Summer Concert Preview
With the arrival of Columbus-based promoters PromoWest, as well as the momentum the local electronic music scene has been gaining due to the efforts of a small group of tight-knit promoters, as of recent, Pittsburgh is experiencing a resurgence of sorts when it comes to booking top notch acts in the city. Artists who might not have otherwise touched down here in the PGH have finally started to stop through on their tours – a symptom of a city that is flourishing and expanding culturally. We wanted to take an opportunity to profile some of our favorite upcoming shows this summer, starting with the month of May and going all the way into September. A few years ago, a lot of these acts might have skipped over the city, but now we’re lucky enough to have a healthy summer concert schedule for the 2012 season. Here’s to hoping there are many more where this came from!
Indie/Alt: There are so many amazing shows coming up for indie music fans here in Pittsburgh. Starting with St. Vincent on May 7 at Altar Bar. If you happened to catch this broad the last time she touched down in the PGH at Diesel a few years ago, then you know her live show does not disappoint. Next up, there’s the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Little Dragon at Consol Energy Center on May 30th. We’re so excited to see Little Dragon on a tour of this magnitude, as they played to a sold-out Shadow Lounge last year. It’s only a matter of time before this band fills larger venues. Next up, Battles at Mr. Smalls on June 4, who last played The Rex as a part of the VIA festival. They were one of the highlights of the festival for many, so I’m curious to see them in a different setting and in a different context. Smalls also has tUnE-YarDs on June 12. I had the opportunity to see Merrill Garbus do her thang a few months ago in Cleveland at the Beachland Ballroom. Her combination of powerful vocals and live looping made for an unforgettable show. She delivered everything you’d expect from tUnE-YarDs and then some. Santigold plays the indoor portion of Stage AE June 16 after a hiatus between her debut and sophomore releases. I’m expecting big things from her performance, as her new singles “Disparate Youth” and “Big Mouth” are absolute FIRE. Mr. Smalls delivers yet again this summer with the Dirty Projectors coming through on July 11. They recently announced their long-awaited follow-up to 2009’s Bitte Orca, so we’re curious to see if they’ll live up to their previous hype. And, what’s becoming one of my most-anticipated shows of the summer – Feist will play Stage AE’s outdoor venue on July 14. I didn’t get a chance to catch her back in 2007 when she was touring in support of her fantastic release, The Reminder, but 2011’s Metals contains more than a few songs that beg to be heard live. I have a feeling this show will deliver a lot more than her past tours, as The Reminder presented a much more subdued Feist.
Electronic/Dance: The latest efforts of the newly-formed Obvious crew in conjunction with the Drum & Bass veterans from FUZZ are culminating in a few short weeks with the arrival of Addison Groove and Doc Daneeka May 2 at the BBT. Obvious’ third event finds them raising the bar yet again when it comes to solid bass music programming in the PGH. Humanaut‘s ‘Out of Order’ event series reaches six months on May 12th, and in true face-melting fashion they’re bringing Detroit staples, (BMG+ERIKA), who are on the Interdimensional Transmissions label and sometimes perform together as Ectomorph. Heads will tell you that this is one of the best sets they’ve ever heard in Detroit, or ever for that matter, so be prepared for some top notch tunes that will get you all worked up on the dance floor. The official closing party of the Distinctively Dutch Festival, presented by VIA, Humanaut, Nakturnal and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust will be held in a very unique space – the former Bally’s Gym on 6th Street in the heart of Downtown’s Cultural District and features famed techno/electro/bass/disco deejay Dexter, who has been a huge influence on many contemporary bass music deejays. If those selections are a bit too abstract for your tastes, not to worry. Girl Talk will be playing Stage AE’s outdoor venue on June 9th with his usual blend of party rock anthems and mashups. There’s also M83 at the Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead August 2.
Free/Fun/Family Friendly: Pittsburgh has a lot to offer in the realm of free concerts this year. The Allegheny County Summer Concert Series is bringing in a good batch of talent this season, such as Joan Osborne, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Mike Doughty, Trombone Shorty and Lucinda Williams. I’m personally looking forward to Delta Spirit, who will be playing June 29 at the South Park Ampitheatre. I saw the group play at Brillobox a few years ago and they blew me away. Their latest album is a treat, and I can’t wait to hear the new songs live. The Three Rivers Arts Festival is also bringing some legit talent this year, such as The Wailers, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Dawes, who opened for Bright Eyes last summer at Stage AE. Speaking of, Hall & Oates play there September 5 for an end of summer hap that appeals to the twenty-something hipster or your 60-year-old grandma, who had better already snabbed a seat, because they’re no longer available. Lawn tickets are still up for grabs, though. And last, and certainly not the most family-friendly or free show, but still necessary to mention, Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller hit First Niagara on August 4 alongside Taylor Gang’s Chevy Woods and Kendrick Lamar, who’s more than worthy of a gig of his own. This powerhouse bill will be one not to miss for the Pittsburgh hip-hop fan.
These are only a handful of the shows we’re looking forward to this summer. Now tell us, what show are YOU most looking forward to?