September Concert Guide: ‘The River’ Runs Full Circle, Outdoor Concert Season Ends with a Bang

Bruce Springsteen with Guitar. Photo: Bill Ebbesen and Wikipedia.

Bruce Springsteen with Guitar. Photo: Bill Ebbesen and Wikipedia.

In January, Bruce Springsteen kicked off The River Tour 2016 at Consol. He and the E Street Band return this month, and although they are no longer performing the 1980 double album in its entirety, one can expect to hear a few songs from it. The date is September 11, so they will probably play some cuts from 2002’s The Rising, Springsteen’s response to the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Springsteen won the 1994 Oscar for Best Original Song for “Streets of Philadelphia.” Coincidentally, another Oscar winner who stopped by Pittsburgh this past January also returns this month—Ryan Bingham, who won the award for his work on the Crazy Heart soundtrack, comes to Stage AE with Brian Fallon & the Crowes. (Fallon, meanwhile, is a Springsteen disciple and is best known as the frontman of The Gaslight Anthem.)

September is often the outdoor concert season’s last gasp, and Pittsburgh has many final opportunities to dance in the open air before temperatures drop. The Carrie Furnaces is the venue for this year’s Thrival Festival, with national acts (The Chainsmokers, Ty Dolla $ign) and local acts (Beauty Slap, Meeting of Important People) on the bill. Local veterans Rusted Root will once again close the Allegheny County Music Festival at Hartwood Acres. Blues Traveler and The Wallflowers headline an outdoor show at Stage AE. Country star Jason Aldean and country trio Rascal Flatts bring their respective twangs to separate shows at First Niagara.

Still, if rain worries you, the Benedum Center offers a trio of disparate yet talented acts playing different dates: musical comedian “Weird Al” Yankovic, folk duo Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey (formerly of Peter, Paul and Mary), and Kansas. Other notable indoor shows include Against Me! and Jake Bugg, both playing Mr. Smalls. The Warhol brings Yo La Tengo with Lambchop to the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. Don’t forget Kelsey Friday, a Pittsburgh “Rocker Mom,” who will perform at the Pittsburgh Winery, and Norm Nardini, who has been on the scene for decades and is still going strong. He will be at The Meadows. And at Club Cafe, The Garment District open for indie band Dressy Bessy.

There’s plenty more concerts this September, and whether outdoor or indoor, they can serve as a great way to ease those back-to-school/back-to-work doldrums—a mini-vacation in the form of transporting, life-affirming live music. The only drawback, as with choosing any journey, is not being able to experience them all.

Sunday, September 4

The 17th Annual Allegheny County Music Festival promises a balanced survey of local music. Headlining are Pittsburgh world music royalty, Rusted Root. Depending on how old you are, you know their music, specifically “Send Me On My Way,” from their energetic live shows at clubs like the late Metropol, from the Matilda soundtrack, or from car rental commercials. The band still records and tours and seeing them live is a must for your Pittsburgh Bucket List. Openers include Nevada Color—songs like “1962” sound perfect for dancing barefoot on dewy grass—and Ferdinand the Bull, whose lush “Days We Forgot” is the title track to their debut album. Jim Donovan, a founding member of Rusted Root and drummer, also opens with his Sun King Warriors. Donovan sometimes is behind the drumkit, sometimes in front on guitar: either way, you, too, will be saying “Olalala.” This is the last concert at Hartwood Acres Park Amphitheater this year, so be sure to get in as much outdoor dancing as you can before autumn arrives once more. 5 p.m. 200 Hartwood Acres, Hampton and Indiana townships. (CM)

You can definitely “Get Down On It” with Kool & the Gang in concert. With hits like “Celebration,” “Misled,” and  “Fresh,” Kool & The Gang are one of the premier funk bands of the 1970’s and ’80s. The group was started in the 1960s by Robert “Kool” Bell and his brother Ronald. The Gang’s first chart success came with 1973’s Wild and Peaceful  album that spun off the hits “Jungle Boogie” and “Hollywood Swinging.” Kool & the Gang continued to chart in the ensuing decades, and they’ll be at The Meadows Casino. 8 p.m. 210 Racetrack Rd., Washington. (RH)

