Critics' Picks Oct. 23-29 | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks Oct. 23-29

Local shows by PitchBlak Brass Band, Kalob Griffin Band and Chuck Ragan, plus a local Alice Cooper tribute made up of some old scene heads


"Brass band" can mean a lot of things, from a traditional outfit playing marches to a raucous gypsy-music group or a New Orleans-style jazz combo. In the case of PitchBlak Brass Band, it's something different still: The Brooklyn-based 10-piece ensemble has as much in common with contemporary hip hop as with any older idiom. (One apt comparison might be Chicago's Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.) The band comes to Cattivo tonight; openers include horn-infused locals Beauty Slap and a Pandemic DJ set. (The band will also play a set Saturday afternoon at the Children's Museum.) Andy Mulkerin 9 p.m. 146 44th St., Lawrenceville. $15-20. 412-687-2157 or

click to enlarge Kalob Griffin Band
Photo courtesy of Tom Stanley


Pittsburgh native and Kalob Griffin Band drummer Eric Lawry is always thrilled to return to his hometown. The Philadelphia-based foursome is making a pilgrimage to Pittsburgh tonight to headline Mr. Small's and bring some of its Americana rock 'n' roll energy. KGB members create a wild, improvised atmosphere in the room when they're on stage. So have a drink or two and make some noise at their show: After all, they cite "folk-lovin', whiskey-fueled, outlaw stories" as the inspiration for their lyricism and spirit. Samantha Ward 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $15. All ages. 412-821-4447 or


As we near Halloween, plenty of local musicians are jumping at the chance to dress up as another band. But Muscle of Love is making it happen on a much more regular basis. The group of scene vets — representing bands stretching way back, including The Ultimatics and Science Fiction Idols — got together earlier this year to jam on Alice Cooper songs, and ended up forming a full-time tribute. The band headlines tonight at the Smiling Moose. AM 10 p.m. 1306 E. Carson St., South Side. $5-6. 412-431-4668 or

click to enlarge Chuck Ragan
Photo courtesy of Lisa Johnson


Former Hot Water Music guitarist Chuck Ragan was raised in Tennessee before discovering punk rock in Louisiana. To launch his solo career in 2005, Ragan conceptualized the Revival Tour, an acoustic event that allowed a group of bluegrass, alt-country and punk-rock musicians to collaborate and tour together. He recently released his fourth studio album, Till Midnight, and is touring and writing an original score for a new video game to be released by Molasses Flood. His tour of the East Coast stops in tonight at Club Café. SW 7 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $10. 412-431-4950 or