October 2023 Concert Guide: The Eagles, Lana Del Rey, Ann Wilson, Bullet for My Valentine, and Cole Swindell

Bullet for My Valentine performing at the Full Force 2022 in Ferropolis, Germany. (Photo: S. Bollmann and Wikipedia)

Bullet for My Valentine performing at the Full Force 2022 in Ferropolis, Germany. (Photo: S. Bollmann and Wikipedia)

Last month was an incredible month for classic rock, this month continues that with two acts that were responsible for many top hit songs in the 1970’s—The Eagles and Steely Dan. The Eagles are on their final tour. A more contemporary hit maker, Lana Del Rey, plays a late season concert at Star Lake. Country artist Cole Swindell will be performing at the UPMC Events Center.

Women Who Rock’s featured musician this year is Ann Wilson from Heart and Tripsitter. Looking for some hot guitar riffs then check out Bullet for My Valentine and blues legend Coco Montoya. Multi-Grammy Award winner Christopher Cross is in concert at Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall. Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes will be performing their brassy style of Jersey rock at City Winery. Concert anyone? I mean tennis anyone? I mean the group Tennis will be in concert at the Roxian. The B-PEP Jazz event will be happening at the Heinz History Center and will showcase many of Pittsburgh’s best players. Regional rockers Jim Donovan & Sun King Warriors are having an album-raising event at Moondog’s.

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

Sunday, October 1

Only one artist has won all four of the General Field Grammy Awards in one ceremony: Christopher Cross. Those awards are Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best New Artist. He won the first two for “Sailing” and the third for his eponymous debut album, released in 1979. Cross added an Oscar to all those Grammys when he won Best Original Song in 1982. The song, which he co-wrote and performed, was “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” for the hit rom-com Arthur, starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli. Since those times, Cross gradually receded from being a household name on the fame meter, but he has remained very active up to the present. His 15(!) studio albums include the latest, 2018’s Take Me As I Am. In 2020 he released a deluxe compilation set, Christopher Cross: The Complete Works. And though he may not bring a live flamingo — the bird that’s been his de facto logo since it appeared on the cover of his debut album — you can catch Cross live and singin’ at the Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall. 7 p.m. 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall. (C.M., M.V.) 

Tuesday, October 3

Lana Del Rey was a late season, and a very popular, addition to the schedule at the Pavilion at Star Lake. Tickets for her concert have been selling very briskly. In her teens the thought that everyone she knows is going to die caused Del Rey a great deal of angst. After an uncle showed her how to play the guitar, she channeled much of her emotions into her songs. An example of this is the song “Born to Die.” She played clubs around New York City and attended Fordham University where she studied philosophy and metaphysics. She even played under the name of Sparkle Rope Jump Queen. Lana Del Rey’s real name is Elizabeth Woolridge Grant. She chose her longtime stage name after being inspired by movie actress Lana Turner and the Ford Del Rey automobile. At a song competition in 2006 she met an A&R man, eventually signing a record contract. Her career then took off. She has been nominated for six Grammy Awards and a Golden Globe. In 2012 Time Magazine named Del Rey one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Her album tittles are very creative as well: Norman Fucking Rockwell, Chemtrails over the Country Club, and her latest, 2023’s, Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. 8 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (R.H.)

Lana Del Rey performing at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles in 2019. (Photo: Justin Higuchi and Wikipedia)

Lana Del Rey performing at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles in 2019. (Photo: Justin Higuchi and Wikipedia)

Thursday, October 5

Jim Donovan & Sun King Warriors are holding a special fundraising concert this month at Moondog’s with opportunities to support the production costs of recording a new album. Donovan and the band’s previous album is 2018’s We See Through It. They describe it by saying, “It illustrates the transformational power of music. Featuring ten songs that span genres and eras ̧ the sound of the new album blends the vintage rock sound of Zeppelin with the alternative folk of Mumford & Sons propelled by barreling drums.” Several songs from the album garnered good radio airplay. The group stays very active in the region. Attendees can sponsor 1/4 hour studio time for $25, 1/2 hour studio time – $50, 1 hour of studio time – $100. Doors open at 6 p.m. Show starts at 7 p.m. The first set will be acoustic; the second set will be electric. The performance will be followed by a meet and greet. 378 Freeport Rd., Blawnox. (R.H.)