Wednesday, September 7

Blues Traveler and The Wallflowers are double billed at Stage AE this month. John Popper, who is known equally for his harmonic prowess and harmonic bandoliers, leads Blues Traveler. The group, which started its journey in Princeton, New Jersey in 1987, touches on the musical genres of blues, folk, psychedelic, and southern rock. Their top hits are “Run-Around” and “Hook.” Their latest album, 2015’s Blow Up the Moon, is a collaborative effort with every track featuring other artists, like Plain White T’s on the song “Nikkia’s Prom.” The Wallflowers are of course led by Jakob Dylan, the talented son of the legendary Bob Dylan. The band has generated hits like “One Headlight,” “6th Avenue Heartache,” and a newer one, “Reboot the Mission.” The last is from their latest album, 2012’s Glad All Over. Opening for the two headliners is a band that’s sometimes blues, sometimes hip hop, sometimes rock. G. Love & Special Sauce run the gamut, and on their newest release, 2015’s Love Saves the Day, the Philadelphia musicians deliver a smorgasbord of all their sounds, often all in one song, as on the title track. Also opening is Howie Day, arguably best known for his single “Collide.” Doors open 5 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (EC/CM)

Friday, September 9

Country-pop trio Rascal Flatts are coming to town—well, actually to First Niagara Pavilion, just a little ways out of town—on their Rhythm and Roots Tour, and when these boys come to town, they really go to town. The Columbus, Ohio band’s 2014 album Rewind topped at No. 1 on the Billboard Country charts, featuring hit singles like “Rewind,” “Riot,” and “I Like the Sound of That.” The group is made up of vocalist Gary LeVox, bass and keyboard player Jay DeMarcus, and guitarist Joe Don Rooney. Rascal Flatts has been nominated for the Country Music Association’s 2016 Vocal Group of the Year award, and we’ll see in November if they take home the prize. Meanwhile their concert at First Niagara opens with Kelsea Ballerini and Chris Lane. 7:30 p.m. 665 PA route18, Burgettstown. (HM/RH)

Kelsey Friday self-identifies as a “Rocker Mom” and primarily performs with her children’s music band, aptly named the Rest of the Week. Still, she is quite capable of performing for adult audiences as well, given her previous musical stint with her alt-rock band, Brownie Mary, in the ‘90s. Now she’s out with the Kelsey Friday Band. Sounds like a great idea. Have a glass of wine made on the premises and listen to some happening music. 9 p.m. Pittsburgh Winery, 2815 Penn Ave., Strip District. (RH)

Sunday, September 11

The first song that I can remember hearing by multi-Grammy-award winner Bruce Springsteen was “Born to Run.” I loved the music and the lyrics! What I especially noticed was what sounded like tiny bells playing throughout the song. Only later did I learn this was the result of a glockenspiel played by the late E Street Band member Danny Federici. Other early favorites were “Backstreets” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.” I then went on to ravenously enjoy every song on Darkness on the Edge of Town, which produced songs like “Prove It All Night,” and The River, which gave us “Out in the Street” and “Hungry Heart.”

