Critics' Picks: February 23 - 29 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: February 23 - 29

Local shows by Julia Nunes, Charles Bradley, Annie Crane, Lights, and Soul Rebels Brass Band


Julia Nunes is the now-classic YouTube Cinderella story. For the past few years, she has been posting charismatic performances on the video website, such as a mash-up of Justin Bieber's "Baby" and The Supremes "Where Did Our Love Go." Since her YouTube debut, she has garnered more than 49 million views, shared the stage with Ben Folds and performed on Conan. Her upcoming album Settle Down showcases her impressive ukulele skills and arresting personality. Nunes plays tonight at Stage AE. Nicole Chynoweth 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Drive, North Side. $12. All ages. 412-229-5483 or

[SOUL] + FRI., FEB. 25

Like his best-known Daptone Records labelmate, Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley didn't get a break 'til later in life. The Brooklyn-based "Screaming Eagle of Soul" spent decades trying to make music his life, but didn't make it big until Daptone's Gabriel Roth saw him performing a James Brown tribute act and set him to writing and recording solo material. Now 63, the dynamic croon-and-shout artist plays the Rex Theater tonight with his backing band, His Extraordinaires. Little Barrie opens. AM 8 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $15. 412-381-6811 or

[FOLK] + MON., FEB. 27

The first thing to strike you about Annie Crane's music will likely be the old-timey arrangements, and the second will be her high, lonesome voice — somewhere between an old-country songstress and Joni Mitchell. But as you delve deeper, her songwriting style, equal parts heartfelt and literate, becomes the standout aspect of her music. The Washington, D.C.-based folk singer plays Garfield Artworks tonight with tourmate Pollyanna, a Paris native (hence the "D.C. Meets Paris" moniker tacked onto the tour). Caitlin Magarity and Kevin Finn open. AM 8 p.m. 4931 Penn Ave., Garfield. $7. All ages. 412-361-2262 or


Four years ago, one-woman show Lights (born Valerie Ann Poxleitner) was toying around with pop rhythms, making the most of her synthesizer and original lyrics. But with her recently released Siberia, the songwriter has crossed over into dubstep-style music that allows her sweet melodies to acquire a grittier essence. She has worked with artists including Holy Fuck and Shad to find her sound. Lights takes the stage at Altar Bar tonight with special guest Ambassadors. NC 8 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. $13-15. All ages. 412-206-9719 or 

[FUNK] + WED., FEB. 29

Coming out of the New Orleans brass-band tradition — and incorporating all manner of contemporary jazz and funk — is the Soul Rebels Brass Band. It's been around for more than a decade, and has been featured on HBO's Treme and has even backed Metallica at that band's 30th anniversary concert. Soul Rebels are currently on tour supporting New Orleans jam-funk behemoth Galactic; both bands play Mr. Small's tonight. AM 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln St., Millvale. $20-22. All ages. 412-821-4447 or

Steel City Duck Derby 2024
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Steel City Duck Derby 2024

By Mars Johnson