Monday, October 9

It’s time for B-PEP Jazz, the annual one-day festival that’s a “musical fun-raiser” for the Black Political Empowerment Project. This event once again features host bands Roger Humphries & the RH Factor, and The Tim Stevens Project. (Vocalist Stevens, a longtime political activist, is also the founder and leader of B-PEP.) Along with the host bands, over 70 individual jazz artists and groups from the Pittsburgh area are scheduled to perform. The lineup includes sax players, pianists, and other instrumentalists, as well as singers, traditional combos, and crossover groups. In short, if you’ve got some favorite local jazz performers, chances are good you will see (and hear) them here. Admission is $45 or $40 for seniors. B-PEP Jazz Host Chair is Annie Hanna Cestra from Hanna Real Estate Services and our B-PEP JAZZ Honorary Chair is Larry Richert from the KDKA Morning Show. B-PEP Jazz kicks off at 5:30 p.m. in the Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman St., Strip District. (M.V.)

Sunday, October 15

The Eagles are a quintessential American rock band. Their talent and versatility allowed them to excel at both ballads and rockers. And The Eagles’ vocal harmonies are some of the best in the business. Five number-one singles, six Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and six number-one albums demonstrate their popularity as one of the best-selling bands of the 1970s. The Eagles were founded in Los Angeles, California in 1971 by Glenn Frey (guitars, vocals), Don Henley (drums, vocals), Bernie Leadon (guitars, vocals), and Randy Meisner (bass guitar, vocals). Leadon left the group in ’75, Meisner in ’77, and Frey passed away in 2016. However, The Eagles have managed to fly on. Timothy B. Schmit has been the band’s longtime bass guitar player and shined singing lead vocals on the hit “I Can’t Tell You Why.” Another longtime member is Joe Walsh, whose guitar playing prowess powered many of the songs on The Eagles’ blockbuster album Hotel California and subsequent ones as well. Vince Gill has joined as a touring musician. He has had a successful solo career and was once a member of Pure Prairie League. Also joining the band on tour is Deacon Frey (Glenn’s son). Sounds like it will be a great, albeit different, Eagles experience. Some of the Eagles’ most popular songs include “One of These Nights,” “Hotel California,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” “Take It Easy,” “The Last Resort,” and “Life in the Fast Lane.” The Eagles are on their Long Goodbye final tour. Steely Dan had to pull out of the show, due to Donald Fagen’s illness, but Eagles member Vince Gill and his band will fill in. 7:30 p.m. PPG Paints Arena, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (R.H.)

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, and 12th, album is this year’s Writing on the Wall. 7 p.m. Jergel’s Rhythm Grille,  285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. (R.H.) 

Tuesday, October 17

Bullet for My Valentine are from Bridgend, Wales, close enough to the Welsh capital of Cardiff to be considered part of Cardiff’s rich music scene. Cardiff boasts the oldest record store in the world, Spillers Records, and the list goes on and on of bands associated with the area: Stereophonics and Funeral for a Friend, just to name a couple. The music scene there has shifted to the kind of heavy metal/hard rock style that Bullet for My Valentine exemplifies. The quartet’s debut, The Poison, was released in 2005 in the U.K. and, appropriately, on Valentine’s Day, 2006 in the States. The band’s American Invasion was swift. The Poison peaked at 128 on the Billboard 200—not bad for a debut—and the music video of a single from that album, “Tears Don’t Fall,” has now logged over 235 million views on YouTube. Bullet for My Valentine has released six more studio albums since The Poison, with the most recent, in 2021, titled simply Bullet for My Valentine. The boys play in Pittsburgh at Stage AE, with guests Of Mice and Men and Vended. 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (C.M., M.V.)

Friday, October 20 & Saturday October 21

Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes are bringing their wall-of-sound to City Winery this month. The band features a New Jersey rock sound complemented by a very talented horn section. Southside Johnny’s first three albums were arranged and produced by the co-founder of the band and Bruce Springsteen associate, Steven Van Zandt. The albums were mainly composed of songs written by Van Zandt and/or Springsteen. They are especially well known for the songs “Trapped Again,” “Without Love,” and “We’re Having A Party.” Their most recent release is 2015’s Soultime. 8 p.m. 1627 Smallman St., Strip District. (R.H.)

