June Music Preview: A Cornucopia of Sounds


Rolling Stones concert in the Giuseppe-Meazza-Stadion in Milan on July 11, 2006. Photo courtesy of Severino.

Rolling Stones concert in the Giuseppe-Meazza-Stadion in Milan on July 11, 2006. Photo courtesy of Severino.

Wow, what a great month musically June is for us lucky Pittsburghers. Songs will be emanating from almost every hill and hollow. We are being visited by two of the biggest acts in the universe, The Rolling Stones, who proudly wear the moniker World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band, and Taylor Swift, the music awards vacuum cleaner. June is also the time of year for the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, with highlights including rising stars Jenny Lewis and Rhiannon Giddens, along with noted rock guitarist Richard Thompson. Oh, and if that’s not enough, other top notch performers playing the ‘Burgh this month are Steve Miller Band, My Morning Jacket, Dave Matthews Band, Brad Paisley, Imagine Dragons, David Crosby, and the Average White Band.

Usually Pittsburgh sees its share of famous guitar slingers over the course of the year; well, this month the tables have turned and we have a crop of legendary rock drummers with Charlie Watts (The Rolling Stones), Ginger Baker (Cream), and Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer).

We are also very fortunate in Pittsburgh to have a great deal of homegrown talent. This month’s local highlights include Donna Groom of The Skyliners, Donora, Rachel BJimbo and the Soupbones, The Flow Band, and Lyndsey Smith & Soul Distribution. Get out and enjoy the musical feast that this June offers.

Wednesday, June 3

Tame Impala is the one-man band of Kevin Parker of Perth, Australia. He and four touring musicians will play Stage AE a month before the release of Currents, his new LP, due July 17. Pittsburghers have plenty of opportunities to learn the new songs, though. Parker has already performed four tunes from the album, beginning with the almost eight-minute-long, psychedelic whirlwind of “Let It Happen.” More recently, it’s been hard to decide which is better: the slow headnod of “‘Cause I’m a Man” or its spiralling, 3D music video. Tame Impala is also sure to play cuts from 2010’s Innerspeaker and 2012’s critically acclaimed Lonerism. Get ready for quite a few Pink Floyd-esque light effects as well. Kuroma opens. Doors open 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

Thursday, June 4


Louisville’s My Morning Jacket comes in two styles. There’s the studio style—solid, with few creative lows, and experiencing a renaissance with 2015’s The Waterfall, arguably their best album in a decade. Then there’s the live style—a truly mythological and religious experience in a time when such adjectives are carelessly bantered to describe shows of lesser caliber. So even if you’re unfamiliar with the Neil-Young-meets-reggae jam of “Off the Record” or the R&B-infused “Compound Fracture,” jump online to get a ticket to their show at Stage AE. This is a band that played a four-hour set at Bonnaroo in 2008 which included the hit “Off the Record.” Frontman Jim James, an accomplished songwriter in his own right, has also paid tribute to Bob Dylan both on screen (2007’s I’m Not There) and in the studio (2014’s Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes.) Floating Action opens. Doors open 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

Friday, June 5


After singing and performing with Rilo Kiley for 12 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 died, she suffered from severe insomnia, and her album was overdue. As Lewis recounted in a “CBS Saturday Morning” interview, the reason for delay is that she was scared—she didn’t want the album to suck; she wanted it to be first-rate. The result of that quest is The Voyager, a top quality album that includes the hits “She’s Not Me” and “Just One of the Guys.” The album, partially produced by Ryan Adams, debuted at number 9 on the Billboard 200 chart in July 2014. Lewis’ pleasant melodic voice, ability to hold a note, nice appearance, and stage dances heighten her popularity. Her band members are all highly talented musicians. Lewis is the Headliner for opening night of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. 7:30 p.m. Free. Dollar Bank Stage, Point State Park, Downtown. (RH)

Saturday, June 6

“Ants Marching” or “Gravedigger?” “Crash Into Me” or “Crush?” So go the speculations as to what Dave Matthews Band will play live. Fans needn’t worry too much about not hearing their favorite songs. This year, DMB promise to play two full sets at each show. Unsurprising, really. 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—a record. Their mix of rock, jam, and jazz has moved hearts and feet across generations. It’s been nearly three years since their last album (2012’s Away from the World), but Dave doesn’t need a new release to tour. Just summer weather and fans ready to cut a rug or, in the case of First Niagara Pavilion, beach towel. 7 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (CM)

