in 2005. Like Weezer, though, they’ve kept their audiences young with each pop rock release. This year’s Death of a Bachelor was their first album to go to number one on the Billboard 200. Some listeners may roll their eyes at the B-52’s “Rock Lobster” sample in “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time.” But a good time is exactly what will be had by those lucky enough to have tickets to this sold-out show. Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, Dorothy, and SWMRS open. Doors open 4 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)
Tuesday, July 5
Formed in Issaquah, Washington in the early ’90s, Modest Mouse earned critical acclaim and a cult following for their quirky, lo-fi sound. However, mainstream success didn’t come their way until 2004’s Good News for People Who Love Bad News with its irrepressible single, “Float On.” The 2007 follow-up, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, hit number one on the Billboard charts, but it was a long wait until the next LP—Strangers to Ourselves, released in 2015. Despite the gap between releases, the band still managed to sell out Stage AE while touring that album. They’ve sold out Stage AE again this year, but with some help from Long Island punk rockers Brand New, who will share the bill with Modest Mouse. It’s been a while since Brand New released a new album—their last was 2009’s Daisy—though they dropped the single “I Am a Nightmare” this year. “2000-2018” is emblazoned on the group’s new line of T-shirts, perhaps hinting at a future disbandment. Those lucky enough to have tickets should soak in as much of the show as they can, just in case. Doors open 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (HM/CM)
Friday, July 8
A top-selling classic glam-rock band, Def Leppard, will be in the ‘Burgh this month. 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” account for Def Leppard’s massive success. Also on the bill is REO Speedwagon, who first achieved success with their 1978 album You Can Tune a Piano but You Can’t Tuna Fish, which contained “Roll with the Changes” and “Time for Me to Fly.” Their ’80 release Hi Infidelity had four singles that went on to become major hits. Tesla formed in Sacramento, California in the 1980s but started hitting their stride in the early ’90s with a tight band, the rich vocals of Jeff Keith, and ability to craft some popular power ballads. Tesla’s best known songs include “Love Song,” “What You Give,” and “Signs.” 7 p.m. First Niagara Pavilion, 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (RH)
Friday, July 8 and Saturday July 9
The Deutschtown Music Festival may raise questions among those from outside the North Side, the biggest of which will arguably be: Pittsburgh has a Deutschtown? Yep, also known as East Allegheny, Deutschtown is the neighborhood located east of the Children’s Museum and Allegheny Commons Park. The main business-district street, East Ohio, is home to some lively bars and restaurants, many of which will serve as venues for the festival.
Now in its fourth year, what was once a one-day, Saturday event has now spilled back into Friday night as well. The festival showcases some top Pittsburgh bands. Deutschtown’s borders are porous, so expect a few great groups from out-of-state, too. Here’s a quick cross-section: The Annajames Band will be one of the first groups to perform, at 5 p.m. on Friday at the Park Stage. Slim Forsythe and his band, which includes noted drummer Brad Smith, will play 9 p.m. Friday at Scratch Food & Beverage. Emerson Jay, who recently opened for Haim, will play the last show at The Modern Cafe Saturday at 11 p.m. Bluegrass, punk, rap, rock, and other genres will all be represented. Some of the venues, like Penn Brewery, are located just outside Deutschtown. For a complete list of venues, and the acts playing therein, be sure to check out the festival’s website. Food trucks will be on the scene as well as art installations. East Allegheny Community Council hosts. 4 – 11 p.m. Friday, July 8 and 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. Saturday, July 9. Free. Deutschtown (East Allegheny), North Side. (CM)
Saturday, July 9
Motown was a company known for breaking color barriers—building a crossover audience for black music; becoming the first African American business to win international mass-market fame—but the key to all of it was signing great musical talent, and then helping that talent develop over time. Case in point: The Temptations. The Detroit vocal group signed with Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr. in 1960 and struggled at first to record a hit song. But the Temps kept at it—working with different songwriters, working through tweaks and changes in personnel—and produced a series of widely loved no. 1 and top-ten songs, starting with “My Girl” (above) in 1964. The Temptations also showed versatility, evolving their sound and style. Along with sweet ballads they did rollicking, turn-it-up numbers like “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” Then in the late ‘60s and ‘70s they moved into “psychedelic soul” and social-message songs, capped by the remarkable “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” The Temptations are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and they’re still rolling. With a lineup that includes original member Otis Williams and long-timers Ron Tyson and Terry Weeks, they’ll be doing it at The Palace Theatre. 8 p.m. 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. (MV)
