Dec. 17, Shine Out in the Wild Kindness: A Tribute to David Berman & Silver Jews: Club Cafe, South Side
One of the most unexpected and dismaying events in the music world this year was the untimely passing of David Berman, poet and songwriter behind the bands Silver Jews and Purple Mountains. He’ll be celebrated by Pittsburgh artists, including Sara Renberg, Eric Frankenberg, Julia Frankenberg, Joe Hale, Anna Hale, Adam Fitz, Warren Pryde, Dane Adelman, Tessa Barber & Em Fear, Jen Sabol, Scott Fry, Greg Cislon, Jerry Lyon, Glam Hand and Mike Baltzer.
Dec. 21, Moving Shadows: A Dark Solstice Celebration with NOIR, Seeming, Ships in the Night, Doors in the Labyrinth: The Funhouse at Mr. Small’s, Millvale
Holiday cheer a little too, um, cheery for you? Well, the antidote may be this show in the intimate Funhouse room at Mr. Small’s, featuring the dark synth-driven coldwave of NYC’s NOIR and Pittsburgh’s Doors in the Labyrinth, plus a dance performance from Electric Mirage Bellydance, and gothic Christmas tree ornaments from Heidi’s Spooky Creations for sale.
Dec 22, Festivus XV: Hambones, Lawrenceville
Feats of Strength! The Airing of Grievances! Enough Seinfeld-iana to fill a puffy shirt, and then some. With live music by Dumplings, Scott Fry Experience, Mike Miller and Lorenzo’s Oil.
Jan. 19, Greensky Bluegrass: Roxian Theatre, McKees Rocks
Every once in a while, a band chooses a name so perfect that it tells you what they’ll sound like before you’ve heard them play a note. In this case, you know you’re getting bluegrass, of course. But then there’s that goofy, punny “Greensky” bit. It seems like these guys could be a little irreverent, and maybe less concerned with tradition-bound orthodoxy — but confident enough in their pickin’ skills to call themselves “bluegrass.”
Jan. 24, The Adicts: Roxian Theatre, McKees Rocks
Looking a bit like sinister droogs escaped from “A Clockwork Orange” and let loose on the scene, The Adicts were never a band you’d mistake for anyone else. These English first-wave punks hit their stride in the early ‘80s, with catchy, anthemic tunes and an attitude that seemed to stop just short of a football hooligan riot. Now they’re all older and mellowed a bit with age — but hey, that hasn’t stopped a punk yet.
Jan. 27, Courtney Barnett, Hachiku: Carnegie Lecture Hall, Oakland
One of the most original singer/songwriters going at the moment, the Australian Courtney Barnett has a certain lyrical wizardry for wry, ironic detail observed down to the subatomic level, like the brilliant “Avant Gardener,” which narrates a placid morning in the garden turning into a frantic panic attack. This show is already sold-out, but too good not to mention — and there are always ways to find tickets if you’re willing to pay.
Jan. 29, Trampled By Turtles, Them Coulee Boys: Mr. Small’s, Millvale
There are probably worse ways to go, right? Being trampled by turtles sounds like it would tickle. (Herpetologists love this band). These guys play bluegrass born in the frigid north woods of Duluth, Minnesota, which is about as far removed from Appalachia as Malibu. But hey, even bluegrass queen Gillian Welch was born in Hollywood, so authenticity is where you find it nowadays.
Looking for more things to do in Pittsburgh? Read our top weekly and weekend events, Top 12 events in December you won’t want to miss, Pittsburgh’s top 13 kid-friendly events in December and our 2019 holiday shopping guide to the best of local art, crafts and gifts.