November 2023 Concert Guide: The 1975, Outlaws, Valerie June, Bret Michaels, Tech N9ne; The Fixx, Ashley McBryde, and Shakey Graves

The 1975 playing in the year 2020 in Nottingham, England. (Photo: Jasminewallis24 and Wikipedia)

The 1975 playing in the year 2020 in Nottingham, England. (Photo: Jasminewallis24 and Wikipedia)

This month on the Pittsburgh concert scene the biggest act is The 1975, who are playing PPG Paints Arena. The group is a popular concert pick in Pittsburgh with many of their previous shows selling out. There are several dynamic female musicians performing in Pittsburgh this month including: Grace Potter, Valerie June, and Ashley McBryde.

This month’s Concert Guide’s way-back machine features performances from southern rock royalty, The Outlaws; new wave fave, The Fixx; and “American Pie” maker, Don McLean. Shakey Graves will be on solid ground with a concert at the Roxian Theatre. Rap is well represented by Tech N9ne. Bush brings its bravado. Our hypothesis is that We Are Scientist will put on a great show at Club Cafe. And for spectacular home town heroes how about Bret Michaels of Poison fame and the Ghost Hounds.

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, November 1 CANCELED, the Grace Potter show has been canceled due to a medical emergency in the band.

Grace Potter will play Stage AE in support of her fifth solo album, 2023’s Mother Road, released in August. It was produced by her husband, record producer Eric Valentine. Several singles preceded its release including “Good Time” and “Lady Vagabond.” She is a living survey of American music, having performed with Kenny Chesney, The Rolling Stones, and alternative psych-rockers The Flaming Lips. The duet she performed with Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones on “Gimme Shelter” is legendary. Potter hails from Vermont, where she and other musicians formed Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, an indie band which also dabbles in blues, folk, and jam. She and drummer Matt Burr were married, but they divorced in 2015, and Burr subsequently split the band. Prior to that, the group founded Grand Point North, a music festival, in Burlington, Vermont. Potter has also lent her vocals to a number of television and film productions, such as “One Tree Hill” and Tangled. Her version of “Stuck in the Middle With You,” by Stealer’s Wheel was used as the theme song for the Netflix series “Grace and Frankie” (2015–2020). Special guest is Rett Madison. 6:30 p.m. doors open. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (C.M., R.H.) 

Sunday, November 5

The love between The 1975 and Pittsburgh grows ever deeper. Most of their shows here are sell outs. The 1975’s breakout single was “Chocolate,” and the members are currently touring behind their Being Funny in a Foreign Language, released in 2022. The album, the British pop rock band’s fifth, hit No. 1 on the UK Albums and Independent Albums charts and no. 2 on the US Billboard Rock Albums chart. The 1975 was nominated for two Grammy Awards, one in 2017 and the other in 2020. The 1975 is seen as being in the vanguard of modern pop rock. The inspiration for group’s name came from a page of scribblings found in lead singer Matt Healy’s copy of On the Road by Jack Kerouac that was dated “1 June, The 1975”.  7:30 p.m. PPG Paints Arena, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. Opening is Dora Jar. (C.M., R.H.)

We Are Scientists are primarily a duo who write striking indie songs that skew slightly to the irreverent. They were one of many New York bands featured on the soundtrack to the romantic teen comedy Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist. Their contribution, “After Hours,” also appears on 2008’s Brain Thrust Mastery. Their latest and eighth album is Lobes, which dropped this January. Their sound is a funky, modern pop. The chemistry should be just right at Club Cafe for their show this month. Opening is Sean McVerry. 8 p.m. 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. (C.M., R.H.)

Wednesday, November 8

You may recognize a young Alejandro Rose-Garcia from “Friday Night Lights” and the Spy Kids franchise. He later pivoted to music and adopted the name Shakey Graves. Rising out of his hometown of Austin, Texas, and playing a mix of folk, country, blues, and rock and roll, he first started playing music festivals. During his early one-man-band days he used a modified suitcase as a kick drum and tambourine stand. His performance of “Roll the Bones,” the eponymous track from his 2011 debut studio album, is a marvel. Graves would go on to release three more albums with the latest being Movie of the Week, released in September. Special guest is Sadurn. 8 p.m. For this visit Shakeytown will be at the Roxian Theatre, 425 Chartiers Ave., McKees Rocks.  (CM)

Friday, November 10

Southern rock finds its way north with 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. The Outlaws will be one of the groups to proudly carry forward the Southern rock banner. They come our way with special guest the Atlanta Rhythm Section. ARS had several big hits in the ’70s with “Spooky,” “So Into You” and “Imaginary Lover.” 8 p.m. Palace Theatre, 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. (R.H.)

