October 2019 Concert Guide: Carrie Underwood, Bob Seger, The Chainsmokers, and The Black Keys

Carrie Underwood performing at the Grad Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee last year. (photo: darkgypsies and Wikipedia)

Carrie Underwood performing at the Grad Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee last year. (photo: darkgypsies and Wikipedia)

The Pittsburgh concert scene remains strong through October with several big acts and many quality shows. The biggest name is Carrie Underwood, who will be in action at PPG Paints Arena. Bob Seger plays the same venue with his Silver Bullet Band on his final tour stop in the ‘Burgh. Another well-known classic rocker, Phil Collins, stops at PPG Paints Arena on his Not Dead Yet Tour. Former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman pulls into The Palace for his Grumpy Old Rock Star Tour. The Black Keys bring their brand of guitar and drum rock to the Penguins’ house too. There’s some southern rock this month as well, with Charlie Daniels and his band at Jergel’s.

On the more modern rock/music front October sees The Chainsmokers, Sleater-Kinney, The Head and the Heart, and Matt and Kim in area concerts. Hometown heroes The Clarks play an annual benefit concert at The Palace. Local guitar virtuoso Danny Gochnour of Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers has a solo concert at Club Cafe. Get out and let live music lift your soul.

The Entertainment Central Concert Guide is made up of three sections: EC Spotlighted Concerts, Other Suggested Concerts, and On the Radar. Each section lists concerts in chronological order. Christopher Maggio (CM)  and Mike Vargo (MV) also made substantial contributions to the Guide.

EC Spotlight Picks

Wednesday, October 2

Phil Collins: Genesis drummer turned Genesis singer turned solo artist. He joined the prog-rock band in 1970 and mostly stayed behind the drum set until singer Peter Gabriel left in 1975. A Trick of the Tail, the group’s first record with Collins as singer, succeeded. His debut album was 1981’s Face Value, which contains the single “In the Air Tonight.” He wrote and sang the songs for the 1999 Disney animated movie Tarzan. You’ll Be in My Heart” won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Song. The stage musical adapted from the movie debuted on Broadway in 2006. It features a book by David Henry Hwang and music by Collins, who wrote nine new songs. Collins has had some fun with tour titles. He announced a First Final Farewell Tour in 2003, and his Still Not Dead Yet Tour takes him to PPG Paints Arena. His latest albums are this year’s Other Sides (a B-sides collection) and Remixed Sides. 8 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (CM)

Thursday, October 3

Rick Wakeman is one of the musicians who put the “progressive” in progressive rock. Inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the longtime keyboardist for Yes, he’s had a prodigious solo career mixed in with his stints with Yes, and he has been recognized worldwide for his composing as well as his playing since the early-1970s albums The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Wakeman also displays a wicked sense of humor—but he’s a good sport, frequently poking fun at himself. (His Hall of Fame acceptance speech was one example.) The chance to see Wakeman live in concert is a golden opportunity, and behold, the time has come: Wakeman visits The Palace Theatre on his Grumpy Old Rock Star tour. Expect the music to be piano-intensive, drawing on recent work like 2018’s Piano Odyssey album. You might even hear a Beatles tune done in the style of Prokofiev. Add Wakeman’s inimitable patter and it’s like Victor Borge for the 21st century, only more so. 8 p.m. 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. (MV)

Friday, October 4

Country/rock superstar Charlie Daniels and his Charlie Daniels Band play Jergel’s Rhythm GrilleThere’s always been a special affinity between Daniels and Pittsburgh; he’s been a frequent visitor and has even sung the national anthem before several Steelers games. One of his songs, “In America,” includes a reference to the team’s fans: “Just go and lay your hand on a Pittsburgh Steeler fan, and I think you’re going to finally understand.” Tragically, in 2011, longtime keyboardist Taz DiGregorio was killed in a one-car accident in Tennessee while driving to the tour bus to embark on a trip. The band’s many hits include “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” “Long Haired Country Boy,” and “Redneck Fiddlin’ Man.” Daniels’ earlier albums including Saddle Tramp, High Lonesome, and Midnight Wind feature many fantastic southern rock songs. His latest album is 2016’s Night Hawk, and he also has published a memoir titled Never Look at the Empty Seats which was released in 2017. 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. (RH)

Charlie Daniels is highly skilled at both the fiddle and guitar.

Charlie Daniels is highly skilled at both the fiddle and guitar. photo: Wikipedia Commons.

