Sound Picks: 11 can’t-miss Pittsburgh concerts in September

Mac Miller. Photo courtesy MTV.

Mac Miller. Photo courtesy MTV.

September sizzles with exceptional shows all month long. From hip-hop superstars to indie rock legends, there are so many outstanding Pittsburgh concerts this month that we had no choice but to go to 11:

Read on for 11 of the top concerts happening in Pittsburgh this month, with plenty of equally deserving Deep Cuts at the end for good measure. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to enter to win two tickets to an already sold-out performance.

Tal National. Photo courtesy the artist.

Tal National. Photo courtesy the artist.

Tal National

Thursday, September 3. 8 p.m.

Thunderbird Cafe – 4023 Butler Street

$15/$12 adv.

Tired of the same old pre-post-electro-indie-synth-rock? Why not try something completely different. From Niger, Tal National is the project of guitarist Hamadal Moumine, who started the ensemble in 2000. Niger is home to many distinct ethnic groups, and members of several are represented in the group, which adds to the band’s unique sound. Pitchfork called their most recent album, Zoy Zoy, released in April on UK label FatCat, “colorful and bright and dizzying … frenzied and texturally varied.”

Agnostic Front

Sunday, September 6. 6:30 p.m.

Cattivo – 146 44th Street

$14/$12 adv.

New York hardcore legends Agnostic Front have been around for well over 30 years and they are still putting out quality, incendiary stuff. Their most recent album, The American Dream Died, is about as subtle as a punch to the face, both in terms of lyrics and decibels. But the message, which has always been unity, is more important than ever. Hardcore acts Freedom (Detroit) and Killer of Sheep (Pittsburgh) open.

Albert Hammond Jr. Photo courtesy BB Gun Press.

Albert Hammond Jr. Photo courtesy BB Gun Press.

Albert Hammond Jr.

Wednesday, September 9. 9 p.m.

Brillobox – 4104 Penn Avenue

$15

Best known as the guitarist from The Strokes, Albert Hammond Jr.’s new solo album, Momentary Masters, takes its name from Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot. The album finds Hammond contemplating Sagan-worthy big-picture questions, the type of stuff one might consider after spurts of rehab brought on by years of excess in one of New York’s biggest rock bands. Joining Hammond on tour are Hammarsing Kharhmar (frontman of Mon Khmer), guitarist Mikey Hart (Bleachers), bassist Jordan Brooks and drummer Jeremy Gustin (Delicate Steve, Marc Ribot).

The Internet

Tuesday, September 15. 8 p.m.

Mr. Smalls – 400 Lincoln Avenue (Millvale)

$18

Having trouble keeping up with all the Odd Future spin-offs, side projects and collaborations? You’re not the only one. Sydney Barrett, AKA Syd the Kid, had mostly done production work for the possibly-defunct hip-hop collective, providing vocals on only a couple of tracks. Her main pursuit (alongside producer Matthew Martin, AKA Matt Martians) has been R&B/neo-soul outfit The Internet. Pairing sparse instrumentation with understated vocals, the pair’s new album, Ego Death, is one of the standout albums of the year thus far. Get a taste with this track, “Girl”:

Thurston Moore Band. Photo courtesy Matador Records.

Thurston Moore Band. Photo courtesy Matador Records.

Thurston Moore Band

Wednesday, September 16. 8 p.m.

Club Cafe – 56-58 South 12th Street

$30

Sonic Youth is dead and gone but Thurston Moore is still at it. His most recent album, The Best Day, is no Goo, but it’s quite good in its own right. Its stabbing guitar and drenching feedback might even fool some casual fans into thinking it’s a long-lost B-side compilation. Joining Moore on tour is long-time Youth drummer Steve Shelley and My Bloody Valentine bassist Debbie Googe.

Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats

Friday, September 18. 8:30 p.m.

Mr. Smalls – 400 Lincoln Avenue (Millvale)

$17

Generally speaking, there are two types of psychedelic rock. There’s the far-out, trippy psych, found in a lot of early Pink Floyd and Grateful Dead. Then there’s hard psych, a la Blue Cheer and Hawkwind, which is light on nuance and heavy on face-melting guitar solos. Uncle Acid’s new single, “Waiting for Blood,” with its minute-long guitar solo and crushing, Sabbath-style guitar riffs, leaves no doubt which camp they belong in. Ruby the Hatchet and Ecstatic Vision open.

Frank Turner. Photo by Ben Morse.

Frank Turner. Photo by Ben Morse.