In case you missed it, Taylor Swift, who was already cleaning up at the pop music game, just gave a master class on how to release a music video. The epic revenge fantasy video for “Bad Blood” is studded with Swift’s celebrity girl pals, from Lena Dunham to Cindy Crawford, and after a movie-style build-up to its “world premiere” on May 17, the video broke Vevo records with 20 million views in 24 hours. Expect a similar level of showmanship from Swift’s concert at Heinz Field as part of The 1989 World Tour. Swift’s fifth studio album, 1989, which includes the number one singles “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space”, marked the point where she left her country roots entirely behind her. Swift collaborated with Jack Antonoff of the band Fun on some of the tracks, and has said 1980s electro-pop was an inspiration for her new sound. From reviews of the concert tour, fans can expect to hear most of the new album, with just a few forays into back catalog, and to see no shortage of costume changes. With special guests Vance Joy (of the hit single “Riptide”, covered by Swift) and Shawn Mendes. 7 p.m.100 Art Rooney Ave., North Shore. (HM)


Railroad Earth are bringing their bluegrass-influenced sound to Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival lineup, with a free show in Point State Park. And if the first official weekend of summer plays it by the book and puts on a warm, sun-drenched day, then Railroad Earth will be just the ticket for a chilled-out evening in the park after a hard day at the festival. The band have been playing together since 2001, blending elements of different styles including bluegrass, rock n’ roll and jazz. The six-member band, fronted by vocalist and songwriter Todd Sheaffer, features violin, accordion, mandolin, acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, penny whistle, drums, and bass. The band’s latest release was 2014’s Last of the Outlaws, featuring the five-part, 21-minute epic “All that’s Dead May Live Again/ Face with a Hole”. They also feature in a collaboration with blues guitarist Warren Haynes, Ashes and Dust, to be released in July. 7:30 p.m. Free. Dollar Bank Stage, Point State Park, Downtown.  (HM)

Tuesday, June 9

The War on Drugs were 2014’s critical darlings, with their third album, Lost in the Dream, topping many end-of-the-year best-of lists. Listeners have taken note—this Philadelphia indie rock band is now filling larger venues, like Stage AE. The group’s songs are long, slow burns, conjuring images of flattened vistas, and harking back to artists like The Waterboys and Bruce Springsteen. Synthesizers and horns, plus the occasional “woo!” from Adam Granduciel, assist in the ambiance. No new album is in the works just yet. More like the rest of the world is still catching up to Lost in the Dream. The band recently played both “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and will play Lollapalooza later this summer. The Everymen open. Doors open 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

Thursday, June 11

Rhiannon Giddens has the kind of voice that could have come from any time and any genre and still be a show stopper. At times on her debut solo album Tomorrow is My Turn, she sounds like a 60s R&B diva—such as on “She’s Got You”—while on other tracks her vocals wander confidently through folk, gospel, jazz, country, and blues. Better known for her work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an old-time fiddle-and-banjo folk band, she released her solo recording in February. The album includes covers of tracks by Odetta, Hank Cochran, and Dolly Parton—her sweet, country-infused version of “Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind” is a favorite. The Tomorrow is My Turn tour is taking her to England, Ireland, Germany and France later in the year, but first she’s one of the headline acts at Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. 7:30 p.m. Free. Dollar Bank Stage, Point State Park, Downtown.  (HM)

Friday, June 12

Forgive passersby of Stage AE if they momentarily forget they’re in Pittsburgh; this evening promises a trifecta of world music. Sharing equal billing are Flogging Molly and Gogol Bordello, two bands with devoted live followings. Flogging Molly will provide the Celtic punk; Gogol Bordello, Gypsy punk. Flogging Molly has Dave King, an Irishman who sings of exile, drink, and his father’s death when Dave was only 10 years old. Gogol Bordello has Eugene Hütz, a frontman whose mustache (and charisma) rivals Freddie Mercury’s. Commercial peaks for Flogging Molly include 2008’s “Float.” For Gogol Bordello, listen to 2010’s Rick Rubin-produced “Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher).” Openers Mariachi El Bronx will provide, well, mariachi. Doors open 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)