Sunday, July 10
In “Scared,” Delta Rae weave gospel harmonies and a pop beat over the band’s folkish core. It’s an arresting number, the lead-off single from 2015’s After It All, their sophomore album. It also evinces they have no intentions of slowing down. Formed in Durham, North Carolina, the group is one-half a family act—three of its six members are siblings. When they released their debut album, Carry the Fire, in 2012, it perked the ears of music staffs ranging from NPR to VH1. An EP followed in 2013, Chasing Twisters. The EP saw Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham declaring his fandom; he played on a re-recorded version of “If I Loved You,” a song that first appeared on Delta Rae’s debut. They have appeared multiple times on “The Tonight Show” and “Conan” and have played nearly every American music festival: Bonnaroo, Voodoo, Lollapalooza, you name it. This summer, Pittsburghers can catch them at a free outdoor concert at idyllic Hartwood Acres Park Amphitheater. Jeanne Jolly opens. 7:30 p.m. 200 Hartwood Acres, Hampton and Indiana townships. (CM)
Tuesday, July 12
It will be “Paradise City” for all the Guns N’ Roses fans who were hoping for a revived band lineup that included not only lead vocalist Axl Rose, but also the group’s very talented guitar slinger Slash, who left after differences with Rose in ’96. In fact they are calling this tour the Not In This Lifetime…tour. Forming in 1985, the band rose out of Los Angeles, California to the big time on the wings of their first album Appetite for Destruction and its monster hit single “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” In ’87 the album reached no. 1 on Billboard 200, and the single also reached no.1 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart. In September of 1991 GNR released its third and fourth album on the same day, Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, in conjunction with their tour of the same name. The albums debuted at no. 1 and no. 2 respectively on the Billboard 200, and have sold a combined 35 million albums worldwide. GNR has been called “the most dangerous band in the world” and the original lineup of GNR was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. Original bassist Duff McKagan has also rejoined the group. In a recent interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Rose stated his intention to create new music with GNR. Let’s hope so. 7:30 p.m. Wolfmother opens. Heinz Field, 100 Art Rooney Ave., North Shore.
Wednesday, July 13
Non-“beliebers,” bear witness. According to Billboard, Justin Bieber counts over 10 billion total video views on Vevo—the first artist to do so. He is also the youngest solo male act to reach number one on the Billboard 200 since Stevie Wonder. Bieber not only sings and dances but also plays guitar and piano. Hate his haircut, hate his run-ins with the law and the tabloids, but there’s no denying it—the man’s a phenomenon. Bieber, who is from Stratford, Ontario, began as just one of countless child singers on YouTube. Then R&B singer Usher became his mentor. An almost-overnight teen heartthrob, Bieber has since pivoted his career toward a more mature sound. 2012’s Believe, his third album, is more R&B while 2015’s Purpose includes elements of EDM, as on the Skrillex-and-Diplo-produced “Where Are Ü Now.” That song later won a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording—Bieber’s first Grammy. He plays Consol Energy Center this month. 7:30 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (CM)
Formed in England in 1981, and led by the charismatic, androgynously styled Boy George, Culture Club created songs that were in heavy radio rotation and shown frequently on the then newly launched MTV. The original band lineup is now back together and touring again, with a stop in Pittsburgh. Culture Club’s music is a little bit of sugar pop, a touch of rock, and a melodic mix of lead and backing vocal harmonies. The group’s second album Colour by Numbers went quadruple platinum in the U.S. and was named one of Rolling Stone’s Top 100 albums of the 1980s. Widely known for their hits including “Time (Clock of the Heart),” “Karma Chameleon,” and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” Boy George and Culture Club became such a part of popular culture that George was affectionately satirized in the Adam Sandler film The Wedding Singer. 7:30 p.m. Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., Strip District. (RH)
