It’s that point of 12 months when good Pittsburgh kids wait wide-eyed to see which playoffs Santa has left them, whereas visions of Tremendous Bowl rings dance of their heads.
Properly, Christmas is canceled this 12 months — at the very least for soccer followers.
However Santa is coming early for stay music lovers. There’s, after all, loads of vacation music if that’s your factor. Listed here are our picks for the very best Pittsburgh live shows (festive or not) this December.
Dec. 2: Soup Rave with Modsyvoxynth, Brednotbred, DJ Furnishings, Heather Harper, C-Robo, andrea_andrea, Soup Women, Undaughter, Collision, Homewood
Sure, it’s actually consuming soup at a rave! Sounds higher than medication. Simply add soup to a chilly day and abruptly a Western PA winter isn’t so unhealthy. Work up a sweat dancing to techno, breakbeats and brain-melting visuals — then cool off within the ambient experimental soundscapes room brain-melting visuals. And slurp soup all night time lengthy.
Dec. 2: ‘Tis the Season with The Seashore Boys that includes The Vacation Vibrations Orchestra, Benedum Center, Downtown
That is the Mike Love Beach Boys, not the Brian Wilson Seashore Boys, clearly. Brian Wilson is the troubled genius of orchestral pop majesty behind masterpieces “Pet Sounds” and “Smile.” Mike Love … isn’t. However hey, it’s nonetheless iconic Christmas music from (a few of) The Seashore Boys!
Dec. 3: Molly Alphabet, The Beagle Brothers, Mr. Smalls, Millvale
Lawrenceville is likely one of the final locations you’d anticipate to present rise to nice nation music — it’s as removed from “nation” because the darkish facet of the moon. However Molly Alphabet was born and raised within the former industrial neighborhood, now house to a lot of Pittsburgh’s tech companies, finest eating places, impartial outlets and bars. This present is throughout the river in Millvale (Lawrenceville’s ornery little brother).
Dec. 7: A Very Yinzer Christmas — Benefiting Band Collectively Pittsburgh, Carnegie of Homestead Music Corridor, Munhall
‘Tis the season to be a charitable kind, and there are fairly a couple of locations asking properly on your vacation greenback. This one appears notably good. Band Together Pittsburgh helps individuals on the autism spectrum create and carry out music. The collective has launched an album of Christmas music with native luminaries reminiscent of Gene the Werewolf, Joe Grushecky and Johnny Angel, and can carry out a few of that music with the Yinzer Home Band and Band Collectively Pittsburgh performers.
Dec. 8: Liturgy, Mr. Smalls, Millvale
When the lo-fi hellish noise and theatrical evil of black metallic took root a couple of years again, it appeared like a breath of poisoned air from the tomb — hey, it’s metallic, that’s good. However like numerous intense subcultures, followers put up (metaphorical) partitions to defend orthodoxy and preserve outsiders out. So interlopers like Liturgy received numerous hate once they pushed the boundaries of the style previous the breaking level. Liturgy was Hunter Hunt-Hendrix’s try to deal with complicated theological, philosophical and musical questions — and wasn’t afraid to throw bagpipes, glockenspiels, violin strings, brass sections, mystical chants and different forbidden components into their night-black bursts of transgressive metallic. The corpse-painted gatekeepers of black metallic have been sad, however hey, that’s kind of their pure state.
Dec. 8: Nikki Lane, Thunderbird Cafe & Music Corridor, Lawrenceville
New West Data has been a cultivator of numerous nation music’s surprising reawakening, and Nikki Lane continues this custom. Her newest album, “Denim & Diamonds,” additionally works as a rock document, and was produced by one in every of rock’s most strong dudes, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age. It’s pleasantly spare and laid-back, and a bit indignant, letting Lane concentrate on her storytelling.
Dec. 9: The Unhealthy Plus, Membership Cafe, South Facet
Greater than 20 years in the past, The Bad Plus appeared to level the best way ahead for jazz improvisers in every single place. Constructed round a heavy rhythm part and the even heavier piano pounding of Ethan Iverson, they reworked tunes by Nirvana, Apex Twin, Radiohead, David Bowie and others with thrilling dexterity, and wrote originals that have been equally unpredictable and thrilling. That future by no means actually got here to cross, however The Unhealthy Plus saved making good music, even after Iverson departed. Now, they’ve received a brand new lineup with guitarist Ben Monder and tenor saxophonist Chris Velocity, which makes it look like they’re kind of beginning over from scratch.
Dec. 9: Summer time on Mars that includes Lexa Terrestrial, Princess Nostalgia, Lys Scott, DJ Femi, Mr. Smalls, Millvale
Hip-hop is 50 years outdated in 2023! There will likely be loads of “What It All Means” suppose items to return, however what I believe is most fascinating is that Pittsburgh’s musical declare to fame prior to now decade has been virtually totally hip-hop-related (i.e., Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa), and that is probably not altering. Past that, it’s cool that you could rap and be an entire weirdo these days. Living proof, this bill featuring all local women that features Lexa Terrestrial, who wears gigantic bows in her hair and appears like a princess from a Japanese online game. It’s additionally received Lys Scott, a queer Thai-American Pittsburgher who took a pandemic layoff from her restaurant job in stride and have become one of many sharpest, most unique lyricists to emerge from the Metal Metropolis.
