Critics’ Picks, Dec. 31-Jan. 6 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics’ Picks, Dec. 31-Jan. 6 

New Years Eve concerts by Norm Nardini and Rusted Root, plus parties featuring local punk bands and DJs

click to enlarge Slowdanger - PHOTO COURTESY OF RYAN MICHAEL WHITE
  • Photo courtesy of Ryan Michael White
  • Slowdanger

[DANCE] + THU., DEC. 31

Less than a month ago, the Ace Hotel opened its newest boutique hotel in East Liberty’s former YMCA. Tonight, it partners with creative collective VIA to present VITAMIN NYE, a cornucopia of electronic and analog dance music, including DJ sets by Pittsburgh Track Authority, Clark Price, Boo Lean, Kelly Carter, Slowdanger and more. Visuals both psychedelic and nostalgic will be provided by artists Ben Tabas and Julie Mallis. There are a lot of New Year’s Eve events happening tonight, but this one is assuredly the one to choose if you’re aiming to see and be seen. (It’s also one of the few parties where you can stumble upstairs to bed without annoying your hosts.) Andrew Woehrel 7 p.m. 120 S. Whitfield St., East Liberty. $10. 412-361-3300 or

[ROCK] + THU., DEC. 31

Pittsburgh has its fair share of beloved quasi-celebrities — people who are heroes to the locals while remaining relatively unknown outside Western Pennsylvania. This isn’t a result of a lack of ability on the part of artists, but perhaps a reluctance to leave one’s hometown, or maybe it’s a Pittsburghian urge to hoard the best talent to ourselves. Norm Nardini — who has been playing raucous blues rock since the 1960s and has toured all over the country — is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Tonight, he’ll be appearing at Moondogs’ Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, so you can ring in 2016 with a bona fide Pittsburgh institution (and to top it all off, there’s a buffet!). AW 9 p.m. 378 Freeport Road, Blawnox. $10. 412-828-2040 or

click to enlarge Rusted Root - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAND
  • Photo courtesy of the band
  • Rusted Root

[ROCK] + THU., DEC. 31

As a transplant to Pittsburgh who came here from the Philadelphia area in 2009, I didn’t have quite the familiarity that many Pittsburghers have with Rusted Root. To me, this local sensation was that band I heard on Y-100 sometimes, who sounded like a fanciful marriage of Dave Matthews Band and Morrissey. Mind you, I mean this as a compliment. Tonight, the long-standing, world-music-inspired, jammy rock ensemble plays at the Rex Theater with Derek Woodz Band and Bastard Bearded Irishmen. AW 9 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $35-75. 412-381-6811 or

[PUNK] + THU., DEC. 31

If your idea of a good New Year’s Eve party is something less glitzy and a little more grimy, make a stop at the New Year’s Eve Punk Rock Blowout at The Shop, featuring performances by local acts EyeRoll, Fuk Boiz, Liebestod and Skullyzzzbar. This event is hosted by Peace Through Strength, a Pittsburgh political-activism group, and all proceeds benefit Food Not Bombs Pittsburgh, an anti-corporate charity group that feeds the hungry. Aren’t the holidays supposed to be about helping the less fortunate? Maybe this year, Santa will scream, “Oi! Oi! Oi!” instead of chuckling, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” AW 9 p.m. 4314 Main St., Bloomfield. $5 ($3 with food donation). 412-951-0622 


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