Critics' Picks: April 3 - 9 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: April 3 - 9

Local shows by Purity Ring, John Scofield, Zola Jesus and Iron Lung, plus flutist Robert Dick plays Alia Musica's spring concert

Photo courtesy of Kate Garner
Photo courtesy of Kate Garner


Last year, after a couple of heavily discussed Internet releases and success opening a tour for Dirty Projectors, Canadian electro-pop duo Purity Ring capped off a great summer by releasing its debut LP, Shrines, last July. On the album, the pair kept it simple and played to their strengths, ensuring they'd survive the quickly mounting expectations. It's a cohesive piece that consists of simple, immersive synths, sparse samples, lingering beats and saccharine vocals that might fit a radio pop song — were it not for the deeper, darker message they belie. Tonight Purity Ring plays Mr. Small's with Blue Hawaii. John Lavanga 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. 412-821-4447 or


Maybe you don't know a ton about contemporary flutists. But if you did, Robert Dick would be something of a household name. The jazz player and classical composer has done it all, including redesigning the flute altogether. Tonight, he plays a solo recital as part of the spring program presented by local new-music outfit Alia Musica. Saturday night, with the Alia ensemble, he presents a new version of his work "Meristem"; other composers including Alia founder Federico Garcia will be represented as well. Andy Mulkerin 7:30 p.m. Full ensemble concert 7:30 p.m. Sat., April 6. Bricolage Theater, 937 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $10-15 each; $20 two-day pass. All ages. 412-361-0194 or


Throughout the 40-odd years he's been a professional musician, jazz guitarist and composer John Scofield has worked with a pantheon of the genre's legends. He began his journey by leaving Berklee School of Music to play for Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan, and since then he's brought his energetic, delightfully precise guitar work to tracks by Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Jaco Pastorius and countless others. Never content to sit still, he's continued to compose throughout his career as well, including forays into blues, funk and fusion. He plays Manchester Craftsmen's Guild tonight with his Hollowbody Band. JL 7 and 9:30 p.m. 1815 Metropolitan St., North Side. All ages. $53. 412-323-4000 or

click to enlarge Critics' Picks: April 3 - 9
Photo courtesy of Angel Ceballos


Zola Jesus has become something of an underground pop icon since the 2011 release of her third full-length, Conatus, and her subsequent tour with Pittsburgh electronic artist Xanopticon (which didn't stop here). The Wisconsin-raised singer crafts music that's influenced by European goth and industrial music from the '80s, but is primarily song-based, without the relentless groove of so much dance music. She plays Carnegie Mellon University tonight in a show that's free and, if the weather permits, outside. AM 8 p.m. CFA Lawn, CMU campus, 5000 Forbes Ave., Oakland. (If rain: Weigand Gymnasium, University Center.) Free. All ages.


Seattle-based Iron Lung is an old-school powerviolence band that still does what punk bands used to do: get in a van and tour the entire country for a few months at a time. When they're at home, the duo's members also run Iron Lung Records (which has put out records for Pittsburgh bands like Brain Handle and Slices). And the band is basically Seattle royalty now, having ended up on the Sub Pop 1000 compilation, being released for Record Store Day this year. Tonight, Iron Lung plays The Mr. Roboto Project, where royalty belongs. Abysme, Illegals and Rabid Pigs open. AM 7 p.m. 5106 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $8. All ages.

Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary
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Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary

By Mars Johnson