Monday, October 7

I first became aware of The Black Keys some years back when I was driving my car and had the radio turned on when I heard one of the crunchiest, blues/rock songs I’ve ever heard. The song had killer guitar and drum work done in a tight, straight ahead, take no prisoners approach. The vocals sounded as if they were done by an old blues singer. I was loving the song and thinking to myself, “who the hell is this?” I pride myself on knowing a fair amount about music, but this song had me stumped. After hearing the song again a week later I did a search for it. The song was “Your Touch” by a group called The Black Keys. What was even more impressive was they were two young guys, Dan Auerbach (guitarist and lead singer) and Patrick Carney (drummer, vocals) from Akron, Ohio, who had produced such a rich blues/rock song. Well, The Black Keys have grown even bigger over the subsequent years and have nine studio albums under their belt now and have gained fame as one of the best rock bands in the U.S. Their latest album, Let’s Rock, was released this June. Special guest is Modest Mouse. 8 p.m. PPG Paints Arena, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (RH)

Friday, October 11

As the sun set on day one of the 2016 Thrival Music Festival, the crowd was ready to party; The Chainsmokers were ready to deliver. Members Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall took the stage to pyrotechnics. Streamers burst over the crowd. They’ve since played PPG Paints Arena, where they now return for another concert. Memories…Do Not Open is their debut album. Prior to it, the Chainsmokers’ single “Closer,” which features singer-songwriter Halsey, hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 2016. The duo also recorded “Don’t Let Me Down,” which features Mt. Lebanon native Daya. The single performed well too, hitting No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 2016. It was The Chainsmokers’ and Daya’s first top five song on the Hot 100. The tune won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording. World War Joy is their third album. Australian pop-rockers 5 Seconds of Summer and Lennon Stella open. 7:30 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (CM)

Alex Pall (l.) and Andrew Taggart (r.) of the The Chainsmokers creating electrifying music.

Alex Pall (l.) and Andrew Taggart (r.) of the The Chainsmokers creating electrifying music at the Thrival Music Fest in 2016. (photo: Rick Handler)

Saturday, October 12

Winner of the fourth season of “American Idol” in 2005, Carrie Underwood has been on an upward trajectory ever since. Underwood, an Oklahoma native, already has been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and has won seven Grammy Awards, 11 Billboard Music Awards, and 14 Academy of Country Music Awards. Best known for her pop country ballads and light rockers like “Before He Cheats,” she will be performing here as part of her Cry Pretty Tour. Cry Pretty is also the name of her latest LP.  Underwood is also co-hosting the CMA Music Awards in November and could be taking home some  more impressive hardware. She is nominated for Entertainer of the Year,  Female Vocalist of the Year, and Album of the Year. Underwood is married to Mike Fisher, a former NHL hockey player for the Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators. Maddie & Tae and Runaway Jane open. 7 p.m. PPG Paints Arena, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (RH)



Monday, October 14

Seattle folk-rock group The Head and the Heart sold CD copies of its self-titled debut in hand-sewn denim sleeves. Sub Pop, a record label which has signed bands such as Nirvana and the Postal Service, released the album in 2011. Let’s Be Still followed in 2013. The sextet took a break in 2014. In the interim, violinist/vocalist Charity Rose Thielen wrote songs for other performers, including Mavis Staples. The band soon regrouped to record new music. The members also reworked a leftover from the Let’s Be Still sessions, “All We Ever Knew.” The revised version was on 2016’s Signs of Light, and the song hit number one on Billboard’s Adult Alternative Songs chart. Singer Josiah Johnson entered recovery before the tour for the album. He’s better now but is pursuing a solo career. Matt Gervais, who is married to Thielen, now is the band’s singer. The Head and the Heart released Living Mirage this year and will perform at the UPMC Events Center. Illiterate Light opens. 8 p.m. 6001 University Blvd., Moon Township. (CM)

Thursday, October 17

Bob Seger enjoyed regional success in the 1960s playing the bars and venues in the Detroit region until, in ’73, he put together the Silver Bullet Band. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band took off with the release of the albums Live Bullet  and Night Moves in 1976. When the song “Night Moves” hit the radio, it charted as high as No. 4 on Billboard, and Seger and his band were on the fast track to major league music success. Seger’s sound features his pleasingly smoky voice and interesting lyrics laid upon a solid foundation of piano, guitar, and drums. The soundtracks of many American lives are peppered with such Seger songs as “Rock and Roll Never Forgets,” “Mainstreet,” “Old Time Rock and Roll” (used in the Tom Cruise film Risky Business), “Beautiful Loser,” “Turn the Page,” and “Like a Rock” (used in Chevy truck TV commercials). Seger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. His Greatest Hits album has been certified Diamond (10x platinum status). An amazing feat! This year’s tour, the Roll Me Away Final Tour, is one last chance to see Seger and band in Pittsburgh. 7:30 p.m. PPG Paints Arena, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (RH)

