Critics' Picks: February 27 - March 5 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: February 27 - March 5

Local shows by Shiny Toy Guns and Hoodie Allen, plus Arnold Dreyblatt's first Pittsburgh performance, and the launch of the One-Hit Wonder Spaktacular at Howlers



Shiny Toy Guns made a name for itself early on in the 2000s with its irresistibly dancey synth beats, so it only made sense for the band to keep it going through the 2010s. In 2008, there was a brief split with vocalist Carah Faye, but she was brought back into the fold. In 2011, the group put out III, another synth-heavy dance-rock album loaded with immersive, heartfelt anthems that are a whole lot of fun to dance to. Tonight, the band is combining forces with the So-Cal reggae outfit The Dirty Heads and rocking the Carnegie Library of Homestead Music Hall. With Midi Matilda and Oh No! Fiasco. John Lavanga 7 p.m., 510 East 10th Ave., Munhall. $27. All ages. 412-368-5225 or


Perhaps his isn't a household name, but for those who do know Arnold Dreyblatt, he engenders a strong reaction. The New York-born, Berlin-based minimal composer released his first major album, Nodal Excitation, in 1982. That LP was a cerebral but hypnotic trip. He has since created scads of highly influential records, like 1995's practically dance-floor-ready Animal Magnetism, and collaborates with Megafaun. Dreyblatt had an installation at Wood Street Galleries in late 2011, but his appearance tonight at Garfield Artworks will be his first local performance. It's a can't-miss. Andy Mulkerin 8 p.m. 4931 Penn Ave., Garfield. $10. All ages. 412-361-2262 or


Leave it to Elliott Sussman to come up with this one: The local guitar-and-banjo guy is heading up a new series at Howlers, starting tonight, in which local (and occasionally touring) bands cover one-hit wonders. It's called the One-Hit Wonder Spaktacular — because it's catered by Spak Brothers Pizza. The Spaktacular will take place the first Sunday of every month until the 50-song list, culled from Billboard charts by Sussman, is exhausted. Tonight's featured band: Uke and Tuba. AM 8 p.m. 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $1. 412-682-0320 or 


In recent years, a niche has formed in hip hop, nestled snugly between the irreverently iconoclastic and the desperately radio-friendly; let's call it Solo-cup rap. It's the kind of poppy, light-hearted rap you can bump on a summer drive, or get down to at a Pitt fraternity. With his use of catchy beats and indie-rock samples, as well as his charismatic blend of self-deprecation and swaggering braggadocio, Hoodie Allen epitomizes that scene. The Long Island-raised rapper was a Google employee and Ivy Leaguer before his breakout mixtape Leap Year. He plays at Altar Bar tonight. JL 7 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. $27. All ages. 412-206-9719 or

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

By Mars Johnson