Don McLean is not a one-hit wonder, but he’s among those musicians who are forever known for one particular song. “So bye, bye Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry” was all over the airwaves in ’71 when Don McLean‘s American Pie album, with a single of the same name, rose to the number one spot on the U.S., U.K., and Canadian album charts. American Pie” has somewhat cryptic lyrics whose meanings many people have tried to discern. It’s generally regarded that the phrase “the day the music died” refers to the 1959 plane crash that killed three of the top acts in the burgeoning rock ‘n roll genre—Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.). As for what else McLean has been up to:  so far, he has released 21(!) albums in a variety of genres, including both his own compositions and standards by others . He’s been inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame; received another high honor in contemporary music when he was parodied by Weird Al, and has continued touring both nationally and overseas in the past few years. Don McLean visits our town for a rousing Friday night concert at Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall. 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall. (E.C., M.V.)

Saturday, November 11

It’s the Hollywood & N9ne Tour—a pun on L.A.’s Hollywood and Vine district, and a mad musical journey in which the high-velocity rapper and Strange Music cofounder Tech N9ne teams up with rap rockers Hollywood Undead. Tech N9ne is a rapper’s rapper, a virtuoso with mucho albums on his rap sheet and singles in subgenres from hardcore horrorcore (“Am I a Psycho?”) to NFL fanboy (“Red Kingdom,” in honor of his hometown Kansas City Chiefs). Hollywood Undead has titled some previous albums after literary classics (American Tragedy, Notes from the Underground); their latest is last year’s Hotel Kalifornia. Between Tech N9ne and the Undead, expect eloquent profanity, maybe a little misogyny, and a diversity of beats. Catch them at Stage AE along with King Iso and Jay Villain. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (M.V.) 

Tuesday, November 14

Tennessee-born Valerie June got a good musical break when she appeared as a featured artist on MTV’s online series “$5 Cover,” which followed the lives of Memphis musicians and their struggle to survive while chasing their musical dreams. The following year she recorded the EP, Valerie June and the Tennessee Express, a collaboration with Old Crow Medicine Show. Her sound is influenced by folk, blues, Appalachian, gospel, soul, country, and bluegrass. The singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist has gone on to record five albums, the latest being 2021’s The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers. Rachael Davis, Thao & Yasmin Williams are also on the bill. 8 p.m. Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall, 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall. (E.C., R.H)

Friday, November 17 RESCHEDULED TO FEBRUARY 16

Billionaire businessman Thomas Tull is a Sewickley renaissance man. He sold his ownership in Legendary Entertainment and bought an ownership stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009. He owns a dairy farm in Washington County and is an investor in The Milkshake Factory. He also co-founded and plays guitar in a rock band called the Ghost Hounds, who most famously opened for the Stones here during their concert in October 2021. He also started the Maple House Festival a few years ago which featured the Ghost Hounds and several other prominent names in the music industry. The band’s latest album is this year’s First Last Time. Another top local talent in the Hounds is keyboardist Joe Munroe. You can catch the Ghost Hounds right after the spooky season at McKees Rocks’ Roxian Theatre. 8 p.m. 425 Chartiers Ave. (R.H.)

Saturday, November 18

Remember when MTV was actually about the music? British rock outfit The Fixx does. Back in the early 80’s, the new wave quintet rose to prominence in the States in large part because of the airplay their two hit videos, “Red Skies” and “Stand or Fall,” received on the fledgling network. Unlike MTV, however, The Fixx is still pumping out quality tunes three decades later. While they haven’t hit the top of the charts since 1989’s “Driven Out,” the band has continued to produce albums, their latest, Every Five Seconds arriving last year.  The current lineup includes four original members—Cy Curnin on lead vocals, Adam Woods on drums, Rupert Greenall on keyboards, and Jamie West-Oram on guitar—though bass player Dan K. Brown has effectively been with the band for their entire run, joining in 1983. The Fixx will be bringing the ’80s sound to Jergel’s. 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. (E.C., R.H.)

