Critics’ Picks, Feb. 4-10 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics’ Picks, Feb. 4-10 

Performances by Kid Cudi, Grant-Lee Phillips, Noura Mint Seymali and Voivod

[HIP HOP] + FRI., FEB. 5

By now, Cleveland’s Kid Cudi has garnered enough fame to need (almost) no introduction. Back in 2008, his debut single “Day ’N’ Nite” was practically inescapable. He’s since branched out into acting; served as bandleader on the IFC series Comedy Bang! Bang!; and has more than flirted with alternative rock, even forming a rock band called WZRD. Cudi’s music has always blurred the lines between rap and rock, and his new double album, Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven, forgoes all synthesizers and electronic elements, focusing entirely on guitars and live drums. Cudi calls the album “alternative music,” and though it has received mixed reviews, it has even been likened to Nirvana. Form your own opinion tonight when Cudi plays at Stage AE. Andrew Woehrel 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Drive, North Side. $39.50-42. 412-229-5483 or

[FOLK] + MON., FEB. 8

In the ’90s, indie-rock band Grant Lee Buffalo was a critics’ darling; it released singles on Bob Mould’s exclusive Singles Only label and won the acclaim of R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe. These days, frontman Grant-Lee Phillips has embarked upon a folksy solo career, his smooth voice and striking lyrics lending comparisons to contemporaries like Mark Kozelek, of Sun Kil Moon, or the late Jason Molina, of Magnolia Electric Company. Tonight, Phillips will entertain at the Pittsburgh Winery with support from Steve Poltz, best known for co-writing Jewel’s smash hit, “You Were Meant for Me.” AW 8 p.m. 2815 Penn Ave., Strip District. $16-20. 412-566-1000 or

click to enlarge Noura Mint Seymali - PHOTO COURTESY OF JOE PENNEY
  • Photo courtesy of Joe Penney
  • Noura Mint Seymali


The West African country of Mauritania has a long tradition of folk troubadours called griots, who are seen as spiritual leaders and poets. Noura Mint Seymali comes from a line of griots: Her stepmother, Dimi Mint Abba, is an internationally famous griot. The young Mauritanian combines traditional Moorish music with psychedelic rock. Her husband, Jeiche Ould Chighalys, plays droning guitar riffs that recall George Harrison’s sitar work in The Beatles’ more Eastern-influenced tunes, while Seymali has mastered the ardine, a nine-string harp that is generally reserved for women. Seymali plays tonight at Thunderbird Cafe, with A.T.S., a band that has been making music in Pittsburgh for three decades. AW 8 p.m. 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $12-15. 412-682-0177 or

click to enlarge Voivod - PHOTO COURTESY OF GAELLE BERI
  • Photo courtesy of Gaelle Beri
  • Voivod

[METAL] + WED., FEB. 10

Though hardly a household name, Voivod is legendary in progressive and thrash-metal circles. Formed in Montreal in 1982, Voivod became known for its often political, post-apocalyptic science-fiction-themed lyrics, as well as the experimental and avant-garde guitar work of Denis “Piggy” D’Amour. Sadly, Piggy died of cancer in 2005. But Voivod continues to tour and record new albums, with the addition of jazz guitarist Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain, whose own unconventional take on metal guitar carries on the spirit of D’Amour. Voivod plays tonight at Altar Bar with Vektor, Eight Bells and MICROWAVES. AW 8 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. $18-20. 412-206-9719 or


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