Critics' Picks: December 11 - 17 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: December 11 - 17

Local shows by Ryan Lee Crosby, Joseph Arthur and Starlight Girls, plus an epic party featuring Dutch drum-and-bass trio Black Sun Empire



Ryan Lee Crosby hails from Boston, but plies the trade of old Southern blues. While he might be comparable to second-generation pickers like John Fahey and Leo Kottke, he also covers early-20th-century artists like Charlie Patton. Crosby's latest release, Institution Blues, is a collection of mostly acoustic — but sometimes amplified — blues originals. He brings it to Acoustic Music Works tonight. Andy Mulkerin 8 p.m. 2142 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill. $8. All ages. 412-422-0710 or


There are parties, and then there are epic parties. Then there are epic Friday the 13th parties. Tonight's event at the Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum — with a slew of performers headed up by the Dutch drum-and-bass trio Black Sun Empire — is shaping up to be the biggest unlucky Friday show we've seen in some time. It's the first local appearance for that outfit; also playing are: U.K. hardcore DJ Gammer, trap DJ Kid Kamillion, Speaker of the House, Jimni Cricket and a bunch of others. As is the trend with these parties, there are promises of laser light shows, a bouncy castle and everything else that makes a truly epic night. AM 8 p.m. 7310 Frankstown Ave., Homewood. $25-30. 17 and over.


A singer, songwriter, poet, designer, painter and artist all in one, Joseph Arthur has a lot going for him. His rich blend of poetry, art and music was discovered by Peter Gabriel in the mid-'90s, when Gabriel signed Arthur to his Real World label. Since then, Arthur has released 10 studio albums, including his most recent project: The Ballad of Boogie Christ, a concept album that follows a fictionalized character loosely based on Arthur himself. Arthur will perform tonight at Altar Bar with a live band featuring multi-instrumentalist and founding member of R.E.M. Mike Mills, and Bill Dobrow on the drums. Allison Cosby 7 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. $15-18. All ages. 412-206-9719 or

click to enlarge Critics' Picks: December 11 - 17
Photo courtesy of Dylan Johnson


Starlight Girls seem to have struck the perfect balance between retro and spooky and fresh and light. The Brooklyn-based band falls somewhere in the indie-rock/pop realm, but seems to be influenced by nearly every decade of music in the 20th century, which makes it hard to describe exactly what's going on with the music — and they seem to like it that way. The group recently released a new 7-inch collaboration with Xiu Xiu front man Jamie Stewart; its sound has a heavier vibe that's new to the band's repertoire. That will hopefully tide us over until its forthcoming full-length LP is released in 2014. Catch the Girls at Brillobox tonight with Casino Bulldogs and Hard Money. AC 9 p.m. 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $7. 412-621-4900 or

Women & Non-binary Bike Summit
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Women & Non-binary Bike Summit

By Mars Johnson