Critics' Picks: Sept 30 - Oct 6 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: Sept 30 - Oct 6

The opening of Alia Musica's new season, plus local shows from Vandaveer, Shunda K and Yo! Majesty, and Ray Bonneville and Andy Friedman


When one thinks of classical music they may automatically revert to visions of Beethoven or Mozart, old dead dudes who play canonical pieces or very squarely constructed melodies. But composition for classical instrumentation can be youthful and vibrant, according to Alia Musica, an organization founded in 2006 by a group of young Pittsburgh composers. Its series has grown to involve a core group of composers and involves intimate chamber performances as well as large-scale concerts. Alia Musica remains fresh with new compositions and its consistency has lent a presence to the more polished side of the Pittsburgh music scene. Kate Magoc 8 p.m. Synod Hall, 125 N. Craig St., Oakland. $10-12. All ages. 412-361-2048 or


Washington, D.C.-based Vandaveer, the vehicle for Mark Charles Heidinger's songwriting, has been around for five years now and released three full-lengths (along with a smattering of EPs and compilation appearances). It's understated folk-pop of the best sort: a hint of Americana here, a bit of literary smarts there, nothing strained or overwhelming. (Heidinger is complemented by the vocals of Rose Guerin.) The band's latest is Dig Down Deep, issued earlier this year on Supply & Demand. The band plays Brillobox tonight along with Sean Rowe and Orchid and the Orchard. Andy Mulkerin 10 p.m. 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $7. 412-621-4900 or

[HIP HOP] + MON., OCT. 3

Boisterous and unabashedly powerful, Shunda K rocks the mic with in-your-face rhymes that drip with issue-driven substance. Her music is laced with electro-funk dance beats so, despite the weightiness of words -- which tackle issues of class, gender, and domestic violence -- the sound is high-energy and party-worthy. With her group Yo! Majesty, a collaborative effort that edges into a U.K. sound, Shunda K has kept a certain rude-gal attitude that blends her American self-confidence with some U.K. bass-y swagger. They appear tonight with Swedish Dyke Vibes, Burgundy Banana. KM 8 p.m. Shadow Lounge, 126 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty. $8-10. 18+. 412-363-8277 or

Critics' Picks: Sept 30 - Oct 6
Photo courtesy of Sandy Dyas

[FOLK] + THU., OCT. 6

Calliope's Center Stage Concert Series, held at the folk organization's home base at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, provides us with shows from some of today's most important folk and blues artists. Tonight, it's a pairing of the tried-and-true with the up-and-coming; Ray Bonneville, the Canadian-born troubadour with a Southern heart, headlines along with Andy Friedman, who brings a sense of rough-hewn small-town charm to stories that emanate from his native Brooklyn. AM 7:30 p.m. 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. $10-20. All ages. 412-361-1915 or

Women & Non-binary Bike Summit
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Women & Non-binary Bike Summit

By Mars Johnson