Friday, November 24

He’s the bold blond blue-eyed handsome man from Butler County! You can bet the house will be jumping when local native and diehard Steelers fan Bret Michaels arrives nearby for a gig at The Palace Theatre. Michaels, born Bret Michael Sychak, has won fame in practically every way available. In addition to his solo career 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. At The Palace you might expect to hear him doing metal/country hits like “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” new numbers like “Back in the Day (A Road Trip Anthem),” and maybe even “The App Song.” Above all, be prepared to party—because while Mardi Gras is a long way off, this is Bret’s Parti-Gras 2023 Tour.  21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg.  (M.V.)

Sunday, November 26

Did Bush start out as a grunge band, or were they post-grunge, and have they become something else since their 2002 breakup and 2010 reincarnation—or what? Genre identities matter to some people, because they’re tied to cultural and aesthetic identities, which is why they’ve been debated ever since Edgar Degas painted impressionistic pictures and exhibited with the impressionists while angrily insisting that he wasn’t an impressionist. But the facts on Bush are as follows: Their landmark 1994 album Sixteen Stone went multi-platinum and still hits home—especially on tracks like “Everything Zen” with its iconic, ironic “I don’t think so” refrain. Their latest studio album is last year’s aptly titled The Art of Survival. Gavin Rossdale, cofounder and lead singer of Bush, still fronts the band. And they’re on tap to hard-rock Stage AE as part of their Nowhere To Go But Everywhere Tour. With Bad Wolves and Eva Under Fire. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (M.V.) 

Thursday, November 30

Ashley McBryde’s major-label debut album was Girl Going Nowhere, which in no way describes the artist herself. The 2018 release received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album and helped McBryde to be named New Artist of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards. Since then, the Waldron, Arkansas native has been hailed as a pacesetter in the latest wave of creative female artists shaping country music’s directions.  With songs like One Night Standards,” she’s built an enthusiastic fan base to go with a growing list of credentials: one Grammy thus far, two more CMA Awards, membership in the Grand Ole Opry, and probably more accolades to come. McBryde plays Stage AE on a tour aligned with her new studio album, The Devil I Know. Kasey Tyndall opens. 8 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (M.V.)

Other Shows of Interest

Wednesday, November 1
Tom Breiding and Union Railroad (Club Cafe)

Friday, November 3
Billy Price (Moondog’s Pub)

Friday, November 3 & Saturday, November 4
Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival (August Wilson African American Cultural Center)

Saturday, November 4
Tower of Power (Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall)
Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers (Rivers Casino)
8th Street Rox (Moondog’s Pub)

Monday, November 6
Big Blitz (Club Cafe)

Wednesday, November 8
Dokken (Jergel’s Rhythm Grille)
Need to Breathe (UPMC Events Center)
Croce Plays Croce (Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall)

Thursday, November 9
Ladybug Transistor (The Warhol Museum)

Friday, November 10
Great Lake Swimmers (Hard Rock Cafe)
Donna the Buffalo (Mr. Smalls Theatre)

Saturday, November 11
Skinny Puppy (Roxian Theatre)
Sean Jones (MCG Jazz)

Monday, November 13

Tuesday, November 14
Norside Organ Trio (Greer Cabaret Theater)

Thursday, November 16
Rhett Miller (Club Cafe)

Friday, November 17
The Nighthawks (Moondog’s Pub)

Saturday, November 18
The Delaney’s (Rivers Casino)

Tuesday, November 21
Reggie Watkins Trio

Friday, November 24 & Saturday, November 25
The Clarks (Jergel’s Rhythm Grille)

Saturday, November 25
The Affordable Floors (Mr. Smalls Theatre)

Big Shows on the Horizon

December 5
Mariah Carey (PPG Paints Arena)

December 8
Travis Scott (PPG Paints Arena)

December 12 & 13
Billy Strings (Petersen Events Center)

December 16
Trans-Siberian Orchestra (PPG Paints Arena)

Rick Handler is the executive producer of Entertainment Central.

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