Frank Turner

Saturday, September 19. 8 p.m.

Mr. Smalls – 400 Lincoln Avenue (Millvale)

SOLD-OUT

Despite an abundance of excellent shows this month, UK singer-songwriter Frank Turner’s is the only one to have sold-out as of this writing. NME called his most recent album, the acclaimed Positive Songs For Negative People, “the sixth entry in Frank Turner’s Open Diary Of A Hard Fought Folk Punk Success.” We can’t put it much better than that. Scroll down for a chance to win two tickets to this sold-out performance.

Mac Miller

Sunday, September 20. 7 p.m.

Stage AE (outdoors) – 400 North Shore Drive

$38.60

From Malcolm James, to Winchester Thurston, to Taylor Allderdice, to EZ Mac, to …Mackin’ Ain’t Easy, to Rostrum Records, to K.I.D.S., to “Nikes on My Feet,” to tours, to “Donald Trump,” to more tours, to Blue Slide Park, to …Most Dope Family, to …Movies with the Sound Off, to world tours, to Warner Bros., to GOOD A.M., and finally to Stage AE, to where it all began: Pittsburgh.

Purity Ring

Thursday, September 24. 7 p.m.

Stage AE (indoors) – 400 North Shore Drive

$30.10

The last time Purity Ring visited Pittsburgh was in 2013 at Mr. Smalls, and tickets cost less than half of what they’re going for at Stage AE this time around. Chalk it up to an explosion of popularity. The pair have since remixed Lady Gaga and produced songs for Danny Brown and Ab-Soul. They are currently on the second leg of a mammoth world tour in support of their sophomore album, Another Eternity.

Ghost at Stage AE, 2014. Photo by Brian Conway.

Ghost at Stage AE, 2014. Photo by Brian Conway.

Ghost

Friday, September 25. 7 p.m.

Stage AE (indoors) – 400 North Shore Drive

$35.20

Fronted by Papa Emeritus, the evil pope, and joined by a horde of instrument-wielding Nameless Ghouls, Swedish hard rock band Ghost bring their Satanic mass to Stage AE. Or at least that’s the story. The truth? Ghost is all spectacle, a tongue-in-cheek theatrical performance that is about as wicked as a ouija board. And despite their outwardly demonic appearance, Ghost has as much in common with black metal as Blue Öyster Cult, a band to whom their sound is often compared.

Television

Friday, September 25. 8 p.m.

Carnegie Music Hall – 4400 Forbes Avenue

$30

Less than a year after performing at Exposed: Songs for Unseen Warhol Films, Tom Verlaine returns to the Carnegie Music Hall with the full ensemble for another Warhol Museum music event. Television’s debut album, Marquee Moon, with its artful blend of punk, rock and jazz, is widely considered a landmark and one of the most influential albums of its era. Several important post-punk bands visit Pittsburgh this month, including Gang of Four and Echo and the Bunnymen, but with only one original member gone, Television is the closest you’ll get to the real thing:

 

DEEP CUTS:

  • UK shoegaze pioneers Swervedriver will blow the roof off Club Cafe September 3.
  • Local metal band Carousel host their 2113 album release show September 4 at Spirit.
  • Far-out psych with Far East vibes, Herbcraft visits Howler’s September 4, with support from NEXT’s own Jennifer Baron and The Garment District.
  • Green Jellÿ, of “Three Little Pigs” fame, play the Smiling Moose September 10, with support from a trio of local metal and punk acts.
  • Joe Budden, of hip-hop supergroup Slaughterhouse, headlines Showtime at The Rex September 12, with support from Larimer’s own Boaz.
  • Echo & the Bunnymen visit Mr. Smalls September 17 in support of their 2014 release, Meteorites.
  • Even though their most recent album was a bit of a misstep, Death Cab for Cutie are sure to attract at large crowd at Stage AE September 17.
  • The Punch Brothers, fronted by mandolin savant Chris Thile, visit Mr. Smalls September 22.
  • Post-rock legends Godspeed You! Black Emperor perform at the Carnegie of Homestead September 23.
  • On September 25, The Districts and Ryley Walker perform a free show at the final WYEP Final Fridays of the season at Schenley Plaza.
  • Local string-picker, Slim Forsythe, a member of America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame, performs at Nied’s Hotel September 26.
  • Cult favorites Yo La Tengo perform a stripped-down acoustic set at Mr. Smalls September 29.
  • Gang of Four have a new album out, but with Andy Gill the only remaining original member, its more like Gang of One. See him at Altar Bar September 29.

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