Summer Music Roundup | Pittsburgh City Paper

Summer Music Roundup

It's a fact: The Police would rather play Detroit than Pittsburgh. Hell, they'd rather play Hershey than play here. But despite the usual gnashing of teeth about tours that skip Pittsburgh, this summer's concert season -- if not mind-blowing -- at least has something for everyone. For example, there are can't-miss shows for the weirdos ("Weird Al" Yankovic, Ween); for the hipsters (Slavic Soul Party, Melt-Banana); and even for people from Cranberry (Dave Matthews Band, Goo Goo Dolls).

Devotees of metallic magnitude will be most rewarded. Coming up soon, there's the June 1 Deftones show, out at the Ice Garden Amphitheatre. Mook-metal fans can dry their eyes in the knowledge that Korn, Evanescence and the like will soon share their pain at the Family Values Tour, Aug. 4, at the Post-Gazette Pavilion. Those with more (neo)classical, bat-biting proclivities will no doubt hail the return of the Prince of Darkness: Ozzy's headlining OzzFest once more, supported by worthies Lamb of God, Lordi and Hatebreed. (Through some act of demonic magic, this Aug. 24 show is also free this year.)

And if, to your way of thinking, the hairstyle's just as important as the hook, Poison will be singing the same, sad songs June 20 with Ratt and White Lion at the Pavilion, and Def Leppard is bringing on the heartbreak with Styx and REO Speedwagon July 7.

If some of the latter names definitely sound like repeats of last year, it's because ... they are! The cyclical nature of touring is perhaps most apparent in Froggy Country. The puns and pickin' begin June 6 with Brooks & Dunn, back this time at Heinz Field with Kenny Chesney; Toby Keith returns to mend some broken bridges Aug. 18, at the Pavilion; Big & Rich will be taking your money July 4, at PNC Park. Fans of the other, highfalutin' kind of country will want to catch siren Neko Case, July 19, at the Byham Theater.

But one thing that is very different from last year is the Three Rivers Arts Festival, which runs from June 1-17. Due to construction at Point State Park, the festival's main stage -- heavy on AAA, blues and folk rock -- will be at the Stanwix Triangle, with the size of the acts scaled down accordingly.

Those looking for music artier than, say, Spyro Gyra (June 17) should look to the Arts Festival's alternate stage at Market Square, the location for June 8 Circuits of Steel Showcase, featuring many local experimental and electronic musicians. And on June 9, local arts collective Unicorn Mountain transforms Market Square into "Jaggerbush Junction," which celebrates "childhood fantasy and all the things that make us proud to be from western Pennsylvania." (I'm guessing that means one of the bands -- Oxford Collapse, Centipede E'est or Wax Fang -- will cover that "Show 'Em You're From Pittsburgh" song.)

Speaking of the Arts Festival, you can always pass on the outdoor concert scene and beat the heat in an area art gallery/performance space. Of the galleries spread along the Penn Avenue arts corridor, Garfield Artworks boasts a busy schedule throughout the summer months, including indie-MC P.O.S. on July 22. The Andy Warhol Museum's programming includes Electrelane (June 8) and Bill Callahan of Smog (Sept. 5).

When I said the summer concert season had something for everybody, I meant everybody -- including people who don't like going to concerts.

Yes. I can almost guarantee that the Gabriel-less Genesis concert on Sept. 9 will feel very similar to driving around in a minivan with one of those soccer stickers on the back, making it possible to leave Mellon Arena and proceed immediately to pilates or step-aerobics without missing a beat. And for those who truly can't bear the thought of leaving the house this summer, never fear: American Idols Live is coming to the Arena on Aug. 22, so you can really watch the cast of the reality-TV show ... in reality? You'll never even know you left the couch.