Critics' Picks: December 26 - January 2 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: December 26 - January 2

New Year's shows by Charles Bradley, Rusted Root and The Harlan Twins, plus a visit from Pity Sex

[SOUL] + TUE., DEC. 31

He did time as a James Brown impersonator, had stints of homelessness and was the subject of a biographical documentary; now Charles Bradley, on the heels of his 2013 release Victim of Love, plays Pittsburgh's First Night celebration. The now-65-year-old Bradley broke out in 2011 with his debut, No Time for Dreaming, on Daptone Records, which has a knack for finding underappreciated soul musicians and putting them in the limelight. Not unlike the man he once impersonated, Bradley is renowned for the physical endurance he demonstrates on stage, and the whole family can check him out tonight at the Highmark Stage, on Penn Avenue, Downtown. Andy Mulkerin 10:45 p.m. (First Night events run from 6 p.m. to after midnight.) Cultural District, Downtown. All-access buttons $8-10. All ages. 412-456-6666 or


Was a time when the biggest ticket in town — for twentysomethings, and for teens who were getting away with a little something — was Rusted Root's annual New Year's Eve show. Those kids are grown up now, but Pittsburgh's biggest band of the '90s is back for another go this year. It's at the Rex Theater on the South Side, and the Root is joined by a couple other local bands: Bastard Bearded Irishmen and Derek Woodz Band. Let Glabicki, Berlin and company send you on your way into 2014. (Oh, and no teens sneaking into this one, please; it's 21 and over.) AM 9 p.m.1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $40. 412-381-6811 or

[LOCAL] + TUE., DEC. 31

Here's yet another way to ring in the New Year: with a bunch of local bands and DJs at the Ultra Dive! Tonight, The Harlan Twins reprise a past role as Belvedere's New Year's Eve house band, and bring with them hard rockers Outsideinside and DJs Pandemic Pete and Nice Rec. It's sure to be a diverse assortment of music, and it's also the one night a year you can drink champagne at Belvedere's, so there's that. AM 9 p.m. 4016 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $10. 412-687-2555


Fuzzy, early-emo-sounding guitar rock started its comeback in 2013; Pity Sex showed up just in time. The Ann Arbor four-piece released its first full-length, Feast of Love, this summer on Run for Cover, recalling any number of punk and indie bands of the late '90s and early '00s — from Weston to I Hate Myself. The band starts its early-2014 run of shows with one tonight at the Smiling Moose. Self Defense Family, Lvl Up and Adventures open. AM 6:30 p.m. 1306 E. Carson St., South Side. $10. All ages. 412-431-4668 or

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