[The Lookahead is a monthly segment where we get to be all newsy and point out cool stuff going down in the next 30 days or so. We'll have cool Pittsburgh music shows and events, local album releases, and some national releases of interest. This is the good stuff we've heard about. Come back on the 1st of each month for more!]
I know it’s pointless (and trite) to gripe about Pittsburgh weather but, hey, we all do it anyway (whence the triteness). I don’t know about you, but this back-and-forth winter-summer crap we’ve had instead of a nice normal spring has been really annoying. Luckily, though, it seems like it’s coming to a close, and the last couple of days have been quite warm. That can only mean one thing: summer concert season is just about here! For the first of our May Lookahead posts, we have a big list of upcoming concerts happening here in Pittsburgh this month. There’s plenty of variety, so dig in and mark your calendars with the shows you just can’t miss!
As usual, these are just the shows we have on our radar that struck our fancy, so we surely missed something cool. Check our concert calendar for other listings, and leave us some comments about the shows you’re looking forward to, as well. We wanna know about ‘em!
Photo from Pittsburgh City Paper
This Pittsburgh noise pop band is finally set to release an album, which they self-deprecatingly, jokingly say is “long awaited”. Handsome Fugue is the title and it is bursting with sloppy, lo-fi, fuzzy, shoegaze guitar pop that has been accurately (I must say) described by WPTS as “A more slopped up, gross version of Pinkerton-era Weezer and Pavement“. Sports Metaphors rocks live, too, playing loud and proud, so don’t miss this one! Also playing are local rockers Skinless Boneless and Psychic Boots, rounding out a full night of sweet guitar rock.
Photo by Tina Tyrell
We’re Annie Clark fans all the way here, and Strange Mercy was our number ONE album of 2011. Boo-yah. She’s a guitar wizard, is incredibly creative and pushes boundaries, and her live shows are awesome. Alas, this show is already SOLD OUT, but maybe you were one of the lucky ones to score a ticket? If so, enjoy the show and let us know how it goes! You’ll also be treated to the gorgeous, cinematic folk rock sounds of Shearwater.
This guy has an incredible backstory, and is very much an “indie” artist in the truest sense of the word. His father is a renowned Nashville bassist who played sessions with many famous people you’ve listened to and is in the Musicians Hall of Fame. R Stevie Moore started working with his father at an early age, and this developed the impressive musical chops that have carried him through a long and prolific career as a DIY artist. He has recorded and released over 400 (!) cassettes and CD albums in his life (he’s 60 years old now), mostly from a studio in his New Jersey apartment. He also makes his own music videos (see above) and has a quirky sense of humor to go with his ability to make catchy song after catchy song. He played here last year on his first ever tour (!) and had so much fun that he’s back in town again, so don’t miss him this time, either! Also playing is local artist with a similar prolific DIY career, Weird Paul.
Man oh man, are we pumped for this show. I introduced Jim (and you, dear reader) to Mount Carmel in a post last month and we were both digging them hardcore. We said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if they played a show here?” and then a light bulb went on. We asked around, Manny worked his magic, and KABOOM, Mount Carmel are coming to town! Our favorite Pittsburgh classic rock wizards Carousel and The Slow Reel will join them and complete the time travel trip back to 1972. This will be one of The Slow Reel‘s last shows ever, too, so be sure to join us!
Silliness of the name aside, there really is something magical about the songs of Here We Go Magic. They’re a little bit of folk pop, a little bit of chamber pop, and they have that all-important mysterious element that catches your ear and keeps you listening over and over. It’s hard to describe that catchiness, the sonic and/or emotional hook, but it’s all over the band’s new album, A Different Ship. They teamed up with the amazing Nigel Godrich for this one and, together, they’ve produced an absolute gem of an LP, which you can stream over at Spinner this week. Touring with them are Merge Records’ newest indie pop signing, Hospitality. Stay tuned for a ticket giveaway for this one, too!
Kickball Katy Goodman shreds guitars in Vivian Girls and treats us to sweet pop as La Sera, and we’re thankful for both of those ventures. Her second album of this solo project, Sees The Light, came out in March and the band is on a US tour now. Lucky for us, they’re swinging into town to play the 31st St. Pub, a venue perhaps more suited for a Vivian Girls but no matter, we’re just glad they’re coming here at all! Also playing are two locals, Alexei’s New Band and Andre Costello & The Cool Minors, who I actually know nothing about, so forgive me on that one. You’ll just have to join us at this show and see how it all shakes out!
Over a career spanning 15 years, thus far, Damien Jurado has released nearly as many albums and explored all corners of the folk-pop genre, innovating and reinventing his sound along the way. His latest LP, Maraqopa, came out in February, and it is stunningly gorgeous and haunting, in places. It is his second collaboration with musician/producer Richard Swift, and here’s hoping they keep up that relationship. We can’t imagine a better venue to see Damien Jurado than the intimate Warhol Theater, too, so grab a ticket already! The similarly beautiful and ghostly folk sounds of JBM will open the show.
What can we say about The Polyphonic Spree? They’re wild and crazy and unique and must be absolutely stunning to see live. Just imagine the whole lot of them spread out on the stage at Mr. Small’s, dancing around and making sounds with dozens of instruments and shouting. It will practically be a religious experience. In fact, as I type this out now, I’m realizing that I have to see this. The band’s last album came out in 2007, but they have a new single out now, which perhaps hints at more new material coming soon … Folk musician Sweet Lee Morrow is on the road with the band.
We are very new to the world of Polica, but from the handful of videos I just watched, this should be an excellent show and the band is deserving of the buzz they’ve generated lately. They’ll pack into the Club venue at Stage AE and hopefully incite some kind of dance party for this all-ages show.
Yes, it must definitely be summer concert season when Stage AE starts the outdoor shows. The Avett Brothers are back in town after a successful sold-out show at this very venue last summer. They’re set to release a new album sometime this year, and this show being “An Evening With…” type event, they’ll no doubt play a whole bunch of new songs along with the old hits. So head out there and take it all in, rain or shine. This was also one of our most popular ticket giveaways, so if you don’t have a ticket yet, grab one soon because it will definitely sell out again!
I saw Joe Pug play here at Club Café just about a year ago—with Strand of Oaks—and what a stunning show that was. I was there to see SOA but stuck around to see what this guy was all about, and clearly everyone else was way ahead of me on that one because the place was packed to the gills, people sitting on the floor near the stage and others peering over shoulders from the back. I was immediately floored by the power of Pug‘s voice and his heartfelt lyrics and friendly demeanor. He played for quite awhile and had everyone cheering and hollering. Trust me, you gotta see this! Upbeat southern folk band David Wax Museum will play, too.
The Slow Reel have treated Pittsburgh to most excellent Southern-style classic rock over the last few years, but they’ve announced that it’s time to move on to other things. They’re off on a Midwest tour right now to share their tunes far and wide, and they’re playing that Mount Carmel show we mentioned above, but at the end of the month, there will be no more Slow Reel to speak of. They’re celebrating their breakup with one last big Brillobox bash, playing with fellow folk rockers Chet Vincent & the Big Bend and (in on a special visit from out of state) Nik & the Central Plains. Have a listen to the band’s newest album, and get out to this show to party on down one last time and thank them for the memories!
There ya have it, our special picks for this month. Will you be at any of these shows? Any cool concert announcements we missed? Let us know in the comments!
Filed under: Lookahead