“Not Fade Away,” indeed. The Grateful Dead live on in a new incarnation, Dead & Company, formed last year by young-guy musical phenom John Mayer with original Dead members Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann and long-timer Mickey Hart. And given that the original Dead made some memorable stops in our town (when they visited in 1989, then-mayor Sophie Masloff famously referred to them as “the Dreadful Dead”), the new undead Dead couldn’t pass us up. They’ll be at First Niagara Pavilion, so if you missed the chance to be an original Deadhead, tie on a tie-dye and schedule nothing for early the next day. Will it be exactly like old times? Not with Jerry Garcia gone. And nothing may ever match the Dead’s Acid Test gigs of the ‘60s (and probably shouldn’t). But Dead & Company’s set lists are loaded with vintage Dead—“China Cat Sunflower,” “St. Stephen,” “Ripple”—and new enhancements are added. The new group includes a couple of great musicians in bass guitarist and drummer Oteil Burbridge and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti. The repertoire includes covers of Dylan songs and others. It’s the best of all possibles. 7 p.m. 665 Rte. 18, Burgettstown. (MV)
Thursday, July 14
Part L.A. hot new wave band, part Motown sound with a Bruce Springsteen-like wall of sound thrown in—that’s how I described Fitz and The Tantrums when they first came on my radar a few years ago. Fitz is lead vocalist/keyboardist Michael Fitzpatrick, who teams up with vocalist/percussionist Noelle Scaggs to belt out the songs. James King, Joeseph Karnes, Jeremy Ruzumna, and John Wicks are the talented Tantrums who generate beautiful, hard-driving waves of sound. The band broke out in 2010 when the album Pickin’ Up the Pieces reached number one on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart. The album generated several hits including “MoneyGrabber,” “Don’t Gotta Work It Out,” and “Breakin’ the Chains of Love.” Fitz and the Tantrums followed up with More Than Just a Dream whose “Out of My League” also climbed the charts. Fitz and the Tantrums have grown into a more highly polished dance-pop sound and have lost some of their raw musical power, but they are still a very interesting band to hear live. Their latest release is self-titled and contains the single “HandClap.” They’re at Stage AE with special guest Zella Day. Doors open at 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (RH)
Southern fried rock from Molly Hatchet is on the menu at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille this month. “Flirtin’ With Disaster,” “Dreams I’ll Never See” and “Gator Country” are the songs that propelled Molly Hatchet to the upper echelon of 1970s southern rock. The band hails from Jacksonville, Florida, the same town that produced the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd. Molly Hatchet is appearing with special guests 28 North. 8 p.m. 103 Slade Ln., Warrendale. (RH)
Friday, July 15
“Girls to the front!”—a rallying cry for riot grrrl acts like Bikini Kill, the slogan called on men to step aside at punk shows and for women to mosh without fear of battery or sexual assault. That rallying cry is also the title of a song by Brazilian Wax, who are co-organizers of Ladyfest, an annual three-day event which features and empowers Pittsburgh female musicians. The other co-organizers are The Lopez, a duo who craft noisy, hooky garage rock armed only with a keyboard and guitar. Another notable act includes Murder for Girls, hot off the release of their debut LP, All the Wishes, a collection of ten original tracks on which unwavering vocals and fuzzy guitar dip and bend around a driving rhythm section. They, the Lopez, Brazilian Wax, and dozens of other acts will play this year’s Ladyfest at a myriad of local venues, like Howler’s and Spirit. For a complete list of these venues and the performers therein, check out the Ladyfest Facebook event page. A weekend pass, good for all of the venues, can be purchased at the A-F Records website. A portion of all proceeds benefit the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. Friday through Sunday, July 15 – 17. Performance times and places vary. (CM)
The Vans Warped Tour—which is at its core a punk rock showcase—long ago expanded to include dubstep, hip-hop, metal, reggae, and other genres. Begun in 1995, the Warped Tour is not only the largest touring music festival in the United States but also the longest-running. The tour launched Green Day, Blink-182, and even Katy Perry. This year, with nearly 100 acts playing the tour’s First Niagara Pavilion date, there’s too many to list. However, veterans of the Vans circuit include pop punkers Sum 41 and Yellowcard and the ska-punk bands Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake. Speaking of ska, The Interrupters are up-and-comers in the genre, who have previously toured with The English Beat. Set times and performance locations are not determined until the day of the show, so attendees should arrive early and seek the performance schedule, which is printed not on paper but on a giant, inflatable billboard. 11 a.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (CM)
