Critics' Picks: February 6 - 12 | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: February 6 - 12

Local shows by Frontier Ruckus and Matisyahu, plus an anniversary show for The Show, and the third annual Pittsburgh Rock Music Awards


In an era rife with contrived "folk" acts from Brooklyn, hearing a group like Frontier Ruckus can feel like a godsend. The Michigan folk-rock four-piece dishes out soft-spoken stories about life in its home state, with an earnestness seldom found in a scene with its share of homogenous groups. The new album Eternity of Dimming is panoramic, providing listeners with vivid scenes of Michigan through lead singer and songwriter Matthew Milia's sometimes dark poetic verse. Tonight, they bring their banjos and guitars to Club Café with Sephus Lee and The Brushfire. John Lavanga 8 p.m. 58 S. 12th St., South Side. $12. 412-431-4950 or


In 2011, the Pittsburgh Rock Music Awards burst onto the scene, taking many by surprise. Now it's more of a known quantity; the presenting entity, then known as Backallie Music, even has a more, er, credible-sounding name (Asperity Records). After a round of nominations on Facebook and the label's website, a second round of voting has been done by the nominees and a small field of judges from the local music landscape (music blogs, educators, etc.). Tonight, the big winners are revealed at Mr. Small's Theatre. Andy Mulkerin 7 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $12. All ages. 412-821-4447 or


Naming your band The Show is kind of an Abbott and Costello move. ("What are you going to see tonight?" "The Show." "Who's playing?" "The Show." "Who's the band?" Et cetera, et cetera.) But the local indie-rock outfit has been making it work — for five years, in fact. Tonight, the poppy rock four-piece plays a fifth-anniversary show at the Rex Theater, the venue where it all began in early 2008. Also playing: Johnny and the Razorblades, Shag Dog Melon Head, Basement Party, Abandoned Innocence and One Guy With Sleeves. AM 6 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $12. All ages. 412-381-6811 or

[POP] + SUN., FEB. 10

Matisyahu is perhaps best known for his pride in his Jewish roots, but he is by no means a Hasidic novelty act. It's his talent as a multifaceted musician that has placed him in the spotlight and continues to hold him there. Blending reggae and hip-hop beats, Matisyahu creates upbeat songs that have a sort of universal appeal. About a year ago, he shaved the beard and put the yarmulke on the shelf, starting to move away from Orthodox Judaism. Tonight, he comes to the Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead for a night of acoustic performance and conversation. JL 8 p.m. 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall. $28-33. All ages. 412-462-4669 or