Critics' Picks: December 29 - January 4 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: December 29 - January 4

Local show by Carrie Rodriguez, a 7-inch release with Code Orange Kids, a holiday show with Punchline and New Year's Eve at Mr. Small's.

[POP-PUNK] + THU., DEC. 29

The story of Punchline goes back nearly 15 years; what began as a pretty lo-fi, old-school pop-punk band in Belle Vernon has since become a veritable musical franchise in Pittsburgh, with spin-offs and record labels attached. Tonight is the band's annual holiday show, taking place at Altar Bar -- friends Nightbeast, Mace Ballard and Trophies all play in addition to the headliner. Maybe if you request "Bingo," they'll play it -- it's the holidays, right? Andy Mulkerin 8 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. $13-15. 412-263-2877 or

[DJ] + SAT., DEC. 31

Yes, there are many places to be tonight. But one of the more momentous possibilities is Mr. Small's Theater, where 2012 takes on extra-special meaning as the 10th anniversary of the venue's founding. A live show featuring Phat Man Dee, the Bridge City Bombshells and the Hoopla Girls (a hula-hoop group) will be augmented by DJ selections all night long from Sunset Til Sunrise, Buku, Kevin James, Agent Smith, Kinetik and Akuma. It's a celebration worth having -- what would Pittsburgh's music scene be like today without Mr. Small's? AM 6 p.m. 410 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $8-10; $100 VIP package available. 412-821-4447 or

[PUNK] + SUN., JAN. 1

New Year's Day is a weird holiday. We build up the night before so much, by the time the actual holiday arrives, we're not sure what to do. Eat some good-luck food? Watch a bowl game or two? The Winter Classic isn't even on New Year's Day this year! So how about this: Ring in 2012 with a slew of punk bands at the Mr. Roboto Project. Today's show starts early -- 6 p.m. -- to accommodate the lineup: Code Orange Kids headline. (They're releasing a 7-inch at the show.) Also playing are Shoppers (from Syracuse), Deathrats (from D.C.), State Violence (also from D.C.) and locals Heartless, who recently signed to Southern Lord. It's cheaper if you bring a potluck food item. AM 6 p.m. 5106 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $5-7. All ages.

Critics' Picks: December 29 - January 4
Photo courtesy of Sarah Wilson


Austin's Carrie Rodriguez plays pretty classic country music -- hence the punny nature of the title of her 2010 album with Romantica's Ben Kyle, We Still Love Our Country. It's music that's not quite contemporary mainstream country, but not self-consciously "different" enough to be deemed alt-country; Rodriguez's tunes are the type that might've been big on country radio 25 years ago, but which today can find refuge only on Triple-A stations. Tonight she plays Club Café with Luke Jacobs; Daniel Marcus opens. AM 7 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $15. 412-431-4950 or