Trying to label musical genres these days is like trying to label ethnicities. There has been so much mixing and moving that it’s getting hard—and sort of pointless—to pin anybody down as anything. Maybe Los Lonely Boys are a Tex-Mex group or maybe they play Chicano rock, or maybe, as the Boys themselves call it, it’s “Texican rock and roll.” What’s certain is that the group hails from San Angelo, Texas and consists of the three Garza brothers: Henry, Jojo, and, ahem, Ringo, Jr. (Their father, Ringo Garza, Sr., had his own band and contrary to popular belief did not play Beatles music. Unless he did.) Perhaps the best way to describe Los Lonely Boys is to say they play feel-good music. Because, you know, it does feel good. Los Lonely Boys have cut several albums, including a self-titled release that went double platinum and Sacred, which peaked at no.1 on the U.S. Rock charts. Their latest is Revelation (2014) and they’re coming to The Altar Bar. With the Dan Bubien Band and Birds Over Arkansas. 8 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. (MV)
Sunday, July 17
The Pittsburgh Blues Festival may be gone, but the cause is still here. The Feed More Festival, at Stage AE, benefits Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank as the blues festival did for over 20 years. Headlining are Cold War Kids—not the blues, but definitely bluesy. Just listen to the ache in singer Nathan Willet’s voice, the jangly piano which recalls old-school alternative groups like the Velvet Underground. Cold War Kids received international attention from their first album, 2006’s Robbers & Cowards. “Hang Me Up to Dry” epitomizes their metaphorical lyrics and twitchy instrumentation. And “First,” off 2014’s Hold My Home, marks their biggest radio hit yet. Sharing the day’s bill is The Lone Bellow, a Brooklyn-based indie-folk trio. 2015’s Then Came the Morning, the group’s second album, saw production by Aaron Dessner (of The National) and brass and string arrangements by Bryce Dessner (also of The National). A standout single from that LP is “Fake Roses.” The music starts mid-afternoon, with eight opening acts, including local ones like Swiss Army and The Commonheart. Doors open 2 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)
The last time Dawes were in town, they opened for Irish singer-songwriter Hozier. This month, Dawes headline Mr. Smalls. An earlier, more post-punk incarnation of the Los Angeles quartet was called “Simon Dawes.” That name came from the middle names of members Blake Mills and Taylor Goldsmith. (When Mills left, the group dropped the “Simon.”) The band went in a more folk direction, and in 2009, recorded and released their debut album, North Hills. Wilco’s Patrick Sansone assisted with some of the album’s instrumentation. In 2014, members (and brothers) Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith played on Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes, an album built around old, unused Bob Dylan lyrics. Elvis Costello, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons, Rhiannon Giddens, and many other talented musicians also contributed to that collaboration. Dawes are currently touring in support of their fourth album, All Your Favorite Bands, released in 2015. Kathleen Edwards opens. 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (EC/CM).
“Love Rollercoaster,” a song from the Ohio Players’ album Honey, was a number one single for the Dayton funkateers. One minute and 24 seconds into this single, amid a percussion breakdown, somebody screams. There have been many explanations for this scream, but the most widely circulated involved Ester Cordet. She is the model photographed on the Honey album cover, lapping from a spoonful of honey held in one hand while holding a jar full of the sticky stuff in the other. The story goes that the heated honey left her burned—her scream is either from the burns themselves or from the band’s manager stabbing her to death (!) after she threatened to sue for her disfigurement. Complete urban legend, of course; it was really keyboardist Billy Beck, whose scream adds a live vibe to the in-studio track. Cordet, a former Playboy Playmate, is also still alive. Urban legend aside, “Love Rollercoaster” is a standout funk tune, its greatness recognized by musical heirs Red Hot Chili Peppers, who covered it for the Beavis and Butt-head Do America soundtrack. “Love Rollercoaster” was one of two number one hits for the Ohio Players—the other was “Fire.” Other songs, like “Funky Worm,” ruled the R&B charts. The group continues to tour and will be bringing the funk for a free show at Hartwood Acres Park Amphitheater. 7:30 p.m. 200 Hartwood Acres, Hampton and Indiana townships. (CM)
Thursday, July 21
The concert promoters have creatively packaged together three Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bands for the tour they’ve coined the Rock Hall Three For All. Headlining are Ann and Nancy Wilson, the two Seattle sisters who form the basis of the band Heart. They achieved mega-success in the 1970s and ’80s with songs “Magic Man,” “Barracuda,” and “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You.” Also on the bill is Joan Jett, who was supposed to open for The Who here late last year until Roger Daltrey’s illness forced a rescheduling, and the new date conflicted with her own tour schedule. We’re glad to see her in the ‘Burg (Burgettstown). Jett and her band the Blackhearts are best known for their 1982 no. 1 hit “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Last but certainly not least is quintessential ’70s rock band Cheap Trick. They sang “Mommy’s alright, Daddy’s alright, they just seem a little weird, surrender…” for their big hit “Surrender.” Other highly successful songs are “I want You to Want Me,” and “The Flame.” Cheap Trick formed in Rockford, Illinois in 1973. Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, and crew released their first new album in seven years earlier this year, Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello. Catch three great classic rock bands together at First Niagara Pavilion. 6:30 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (RH)
