Critics' Picks: May 29 - June 4 

Local shows by Lauren Mann, Weird Al, Demos Papadimas and Kendrick Lamar



Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk write music that is, quite simply, charming as all hell. Making use of pianos, ukuleles, horns and what sometimes seems like dozens of other instruments, they produce a sound that is not only pleasant, but also incredibly full and multifaceted. Each song manages to generate just the right mood to accompany Mann's gorgeous voice as she breathes new life into what might otherwise be tired tales of escape, love and heartbreak. It's this atmosphere that you can expect to hear filling the room when she plays at the Smiling Moose tonight. John Lavanga 6:30 p.m. 1306 E. Carson St., South Side. $10. 412-431-4668 or www.smiling-moose.com

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Forget Billboard, Pitchfork, Spin and all the rest. For decades now, the true symbol of breaking through into the mainstream has been for "Weird Al" Yankovic to write a spoof of your song. The merry parody writer has managed to become a household name through taking oddball themes and working them into the top songs of the moment, often with hilarious results. His output has slowed ever so slightly in the past decade or so, but his comedy has remained on point, as evidenced by the popularity of his Lady Gaga parody "Perform This Way." JL 8 p.m. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, 210 Racetrack Road, Washington. $24.95-$34.95. 724-503-1200 or www.meadowsgaming.com

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Demos Papadimas isn't quite local to Pittsburgh, but almost — the Americana songwriter hails from closer to Cleveland. He's been widening his horizons lately, though, and with good reason: He and his band are uniquely talented and garnering positive attention from the press. (The Cleveland Scene, that town's weekly, called them one of the top local bands to watch this year.) Tonight, they play Club Café for the late show, along with The Womack Family Band. Andy Mulkerin 10 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $10. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com


Even before his almost universally acclaimed studio debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar had already earned the respect of Dr. Dre, Talib Kweli and Lil' Wayne. But with idiosyncratic singles like "Swimming Pools" — and a pure West Coast sound, which evokes Tupac and Biggie without being derivative — good kid granted Lamar some well-deserved stardom. See him Monday at Stage AE, along with Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul — who, with Lamar, make up the supergroup Black Hippie. Kid Ink opens. Margaret Welsh 6:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Drive, North Side. $40-45. All ages. 412-229-5483 or www.stageae.com


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