Springsteen and his band are still on The River Tour 2016, though they are no longer performing the album in its entirety. But that just makes room for more back catalogue as well as more surprises. The tour began in support of Springsteen’s box set The Ties That Bind: The River Collection, which includes all of The River tracks, outtakes from those recording sessions, and more.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band have had continuing success over the years despite obstacles that included the devastating losses of saxophonist Clarence Clemons and Federici. However, like great champions, they’ve moved forward and found a new path. When the sum of great musical parts come together in a positive way—as with Springsteen and The E Street Band—magic happens. 7:30 p.m. Consol Energy Center, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (RH)

2014’s “All About That Bass” is part promotion of positive body image, part lampoon of the stereotypical Barbie body, part throwback to doo-wop, part present-day pop song. It all adds up to an even greater whole, a bonafide hit with over 1.5 billion YouTube views and counting. For singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor, born and raised in Nantucket, Massachusetts, the fanfare is well deserved. Between the ages of 15 and 17, Trainor made three independently released albums. “All About That Bass,” her breakthrough, would appear on her debut EP, Title, and later on her 2015 major-label debut LP, also called Title. Her sophomore album, Thank You, was released this year. Singles like “No,” which promotes women’s independence, evince that at the age of 22 she is still a songwriter of substance. She’s now on her Untouchable Tour, which includes a stop at the Petersen Events Center. Hailee Steinfeld and Common Kings open. 7 p.m. 3719 Terrace St., Oakland. (CM)

Tuesday, September 13

If you like party beats and near-ludicrous lyrics detailing heartache and woe, CHERUB may be the electro-indie duo for you. Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber, who attended Middle Tennessee State University and are now based in Nashville, are the masterminds behind the music. Their single, “Doses and Mimosas,” is half kiss-off, half tribute to excess, and all body-moving. It comes off their second album, 2014’s Year of the Caprese. Fun fact: caprese is an Italian salad made with basil, tomatoes, and freshly sliced mozzarella. Fun observation: CHERUB may be foodies. The album cover of Year of the Caprese sees the duo dressed as chefs, and their extended plays follow a culinary motif, with names like Antipasto EP and Leftovers EP. They whip up a delectable live show, one which sees both dancing and audience sing-a-longs. Their upcoming album, Bleed Gold, Piss Excellence, will drop this fall, and they will be showcasing cuts from it on their current tour, one which includes a stop at the Rex Theater. Frenship and Boo Seeka open. 8 p.m. 1602 E. Carson, South Side. (CM)

Wednesday, September 14

The Andy Warhol Museum’s Sound Series presents a pairing of respected independent music groups this month: Yo La Tengo and special guests Lambchop. Yo La Tengo turned 30 in 2014. In 2015, former member Dave Schramm returned on electric guitar, rounding out the Hoboken trio into a quartet. That same year, they recorded and released Stuff Like That There. The album includes covers, re-recordings of originals, and originals. The band executed this same concept on 1990’s Fakebook. Kurt Wagner, the man behind Lambchop, wrote an “(in)formal bio” of Stuff Like That There, one which can be found on Yo La Tengo’s website. Appropriate, then, that Wagner and his current incarnation of Lambchop will be not only opening for Yo La Tengo but also collaborating with them on their songs. (Yo La Tengo will collaborate on Lambchop songs as well.) Lambchop began in Nashville, as part of the alt-country genre, though their sound has evolved with every new release. Their newest album is 2012’s Mr. M. Although the Warhol brings both bands to Pittsburgh, the concert will take place at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. 8. p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. (CM)

Thursday, September 15

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, produced by Butch Vig (Garbage, Nirvana’s Nevermind) and ranked by Spin as album of the year. White Crosses came next, in 2010, also produced by Vig. 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 arguably the band’s best album since they formed in 1997 in Gainesville, Florida. The punk quartet now play Mr. Smalls the day before the release date of their seventh studio album, Shape Shift with Me. Potty Mouth and Frameworks open. 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (CM)

