Critics’ Picks, Dec. 17-23 | Critics' Picks | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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Critics’ Picks, Dec. 17-23 

Concerts by The Early Mays, Scuzz and Ali Spagnola, plus an annual Festivus celebration

click to enlarge The Early Mays
  • The Early Mays

[FOLK] + FRI., DEC. 18

Named the 2014 Pittsburgh Artist of the Year by WYEP, the local Americana group The Early Mays performs tonight at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, with support from Rachel Eddy and Kipyn Martin. The women who comprise the trio — Judith Avers, Emily Pinkerton and Ellen Gozion are all accomplished musicians in their own right, and the group’s original compositions and faithful renditions of traditional material have received wide acclaim. In addition to local radio attention, the group has earned air time all over the country, and its 2014 self-titled record debuted at No. 2 on the National Folk DJ Charts and stayed in the top 10 for three months. Tonight’s holiday-themed performance highlights classics by country and folk legends, Christmas carols, and of course, original songs. Andrew Woehrel 8 p.m. 304 Morewood Ave., Shadyside. $15 suggested donation. 412-242-7769 or email ellen@ellengozion.com 

[PUNK] + SAT., DEC. 19

The punk-rock scumballs of upstate New York’s Scuzz are even filthier than their name suggests. The recent split with fellow Albany punks Male Pattern is advertised as “Albany’s worst.” Self-deprecation aside, there is a transgressive artistic quality to this kind of grimy punk that can be appreciated tonight at Gooski’s, with locals Mower and Honeymoon. Scuzz’s black-and-white album covers bring to mind a lowbrow “comix”-style marriage of R. Crumb and Rudimentary Peni’s Nick Blinko, a perfect representation of the band’s gross yet entertaining style. AW 9 p.m. 3117 Brereton St., Polish Hill. $5. 412-681-1658

[FESTIVUS] + SAT., DEC. 19

With the 1997 episode “The Strike,” Seinfeld introduced the world to Festivus, a non-religious, non-commercial, low-pressure alternative holiday “for the rest of us.” Tonight, Festivus festivities commence in Pittsburgh, at Howlers, for the 11th year in a row, making it one of (if not the) longest-running annual Festivus celebrations around. Expect all the Festivus trimmings and traditions: an unadorned steel pole, the Airing of Grievances, the Feats of Strength, and plenty of Festivus miracles; plus Seinfeld trivia and prizes, and performances by local acts like Endless Mike & the Beagle Club, Reinforced and The Scott Fry Experience. AW 9 p.m. 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $5. 412-682-0320 or www.howlerspittsburgh.com

click to enlarge Ali Spagnola - PHOTO BY HEATHER MULL
  • Photo by Heather Mull
  • Ali Spagnola

[POP]  + TUE., DEC. 22

Between maintaining her status as a bona fide Internet celebrity, fighting expensive legal battles and going viral — Google her Vine video “How to make a mimosa (in 6 seconds)” — Pittsburgh native Ali Spagnola might be the busiest person on Earth. Her 2011 release, The Power Hour Album, is designed to guide the listener through 60 shots of beer in an hour: a harrowing and foamy experience to be sure. Victorious after an epic copyright dispute involving the “Power Hour” moniker, Spagnola, who now lives in Los Angeles, returns to her hometown to perform at Club Café tonight with special guests The Nerd Herders. Remember to bring a shot glass! AW 8 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $12.  412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com


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