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Friday, September 7, 2018

Show Preview: “An Evening With Dawes” at Stage AE

Posted By on Fri, Sep 7, 2018 at 12:03 PM

  • Photo: Magdalena Wosinska
  • Dawes

Honesty isn’t something Taylor Goldsmith, lead singer and songwriter of the Southern California band, Dawes, takes lightly.

Two days before kicking off the North American An Evening With Dawes: Passwords Tour, Goldsmith set aside 15 minutes to discuss the upcoming tour and Dawes’ latest album, Passwords. While talking to Goldsmith, I was stuck with how raw his responses where. He oozed honestly through the phone and didn’t fall into the trap many artists tend to when interviewed, which is filling your ears with PR jargon. I left our conversation feeling like I got an intimate peek into the mind of Taylor Goldsmith.

The same can be said for Dawes’ sixth album, Passwords. This album is the first Dawes recorded purely for themselves, without critics and fans in mind.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Road Trip Recommendation: Laurel Hill Bluegrass Fest

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 11:00 AM

Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival - CP PHOTO BY LISA CUNNINGHAM
  • CP photo by Lisa Cunningham
  • Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival
Daily grind got you dreaming of an escape? Then head to the hills!

Tucked into the beautiful wilderness of Laurel Hill State Park in Somerset, about an hour drive from Pittsburgh, the cheerful picking of strings will flow through the trees this weekend for the annual Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival.

The stage is set up under a large tent, with seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis. It usually fills up fast. City Paper recommends bringing chairs or a blanket to sit on the grass. You can still hear the music, and you'll get a better view of the mountains against the skyline as you listen.

Colebrook Road
  • Colebrook Road
Seven bluegrass bands play over the course of the fest — four on Saturday, three on Sunday. Aren't able to get there when it starts? No worries. Stick around — each band plays a second set.

Favorites include Harrisburg band Colebrook Road, whose contemporary, upbeat strings are perfect for dancing, and Jakob's Ferry Stragglers, who bring a fresh take to bluegrass tunes with hints of rockabilly. Fans of Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Arts Festival will recognize its annual Bluegrass Day staple Allegheny Grifters, a must-see for lovers of traditional tunes.

And the festival is totally free! But bring cash for food trucks and church stands, providing cheap eats like barbecue, haluski, and desserts. There's also a vendor area with wares from local artisans, typically selling homemade goods like candles, jams, and pottery. Somerset County is renowned for its maple syrup, if you can find some.
Allegheny Grifters
  • Allegheny Grifters

Want to fully embrace the retreat from city life? Sign up for a wagon ride or check out the old-timey village set up at the top of the hill, with demonstrations by reenactors dressed in period garb.

The festival's organization is impressive — volunteers direct traffic, there's ADA parking and shuttle drivers to give lifts to folks with disabilities, and people walking around the park the entire length of the festival, happy to help when needed. You can also bring your pup. The festival is dog-friendly.

One note of caution: Right now, there's a chance of thunderstorms, but in years past, when the storms come, the bands pack up then start again when and if the skies clear. Fingers crossed for sun.

Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival. Sat., Aug. 18, Noon-8 p.m., and Sun., Aug. 19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Laurel Hill State Park, Somerset. Free.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

First Night 2018 attractions announced

Posted By on Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 1:52 PM

  • Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Some cities drop pickles, roses and bologna at midnight. But on Highmark First Night, the ball rises as the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve.

Now in its 24th year, Highmark First Night, sponsored by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, returns on Dec. 31 with more than 100 events throughout Downtown's 14-block Cultural District. (While some First Night performances and attractions take place outdoors, most are indoors.)

This year’s theme, as announced this morning at a press conference Downtown, is “Love, Peace, Pittsburgh.”

The festivities begin at 6 p.m. with children’s fireworks sponsored by Dollar Bank on the Highmark Stage. Afterward, steelpan band Barrels to Beethoven kicks off the night's musical performances with its energetic tropical sound.

Other attractions include the Allegheny Health Network Parade, with Grand Marshal Randy Gilson, artist and creator of the North Side's Randyland, at 8 p.m.; performances by Arcade Comedy Theater’s Penny Arcade, at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Player One, at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. at its new location at 811 Liberty Ave.; and Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers at the Benedum Center, at 7 p.m.

Outdoor warming and cell-phone charging stations return this year, and are located at the August Wilson Center and Katz Plaza.

  • Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Lee Fields & The Expressions headline the night, performing soul and funk anthems from 10:45 p.m. to 12:10 a.m. at the Highmark stage, at Liberty and Stanwix. During the performance, Lee and company will ring in the New Year with the raising of the Future of Pittsburgh Ball and Zambelli fireworks.

Admission buttons for First Night are $10, and are free for children 5 and under. They are available online at, in person at the box office at Theater Square on 655 Penn Ave.; or by phone at 412-456-6666. They are also available at a $1 discount with an Advantage Card at participating Giant Eagle stores.

For $40, attendees can purchase First Night Friend VIP buttons that grant access to priority seating, parking and a private lounge in the O’Reilly Theater, where they can relax with hot beverages and sweet treats.

For more information and a complete list of events, visit

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Chase and the Barons win inaugural Face the Music Battle of the Bands sponsored by Pittsburgh City Paper and Drusky Entertainment

Posted By on Fri, Nov 3, 2017 at 2:50 PM

Face the Music winning band Chase and the Barons - CP PHOTOS BY JAKE MYSLIWCZYK
  • CP photos by Jake Mysliwczyk
  • Face the Music winning band Chase and the Barons

Six amazing bands came to Jergel's Rhythm Grille on Nov. 2 looking to be crowned champion of the inaugural Pittsburgh City Paper and Drusky Entertainment's Face the Music Battle of the Bands contest.