Friday, October 18

Matt and Kim often create big hooks with only a keyboard, drum set, and their infectious voices. That formula clicked on 2009’s Grand, their second album. You might recognize the song “Daylight” from television and film. The Troublemaker Remix of the song features hip hop legends De La Soul. “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare” and “Lessons Learned” are other fun tunes. The duo is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Grand with a tour, including a stop at Stage AE. Each tour stop features this notice: “Language is definitely not suitable for all ages because of Kim.” So parents planning on bringing children, you’ve been warned. Matt and Kim’s latest album is 2018’s Almost Everyday. Their music video for “Happy If You’re Happy,” the album’s third single, pays homage to Uma Thurman and John Travolta’s dance scene in Pulp Fiction. Beach Goons open. Doors open 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

Saturday, October 26

Sleater-Kinney, who formed in Olympia, Washington in 1994, had released one of the ’00’s most acclaimed albums, 2005’s The Woods. The band was at its commercial peak when it abruptly went on hiatus. During the hiatus, guitarist Corin Tucker released two solo albums. Drummer Janet Weiss played with Stephen Malkmus (of Pavement) in Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. And many will recognize guitarist Carrie Brownstein as the comedic assassin alongside Fred Armisen in “Portlandia.” Ten years later, the trio returned swinging with 2015’s No Cities To Love. On “Bury Our Friends,” the lyrics resound with riot grrrl empowerment; the guitar and drums throttle with indie rock hooks. The members recorded The Center Won’t Hold with St. Vincent producing. Weiss left the band just before its release this year. Angie Boylan is the new drummer, and they return to Stage AE. Shamir opens. Doors open 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

Other Suggested Concerts

Friday, October 4

Sheila E., a noted drummer, singer, and frequent collaborator with the late Prince, headlines a concert at The Meadows. 1984’s The Glamorous Life is her debut album. She and Prince collaborated on 1986’s “A Love Bizarre.” Her latest album is 2017’s Iconic: Message 4 America. 8 p.m. 210 Racetrack Rd., Washington. (CM)

Sunday, October 6

The organizers couldn’t have picked a more apt name. Four Chord Music Festival at Highmark Stadium features pop-punk, guitar-based bands, such as headliners the Offspring. “Come Out and Play,” from 1994’s Smash, was a smash single. “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” and “Why Don’t You Get a Job?” were other hits. Simple Plan are also on the bill as are numerous other openers. There will be live wrestling too. 11 a.m. 510 W. Station Square Dr., Station Square. (CM)

Tuesday, October 8

The hits from Avril Lavigne’s debut album, 2002’s Let Go, still hold up: “Complicated” (her first single ever), “Sk8er Boi,” “I’m with You,” and “Losing Grip.” The album went diamond in Lavigne’s native Canada. Along the way, Lavigne cultivated a pop-punk look perfect for a generation starting to shop at Hot Topic. She followed Let Go with Under My Skin in 2004. 2007’s The Best Damn Thing contained “Girlfriend,” a number-one single. She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2014, and her illness inspired her latest album, 2019’s Head Above Water. Lavigne will perform at the Roxian Theatre. Jagwar Twin opens. 8 p.m. 425 Chartiers Ave., McKees Rocks. (CM)

Wednesday, October 9 

DJ, producer, and songwriter Zedd is bringing beats, bleeps, and boops to Stage AE. His latest album is 2015’s True Colors. He co-wrote and co-produced The Middle,” which also features Maren Morris and the duo Grey. Jax Jones and NOTD open. Doors open 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

Everclear’s singles, such as “Santa Monica,” “Father of Mine,” and “Wonderful,” were arguably some of the best rock songs from the latter half of the ’90s and the early ’00s. Frontman Art Alexakis recently revealed that he was diagnosed with RRMS, a form of multiple sclerosis, three years ago. His new single, “The Hot Water Test,” recounts his diagnosis. He has continued to tour with Everclear, and he is now on a solo tour, including a stop at the local Hard Rock Cafe, in support of his first solo album, Sun Songs. 8 p.m. 230 W. Station Square Dr., Station Square. (CM)