Kick off your loafers and don your steel-toed boots; armor up and get ready to mosh—a triple threat of metal is coming to Stage AE. Headlining is Slayer, whose heavy guitar riffs and intense vocals make for a night of serious headbanging. An inspiration to bands like Slipknot, System of a Down, and Lamb of God, Slayer has been rockin’ out since the early ’80s and is considered by many to be a major influence in the death metal subculture. We’re bound to hear some older material, like “Seasons in the Abyss” and maybe even “Bloodline” as well as new material from 2015’s Repentless. (Two music videos from that album will be adapted into comic books by Dark Horse Comics this year.) Also on the bill are contemporaries Anthrax. Their newest album is this year’s For All Kings and they have a comic book connection, too. Renowned comic artist Alex Ross, who’s done the artwork for several Anthrax albums, designed the cover of For All Kings. Opening is Death Angel, another band formed in the early ‘80s. However, a tour bus accident in 1990 left Death Angel’s drummer in recovery for over a year, and vocalist Mark Osegueda left the group shortly after, leaving the band defunct by 1991. They regrouped a decade later and continue to perform and record music, like this year’s The Evil Divide. Doors open 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.  (RH,CM)

Friday, September 16

“Weird Al” Yankovic returns to the region for the second time in a little over a year. In 2015, Yankovic played The Palace Theatre in Greensburg; this month, he plays the Benedum Center downtown. He will be performing cuts from his latest album, 2014’s Mandatory Fun, his first number one album in a career which spans four decades of such satire. Songs from that album include “Tacky,” a lampoon of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” and “Foil,” his take on Lorde’s “Royals.” Yankovic recently performed “Foil” on “Conan” as part of Conan O’Brien’s coverage of the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con. On the acclaimed Netflix series “BoJack Horseman,” Yankovic has voiced Captain Peanutbutter. For Yankovic’s show at the Benedum, expect not only “mandatory fun” but also plenty of video interludes from past movie and TV appearances. He’s also sure to don the fat suit that he wore in the video for “Fat,” a parody of Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” “White & Nerdy” was another hilarious top hit for Yankovic. 8 p.m. 237 7th St., Cultural District (CM)

Saturday, September 17

Italian songstress Giada Valenti has sprung onto the American music scene in part due to concert specials on PBS in recent years. Born and raised in Venice, she started singing and playing the piano at the age of seven and would later go on to earn a degree in music from the Tartini Conservatory in Trieste. Valenti fires on all cylinders with a good voice, charismatic personality, and classic Italian beauty. She’s able to sing and speak in five languages, and her songbook contains American and Italian hits from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, as well as recent contemporary songs. The beautiful dresses she wears in concert are all custom-made for her in Venice. Valenti will be performing From Venice With Love at the Byham Theater. 7:30 p.m. 101 6th St., Cultural District. (RH)

Peter, Paul and Mary rose from the Greenwich Village folk revival scene of the early 1960s. The trio melded music with politics, performance with activism. They covered The Weavers’ “If I Had a Hammer,” a song which supported the late 1940s progressive movement. Also covered—Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” which targets both war and racism. Peter, Paul and Mary would perform both songs at the 1963 March on Washington, where the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. These covers were also hits as were many other songs that the group recorded throughout the ‘60s, notably “Puff, the Magic Dragon.” In 1970, the band broke up. Solo careers followed, but the trio reunited in 1978. Although Mary Travers died from leukemia in 2009, Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey continue to perform. Audiences often sing along during Travers’ parts, as will surely be the case when Peter & Paul play the Benedum Center this month. 8 p.m. 237 7th St., Cultural District. (CM)

Sunday, September 18

Rapper and hometown talent Mac Miller returns to the ‘Burgh for a concert at Stage AE tonight. Miller, a Taylor Allderdice graduate, has even created songs with local ties. “Party on Fifth Avenue” is from the album Blue Slide Park (which referto Upper Frick Park), and “Frick Park Market” is a riff on that Point Breeze deli. Miller sometimes teams up for concerts with another Pittsburgh rapper, Wiz Khalifa, but lately he’s been flying his own banner, Miller’s latest tour opens here just two days after his new album The Devine Feminine drops  In 2011 Miller was admired by, and then feuded with, current Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after Miller wrote a song titled “Donald Trump” comparing his own success to that of Trump. Openers are PouyaHardo, Jimmy WapoChoo Jackson, The Come Up, and CLOCKWORKDJ. Doors open at 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.

