Critics' Picks: January 29 - February 1 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: January 29 - February 1

Local shows by Yellowcard, Lotus, Wilder Maker's Gabriel Birnbaum, and The Hold Steady, plus Snow Ball at Cattivo


Jacksonville, Fla.-based Yellowcard has been at it for a while — the pop-punk band, which throws in some classical influences via violin, is best known for its 2003 hit "Ocean Avenue." The latest on the five-piece's radar? A re-imagining of the 2003 Ocean Avenue album — this time all acoustic. Want to take a walk down pop-punk memory lane, only ever-so-slightly different? Try Yellowcard live tonight at Altar Bar. Kayla Copes 8 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. Sold out at press time. All ages. 412-206-9719 or

click to enlarge Critics' Picks: January 29 - February 1
Photo courtesy of Tobin Voggesser


Indiana electronic instrumental rock band Lotus makes its way to Pittsburgh tonight. Don't be fooled by the "instrumental" label; the band has some hip-hop and classical sounds in its music as well. The band's most recent studio album, Build, was released in 2013 — a must-listen track is the danceable "Break Build Burn." Check Lotus out tonight at Stage AE. Pittsburgh-based trap DJ Buku opens. KC 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Drive, North Side. $20-25. All ages. 412-229-5483 or


In the summer, the folks from the Rock All Night Tour throw a ton of local bands in a Lawrenceville park all day and it's a good time. In the winter, you can't very well do that — you could put the bands there, but it probably wouldn't be enjoyable. So they take it inside for Snow Ball, which takes place tonight at Cattivo. Local acts represented on the two stages include Chrome Moses, Bastard Bearded Irishmen, The Big Bend, Lungs Face Feet and many more. Andy Mulkerin 6 p.m. 146 44th St., Lawrenceville. $10. 412-687-2157 or


Wilder Maker's 2013 release Year of Endless Light was met with high praise from critics; at its heart is songwriter Gabriel Birnbaum, who uses his strong voice to defy the sameness that often characterizes indie folk. A little David Berman, a little Damien Jurado, some '70s rock — it's thrown together in a particular manner that doesn't recall any one more than the other, making it uniquely Birnbaum. Tonight he appears solo at Acoustic Music Works along with Milo Jones. AM 7:30 p.m. 2142 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill. $6. All ages. 412-422-0710 or

click to enlarge Critics' Picks: January 29 - February 1
Photo courtesy of Danny Clinch


Craig Finn is one of our more unlikely rock stars. The forty-something singer of The Hold Steady bears, as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Tony Norman has noted, more than a passing resemblance to former Pittsburgh City Councilor Doug Shields. And the wordy songsmith didn't rise to true fame until he was hitting his late 30s (though his early band, Lifter Puller, was something of a cult fave). But Finn has a charm and swagger that comes across best live — as at tonight's show at Mr. Small's Theatre. Tim Barry opens the night. AM 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $18-20. All ages. 412-821-4447 or