Only one man in show business has played a Marvel superhero and also sang the lead role in Les Miz. Hugh Jackman did it by expanding himself. Adding muscle to play Wolverine in the X-Men movies, he bench-pressed up to 300 pounds, the weight of an average refrigerator. For the role of Jean Valjean, he stretched his singing voice from baritone up into the tenor range. Last year the versatile Jackman announced a project that’s been a dream of his: a live world tour sampling hit songs from stage and screen. He now brings his tour to PPG Paints Arena, complete with backing vocalists, special guest Keala Settle, and amazing stage effects. Songs include “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen and “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman—in which Jackman played P.T. Barnum. 7:30 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (MV) 

Thursday, October 10

If you want to relive ska punk’s glory days of the late ’90s, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Mr. Smalls with Less Than Jake. Combining the distinctive beats of punk with the horns and saxophones of ska, Less Than Jake hit the mainstream in 2003 with the album Anthem. We can hope to hear their famed “She’s Gonna Break Soon” as well as old and new favorites. Less Than Jake has a new EP out right now called Sound the Alarm. Also on the bill is Bowling for Soup, whose cover of the SR-71 song “1985” was a major hit for the group. 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvalle. (CM/RH)

Less than Jake performing in 2006. Photo: bendus and Wikipedia.

Less than Jake performing in 2006. (Photo: bendus and Wikipedia)

Wednesday, October 16

Little Feat will perform at the Palace Theatre for its 50th Anniversary Tour. Some of the hits from this American folk-rock band are “Dixie Chicken” and “Fat Man in the Bathtub.” Guitarist Lowell George and pianist Bill Payne formed the group, which dissolved in 1979 before George’s death that same year. The band reformed in 1987. Its latest album is 2012’s Rooster Rag. 8 p.m. 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. (EC, CM)

Rock ‘n’ roll promotes good health. This has been scientifically proven by the remarkable number of bands from the 1960s-70s that are still active, and the type of music played by Three Dog Night is especially conducive to wellness: It’s feel-good rock. The group’s de facto anthem is “Joy to the World.” Other top hits, such as “Shambala,” also combine happiness-oriented lyrics with beats that are upbeat. In short, the guys are truly blasts from the past, and you can see for yourself when Three Dog Night visits The Meadows. 8 p.m. In the Event Center, 210 Racetrack Rd., Washington. (MV)

Thursday, October 17

The music of singer/songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter comes from the heart of the country. Actually, she hails from Princeton, New Jersey, but her 2012 induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame pretty much certified her status as a heartland hero. Hits like “Passionate Kisses” and “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” and “Grow Old With Me” helped her become a household name in the world of country folk music. Carpenter has won five Grammy Awards. Her latest album is 2018’s Sometimes Just the Sky, and she visits us to perform at the Byham Theater. Also on the strong double bill is Shawn Colvin who is widely known for her 1997 Grammy Award-winning song, “Sunny  Came Home.” Her album of the same name also took home a Grammy that year for Album of the Year. 7:30 p.m. 101 6th St., Cultural District. (MV)

Saturday, October 19

Billy Ocean,’ 80’s dance/music superstar, will get the crowd moving with his hits “Caribbean Queen,” “Loverboy,” “Dance Floor,” “Suddenly,” and more.  The Trinidadian-English singer’s latest album, Here You Are: The Best Of, features his renditions of songs that influenced him in his life. It should be a fun night at The Meadows Casino. 8 p.m. 210 Racetrack Rd., Washington. (RH)

The Clarks continue to build on their foundation of playing solid working-class rock. The group gained a strong local following in the early ’90s gigging at clubs like Graffiti (remember Graffiti?), and has remained together and active long after nearly every other band on the scene during that era called it quits. After over 25 years, 11 albums, countless gigs and zero line-up changes, The Clarks have gone from being a regional favorite to a local institution. And the band members, who formed The Clarks at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, have never forgotten their home turf. Their most recent album  is 2018’s, Madly in Love at the End of The World, released on the Clarkhouse Entertainment label. They are playing a benefit for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Laurel Region at The Palace. 7 p.m. 21 W Otterman St., Greensburg. (EC, RH)

Sunday, October 20

Before the Killers and Imagine Dragons, Slaughter was Las Vegas’s premier rock band. 1990’s Stick It to Ya, the group’s debut, was a hit with singles such as “Up All Night.” The members haven’t released an album since 1999’s Back to Reality, but they continue to tour, including a stop at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. Dying Breed and Turbo Lovers open. 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. (CM)

Natasha Bedingfield will headline the Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall. Bedingfield is from England, but her debut album, 2004’s Unwritten, was successful on both sides of the pond. The title track scored a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 2007. 2019’s Roll with Me is her latest album. 8 p.m. 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall. (CM)