It’s hard to find anyone who disagrees that Richard Thompson is one of the best guitarists of all time. He’s collected a swag of awards over the course of a career spanning more than five decades, released more than 40 albums, and toured with artists including Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, and Wilco. Also an acclaimed songwriter, he’s written music for Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Don Henley, and others. But despite the trophy cabinet full of accolades, he proves he doesn’t take himself too seriously with this infectious cover of a Britney Spears’ pop song. This drums and guitar version of “Oops I Did It Again,” (admit it, you know all the words) deserves to have at least a couple million more YouTube views for its virtuoso guitar work and medieval vibe. If he plays it at Point State Park you bet the crowd will be singing along. June also marks the release of his latest solo album, Still, produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. It doesn’t drop until June 28 but fans can get a taste of what’s in store with the first single, “Beatnik Walking”. Thompson performs at Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival with the Electric Trio, including bass player Taras Prodaniuk and drummer Michael Jerome, the power trio line-up which featured on his 2013 album Electric. 7:30 p.m. Free. Dollar Bank Stage, Point State Park, Downtown.  (HM)

Saturday, June 13

Soul Asylum is an innovative alternative rock group that formed in Minneapolis in 1983 and have recorded many memorable songs including “Somebody to Shove,” “Runaway Train” and “Black Gold.” Their most recent album was 2012’s Delayed Reaction. Soul Asylum are sharing billing with Phoenix’s Meat Puppets. Many 90’s bands burned hot and faded out. One band that kept going through periods of highs and lows was Meat Puppets, whose heavy but flexible sound has incorporated punk, country, and psychedelic rock in their three decades. One of the band’s biggest hits was “Backwater.” They were so respected by the alt-rock vanguard that Nirvana invited them on stage for their “MTV Unplugged” performance. But the mainstream limelight was not for the eclectic and uncompromising Meat Puppets. They are still touring these days and tonight come to Mr. Smalls—the kind of cozy, but much-loved club they’ve inhabited since they began. Special guest is Honeyriders. 7:30 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (RH)


“Country noir”—that’s the genre Neko Case classifies herself as. It’s a genre that was years in the making. She’s contributed lead and backing vocals to numerous songs by indie rock band The New Pornographers while also displaying a decided twang on her alt country solo records. The “noir,” meanwhile, comes from her sometimes macabre lyrics, such as on “Star Witness.” That track is off 2006’s critically acclaimed album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. Her most recent release, 2013’s The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, was met with similar acclaim. (Check out the bitingly ironic “Man.”) Her musical stylings and wit make her the perfect artist to play the last Saturday of the Three Rivers Arts Festival  7:30 p.m. Free. Point State Park, Downtown. (CM)

Sunday, June 14  

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 bandmate, rocker 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 2. The song speaks to finding a solution for humanity’s ills. 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 band continue to shine. Special guest is Don Felderformer lead guitarist for The Eagles. 7 p.m. Highmark Stadium, Station Square, South Side. (RH)

Tuesday, June 16


Jazz written by Pittsburghers and played by Pittsburghers marks the beginning of the annual Pittsburgh Jazz Live International Festival. It’s the Pittsburgh Jazz Celebration at Heinz Hall! This celebration is a two-parted one. Part one features David Budway, Roger Humphries, and Sean Jones, among other musicians. After intermission, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, plus Ramsey Lewis and Kurt Elling, will play the music of Billy Strayhorn, George Benson, and Henry Mancini. (Yep, even Henry Mancini was from Pittsburgh. Well, Aliquippa specifically.) The orchestra will also play a tribute to the late Ray Brown, a double bassist who worked with (and was briefly married to) Ella Fitzgerald. The orchestra’s own double bassist, Jeff Grubbs, will solo. Clips from a new PBS documentary highlighting Pittsburgh’s jazz legacy will be interspersed throughout the evening. Additionally, Gloria Reuben hosts. Many remember her as Jeanie Boulet on NBC’s “ER.” This year, she also released a jazz album through MCG Jazz, which is based in—where else?—Pittsburgh. 8 p.m. 600 Penn Ave., Cultural District. (CM)