Friday, July 22
One of the biggest acts in country music, Luke Bryan, hits the region on his Kill the Lights tour for back-to-back concert performances. Since 2009, the native Georgian has been on a tear with 14 songs rising to number one on the U.S. Country charts. “Country Girl (Shake it for Me)” went triple platinum and is the third-best-selling song by a male country artist. 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 has proved to be more than capable of stepping into the spotlight himself, winning the 2013 Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year award. 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”). Bryan, who won the Billboard Music Award for Top Country Artist in May, will be joined by Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch at First Niagara Pavilion. 7 p.m. There is a second concert July 23. 665 Pennsylvania 18, Burgettstown. (RH)
Sunday, July 24
Melanie Martinez was only 17 when she auditioned on season three of NBC’s “The Voice.” Martinez did an acoustic version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” complete with kick-tambourine. That goosebump-inducing performance got three judges to hit the “I Want You” button. She chose Adam Levine as her vocal coach, sang covers of artists ranging from Ray Charles to The White Stripes, and made it all the way to the top six before being eliminated. Despite the loss, Martinez found post-talent-show success. Her debut EP, Dollhouse, plays like Siouxsie and the Banshees meets the children’s book Goodnight Moon. (Check out “Carousel.”) This EP was followed by her debut LP, Cry Baby, released in 2015. The lead single, “Pity Party,” draws from “It’s My Party” by Lesley Gore. Martinez is currently touring in support of this album. She brings her bubble gum goth to Stage AE tonight. Handsome Ghost opens. Doors open 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)
Friday, July 29
Bush—a British grunge rock band formed in London in 1992—gained early success with their first album Sixteen Stone, an immediate hit that is now certified as a six-time multi-platinum seller. The rockers’ 1996 release Razorblade Suitcase went to number 1 on the Billboard album chart. Their signature mix of grunge and metal, with an occasional ballad, has won them a worldwide fan base. In June, Bush released a music video for a new song, “People At War,” in honor of World Refugee Day. Led by lead vocalist/guitarist Gavin Rossdale (Gwen Stefani’s ex-husband), Bush are currently touring in support of their latest album Man on the Run. They’re sharing top billing with Chevelle, a brother-act trio (brothers Pete and Sam Loeffler and brother-in-law Dean Bernardini) who’ve got a new album of their own, The North Corridor. Black Map and The Dead Deads open the show at Stage AE. Doors open at 5 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (RH)
It’s hard to beat a free concert—as long as the music is good. Luckily, thanks to our local governments and various public and private institutions, we get a lot of very good acts performing for free in the Pittsburgh area, and one coming up is The Cactus Blossoms. They’ll be at South Park Amphitheater as part of Allegheny County’s Summer Concert Series. The Cactus Blossoms are two brothers, Jack Torrey and Page Burkum. They’re from Minneapolis, where the cactus don’t bloom but the performing arts certainly do—as in Prince, “Prairie Home Companion” (well, okay, that’s Saint Paul), the Twin Cities avant-garde theater scene, and more. The Cactus Blossoms give rockabilly music their own distinctive twist. They are touring in support of their new album You’re Dreaming, which includes backup musicians on tracks like “Stoplight Kisses.” With special guest Molly Alphabet. 7:30 p.m. 1950-1998 McCorkle Rd., South Park Twp. (MV)
They come from Down Under and their music is aimed upward. Hillsong United is a Christian praise-and-worship group that emerged from the youth ministry at Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia in 1998. With an ever-evolving lineup of young to young-ish members, Hillsong United has released three EPs and 17, count ‘em 17 albums, which comes to more or less a release per year. The newest, last year’s Empires, is their fifth to hit no. 1 on the U.S. Christian Albums chart. (It topped the overall Australian albums chart as well.) A documentary film about the group is due for release in September. Are you getting the picture that Hillsong United is a big deal? That’s why they are booked into Pittsburgh’s largest indoor venue, Consol Energy Center. 7 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (MV)
Rick Handler is the executive producer of Entertainment Central and loves great music.
Christopher Maggio and Mike Vargo also love great music and were major contributors to this preview.