Critics' Picks: January 9 - 15 

The Darkness comes to town, Grand Buffet reunites, Touchfaster presents its Solstice event, and Red Bull Thre3style holds its qualifiers


[HIP HOP] + SAT., JAN. 12

Time was when Grand Buffet was the largest purveyor of earworms in Pittsburgh: Who didn't spend most of 2005 with that "Oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh my god you're weird!" hook stuck in his or her head? In recent years, the duo has been largely working separately, Grape-a-Don performing under the name Mrs. Paintbrush, and Lord Grunge playing solo and with supergroup Shark Tank. Tonight, they play a rare local reunion show at Thunderbird to benefit the staging of Grunge's play Pittsburgh Batman; don't miss this one. Andy Mulkerin 9 p.m. 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $10. 421-682-0177 or www.thunderbirdcafe.net

[LOCAL] + SAT., JAN. 12

Speaking in strict meteorological terms, the solstice is past now, but Touchfaster's Winter Solstice music and art event is happening tonight. The seasonal get-together moves to the Rex Theater this time around, and features music from Jazzam, The Fleeting Ends, Chris Vipond and the Stanley St. Band, and Gypsy and His Band of Ghosts. There'll be a full complement of art from local artists — much of it static, but some of it created on site — as well. Might as well turn out for this one; the next time it comes around, you'll be wearing flip-flops and complaining that your air conditioner isn't working right. AM 8 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $10. 412-381-6811 or www.touchfaster.com 

  • Photo courtesy of Scarlet Page

[ROCK] + MON., JAN. 14

Back in the Kill Rock Stars-y days of 2003, The Darkness, led by born-too-late rock god Justin Hawkins, reminded us to believe: in a thing called love; in guitarmony; in Queen, Zep, Boston and Def Leppard. After the smash Permission to Land, the British band faltered with 2005's One Way Ticket to Hell ... and Back. Hawkins' love for rock-star excess proved more than a feeling; he left the band and entered rehab. Reuniting in 2011, The Darkness is in fine falsetto form with Hot Cakes, packed with over-the-top anthems like "Everybody Have a Good Time." Opening tonight's all-ages show at Stage AE is Hell or Highwater. Aaron Jentzen 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Drive, North Side. $23-25. All ages. 412-229-5483 or www.stageae.com 

[DJ] + WED., JAN. 16

Red Bull Thre3Style is a DJ battle with some weight behind it: Some of the biggest names in DJ culture are judges, and the winner of the world finals in Toronto next December gets some handy career-boosting perks. But the first step toward getting there is tonight, at the preliminary qualifier here in Pittsburgh. Local DJs including DJ Midas, Pete Butta and DJ Petey C will compete to see who rocks the crowd best; judges include DJ Bonics. AM 9 p.m. Altar Bar, 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. $5. 412-206-9719 or www.thealtarbar.com


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