Friday, June 19

Begun in 2012 as a ‘90s nostalgia fest by Everclear’s Art Alexakis and Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath, the Summerland Tour will make its usual Stage AE stop this year. When McGrath split, amicably, in 2013, Alexakis began curating more alternative acts. This year’s edition also went more early ‘00s with bands like Fuel, a post-grunge group whose 2000 single “Hemorrhage (In My Hands)” was number five on Billboard’s Best of the 2000s Rock Songs chart. Not bad for a band who got started in Harrisburg. Pop punks American Hi-Fi had early 2000s success as well with “Flavor of the Weak.” Two of their members also perform as part of Miley Cyrus’ band. Next, you’ll be asking, “Do you wanna die?” when Toadies play “Possum Kingdom,” a true ‘90s alt rock hit if there ever was one. Finally, “swim out past the breakers, watch the world die” instead, or at least sing along, with headliners Everclear. “Santa Monica,” “Father of Mine,” “Wonderful”—arguably some of the best rock songs from the latter half of the ‘90s. Frontman Alexakis may be the only original member, but who cares? As long as they play the hits plus perhaps a Zeppelin medley, as they did last year, audiences both old and young will be satisfied. Doors open 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)


The last time Imagine Dragons played Pittsburgh was at Altar Bar. Their debut album, 2012’s Night Visions, had been released a week earlier. Frontman Dan Reynolds couldn’t stop smiling during that show, like he could see all that was ahead of the band—the summertime ubiquity of “Radioactive,” a Grammy Award, and now a show at Consol Energy Center (quite the jump in venue!). The Las Vegas group, whose style draws from rock, indie, and dubstep, is touring in support of Smoke + Mirrors, their sophomore album. The album went to number one on the Billboard 200 this year and was preceded by a string of catchy singles, like “Shots,” which the band performed during a live commercial during the 2015 Grammy Awards. Metric, who have long dominated indie rock radio thanks to Emily Haines’ ear-grabbing vocals, open as well as Halsey. 7:30 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (CM)

Saturday, June 20

The Rolling Stones are in concert at Heinz Field, Saturday June 20 at 7 p.m. What more needs to be said? Unless you’re very young, very old, or an extraterrestrial, you’ve probably got a pretty good awareness of who The Stones are. But just in case, here’s some info about them. The Stones were a part of the British pop and rock invasion which started in the early 1960s. They are the yin to the Beatles’ yang. While the Beatles were seen as lovable guys with mop-top haircuts who created beautiful music, The Stones’ sound was a little rougher and the band members seemed a little dangerous.

Mick Jagger, The Stones lead vocalist and front man, was a contemporary of Pittsburgh native Andy Warhol. Warhol created the concept for the band’s Sticky Fingers album and the cover art for Love You Live. Like Warhol, Jagger is an astute businessman (having attended the prestigious London School of Economics) and has created multiple revenue streams for the band. Another Pittsburgh tie is that the Beatles made a decision not to come to the U.S. until they had a number one song here. The Stones made no such pledge and played the former West View Park’s Danceland on their first American tour in  1964. The audience was mid-sized and enthusiastic; they were just on their way to becoming famous. Other longtime band members are Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood. The Stones have one of the best song catalogs in rock history. Highlights include: “Gimme Shelter,” ” Beast of Burden,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker).” Opening act is Awolnation. 8 p.m. 100 Art Rooney Ave., North Shore. (RH)



After all these years Ginger Baker still plays drums the way he lives. On both counts, he’s incendiary. Baker—who brings his new group, Jazz Confusion, to the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival—was the percussive fire behind the 1960s rock supergroups Cream and Blind Faith. In the ‘70s he formed the jazz/fusion band Ginger Baker’s Air Force (featured above), then moved to Africa and teamed with Afrobeat great Fela Kuti. Ever since, Baker has been driving the beats amid star-studded lineups worldwide while elevating his famously irascible personality into an art form of its own. He’s a tough interview (e.g., when asked what it was like to do a Cream reunion concert: “What was it like?’ I played the drums, man!!”) And though he graciously cooperated with filming of the 2012 documentary Beware of Mr. Baker, he did attack the director with a cane. At Pittsburgh JazzLive he’ll be wielding only drumsticks in what should be a memorable night. 9 p.m., August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Ave., Cultural District. (MV)