But when the amps stopped shaking, Chase and the Barons were selected by the judges as the Critics' Choice award-winner. The band won a prize package consisting of $2,000 cash, a CP cover story, an opening set for a Drusky Entertainment show, 75 band shirts printed with the band logo, a Pittsburgh City Paper advertising package valued at $1,500 and 24 hours of recording time at Tonic. The band opened the show, and its set was good enough and memorable enough to fight off the competition.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Steely Dan brings tour to First Niagara Pavilion

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 3:52 PM

Steely Dan brought their The Dan Who Knew Too Much tour to First Niagara Pavilion on Sunday night, with a crowd-pleasing set of hits. Check out our photos from the show below.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Deutschtown Music Festival brings over 180 bands to Pittsburgh's North Side

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 2:15 PM

Music fans filled the North Side this weekend as the 4th Annual Deutschtown Music Festival brought over 180 bands to 21 stages for the free event.

The festival started Friday at 4 p.m. and continued through Saturday night. That's an extra day than the previous years of the festival, which first started in 2013 with roughly 50 bands on 12 stages. "What they expected to be a small neighborhood event highlighting the North Side now attracts thousands from around the city and beyond," reported Margaret Welsh in our preview.

We checked out the scene on Saturday night. Check out our slideshow below for photos from performances by The Hawkeyes, ISHTAR, Nox Boys and more.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Afro-Pop, Reggae Concert on Saturday Benefits Pittsburgh-Based Medical Nonprofit

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2016 at 3:02 PM

The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater hosts a concert by Zambian-born musician Mathew Tembo and the Afro Routes Band to benefit Surgicorps, which provides free medical care in developing countries.

Saturday’s benefit is specifically to support Surgicorps’ annual trip to Zambia.

Zambians who have benefited from Surgicorp’s five previous trips include Ruth, a 5-year-old girl whose scalp and one hand were disfigured in a fire when she was an infant. According to a press release, Surgicorps continues to help Ruth and others who otherwise would be “forced to live with painful injuries and deformities for the rest of their lives, with little access to medical care and little means to afford any care that is available in these impoverished countries.”

Tembo, a former Pittsburgher, is an award-winning, world-touring musician.

The benefit concert takes place at 8 p.m. Sat. June 18. Admission, per the Kelly-Strayhorn’s policy, is pay-what-makes-you-happy. VIP tickets are $100, and a VIP reception with wine, beer and hors d-oeuvres, begins at 6 p.m.

Both general-admission and VIP tickets are available here.

The Kelly-Strayhorn is located at 5941 Penn Ave., in East Liberty. 

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Three Rivers Arts Fest brings musical acts Leftover Salmon and Charles Bradley to Downtown Pittsburgh

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 4:09 PM

Musical acts continue to draw crowds to Point State Park this week, as the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival brings 10 days of free performing and visual arts to Downtown Pittsburgh. On Tuesday night, Leftover Salmon, a jam band from Boulder, Colo., brought its rootsy, string-based music to the main stage. Old-school soul singer Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, dubbed “The Screaming Eagle of Soul,” was the headliner on Wednesday night.

Check out photos from both performances in our photo slideshows below; plus, don’t miss our photos from last Sunday night’s headliners Ibeyi here.

The Arts Festival continues through Sun., June 12. That night, headliner Lake Street Dive, a soulful pop band frequently heard on local independent radio station WYEP's playlist, takes the stage at 7:30 p.m.

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Monday, June 6, 2016

The Three Rivers Arts Festival opening weekend brings art and music to Downtown Pittsburgh

Posted By on Mon, Jun 6, 2016 at 2:42 PM

The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival opened this weekend, bringing 10 days of free performing and visual arts to Downtown Pittsburgh. We captured the scene on Sunday night, with local reggae group The Freedom Band, who we profiled earlier this year, taking the main stage at Point State Park at 6 p.m.

Headliners Ibeyi, an experimental and soulful French-Cuban duo, closed out the night with an electrifying stage presence, with music sung in both English and the Nigerian language, Yoruba.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Fundraising concert tomorrow for Pittsburgh music promoter, victim of house fire

Posted By on Wed, Jun 1, 2016 at 2:58 PM

Altar Bar is the site of tomorrow’s fundraiser for hip-hop promoter and manager Elizabeth Kivovitz and her family, who lost their home and most of their possessions in a May 14 fire.

  • Art by Danielle Robinson
The concert, hosted by Drusky Entertainment and Pittsburgh Artists for Social Change, features musical and burlesque performers including Miguel Sague, Deryck Tines, Machete Kisumontao, Sosa, Zeeppo The Clown and The Steel City Clown Brigade, Lita D’Vargas, Liz Berlin, Moemaw Naedon, HollyHood, Billy Pilgrim, Guaracha Latin Dance Band and many more. A complete line-up is here.

Kivovitz, her husband, Oliver Blackstock III, and their three children and a housemate were not at home when the fire happened. (Kivovitz's sister is performer Phat Man Dee; the house belongs to their mother.) However, the family was underinsured, and tonight’s concert is meant to supplement an ongoing gofundme campaign for the family.

The Kivowitz-Blackstock Fire Recovery Benefit and Thank You Concert begins at 7 p.m. tomorrow (doors at 6 p.m.). The suggested donation is $10. Contributors to the gofundme campaign are welcome to attend.

Tickets are available here.

Altar Bar is located at 1620 Penn Ave., in the Strip District. 

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