Despite the loss of a rare visit from Elvis Costello, who won’t cross the PSO picket line to perform at Heinz Hall, November remains top-heavy with excellent shows from artists both national and local. Read on for some of the best Pittsburgh concerts in November:
Music for a Cause
Never ones to shy away from speaking up, Pittsburgh’s Anti-Flag headline “Rock Against the Trans-Pacific Partnership” at Mr. Smalls November 3. The free, all-ages event includes performances by labor singer Anne Feeney, hip-hop MC Son of Nun and Providence-based “Bilingual saxophone fueled radical dance party” Downtown Boys.
On November 4, the Kelly Strayhorn hosts a free evening of music and advocacy with Reimagine Justice. Part concert, part get-out-the-vote effort, the event includes performances by LA singer/activist Mike de la Rocha and members of 1Hood, including Jasiri X, Jacquea Mea, Idasa Tariq and more. Elected officials and faith and union leaders will also be on hand to speak and mobilize attendees to address social justice causes in Pittsburgh.
Another free concert takes place November 4 with the Live PGH Music launch party at the Funhouse at Mr. Smalls, including performances by three local acts: Spencer Allan Patrick, Grandadchilds and Cisco Kid.
Not quite country
On November 15 a pair of alt-country artists, Lydia Loveless and Wayne “The Train” Hancock perform at Club Cafe and the Rex Theater, respectively. Both are signed to Chicago’s Bloodshot Records but the similarities end there: Loveless, who played Club Cafe less than a year ago, is heavy on electric guitar and frequently veers into pop-rock territory. Hancock is a honky-tonk throwback in the vein of Hank Williams. Both are touring in support of new albums. Pittsburgh’s own Beagle Brothers open for The Train; Nashville singer/songwriter Aaron Lee Tasjan sets the stage for Loveless.
Later that month on November 27, Texas psychobilly act The Reverend Horton Heat performs at the Rex. Formerly signed to both Sub Pop and Interscope Records, the trip continues to wow crowds with their frenetic stage show. If you like your country delivered straight-up, Cole Swindell headlines Stage AE November 10.
Local release shows
One of the more anticipated release shows in recent memory takes place November 12 at Mr. Smalls when The Commonheart celebrate the launch of their debut album, Grown. If you caught them opening for Gary Clark Jr. at Stage AE or any number of local festivals you already know the high-energy exploits that await. Mike Minda slays guitar as well as anyone in the city and Clinton Clegg’s gritty, soulful voice threatens to bring down the house at any moment.
Two more local release shows take place November 12. At Cattivo, The Hills and The Rivers release their sophomore LP, Apocalyptic Dreams. The seven-piece street-punk ensemble combines mandolin, fiddle, and male-female vocal harmonies to create a lush, timeless soundtrack. And at Mr. Smalls, Illusion of Joy release their new LP A Stone Throw From a Glass House as part of Shimmer: “a showcase of Pittsburgh ethereal, shoegaze & darkwave.”
But wait, there’s more! On November 1, Pittsburgh-native Amy Rigby celebrates the vinyl release of her 1996 classic Diary of a Mod Housewife with an intimate performance at Club Cafe. Morgan Erina opens. And on November 5, Formula412 guitarist Byron Nash releases the debut EP for his new group, Byron Nash & Plan B. Afterward on November 5, head to The Park House for a 7″ release show for Chet Vincent‘s new acoustic single “Hey Neighbor,” including a solo performance by Chet and a full set by Molly Alphabet.
Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and the 11-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band play the Benedum November 19 in support of their new album, Let Me Get By, which some reviewers are calling their best yet. Across town at Stage AE that same night Devon Allman Band opens for Rusted Root. Devon (Gregg’s son) is on his third studio album and plays his Les Paul like a man possessed. And if that’s not enough, there’s an Allman Brothers cover band, Live at the Fillmore, playing the Hard Rock November 25.
Punk and emo forever
Four Chord Music Festival returns November 13 with a lineup of over a dozen nationally-known pop-punk and emo bands, including Mayday Parade, Spill Canvas, Hit the Lights and Hawthorne Heights. Now in its third year, the headliners are joined by local acts Eternal Boy (FKA The Spacepimps) and Look Out Loretta.
On November 2, help Screeching Weasel celebrate their 30th year of on-again, off-again existence with a performance at the Rex alongside Bigwig and The Ataris. Another veteran punk band, New Jersey’s Bouncing Souls, perform at Mr. Smalls November 20. The group is best known for their 2001 release How I Spent My Summer Vacation, which includes hits like “True Believers” and “Gone.”