Saturday, October 21

Maybe you don’t want to miss this year’s Women Who Rock mega-concert at Stage AE. The headliner is Ann Wilson of Heart and Tripsitter, who’s been proving that a woman with an operatic soprano can rock as hard as anybody ever since her “Barracuda” days.  Also on the bill are The Vindys, fronted by the dynamic singer/songwriter Jackie Popovec, and the utterly, electronically entrancing Madame Trio. Better yet, this is a fundraiser with the proceeds—as always—helping to address women’s health issues at Magee-Womens Research Institute & Foundation. The event is presented by Gibson Gives. Doors open 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (R.H., M.V.)

Tuesday, October 24

Why is there a band called Tennis? Is it because “Football” would’ve been too violent for the soft, swaying, synth-y sounds of this indie-pop group? Actually, according to vocalist Alaina Moore, the name started as a joke. Her bandmate (and now husband), guitarist Patrick Riley, is a good amateur tennis player. So because the band is Tennis, he gets to be a star on the Tennis team—that sort of thing. Anyhow, Moore and Riley bring their act to Greater Pittsburgh for a concert at the Roxian Theatre. The couple met in philosophy class at the University of Colorado. Their personal philosophy includes getting off-grid and going sailing for inspiration. (Indeed their 2011 debut album was titled Cape Dory, after a type of sailboat.) Altogether, Tennis has released six studio albums including this year’s Pollen. The band visits the Roxian with special guest Sam Evian. 8 p.m. 425 Chartiers Ave., McKees Rocks. (M.V.)

Saturday, October 28

Country music is the genre where songs about losin’ can make you a winner. Cole Swindell has mastered the art form. His latest single, “Drinkaby,” is a riotous toast to a gal who up and left: “I don’t know where she’s at, could be Kentucky / But all I know is I might get lucky …” You might say Swindell got lucky some years ago, when he attended Georgia Southern University and joined the same fraternity that Luke Bryan had joined while a student there. Bryan—already a rising star—came to the fraternity house for a visit, and after the two men met and clicked, Swindell had a brotherly connection that helped him launch his own career. The younger guy’s talents took it from there. Swindell first made a mark writing songs and lyrics for others, then jumped into performing. His debut single “Chillin’ It” scored a massive hit in 2013. By 2015, he won ACM’s New Artist of the Year award, and to date he’s released four studio albums including last year’s Stereotypes. Catch Cole Swindell in Pittsburgh with guests Nate Smith and Avery Anna. 7 p.m. UPMC Events Center, 6001 University Blvd., Moon Township. (M.V.)

Other Shows of Interest

Sunday, October 1
Lil Yachty (Roxian Theatre)

Tuesday, October 3
Dance Gavin Dance (Stage AE)
Roger Humphries + RH Factor (Greer Cabaret Theater)

Wednesday, October 4
Bre Kennedy (Mr. Smalls Theatre)

Friday, October 6
The Rascals and The Lovin’ Spoonful (Palace Theatre)

Saturday, October 7
A Boogie wit da Hoodie (Petersen Events Center)
Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers (SNJP Lodge)
Billy Price (Twin Oaks Lounge)

Tuesday, October 10
Band of Horses (Roxian Theatre)
Kenny Blake (Greer Cabaret Theater)

Wednesday, October 11
Billy Raffoul (Club Cafe)
Scott Blasey (Jergel’s Rhythm Grille)
Murder for Girls (Government Center)

October 14
Poor Souls (Moondog’s Pub)

Sunday, October 15
Low Cut Connie (Mr. Smalls Theatre)

Tuesday, October 17
Andy Summers (Palace Theatre)
Bahamas (Mr. Smalls Theatre)

Thursday, October 19
Justin Hayward (Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall)
Here Come the Mummies (Jergel’s Rhythm Grille)

Saturday, October 21
George Thorogood & The Destroyers (Palace Theatre)
Hubie Laws (MCG Jazz)
Bill Toms and Hard Rain (Club Cafe)

Friday, October 27
Loreena McKennitt (Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall)
Nessa Barrett (Stage AE)

Tuesday, October 31
Lettuce (Mr. Smalls Theatre)
Hugo Cruz and Caminos (Greer Cabaret Theater)

Big Shows on the Horizon

November 1
Grace Potter (Stage AE)

November 5
The 1975 (PPG Paints Arena)

November 10
The Outlaws and The Atlanta Rhythm Section (Palace Theatre)

November 24
Bret Michaels (Palace Theatre)

November 26
Bush (Stage AE)

November 30
Ashley McBryde (Stage AE)

Rick Handler is the executive producer of Entertainment Central.

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