Wednesday, September 21

John Mayall, who grew up outside Manchester, England, liked the blues before it was cool there. In 1962, when a blues club finally opened in London, Mayall knew the genre was about to get its due in England. He quit his job as a graphic designer and soon formed the Bluesbreakers, whose members included, at one time or another, Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce (Cream); Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac); and Mick Taylor (the Rolling Stones). Taylor appeared on 1968’s Bare Wires, a studio album which would chart at 59 on the U.S. Billboard 200. Mayall soon retired the name “Bluesbreakers” only to resurrect it in 1984 before again retiring it in 2008. Although the Bluesbreakers are no more, Mayall didn’t retire, and at 82 (82!), he continues to record and perform music. His newest studio album is 2015’s Find a Way To Care. He recorded it with his touring band, and they will be performing at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. 8 p.m. 103 Slade Ln., Warrendale. (CM)

Ryan Bingham and Brian Fallon & the Crowes co-headline Stage AE this month. Bingham co-wrote the theme for Crazy Heart, “The Weary Kind,” with music legend T Bone Burnett, and he also sang vocals on the official version for the soundtrack album. For Bingham’s work on the soundtrack, he garnered something of a musical Triple Crown. That tune went on to win a Golden Globe, a Grammy, and an Academy Award. The film, released in 2009, stars Jeff Bridges as a down-and-out country musician, a role that would earn him the 2009 Academy Award for Best Actor. Although Crazy Heart gave Bingham national exposure, it’s his acclaimed studio albums, like 2015’s Fear and Saturday Night, that have cemented him as one of today’s best Americana singer-songwriters. Not to be outdone, Brian Fallon is best known as the frontman for The Gaslight Anthem, a Springsteen-esque rock band. He and Gaslight Anthem guitar technician Ian Perkins are behind the Crowes. Their sole album, Elsie, provides a darker contrast to The Gaslight Anthem’s discography. Paul Cauthen opens. Doors open 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

Friday, September 23

Pittsburgh rock royalty Norman Nardini has said many times he’s a “rock ‘n roll lifer.” His passion and energy drive him in his continuing mission to rock for the people. Nardini has played with top rockers Jon Bon Jovi, Ted Nugent, Big Mama Thornton, Aerosmith, Kansas, and others. He’s also fronted his own band, Norman Nardini and the Tigers. Nardini once told someone in New York City that he was from Pittsburgh, and the man replied, “Pittsburgh? Where’s that, Pennsyltucky?” Norman’s from a rockin’ family, too, with brother Art known as the bassist for Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers. Catch Nardini in concert with his talented band at Headliners at The Meadows. 8 p.m. No cover. 210 Racetrack Rd., Washington.

When English singer-songwriter Jake Bugg was last in town, he closed the 2014 Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival with a brilliant set on an idyllic Father’s Day evening. Stand-out tunes included originals like “What Doesn’t Kill You” and “Two Fingers,” and covers like Neil Young’s “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue).” He, his bassist Tom “Robbo” Robertson, and his drummer Jack Atherton clocked in 20 songs in just under an hour and a half. 20 was also Bugg’s age then, making him a prodigy, with two LPs and three EPs already under his belt. He’s recorded another LP since: this year’s On My One. “Gimme the Love,” released as a double-A side with the title track, sees Bugg’s trademarked rapid-fire delivery coupled with new, electronic influences. Bugg also returns to Pittsburgh this year, playing Mr. Smalls. It might not be another free outdoor show, but, given critics’ buzz for Bugg on both sides of the pond, it will surely still be a captivating concert. Syd Arthur opens. 8:30 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (CM)

