From massive stadium shows to neighborhood-spanning festivals, August has something for everybody. Here’s a closer look at some of the more notable concerts in Pittsburgh in August:
August starts off slowly, with a pair of golden-voiced crooners, Josh Groban and Sarah McLachlan, headlining First Niagara August 2. Former American Idol contestant Phillip Phillips visits Stage AE that same night, with support from singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson.
Vancouver indie punk act White Lung headlines Club Cafe August 3. (Their new album, Paradise, earned Pitchfork‘s vaunted “Best New Music” designation.) Thursday, August 4, Coldplay comes to town to play Consol, their first Pittsburgh visit since 2009. Chris Martin and co. are touring in support of A Head Full of Dreams, their seventh studio album. A pair of female singer/songwriters, Alessia Cara and Foxes (Louisa Allen), open.
Pittsburgh regulars O.A.R. headline an outdoor show at Stage AE August 5, almost a year to the day they played PNC Park. That same night, country superstar Brad Paisley visits First Niagara. Opening for Paisley are Tyler Farr and Maddie & Tae, best known for their single “Girl in a Country Song,” which pokes fun at stereotypical portrayals of women in country music songs. Also, singer-songwriter Jasmine Tate returns home for an intimate show at the Pittsburgh Winery.
On Saturday, August 6, party like a Rox star at the free McKees Rocks Feastival. This year’s headliners include a pair of Brooklyn-based funk bands, Turkuaz and Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, as well as another funk band, Dumpstaphunk, from New Orleans. There will be nearly 20 food trucks on hand, plus the I Made It! Market and an arts and crafts area for the little ones. And be sure to check out the free after-party at the Rex Theater later that evening.
Otherwise, don’t miss Baltimore indie rock duo Wye Oak at Club Cafe, touring in support of their June release, Tween, which has been landing better reviews than their previous album, probably because they brought back their guitars for this one.
The weekend wraps up with Relapse Records artist Nothing at Cattivo August 7. The Philly shoegaze/post-rock outfit churns out wave after wave of atmospheric guitar fuzz, perfect for fans of Slowdive, Whirr, or MBV.
Things pick up the second week of August, beginning August 9 with the grit and boogie of Brooklyn’s Broncho at Club Cafe, bolstered by openers Nevada Color. For even more fuzzed-out guitars head to Spirit for The Ghost Wolves, a garage-rock duo from Austin. There’s also a sold out performance by Halsey at Stage AE that same night.
The next day, August 10, includes a performance by Kesha and The Creepies. According to Rolling Stone, the pop superstar will use the seven-date tour to premiere “dirty rock & roll and country music,” including, she says, “songs you’ve never heard me play before and I may never play again.” The show is sold-out except for VIP packages.
That same night, the Prince of the City, Wiz Khalifa, performs with hip-hop’s favorite OG uncle, Snoop Dogg. Also on the bill are Kevin Gates, Jhené Aiko, Casey Veggies, and DJ Drama. Snoop is scheduled for an appearance at Diesel after the First Niagara gig, but odds are it won’t be much more than a brief appearance, like when 50 Cent stopped by to promote his vodka.
On August 11, metalcore favorites Killswitch Engage open for Danish metal band Volbeat at Stage AE. It’s also day one of 1Hood Day, Pittsburgh’s annual hip-hop festival, organized by 1Hood Media. Day one features a dozen up-and-coming musicians and rappers, while day two (hosted by David Banner!) features performances by some of 1Hood’s most well-known performers of conscious hip-hop, including, Idasa Tariq, Blak Rapp Madusa, and Jasiri X. The event takes place at Anthony Rivers Park in East Liberty.
Speaking of local festivals, August 12 is day one for RANT, the Rock All Night Tour. “It’s a true showcase of what this city has to offer in the world of live music,” says event organizer, Mary Jo Coll. Now in its fifth year, over 200(!) local acts will play at 30+ venues in and around Lawrenceville, all for free. August 12 is also the kick-off for the three-day Heritage Bluesfest in Wheeling, West Virginia, featuring Shemekia Copeland, Butch Trucks, and many more.
If you’re somehow up for more music that weekend, consider seeing America at Jergel’s August 13, or The Bronx at Club Cafe August 14. The Cali punk band moonlights as Mariachi El Bronx, and you can catch them at Club Cafe the very next night, with support from Homeless Gospel Choir.
Also August 14, head to Allentown’s RE360 Warehouse to celebrate Black Forge Coffee House’s first anniversary. The pay-what-you-can event includes the debut of a collaborative cold brew mead with Apis Mead & Winery, burlesque from Kat De Lac, comedy from Matt Light, and live music from Dethlehem, Homeless Gospel Choir, and a rare performance from Molasses Barge.
On August 15, in addition to Mariachi El Bronx, there is a performance by dreamy Cali pop outfit Best Coast at Mr. Smalls. This is the duo’s first ever headlining gig in Pittsburgh; their only other stop in town was opening for Green Day in 2013. Stargazer Lilies open. Kinks-inspired garage rock band The Mystery Lights also have a gig the 15th, at Lawrenceville’s Spirit.
Ted Nugent roars into town August 16 for a night at Stage AE, but the biggest concert of the month happens August 17, when two of the biggest hip-hop artists on the planet, Drake and Future, perform at Consol Energy Center. The tour kicked off July 20 in Austin, where the 6 God performed a staggering 50-song set (on top of another 25+ from Future). The Austin show, of course, included a six-song encore with Future and Drake trading off on tracks from their collaborative mixtape, What A Time to Be Alive. If you don’t like Drake (?!), you can instead catch prog-rock legends Yes perform their Drama and . . . Topographic Ocean albums in their entirety.
Gov’t Mule returns to town August 18 at Stage AE for their Smokin’ Mule Summer Tour, with support from Blackberry Smoke. August 19 marks the kickoff of the three-day Skullfest. In true punk fashion venues still haven’t been determined, but more than 50 local and national bands are already scheduled to perform, including Wolf Eyes, Belgrado (Spain), and EEL.
On August 20, Blues Traveler headlines a rare quadruple bill at Stage AE, including performances by The Wallflowers, G. Love & Special Sauce, and Howie Day. Across town, at the Rex Theater, the “King of Surf Guitar,” Dick Dale, who continues to tour at age 79 to pay for thousands of dollars of monthly medical expenses.
Club Cafe welcomes The Delta Saints August 22. The Nashville band plays “Bourbon-fueled Bayou-Rock” that’s part-blues, part-Southern roots rock. For a true taste of the South, come back to Club Cafe August 23 for Buckwheat Zydeco. Or, venture down East Carson a few blocks to catch sludge metal legends the Melvins at the Rex Theater, their first stop in town in over three years. Their new album, Basses Loaded, is the band’s 21st studio album. It features contributions from six different bassists as well as a gnarly cover of The Beatles’ “I Want to Tell You.”
On August 25, the inimitable Brian Wilson performs at the Benedum. The Beach Boys leader is on tour (with Al Jardine!) to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Pet Sounds, which many critics regard as the greatest album . . . ever? Expect to hear Pet Sounds from start to finish alongside other Beach Boy classics.
August ends on a strong note. First, Odd Future kingpin Tyler, the Creator visits Stage AE August 28, with an opening set from Taco. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Blink 182 (minus Tom DeLonge) headlines First Niagara the same evening, with support from A Day To Remember and All Time Low.
Finally, the face of modern blues rock and one of the best young guitar players today, Gary Clark Jr., headlines Stage AE August 30.
Looking for more Pittsburgh happenings? Read our 10 Pittsburgh events not to miss in August and our Top 10 things for families to do in August in Pittsburgh feature articles.