Critics’ Picks, Aug. 20-26 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics’ Picks, Aug. 20-26 

Concerts by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Nikki Lane and GWAR, plus the Monroeville Jazz Festival

click to enlarge The Dirty Dozen Brass Band - COURTESY OF RED LIGHT MANAGEMENT
  • Courtesy of Red Light Management
  • The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

[BRASS] + FRI., AUG. 21

Whether from its collaborations with Dr. John, its performance with Juvinile on HBO’s Treme, or its wailing brass on Modest Mouse’s “The Devil’s Workday,” you probably already know the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Since 1977, the group has seamlessly blended its New Orleans roots with an impressive range of genres, proving that there’s no song (more or less) that can’t be improved by adding a horn section. On Friday, the legendary ensemble plays a free show at South Park Amphitheater, which, if you’re a fan of good moods and don’t hate dancing, you should attend. Alex Gordon 7:30 p.m. 3701 Farmshow Drive, South Park. Free. All ages. 412-835-4810 or

click to enlarge Nikki Lane - PHOTO COURTESY OF CHUCK GRANT
  • Photo courtesy of Chuck Grant
  • Nikki Lane


Country-music fandom has long carried a stigma in certain circles, which is probably why “I only like old country” now rivals “I like everything but rap and country” for the world’s most tedious statement of musical taste. Whether you really do like only old country, or you’re open to modern Nashville vibes, Nikki Lane — appearing as part of X-FEST II at Stage AE — should satisfy. She’s been called the “first lady of outlaw country” and the “new Wanda Jackson.” But she isn’t a retro act: While her lyrics echo the long-suffering Loretta and Tammy of the ’60s and ’70s, Lane is a strikingly modern woman, with a sharp rock ’n’ roll edge. See her tonight with Social Distortion, Anti Flag, Reel Big Fish and others. MW 4:30 p.m. 400 North Shore Drive, North Side. $39.50-40.  412-229-5483 or

[JAZZ] + SAT., AUG 22

Summer is winding down, and so is outdoor music season. All the more reason to pack a picnic and a blanket, and head to the Monroeville Jazz Festival at Tall Trees Amphitheater. Now in its 13th year, the festival was founded to expose people of all ages to the genre. This year’s headliners include vocalist Lisa Ferraro and jazz sextet Firm Roots; Bob Studebaker, host of JazzWorks on WESA-FM, will serve as master of ceremonies. The event benefits the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and the Central Blood Bank, so bring a few dollars or some nonperishable food items to donate. Margaret Welsh 6 p.m. 447 Tilbrook Road, Monroeville. Free.

[GWAR] + TUE., AUG. 25

It’s crazy to think that GWAR has enjoyed three whole decades of total world domination, but here we are. The sometimes-controversial, always-GWAR outfit is celebrating its 30-year career with the Total World Domination Tour, featuring Michael Bishop (a.k.a. Blothar) in place of the late, great Dave Brockie (a.k.a. Oderus Urungus) on vocals. The tour kicks off at Mr. Small’s tonight with Butcher Babies, Heartsick and Battlecross. As the band put it on its website, “What better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than with a spectacular victory lap bringing death and depravity to cities across America?” There is no better way. Go see GWAR. AG 7:20 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $20-22. 412-821-4447 or


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