Friday, September 23 through Saturday, September 24

Capping off a week of talks on leadership, innovation, sustainability, and technology, the musical leg of the Thrival Festival begins when gates open Friday, September 23 at 3 p.m. and Saturday, September 24 at noon. The focus of the music schedule is an interesting combination of established national bands and local groups. On the national front is CHVRCHES, an indie pop trio from Glasgow, Scotland; Ty Dolla $ign, a multi-instrumentalist and rapper from L.A.; Rubblebucket, a fun indie dance band; The Chainsmokers, a DJ duo whose single “Closer” (featuring Halsey) hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100; and many others. On the local front are funkateers Beauty Slap and indie rock trio Meeting of Important People, plus other area bands and artists. The music this year takes place at the Carrie Furnaces, a pre-World War I iron plant turned National Historic Landmark. The name of the game at Thrival is capitalist enterprise, and local startup/innovation incubator Thrill Mill powers the festival. Thrival is a rich brew of entrepreneurship, empowerment, and culture. For a full schedule of events and performances, visit Thrival’s website. Carrie Furnace Blvd., Rankin. (EC/CM)

Saturday, September 24

Slip on your cowboys boots, button up your finest flannel, and head down to First Niagara Pavilion, where musical icon Jason Aldean takes center stage for a night of country music fun. One of the most successful names in country music today, Aldean has accumulated many awards over his 11-year career, including Male Vocalist of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year at 2013’s Academy of Country Music Awards. These accolades are a sure sign that Aldean is currently one of the hottest artists in the world, and his hype train shows no signs of slowing down. Aldean was born in Macon, Georgia, and moved to Nashville at 21. His 2005 self-titled debut cemented his success; “Why” became his first number-one single on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. Now Aldean is on his Six Strings Circus Tour 2016. Pittsburghers will get to see him just two weeks after the release of his seventh studio album, They Don’t Know. Thomas Rhett and A Thousand Horses open. 7:30 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (RH/CM)

If you like ‘90s rap and R&B, then you will love the night of music that the Petersen Events Center has billed this month. Vanilla Ice, Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio, Color Me Badd, Rob Base, and Tone Lōc will come together for a show called “I Love the 90’s.” Vanilla Ice we know from “Ice Ice Baby,” with its earworm of a bassline lifted from Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure.” Salt-N-Pepa had a string of hits dating to before the ‘90s, like 1988’s “Push It.” (Younger audiences will know their song “Shoop” from 2016’s superhero film Deadpool.) Coolio also stands out for penning the Grammy-award winning “Gangsta’s Paradise” off his 1995 album of the same name and the soundtrack to the movie Dangerous Minds. 1991’s C.M.B., the debut album by Color Me Badd, produced a string of hit singles, including “I Wanna Sex You Up.” Other acts may not ring a bill initially, but their music certainly will. You know Rob Base from “It Takes Two,” which he wrote and performed with the late DJ E-Z Rock. As for Tone Lōc, if you’ve heard “Wild Thing” or “Funky Cold Medina,” you know Tone Lōc. So don your parachute pants, attach your slap bracelet, and get ready to party like it’s circa 1995. 8 p.m. 3719 Terrace St., Oakland. (CM)

Tuesday, September 27

Feel the groove with Buffalo, New York jam band moe. at Mr. Smalls. The quintet has played Woodstock ’99, opened for the Allman Brothers Band and The Who, and headlined Radio City Music Hall on New Year’s Eve. With such an impressive tour history, moe. has gained a faithful following of moe.rons (their word) since the band’s 1989 formation. They are prolific in the studio, too, with 24 albums released. The newest is 2014’s No Guts, No Glory—what was supposed to be an acoustic album turned hard rock thanks to an assist from hip-hop producer Dave Aron. One can hear the album’s evolution in songs like “Silver Sun.” Pulling from rock, blues, jazz, and the fun of playing music, the band seems to enjoy the performances as much as their audiences. With many songs like “Rebubula” lasting over 10 minutes, you won’t want to forget your dancing shoes for this performance. 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (EC/CM)

