Critics’ Picks, Jan. 7-13 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics’ Picks, Jan. 7-13

A benefit concert for PAAR, plus performances by Some Kind of Animal, Helta Skelta and Leggy

[ROCK] + FRI., JAN. 8

click to enlarge Critics’ Picks, Jan. 7-13
Photo courtesy of Paul Werkmeister/Miser Photography
Serpent Lord

Four stylistically disparate bands come together for a great cause at Altar Bar tonight as part of They Can Cover Their Ears But We Won’t Stop Screaming, an event to raise awareness of sexual assault. The all-ages concert, benefiting Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, features talks from victims and performances from The Thinker and The Prover, The YJJ’s, Serpent Lord and From The Feet Up. The four Southwestern PA bands’ styles range from jam-funk to heavy, so there’s something for everybody, assuming you like rock music. And even if you don’t, you can feel good about spending $15 where it’ll make a real difference. Alex Gordon 6 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. $15. 412-263-2877 or


The sample size may be small — a song or two, a couple live videos — but the early output from the Pittsburgh-bred Some Kind of Animal is promising. You might recognize singer-songwriters Anthony Jardine and Tim Mulhern from previous acoustic performances at Pittsburgh Winery, but tonight’s show at Spirit marks the debut of the full band, with Rich Condon and Dave Rocco. Last month saw the first offering from the group’s forthcoming debut album, produced by Tyler Watkins (Margot and The Nuclear So & Sos). The song is “Hold On,” a harmony-heavy downbeat ballad that fans of bands like Wake Owl or Milk Carton Kids will probably dig. Philadelphia’s The End of America and Pittsburgh’s own Morgan Erina join them tonight at Spirit, so if acoustic guitars and superb vocals are two things you enjoy hearing combined, this show is a no-brainer. AG 9 p.m. 242 51st St., Lawrenceville. $5. 412-586-4441 or

[PUNK] + TUE., JAN. 12

Fans of punk rock can be surprisingly harsh toward bands who try to break from the mold of hardcore orthodoxy. This is ironic, considering punk rock shouldn’t really have rules to speak of. Branching out into other genres can be rewarding for music listeners. Perth, Australia’s Helta Skelta sounds — at first listen — like any other lo-fi, fuzzed-out punk group, complete with garbled, incomprehensible vocals. The group is a little too weird to truly be called a hardcore band, though. Shades of ’70s English post-punk emerge through the muck, reminiscent of Wire and The Fall. Helta Skelta is playing tonight at the Rock Room, with support from S.L.I.P., Psychobaits and Bad Trip. Andrew Woehrel 8 p.m. 1054 Herron Ave., Polish Hill. $6. 412-683-4418

click to enlarge Critics’ Picks, Jan. 7-13
Photo courtesy of Sarah Hanselman


There is something to be said about bands that deftly combine pop and punk without being pop punk. The oft-maligned genre sort of deserves all the hate. After all, everywhere you look, pop-punk bands are embarrassingly commercial (Green Day), sexist (The Descendents) or just plain annoying (too many to mention). Cincinnati trio Leggy thankfully avoids the masculine clichés of pop-punk, combining pop melodies and punk riffs into something a lot less obnoxious. See them tonight at Gooski’s with Derider and Yes, Yes, A Thousand Times Yes. AW 6 p.m. 3117 Brereton St., Polish Hill. $5. 412-681-1658

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