Critics' Picks: January 23 - 29 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: January 23 - 29

Local shows by Motive, Wakey! Wakey!, and Lucy Kaplansky, plus Mike Medved moves home


It's that age-old story: The singer-songwriter who moved to another country to play professional basketball and is now returning home to make a living in music. OK, OK, so Mike Medved's narrative isn't exactly run-of-the-mill. The 26-year-old went to St. Vincent College and shipped out in 2009 to play for Leeds Carnegie in the U.K.'s pro-basketball league. Now he's back with a full-time backing band and a desire to put his roots down here. He plays Club Café tonight, where you'll recognize him as the really tall one. Mike Cali opens. Andy Mulkerin 7 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $10. 412-431-4950 or


Motive has it all: the suits, the riffs, the drummer who looks like Abe Lincoln. It's the stuff that's made the band rising darling of the MTV underbelly — the parts of the MTV empire that still cover music — and garnered it comparisons to The Strokes. Tonight, the Brooklyn rockers bring their show to Garfield Artworks; Breezewood and Dewey Marquee open. AM 8 p.m. 4931 Penn Ave., Garfield. $6. All ages. 412-361-2262 or


If what's been leaked so far is any indication, the forthcoming album from Wakey! Wakey! will be an art-pop ride in the vein of Passion Pit — squeaky-clean vocals, delicious pop hooks and lots of synths. The band found success with its 2010 album Almost Everything I Wish I'd Said the Last Time I Saw You, which landed it commercial deals and TV placements along with healthy record sales. Preview the new stuff tonight when Wakey! Wakey! — in this case, just frontman Michael Grubbs playing acoustic — plays Club Café. Suzanna Choffel opens. AM 7 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $10. 412-431-4950 or

[FOLK] + THU., JAN. 31

Lucy Kaplansky's voice is not only beautiful but friendly — which likely benefitted the singer-songwriter during the years when she eschewed music in favor of work as a clinical psychologist. Fortunately for the folk world, she returned to music in the '90s with the Shawn Colvin-produced The Tide; her latest, Reunion, does a good bit of reminiscing (and includes a guest spot by Jonatha Brooke). Tonight, she appears at the Roots Cellar, Calliope's venue at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. AM 7:30 p.m. 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. $25-28. All ages. 412-361-1915 or

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