Wednesday, September 28

This month, James Bay will play Stage AE. The performance is another line on an already impressive resumé for the young English singer-songwriter. Bay began plucking his uncle’s old guitar while still a lad growing up in Hitchin, England. By 18, he was living in Brighton, a coastal town, busking, appearing at open mic nights. Then it was on to the capital—London. He headlined smaller shows and opened for bigger ones, the biggest arguably for The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park in 2013. Other opening spots included one for Stevie Wonder, also in London, and a stateside supporting gig for similar wonderkid Hozier. Bay’s had plenty of success in the studio, beginning with his platinum-selling single, “Hold Back the River.” That song appears on Bay’s debut album, 2015’s Chaos and the Calm. And just this February, Bay won the Brit Award for Best British Male Solo Artist. Portland, Oregon trio Joseph opens. Doors open 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (CM)

Thursday, September 29

Younger listeners may know Dressy Bessy from 2000’s The Powerpuff Girls: Heroes and Villains, the soundtrack to the popular Cartoon Network show. The Denver, Colorado, band contributed the delectable “Bubbles” in honor of the Powerpuff Girl of the same name. What listeners might not know is that Dressy Bessy are a respected indie rock group. All of their music “bubbles”—with frontwoman Tammy Ealom’s vocals, with handclaps, with hooks. They are also part of the Elephant 6 Collective, which dates to 1991 and includes some other great independent American bands, like Neutral Milk Hotel and The Apples in Stereo. (Apples guitarist John Hill also plays with Dressy Bessy.) A decade has passed, but Dressy Bessy are back with new music—this year’s Kingsized—and they’re playing a Pittsburgh date at Club Cafe. Opening is The Garment District, a project of multi-instrumentalist Jennifer Baron, a Mt. Lebanon native and founding member of the Brooklyn band The Ladybug Transistor. Baron released an album this year—Luminous Toxin. Lucy Blehar, also from Lebo, sings vocals on the non-instrumental tracks. Live, Baron is joined by friends and family including her husband, Greg Langel. 8 p.m. 56-58 S. 12 St., Southside. (CM)

Friday, September 30

Jacksonville-based rock band 38 Special was formed in the mid-‘70s by friends Don Barnes and Donnie Van Zant (brother of Lynyrd Skynryd lead singers Johnny and the late Ronnie Van Zant). Although Donnie left 38 Special a few years ago, Barnes is still there on lead vocals and multi-instruments, and the group hasn’t eased off the gas at all. 38 Special’s genre at its inception was something that wouldn’t sound out of place on Dazed and Confused’s soundtrack—kind of a southern-style rock ‘n’ roll. However, their sound has shifted and evolved considerably. For example, compare 1978’s “I’m A Fool For You” with their breakout hit “Hold On Loosely,” only three years later (which was their first major hit and remains their biggest hit to this day). The difference is notable—but what each entry in 38 Special’s library has in common is that every song showcases their outstanding ability to rock out. Which they’ll be doing at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. (EC,RH)

“Dust in the Wind,” “Carry on Wayward Son,” and “Point of Know Return” are all mega hits from progressive rock band Kansas. Yes, Kansas is actually from Kansas (Topeka), where the musicians started out as a garage band but were soon discovered and went on to become a huge success in the ’70s. Kansas is now celebrating the 40th anniversary of the sextuple-platinum Leftoverture album, and it’s good to see they are still creating new music. The group will be at the Benedum Center for a show including songs from their newly released (Sept. 23) album The Prelude Implicit—along with all the tracks from Leftoverture. 7:30 p.m. 237 7th St., Cultural District. (RH)

Chris Maggio is a Pittsburgh based writer and editor and enjoys great music.

Rick Handler, Entertainment Central’s executive producer, also contributed to this piece.

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Christopher Maggio

I'm a Steel City native and have worked for Entertainment Central Pittsburgh since 2014. I write, edit, and photograph in the categories of music, nightlife, and occasionally theater and dining. In my free time, I enjoy live music and time with friends and family.

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