Dec. 9-10: We Need the Funk Competition with Morris Day & The Time, Alexander O’Neal, Bar-Kays, Con Funk Shun, August Wilson African American Cultural Middle, Downtown
I lastly watched Prince’s “Purple Rain” (hey, I used to be a child within the ‘80s), and OH MY GOD, sure, I do need the funk. Particularly, the Minneapolis sound — the synth-heavy, upbeat electro-funk of Morris Day, who was the unforgettable villain of “Purple Rain.” This festival on the August Wilson African American Cultural Middle additionally brings the underrated Bar-Kays and Con Funk Shun to city, so the funk might certainly be in the home.
Dec. 11: Blackberry Smoke, Roxian Theatre, McKees Rocks
The primary independently launched artist to hit No. 1 within the Billboard Nation Album charts in trendy historical past, Blackberry Smoke was an early mover in nation’s present renaissance. Although that was virtually 20 years in the past, these guys at all times supposed to stay round for some time. They make a purely old-school model of nation crossed with Southern rock (leaning extra towards the latter currently), and pull in some jam-band followers as properly. The Roxian is fairly large, however it should nonetheless be packed. Hope they’ve stocked up on whiskey.
Dec. 12: Chase Petra, Black Forge Espresso, McKees Rocks
There was a time when pop-punk bands have been the enjoyable bands — irreverent and obnoxious with songs that ended earlier than they’d an opportunity to get annoying. Lengthy Seashore’s Chase Petra makes “music on your quarter-life disaster” again when stakes have been decrease however appeared a lot greater, and the precise tune may assist you energy by means of it.
Dec. 14: Lingua Ignota, Mr. Smalls Theatre, Millvale
Lingua Ignota’s songs may all be horror motion pictures. Not the jump-scare Hollywood slashers, however some actually unnerving scenes set within the medieval wintry wilderness the place gods and devils aren’t liturgical abstractions, however actual protagonists lurking within the darkness on the lookout for souls to say. It’s god-haunted nightmare gasoline, paying homage to Nico’s “The Marble Index” and Patti Smith’s most off-the-rails moments in “Radio Ethiopia.” The classically-trained singer’s slow-burning “Pennsylvania Furnace, as an example, is about an “18th-century ironmaster whose canine return to tug him right down to hell after he throws all of them into his furnace in a rage.”
Dec. 17: The 1975, UPMC Occasions Middle, Moon
These guys at all times appeared like a little bit of a throwback to the period of Britpop dominance, when the affected whine of Oasis and Radiohead wafted from each radio. The 1975 are unafraid to make pure come out of the cheesiest manufacturing prospers, wrapping it round cloyingly catchy (but efficient) hooks. Singer Matty Healy is a really English nexus of contradictions, enticed and repelled by fame, entranced by artifice but honest in his want to speak.
Dec. 18: Sonny Sharrock’s “Ask the Ages” carried out by Patrick Breiner, Josh Wulff, David Throckmorton, John Shannon, Ava Lintz, Alphabet Metropolis, North Facet
In case you’re on the lookout for nice jazz to eat dinner to — a legitimate use for music (!) — this isn’t that. The late Sonny Sharrock was a visionary guitar weirdo, who solely was put into the jazz bin as a result of he didn’t match anyplace else. His model was aggressive, abrasive and tough, and he fell in with the primary wave of “free jazz” improvisers within the Sixties just like the just lately departed Pharoah Sanders, then spent years as a chauffeur and caretaker for mentally challenged kids. Later Sharrock was rediscovered within the Eighties, made some extraordinary albums (some experimental, some accessible) and the soundtrack for “Area Ghost Coast to Coast,” which is its personal form of immortality. At Metropolis of Asylum’s intimate Alphabet Metropolis venue, a gaggle of Pittsburgh’s finest improvisers pays tribute to Sharrock’s good album “Ask the Ages” (1991).
Dec. 31: Inside Metropolis, Spirit, Lawrenceville
Lengthy earlier than its middle of gravity shifted to Europe, techno started as a Black response to the mechanized actuality of Detroit — internalizing the rhythms of auto meeting strains and echoes of Kraftwerk’s future funk heard throughout the digital ether. Consisting of Kevin Saunderson (one in every of Detroit techno’s triumvirate of originators, The Belleville Three) and vocalist Paris Gray, Inner City cranked out dance ground hits like “Huge Enjoyable” and “Good Life,” and later downshifted their grooves into extra mellow territory. They’ll be ringing within the New Yr — and making their Pittsburgh debut — at Spirit, a uncommon and maybe singular expertise unlikely to be repeated.