November ’21 Concert Guide: Bob Dylan, Steely Dan, Los Lobos, Gary Clark Jr., Flaming Lips, and Chvrches

Donald Fagen of Steely Dan at the keyboards during a 2017 concert. (Photo: Raph_PH and Wikipedia).

Donald Fagen of Steely Dan at the keyboards during a 2017 concert. (Photo: Raph_PH and Wikipedia).

The leaves are changing and concert venues are settling into a new sense of normal. There’s no huge mega-acts this month, but still plenty of high grade musical performers hitting area stages. Two classic acts that have chosen different directions are The Monkees and Bob Dylan. The Monkees remaining two members have decided this will be their farewell tour. Bob Dylan, on the other hand, continues on his Never Ending Tour which first began in 1988. Another top show is Steely Dan, which has a big, rich catalog of pop hits to pull from. Other classic rock shows this month include: The Outlaws, Carl Palmer & ELP Legacy, and Cheap Trick.

Also rocking the ‘Burgh are Los Lobos, Gary Clark Jr., Aaron Lee Tasjan, CAAMP, and doing it on the countrified side is Brothers Osborne. On the alt-rock side of life we see The Flaming Lips, Chvrches, Silversun Pickups, and Anti-Flag.

This guide features (in chronological order) spotlighted picks, other shows of interest, and big shows on the horizon. Music can be spiritually uplifting and we can all probably use some of that. So get out there and see what pleases you, whether it’s one of our concerts or something entirely different. And please stay safe.

Christopher Maggio (C.M.) and Mike Vargo (M.V.) also contributed to this guide.

Entertainment Central Spotlighted Picks

Monday, November 1

“Hey, hey, we’re the monkees / And people say we monkey around / But we’re too busy singing / To put anybody down.” Those were several of the lyrics from “The Monkees” television show theme song. The program was a situation comedy about a pop-rock band that was trying to hit it big and having fun adventures along the way. Well, the innovative TV program did achieve success during its short two-year run, receiving two Emmy Awards in 1967, one for Outstanding Comedy Series. The fictional band became a real one and had real life success. The Monkees weren’t monkeying around when they delivered top hits (assisted by by the songwriting duo of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and Neil Diamond) like: “Last Train to Clarksville,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “I’m a Believer,” and “Day Dream Believer,” Unfortunately, the group is down to only two original members with the passing of Peter Tork, and Davy Jones, but hey, Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz can still have a barrel of fun! See The Monkees on their Farewell Tour at the Palace Theatre. 7:30 p.m. 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. (R.H.)

Tuesday, November 2

Los Lobos in Spanish means “the wolves.” In rock ‘n roll it means straight ahead songs with blazing guitar leads, strong percussion, melodic keyboards, hot brass, and a creative touch of other instruments. The band’s authentic musical mix adds ingredients from other genres as well including Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, folk, R&B, blues, and Latin soul. The pack is led by David Hidalgo and Louie Pérez whose close bond developed at an East Los Angeles high school over their love for an eclectic mix of musical acts. They then added a few more guys from their school: Cesar Rosas, and Conrad Lozano to complete the Los Lobos lineup in 1973. Steve Berlin is also a member of the group. 1987 saw the band’s cover of the Ritchie Valens song “La Bamba” reach No. 1 on the charts in the U.S., the U.K, and other countries. 2015 saw Los Lobos nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Native Sons is the band’s most recent album release. It dropped in July and features other musical residents of California including Jackson Browne, The Beach Boys, and The Blasters. Special guest is Dan Bubien & The Delta Struts. Mr. Smalls Theatre, 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (R.H.)

Wednesday, November 3

Carl Palmer was a member of the pioneering progressive rock band 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 acts, including the band Asia. Palmer, noted as one of the best rock drummers of all time, is touring with his group ELP Legacy. Jergel’s Rhythm Grill, 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. (M.V.)