Sunday, June 21

Widespread Panic are spreading the feel good factor through their show at Stage AE. They’re also helping to feed hungry families with their food drive, the Feeding People Through Music project, which has so far has collected more than 14,000 tonnes of food. Donations will be collected before the show for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Of course, that’s far from the only reason you’ll want to check out the rock jam band’s gig with Umphrey’s McGee. The Athens, Georgia, band are renowned for live performances and masterful improvisation. They’ve also been prolific at releasing live recordings, particularly with the regular release of two-track soundboard recordings from shows.  Their first studio release was in 1988, and their most recent was 2010’s Dirty Side Down, which peaked at 27 on the Billboard 200. It includes the track “Saint Ex”, inspired by The Little Prince author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Widespread Panic lost founding guitarist Michael Houser (nicknamed Panic) to cancer in 2002, and took a hiatus in 2012 after marking 25 years in the business. They’re now back on the road, making music and spreading good vibes. Doors open 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (HM)

Average White Band is composed of very talented musicians and maybe should be called Above Average White Band, or even Great White Band. Their success rises out of a funky beat, great vocals, and quite nice horn parts. The band formed in Dundee, Scotland in 1972 and shot to fame on songs like the million selling “Pick Up the Pieces,” “School Boy Crush,” “Cut the Cake,” and “A Love of Your Own.” Founding members Alan Gorrie and Onnie McIntyre faithfully play the music with help from newer band members. AWB’s music is so well loved and respected that other artists including The Beastie Boys, Ice Cube, and Arrested Development have utilized parts of AWB’s music. AWB is the 15th most sampled group ever. This is a great opportunity to get out and dance in the streets of the Cultural District. 7:45 p.m. Free. Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival, Penn Ave., Stage 1, Cultural District. (RH)

Monday, June 22

San Francisco rockers Third Eye Blind will be hitting Stage AE just a week after releasing their fifth studio album, Dopamine, on June 16. Since the band burst onto the music scene in 1997 with their six-times Platinum first album—featuring the hit “Semi-charmed Life”—there have been no shortage of musicians adding “former Third Eye Blind member” to their resume. But vocalist Stephen Jenkins and drummer Brad Hargreaves, the remaining founding members, have been the common factor through the years. They’ve never repeated the commercial success of that first eponymous album, which sold 6 million copies in the US (but then, it’s hard for anyone to sell 6 million albums anymore), but they’ve hardly been sitting around collecting royalties. The band—in  various iterations—has continued to record and tour, and have been growing a new fan base, particularly with the release of the 2009 album, Ursa Major, which topped the Billboard rock and alternative charts. The first single off the new album, “Everything Is Easy” is an upbeat, pop-rock riff that’s likely to have fans toe-tapping all summer long.  Special guest is Dashboard Confessional. Doors open 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.  (HM)

Tuesday, June 23

Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week:” ironic rap played by Canadians, detailing a seven-day argument through nearly unintelligible lyrics. On paper, sounds like a failure. As a 1998 single, it worked pretty darn well, spending (ahem) one week atop the Billboard Hot 100. Far from being a one-hit wonder, Barenaked Ladies have many other recognizable singles, like “If I Had $1000000” and, yes, the theme for CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory.” Joining them at Stage AE are The Violent Femmes. It’s been nearly a decade since the Milwaukee trio played Pittsburgh’s Regatta, but college radio classics like “Kiss Off” and “Country Death Song” sound just as sharp now as they did then and as they did back in the mid-’80s. Additionally, the band has one of the most recognizable drum fills of all time. Also playing is Colin Hay, formerly of Australian band Men at Work. His solo career got a boost when Zach Braff began using his songs in both Scrubs and on the Garden State soundtrack. Although these three acts are different, a certain playfulness imbues all of them. Add a cool summer night with hopefully no rain, and audiences should leave this outdoor show feeling pretty good. Doors open 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)



