Critics' Picks, Feb. 5-11 | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks, Feb. 5-11

Local shows by Machine Head and Jason Isbell, plus Anti-Flag comes home and Drums & Drones come to Filmmakers

click to enlarge Drums & Drones, a touring sound-and-video collaboration
Photo courtesy of Ursula Scherrer


Surrender your senses tonight to Drums & Drones, a touring sound-and-video collaboration from drummer Brian Chase (of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and video artist Ursula Scherrer. Chase creates minimalist drone pieces using percussion and feedback; Scherrer's video accompaniments are abstract, toying with light and movement. The result: a thought-provoking zone-out program that's been presented elsewhere under the guises of Phill Niblock's Experimental Intermedia organization, and Toronto's X Avant festival. The Wire-level event makes its Pittsburgh premiere tonight at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Melwood Screening Room; probably don't bring your dancing shoes. Andy Mulkerin 8 p.m. 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland. $8. All ages. 412-681-5449 or

[PUNK] + FRI., FEB. 6

The locally based left-wing punks of Anti-Flag released The Terror State, their highest-charting record to date, in late 2003, in the shadow of the start of the Iraq War. They're currently on the road touring to commemorate the record's 10-year anniversary, more than 11 years after it dropped, because we all know what "punk time" means, right? Tonight, the show, in which the band plays that record in its entirety, comes to Mr. Small's Theatre, with Such Gold, The Homeless Gospel Choir and Divorce set to open. Shawn Cooke 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $18. 412-821-4447 or

[METAL] + SAT., FEB. 7

After the 2013 departure of Adam Duce, lead vocalist and guitarist Robb Flynn is the only founding member left standing in Machine Head. Even though the band's retained only a fraction of its original roster, 2014's Bloodstone & Diamonds managed to be its highest-charting album yet (No. 21 on Billboard 200). Flynn continues to lead the heavy metal-lifers into massive thrashy, agressive territory, and he brings the new lineup to Mr. Small's for the first time tonight. SC 9 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $25. 412-821-4447 or

click to enlarge Jason Isbell, Southeastern
Photo courtesy of Michael Wilson


When Jason Isbell dropped his wildly acclaimed album Southeastern sans backing band the 400 Unit, you knew things were going to get personal. Before writing his fourth LP, Isbell went to rehab, overcame his alcoholism and got married. His demons are distinctly in the crosshairs on Southeastern, but he spins the mostly tame Americana with a renewed sense of clarity and purpose. Though he's been in the business for nearly two decades, NBC executives somehow hadn't heard of him, and urged Isbell via email to try out for The Voice — despite the fact that he's sold as many records as some of the show's recent winners. Tonight, he plays his first Pittsburgh show since just after the 2013 album's release, at the Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead. Damien Jurado opens. SC 7 p.m. 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall. $32. 412-462-3444 or