Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Written by Brian Conway
What is this, June? February is supposed to be a slow month for shows, but there are top-notch concerts all month long, from country to rock, hip-hop to jazz, and a lot of post-punk.
Friday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m.
Stage AE – 400 N Shore Dr.
$39.50 adv; $42 d.o.s.
Kid Cudi’s last album, Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven, was something of a head-scratcher. It wasn’t as bad as, say, Lil Wayne’s attempt at rock (at least Andre 3000 liked this one), but between all the acoustic guitar and bizarre (if hilarious) sketches of Beavis and Butt-Head tripping on mushrooms, you can see why Pitchfork started their review of the album by asking, “Is Kid Cudi serious?” Still, it’s rare when a top tier rapper comes to down, so we’re willing to overlook this misstep in hopes of a killer live show.
Sound Scene Express Best of 2015 Concert, feat. Nevada Color, The Commonheart and more.
Saturday, Feb. 6 at 9 p.m.
James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy – 422 Foreland St.
Pittsburgh doesn’t have nearly as many music blogs as it deserves. Pittpunk has been on hiatus, Hughshows is scaling back in favor of a TV show, and the guy that did Pittsburgh Music Report has some other gig now. Fortunately, Sound Scene Express is picking up the slack–and then some. From concert photos, to album reviews, interviews and more, Randy and crew has Pittsburgh’s indie rock scene on lock. This year, their annual “Best of” awards is making the leap to IRL, with live performances from Nevada Color, The Commonheart, Ballon Ride Fantasy and Chase the Monkey, hosted by Danny Rectenwald, of Bastard Bearded Irishmen.
Tuesday, February 9. 7 p.m.
Cattivo – 146 44th St.
If you’re bummed that the Explosions in the Sky tour is skipping Pittsburgh, this Caspian gig is just what you need. That’s not to say that all post-rock bands sound the same, but those signature guitar swells work best in smaller venues, like Cattivo, where you can be completely enveloped by the sonic assault. The Massachusetts sextet is touring in support of their latest album, 2015’s Dust and Disquiet. Opening is O’brother, who you might remember as openers from when Minus the Bear played Club Cafe in late 2014. Here’s a taste of what to expect from Caspian:
Protomartyr, w/ Priests, The Gotobeds
Thursday, February 11. 9:30 p.m.
Brillobox – 4104 Penn Ave.
$10 d.o.s. (No presale)
If your eardrums aren’t already blown out from Caspian and O’brother, they will be after this one. Three of the best punk and post-punk bands in the country join together at Brillobox for an early “show of the year” candidate. Pittsburgh’s The Gotobeds will set the tone by blasting through 9 or 10 songs in about 30 minutes, at which point you’ll say, oh, that’s why that major label signed them. Then, from DC, it’s Priests, only 2 EPs into their career and attracting all types of hype, thanks to frontwoman Katie Alice Greer’s snarl and stage presence. Finally, the new kings of Detroit punk, Protomartyr, with a spoken-word delivery and wit as sharp and cutting as the guitar work. There’s no presale, so get there early to snag a ticket. Doors are at 9.
Stretch & Bobbito
Saturday, February 13. 9 p.m.
Round Corner Cantina – 3720 Butler St.
$10 ($5 w/ movie screening ticket)
Source Magazine called The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show the best hip-hop radio show of all time. Airing on 89.9 WKCR, out of Columbia University, Stretch & Bobbito was where many of the best MCs of a generation first gained attention, from Nas, to Big Pun, to Jay-Z and more. The pair are touring the country in support of a new documentary, Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives, directed by “Bobbito” Garcia. Catch the movie at Row House Cinema at 7 p.m., followed by a post-screening Q+A. Then, make your way over to Round Corner Cantina for the after-party, where the duo will join local DJs on the ones and twos.
Monday, February 22. 8 p.m.
Mr. Smalls – 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale.
Long before anyone really knew who Kurt Vile was, he started billing himself as “Philly’s constant hitmaker” as sort of a joke. Turns out the joke was more of a self-fulfilling prophecy. With his latest album, B’lieve I’m Goin Down, Kurt Vile is unequivocally a rock star. Vile performed lead single “Pretty Pimpin’” on The Late Show with J Mascis, then went off to perform in Europe and Australia for two months. The new album is softer than his previous album, the fuzzed-out Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze, but it has always been Vile’s lyrics – self-deprecating and tongue-in-cheek – that set the constant hitmaker apart from the pack.
Tuesday, February 23. 8 p.m.
Andy Warhol Museum – 117 Sandusky St.
$15 ($12 students/members)
From Chicago, Disappears performs dark, driving garage rock, reminiscent of Krautrock bands and Joy Division. The band will be performing two sets: The first set features their own material, including songs from their 2015 release, Irreal, and for the second set the band will perform David Bowie’s album Low, which they first recorded live at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in fall 2014. Pittsburgh native Noah Leger (formerly of the Karl Hendricks Trio) is on drums.
An Evening with Savion Glover and Jack DeJohnette
Friday, February 26. 9:30 p.m. (7 p.m. session sold out)
Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild – 1815 Metropolitan St.
$27 – $52.50
Now for something different, Jack DeJohnette, one of the best jazz drummers of all time, performs with Savion Glover, one of the most well-respected tap dancers alive. DeJohnette was the primary drummer on Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew, and he toured with Davis for a number of years before setting off on his own. The event page on the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild site promises “multigenerational phrasing of elevated frequencies that propels sound to the fourth dimension and beyond,” and a “journey of melodies extracting unprecedented and beautiful music living within two masterful souls.” Who can resist?
Kacey Musgraves Country & Western Rhinestone Revue
Saturday, February 27. 7:30 p.m.
Stage AE – 400 N. Shore Drive.
Sorry Carrie Underwood, but if you see just one country singer-songwriter in Pittsburgh this month, make it Kacey Musgraves. Probably the only musician to be on the cover of both Redbook and The FADER, Musgraves pens clever, classic country gems that fans of both Katy Perry and Loretta Lynn can enjoy. Her major label debut, 2013’s Same Trailer Different Park, won the Grammy for Best Country Album, and the follow-up, 2015’s Pageant Material, is nominated for the same.
Friday, February 27. 8 p.m.
Mr. Smalls – 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale.
This show will be exactly one year and one week from the last time Ramble Jon Krohn visited Mr. Smalls. Since 2002, with the release of his first album, the instrumental hip-hop masterpiece Deadringer, RJD2 has never stayed complacent, remixing his musical style as often as most artists change labels. He’ll be at Smalls in support of his new album, the soul-heavy Dame Fortune, which won’t be released until March 25th. Here’s the first single off of that album, “Peace of What”:
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