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Critics' Picks: Jarrod Gorbel, The Plain White T's, Bo Burnham, Bitch and The SUNSTAR Music Festival 

Thu., Feb. 24 -- Pop

It's unusual for a band's frontman to take the backseat, but that's what Tom Higgenson of The Plain White T's did on the band's new album, the softer, acoustic-based Wonders of the Younger. Higgenson, who usually contributes lead vocals and acoustic guitar, offered the spotlight to lead guitarist Tim Lopez. Although Lopez has sung backup vocals on previous recordings, this is the first time he's contributed lead vocals to most of an album's tracks. The band plays Mr. Small's Theatre this week with openers Parachute and Miggs. Bethie Girmai 7:30 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $18. All ages. 412-821-4447 or mrsmalls.com

Fri., Feb. 25 -- Musical-Comedy

YouTube sensation Bo Burnham is known for his politically incorrect but clever takes on issues like homosexuality, disabilities and race. If Ben Folds and Flight of the Conchords had a musically inclined child, Burnham would be the hybrid result. Now 20, he posted his first video in 2006; as an 18-year-old, Burnham deferred his acceptance to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts to pursue touring. And for selfish reasons, we're glad he did. The "Bo Burnham and (no) Friends" tour stops at the Carnegie Library Music Hall this week. BG 8 p.m. 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall. $27-30. 412-368-5225 or librarymusichall.com

 

click to enlarge Bitch - BILLIE JO CAVALLARO
  • Billie Jo Cavallaro
  • Bitch

Sat., Feb. 26 -- Rock

Bitch is back. The onetime member of Bitch & Animal, now Animal-less, continues her campaign of fun, politically charged, gender-conscious rock with an appearance at ModernFormations Gallery. The onetime Righteous Babe roster member, whose 2010 release Blasted! was underwritten by fans, is known for her violin skills, ukulele repertoire and theatrical antics (and costumes). The show is part of the occasional Queer Songwriter's Stage series, and Tracy Drach, Big Hurry and Joey Murphy open. Andy Mulkerin 8 p.m. 4919 Penn Ave., Garfield. $8-10. All ages. 412-362-0274 or www.modernformations.com

 

Sat., Feb. 26 -- Rock

After six years, two albums and three EPs, The Honorary Title decided to call it quits, playing its last show in late 2009. In January 2010, the band's frontman, Jarrod Gorbel, released his first solo EP, Ten Years Older. Gorbel's solo career has continued with the album Devil's Made a New Friend and the brand-new EP Bruised From Your Bad Dreams. Look for Gorbel at Club Café this week. BG 10:30 p.m. 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. $8. 412-431-4950 or clubcafelive.com

 

click to enlarge Carolina Chocolate Drops - JULIE ROBERTS
  • Julie Roberts
  • Carolina Chocolate Drops

Wed., Mar. 2 - 5 -- Festival

The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater again host the four-day SUNSTAR Music Festival, a mix of performances, discussions and social events highlighting the role of women musicians in pop, folk and other music. The festival kicks off Wednesday with a screening of un/binded desires, a video installation about representations of queer communities and people of color. (Filmmaker Mónica Enríquez-Enríquez will also speak.) The festival continues through Sat., March 5, culminating in a performance by the Carolina Chocolate Drops. AM Screening/discussion: 7 p.m. 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. Individual events range from free to $25. 412-363-3000 or www.kelly-strayhorn.org

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