Critics' Picks: Khaira Arby, Star Fucking Hipsters, Sagas and the First Pittsburgh Mandolin Orchestra Festival 

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Fri., March 18 -- Punk

Hipsters: Some want them dead, others want them in bed. This show's for the many who, deep down, want a little of both. New York City ska-punks Star Fucking Hipsters surely know what of they speak, whether the name serves as self-description, or merely a topic they feel strongly about. The band -- which includes former members of Leftover Crack, Choking Victim and World/Inferno Friendship Society -- plays the Rex Theater this week with openers Hipster Death Machine, Reel A Peel and Masters of the Universe. Aaron Jentzen 7 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $8 ($10 at the door). All ages. 412-381-6811 www.rextheater.com


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Fri., March 18 -- Experimental

Old heads remember Matt McDowell from Arco Flute Foundation, the Edinboro, Pa.-based experimental rock band that, a decade ago, often played Pittsburgh. After a stint living in Portland, Ore., McDowell returned to Pittsburgh, joining Dire Wolves and pursuing solo work under the name Sagas. Now Sagas is releasing an album, Between Worlds, which combines atmospheric, droney experimentation with Eastern guitar stylings. The release show is at The Shop; Pete Fosco and Dan Peck Trio, from Brooklyn, appear as well, and Hunted Creatures and Inez Lightfoot open. Andy Mulkerin 8 p.m. 4312 Main St., Bloomfield. $5 suggested donation. All ages. 412-951-0622


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Sat., March 19 -- Mandolins

Chances are, to this point in your life, you haven't seen even one mandolin orchestra. Now you have the chance to see three. The First Pittsburgh Mandolin Orchestra Festival takes place at CAPA High School, and involves mandolin orchestras from Pittsburgh and Dayton, plus headliners Orchestra Dell' Academe Internationale di Mandolino, under the direction of Carlo Aonzo. AM 7:30 p.m. 111 Ninth St., Downtown. $15-20. All ages. 888-71-TICKETS or www.pittsburghmandolinsociety.org


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Tue., March 22 -- World

Pre- and post-SXSW tour traffic always presents a nice jumpstart for the spring music season locally. But this one's a biggie: Mali's Khaira Arby, who's sung for more than 20 years in Timbuktu, toured America for the first time last fall, and appears tonight at Thunderbird Café on the way north from the Austin festival. The Afrobeat-informed jam-band-on-rocket-fuel Centipede Eest returns from its winter's nap to open. AM 8 p.m. 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $12-15. 412-687-0177 or www.thunderbirdcafe.net


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