Friday, November 5

Southern rock finds its way north with the The Outlaws. For over 40 years, the band has been thriving in the Southern rock genre along with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Charlie Daniels, and The Allman Brothers. Founded in Tampa, Florida, in ’72, The Outlaws put forth a Southern rock opus with “Green Grass and High Tides” and scored a major hit with “There Goes Another Love Song.” Outlaw trademarks include beautiful vocal harmonies and intricate lead guitar play. Surviving the test of time, the inevitable evolution of popular music, and bandmates’ deaths, The Outlaws are definitely alive, kicking, and, it would seem, stronger than ever. And now that Lynyrd Skynyrd has embarked on a farewell tour, The Outlaws will be one of the groups to proudly carry forward the Southern rock banner. They come our way with special guests The Henry Paul Band and Billy Crain Band. 7:30 p.m. Pepsi-Cola Roadhouse 565 Rt. 18, Burgettstown (RH)

Tuesday, November 9

Cheap Trick is a quintessential ’70s rock band and a staple on the classic rock touring circuit. 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. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, and crew’s most recent release is In Another World, released in April. Special guest is The Summit. 8 p.m. Palace Theatre, 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. (R.H.)

CAAMP is a rising folk rock band out of Columbus Ohio. The group was started by friends Taylor Meier and Evan Westfall who first met at a summer camp while they were both in middle school. CAAMP has three studio albums under their belt including 2019’s, By & By, which debuted at no. 1 on Billboard’s Top Heatseeksers chart. You can catch them with Madi Diaz at Mr. Smalls Theatre. 8 p.m. Sold out. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale.. (R.H.)

Wednesday, November 10

Blues/rock guitarist Gary Clark Jr. started appearing on the national radar when he played the Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2011 and 2012. Also in 2012, he performed as part of a musical tribute at the White House called “Red, White, and Blues.” For that concert, he performed solo and with the legendary musical performers B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck, and Buddy Guy. PBS televised the concert. Clark Jr. rose out of Austin, Texas, playing at the same club—Antone’s— that launched brothers Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughan years earlier. Clark Jr.’s incendiary runs on his Epiphone, Gibson, or Stratocaster guitars can be heard on songs like “When My Train Pulls In” and “Bright Lights.” His latest studio album is 2019’s, This Land. Clark Jr. has also landed some TV and film roles. His songs can be heard in several soundtracks as well. Special guest is Blackillac. Doors open 7 p.m.  Stage AE, 400 North Shore Dr.,, North Shore. (R.H.)

Gary Clark, Jr. performing at the North Coast Music Festival in Chicago in 2013. photo: Alize Tran, Wikipedia.

Gary Clark, Jr. performing at the North Coast Music Festival in Chicago in 2013. (photo: Alize Tran, Wikipedia.)

Thursday, November 11

Oklahoma-City-based, psychedelic-rock band The Flaming Lips invade Stage AE. Active since 1983, The Flaming Lips stand as one of the most accomplished and revered acts of alternative rock. Their shows provide a can’t-miss experience that expertly combines visual and auditory stimulation through rhythmic lines and a trippy, syncopated light show. They had a hit with “She Don’t Use Jelly” in 1993 and rose to further prominence with 1999’s The Soft Bulletin and 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Their latest album is 2020’s American Head. Frontman Wayne Coyne has often performed inside a life-sized, inflatable bubble. Fans delight as Coyne rolls over them, like a hamster in a ball. Prior to the vaccine roll-out, the band performed a sold-out concert in Oklahoma City during which they and audience members inhabited their own bubbles so as to be shielded from the virus. Particle Kid opens. Doors open 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (EC, CM)

Friday, November 12

Silversun Pickups formed in Los Angeles, California, in 2000 right around when their alternative-rock forebears the Smashing Pumpkins were breaking up. They released their debut album, Carnavas, in 2006. Songs such as “Lazy Eye,” with its driving guitars, heady vocals, and screaming, picked up the alt-rock relay that the Pumpkins’ frontman Billy Corgan had been carrying. Silversun Pickups later received a Best New Artist nomination at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards. Their music has been featured in popular video games series, such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The quartet’s latest album, their fifth, is 2019’s Widow’s Weeds. Garbage drummer Butch Vig, arguably best known for producing Nirvana’s sophomore breakthrough album Nevermind, produced Widow’s Weeds too. Silversun Pickups will perform at Stage AE. Special guest is Zella Day. Doors open 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

