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Critics' Picks: November 25 - 30 

Anti-Flag comes home, Gangwish releases a tape, Title Town celebrates a birthday, The X celebrates the holidays

[AVANT ROCK] + FRI., NOV. 25

Gangwish began a few years back as the drums-and-triggered-samples solo project of local percussion wonder Sam Pace (Centipede Eest, Johnsons Big Band) but has turned into something bigger -- with more members and collaborators, and a wider swath of sounds. Tonight the band releases its new recording (on tape and digital download), a mix of natural and acoustic sounds called We Move. Fittingly, it's the last show Gangwish will play with keyboardist Matt McDermott, a longtime scene fixture best known for his band Harangue and his role in the VIA Festival; he's helping throw tonight's Altered States III party at Chinatown Inn before lighting out for Los Angeles. The third installment of the live-bands-and-DJs extravaganza (previously held at a now-defunct house venue in Lawrenceville) also includes Marcellus Pittman, Innergaze, Expensive Shit, and DJs including Edgar Um and Nice Rec. Andy Mulkerin 9 p.m. 522 Third Ave., Downtown. $10. 412-427-2411

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID COOPER
  • Photo courtesy of David Cooper

[PUNK] + SAT., NOV. 26

What's most impressive about Anti-Flag is that, after more than 20 years in existence and a decade of international popularity, the band continues to put its money where its mouth is -- often without much fanfare. The four lads from Pittsburgh have managed to make a career of political pop-punk without reaching Green Day levels of ridiculousness, and always take care to give back, like with tonight's show at Mr. Small's. If you bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank tonight, you'll get a free copy of 2008's Bright Lights of America on vinyl. Also playing: The Menzingers, Cancer Bats, The Holy Mess and Mace Ballard. AM 6:30 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $15. All ages. 412-821-4447 or www.mrsmalls.com

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNA LEE-FIELDS
  • Photo courtesy of Anna Lee-Fields

[SOUL] + SAT., NOV. 26

Tonight marks the two-year anniversary of Title Town, the classic-soul-and-funk dance party at Shadow Lounge. Which means that it's also the third time you've faced the post-Thanksgiving Title Town conundrum: Do I work out on Friday to shed that extra Thanksgiving weight so I look good for Title Town? Or do I just relax, and work off those pounds dancing at Title Town? We'll let you figure it out. First 100 through the door get a free copy of the Title Town Soul & Funk 45 Mix Vol. 2 CD. AM 9 p.m. 5972 Baum Blvd., East Liberty. $5 ($8 for ages 18-20). 18 and over. 412-363-8277 or www.shadowlounge.net

 

[ROCK] + WED., NOV. 30

The lineup at The X's Holiday Office Party, tonight at Stage AE, represents the good edge of mainstream rock. Both Cage the Elephant and The Joy Formidable toured with Foo Fighters this year (Dave Grohl even spent a little time filling in when Cage the Elephant's drummer fell ill), and have flirted with mainstream chart success. The Joy Formidable's The Big Roar was one of 2011's best rock releases; it would behoove you to see the Welsh three-piece live before year's end, so that you can say you did. AM 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Drive, North Side. $25. All ages. 412-229-5483

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