In 2014, Against Me! had one of the year’s most lauded albums. It’s been a long journey. From 1997 to 2007, their band name was one of many you might spy buttoned to a young punk’s high school backpack. Then it seemed like the band peaked with their 2007 album, New Wave, a record produced by Butch Vig (Garbage, Nevermind) and name-dropped by Bruce Springsteen. Although Spin ranked New Wave album of the year, the record underwhelmed commercially as did its follow-up, 2010’s White Crosses. In 2012, singer/guitarist Tom Gabel revealed her lifelong struggle with gender dysphoria and that she would henceforth be Laura Jane Grace. She channeled her dysphoria (along with some power chords) into Transgender Dysphoria Blues—a triumph and the band’s best album since they formed in 1997 in Gainesville, Florida. Against Me! will play those blues, as well as lots of punk and rock, at Altar Bar. Joining them is Frank Iero, of My Chemical Romance, touring under the moniker “frnkiero andthe cellabration.” Annie Girl and the Flight also open. 7 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. (CM)

Wednesday, June 24

“Exuberance is beauty,” wrote William Blake long ago, and today’s Mr. Exuberant himself is drummer Carl Palmer. He’s visiting Jergel’s Rhythm Grille with his group ELP Legacy to shake some new beauty out of old standards he once played as a member of the progressive rock pioneers Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Spawned in the 1970s, ELP is best remembered today for an eerily mellow number, “Lucky Man.” But the boys could also do thunder and lightning—especially Palmer—and he has kept doing it with various lineups including the band Asia (featured in the clip above). The trio coming to Jergel’s, ELP Legacy, has Palmer on drums with guitarist Paul Bielatowicz and bassist Simon Fitzpatrick. They’re all instrumental—no vocals—which means you won’t miss a word. This is MUSIC, folks. Doors at 6 p.m., show at 8 p.m. 103 Slade Ln., Warrendale. (MV)

Friday, June 26

Country musician Brad Paisley is doing a little bit of everything these days, it seems. He’s hosting Country Music Awards, opening for the Rolling Stones in Nashville, making appearances on ABC’s Rising Star, doing a voice cameo and writing songs for the Disney film Planes: Fire & Rescue, animating his own music videos, and playing for troops in Afghanistan, as well as putting out hit records. Luckily for local fans, he’s also somehow finding time to play some gigs. The Crushin’ It World Tour is promoting his 10th studio album, 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 tour is named for the album’s third single, “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. Justin Moore and Mickey Guyton open. 7:30 p.m. 665 Route 18, Burgettstown.  (HM)

Sunday, June 28

The promo line for Kid Rock’s summer tour promises “more bang for your buck!”, and with tickets starting at $20, it’s hard to argue with that. Kid Rock started out as a rap-metal crossover artist, but has been leaning further to the rock side of the scale ever since, focusing more on southern, country and blues influences. His latest album, First Kiss, his 11th studio release, came out in February. The title song is a classic southern rock big-chorus anthem, complete with a nostalgia-tinged video about kissing girls in a pick-up truck. Sharing the billing at First Niagara Pavilion are veteran rockers Foreigner, famous for power ballads such as “I Want To Know What Love Is” and rockers like “Rev on the Red Line.” Mick Jones is the only remaining original member of the band, which started out in 1976, and had a hit with their eponymous, five-times Platinum first album a year later. Their latest release, Acoustique, came out in 2011, featuring unplugged versions of their classic hits. 6:45 p.m. 665 Route 18, Burgettstown.  (HM)


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 73, 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”. 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 at Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall.  8 p.m. 510 E 10th Ave., Munhall.  (HM)

Tuesday, June 30 

Folk rockers Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros bring their own party with them to perform—a dozen or more musicians are needed to play their jangly, exuberant songs. It’s hard to tell just how many people are actually in the band, but it doesn’t seem to matter either—they almost make you feel like it would be okay if you jumped up with a tambourine and joined them too. You’ve almost certainly heard their big hit “Home”, from their 2009 debut album Up From Below. Since then they’ve released two more albums, but Home is still their only track to achieve a chart placing. That hasn’t stopped them developing a loyal live following, with tours in the US, UK, Australia, and Europe. The driving force behind the band is Alex Ebert, who first created Edward Sharpe as a character in a never-finished novel, who invented a new form of math called Magnetic Zeros. Instead of emerging in book form, the two ideas coalesced into a musical project. The band’s facebook page promises a fourth album this summer, so fans may get a taste of new material at their Stage AE show. 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (HM)

Rick Handler is the executive producer of Entertainment Central and a lover of great music.

Chris Maggio and Heather McCracken made substantial contributions to this preview. Mike Vargo also contributed.

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