Saturday, November 13

Nashville-based singer-songwriter Aaron Lee Tasjan was the headliner at the Allegheny County Summer Concert Series’ July 23 show at South Park Amphitheater. He has released four solo albums since 2015, most recently 2021’s Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan!, with a few EPs prior to that. His resumé also includes playing with Sean Lennon and he wrote a song with BP Fallon that Fallon recorded with Jack White producing and playing guitar called “I Believe In Elvis Presley.” Tasjan also did a live recording for Luck Reunion with Lilly Hiatt that was released on Jack White’s Third Man Records label. Tasjan co-founded the band Semi Precious Weapons in New York City in 2006. In 2008, he formed another band, the Madison Square Gardeners (great name). They recorded an LP and three EPs during his three-year tenure with them. He also played lead guitar for the classic proto-punk band the New York Dolls for a brief stint in 2009. Tasjan was invited to stay on, but decided to work on other projects. See our story on Tasjan and his new album. Special guest is Tristen. Club Cafe, 8 p.m. 56 – 58 S. 12th St., South Side. (C.M./R.H.)

Monday, November 15

It’s been a long, long time since Pete Seeger introduced an up-and-comer named Bob Dylan to the crowd at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival. At the next year’s Newport, Dylan was booed when he showed up with an electric guitar. Decades later, Dylan was chastised globally for not showing up at all to accept the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. But in between and ever since, he’s done quite a bit of showing up. The Dylan curriculum vitae to date includes: 39 studio albums plus bunches of live albums, bootleg albums, and other recordings and collaborations, in genres and styles from folk to talking blues, rock, country, Christian, covers of Frank Sinatra ballads … and a genre that one might simply call “Dylan.” So many of his songs are iconic that space does not permit a list. And though his lyrics have been analyzed extensively for deep meanings, the fact remains that Dylan is a musician, who loves to play and sing live. He visits UPMC Events Center with his band on their latest tour. Recent setlists have focused on Dylan classics like “When I Paint My Masterpiece.” His most recent album release is last year’s “Rough and Rowdy Ways.” 8 p.m. Robert Morris University, 6001 University Blvd., Moon. (M.V.) 

Saturday, November 20

Country duo Brothers Osborne is composed of two brothers, T.J. (lead vocals) and John (guitar, backing vocals). Growing up in Deale, Maryland, they were inspired by the music in their father’s record collection and formed a band. They then sought their fortune in the country music capital of Nashville, Tennessee. The Brother’s gamble has paid off as their first three albums have reached No. 3, 2, and 4 respectively on the Billboard Country Chart, they have been nominated for seven Grammy Awards and have won five Academy of Country Music Awards. T.J. in February, came out as gay, making him the only openly gay country music artist on a major label. The duo’s latest release is 2020’s SkeletonsUPMC Events Center, 7:30 p.m. Robert Morris University, 6001 University Blvd., Moon (R.H.)

Punk rockers Anti-Flag return home for a concert at the Roxian Theatre. The quartet formed right here in Pittsburgh in 1988 and released its debut album, Die for the Government, in 1996. Tom Morello, the guitarist for Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, produced their fourth full-length release, 2003’s acclaimed The Terror State. Today, Anti-Flag still enjoys performing, protesting, and recording music. The band’s latest album, 20/20 Vision, was released in 2020. According to their website, their last North American tour was only two days long because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their return to the stage should be all the more sweeter for their fans. The Suicide Machines, Punchline, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, and Doll Skin open. 5 p.m. 425 Chartiers Ave., McKees Rocks. (C.M.)