Friday, October 25

With every note, Andy Grammer, the singer-songwriter with the soaring voice, makes it clear that he loves music and wants to spread the joy. You’ve probably had one of his hit singles, such as “Keep Your Head Up” and “Fine By Me,” stuck in your head at some point in the past few years. His latest LP is 2019’s Naive. He headlines the Roxian Theatre. Nightly opens. 8 p.m. 425 Chartiers Ave., McKees Rocks. (EC, CM) 

Blues guitarist/vocalist Coco Montoya first started out as a drummer with a secondary love for the guitar. He played drums for guitar legend and “master of the Telecaster” Albert Collins for over five years and worked on his guitar skills with Collins mentoring him. He became so skilled that John Mayall asked him to join his reformed Bluesbreakers band in the early ’80s, staying for 10 years. Since then, he has enjoyed a successful solo career with 11 albums released. Montoya plays his scorching riffs as a southpaw. His latest album is this year’s Coming in Hot. Special guest is Jack of Diamonds. 8 p.m. The Thunderbird Cafe and Music Hall. 4053 Butler St., Lawrenceville. (RH)

Sunday, October 27

Big-band leader Glenn Miller disappeared while en route from England to France in a single-engine plane during World War II. He was in Europe to entertain the troops. 1954’s The Glenn Miller Story, starring James Stewart, further immortalized him, and his legacy lives on via The Glenn Miller Orchestra. The orchestra rolls into The Palace Theatre. “In the Mood” is a signature Miller tune. 2 p.m. 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. (CM)

Wednesday, October 30

One of the rocking-est music movies of recent years has the unlikely title A Tuba to Cuba. It’s a documentary about the Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans and their journey to jam with Cuban musicians and singers in Havana and Santiago. The film has now inspired a concert tour that combines the earth-shaking Preservation Hall players with acclaimed Cuban singer/songwriter Yusa and other special guests. Catch the A Tuba to Cuba tour in Pittsburgh, courtesy of the Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents Series. 7:30 p.m. Byham Theater, 101 6th St., Cultural District. (MV) 

Thursday, October 31

Glam-metal band Vixen will perform at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille on Halloween. Vixen hasn’t released a studio album since 2007’s Live & Learn. It’s also the last to feature guitarist Jan Kuehemund, who died from cancer in 2013. However, drummer Roxy Petrucci and bassist Share Ross, members of the classic line-up, remain a part of the group, which continues to tour. “Edge of a Broken Heart” is a great Vixen tune. Sound Servent and Sahara open. 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. (CM)

On the Radar

Friday, November 1
Bret Michaels (Palace Theatre)
Vince Gill (Heinz Hall)
Savoy Brown (Moondog’s)

Saturday, November 2
Blue Oyster Cult (Jergel’s)
Wreck Loose (The Thunderbird Cafe)

Tuesday, November 5
Marcia Ball (Club Cafe)

Wednesday, November 6
Wilco (Heinz Hall)

Thursday, November 7
Buddy Guy (The Palace Theatre)
Logic (Petersen Events Center)

Friday, November 8
Incubus (Heinz Hall)
Tool (PPG Paints Arena)
The Neighbourhood (Stage AE)
David Allan Coe (and Nov. 9, Jergels)
Donna the Buffalo (Roxian Theatre)
The Devil Wears Prada (Mr. Smalls)

Sunday, November 10
Bob Dylan and His Band (UPMC Events Center)

Tuesday, November 12
Fruit Bats (Club Cafe)

Wednesday, November 13
Elton John (PPG Paints Arena)

Friday, November 15
Sara Bareilles (UPMC Events Center)
North Missisippi All Stars (Mr. Smalls)

Saturday, November 16
Sha Na Na (Palace Theatre)
Rising Appalachia (Mr. Smalls)

Friday, November 22
Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening (The Roxian Theatre)
Damian Escobar (Rex Theater)

Saturday, November 23
Luke Combs (PPG Paints Arena)
The Silencers (Hard Rock Cafe)

Monday, November 27
Bill Toms (Hard Rock Cafe)

Friday, November 29
Sun King Warriors (Club Cafe)

Saturday, November 30
It Was 50 Years Ago Today—Tour 2019 A Tribute to the Beatles’ White Album featuring Todd Rundgren, Christopher Cross, Micky Dolenz, Jason Scheff, and Joey Molland (The Palace Theatre)

Rick Handler is the executive producer of Entertainment Central.

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