Monday, November 22

“You go back, Jack, Do it Again” is a refrain lyric from Steely Dan’s 1972 song “Do It Again,” and Steely Dan members Donald Fagen and Walter Becker kept doing it, creating hit songs that is. The band’s sound lives in the space between rock, jazz, and R&B with Fagen’s yin of beautiful, nasally lead vocals and outstanding keyboards playing off the yang of Becker’s killer guitar riffs and strong backing vocals. Unfortunately Becker died in 2017 and Fagen is soldiering on without him. The band was named after a series of strap-on dildos mentioned in the William S. Burroughs novel Naked Lunch. Steely Dan always used top quality musicians and producers for their songs. Michael McDonald can even be heard singing backing vocals on several of their songs including “Peg.” Their set list at the Benedum could include hits like “Kid Charlemagne,” “Reelin’ in the Years.” “FM (No Static At All),” “Aja,” and “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.” 8 p.m. 237, 7th St., Cultural District. (R.H.) 

Chvrches, an indie-pop trio from Glasgow, Scotland, will headline Stage AE. They are no strangers to Pittsburgh and were one of the headliners at the Thrival Music Festival at Carrie Furnaces in 2016. During the show, frontwoman Lauren Mayberry maintained perfect pitch over the synthesizers and samplers commanded by her bandmates, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty, while strobe lights flashed behind her. The poignant “The Mother We Share,” the band’s debut single, closed their set beautifully. On record, the song opens their acclaimed first album, 2013’s The Bones of What You Believe. Their latest album is 2021’s Screen Violence. That album’s second single, “How Not to Drown,” was co-written by and features the Cure’s lead singer, Robert Smith. Donna Missal opens. Doors open 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

Chvrches vocalist Lauren Mayberry hitting her notes.

Chvrches vocalist Lauren Mayberry hitting her notes at 2016’s Thrival Music Fest at Carrie Furnaces. (photo: Rick Handler)

Other Shows of Note

November 4
Crowder (Carnegie Music Hall Oakland)
Three Dog Night (Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall)
Nada Surf (Mr. Smalls Theatre)

November 5
Maia Sharp (Club Cafe)

November 6
Silverstein (Mr. Smalls)
Bill Toms and Hard Rain (Rivers Casino)

November 7
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram (Jergel’s)

November 8
Chuck Prophet (Club Cafe)

November 9
Bad Religion (Stage AE)

November 11
Dinosaur Jr. (Mr. Smalls Theatre)
Lettuce (Roxian)

November 12
Maggie Rose (Thunderbird Cafe)

November 19
The Lemonheads (Mr. Smalls Theatre)

November 20
Daughtry (Stage AE)
Mercy Me (PPG Paints Arena)
Pittsburgh Indie Music Fest (Thunderbird Cafe)

November 26
The Clarks (Jergel’s)
The Commonheart (Mr. Smalls Theatre)

November 27
Donnie Iris & The Cruisers (Jergel’s)

November 28
Petatonix (Petersen Events Center)

Several Big Concerts on the Horizon

December 2
Black Violin (Byham Theater)

December 3
Shakey Graves (UPMC Events Center)
Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers (Club Cafe)

December 4
Andrea Bocelli (PPG Paints Arena)

December 6 & 7
REO Speedwagon (Palace Theatre)

December 10
Ingrid Andress (Stage AE)

December 11
beabadoobee (Stage AE)

December 13
Genesis (PPG Paints Arena)
Lindsey Stirling (Benedum Center)

December 14
Evanescence (Petersen Events Center)
Straight No Chaser (Benedum Center)

December 15
Marie Osmond (Palace Theatre)
Snail Mail (Mr. Smalls Theatre)

December 18
Guided By Voices (Mr. Smalls Theatre)

December 26
Bill Deasy Boxing Day Show (Club Cafe)

December 29
Transiberian Orchestra (PPG Paints Arena)

Thursday, December 30 and Friday, December 31
Lotus (Mr. Smalls Theatre)

Rick Handler is the executive producer of Entertainment Central.