Critics' Picks: July 21 - 24 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

[PUNK] + THU., JULY 21

Last fall, the rock scene in Pittsburgh lost a unique player in Bobby Porter, the Thin White Line frontman who passed away from stomach cancer. Each year, for his birthday, Porter had put together a "Porterfest" show, featuring some of his favorite bands. This year, those closest to him are putting together what they're calling The Last Porterfest, a final farewell to their friend. The three shows -- tonight through Saturday -- at the Rock Room will feature a bevy of current local punk bands. Tonight's show spotlights Highway 13, Ratface and Oh Shit They're Going To Kill Us; later in the weekend, catch Mud City Manglers, Killer of Sheep, Phat Man Dee and more. Andy Mulkerin 9 p.m. 1054 Herron Ave., Polish Hill. $5. 412-683-4418


While Pittsburgh's blues tradition doesn't stretch way back like, say, Chicago's or Memphis', it's fair to say that blues bands are a significant force in the local music scene. So it's fitting that the Pittsburgh Blues Festival has become a perennial summer favorite. Each year, some of the biggest names in contemporary electric blues, nationally and locally, show up for the three-day event at Hartwood Acres, which benefits the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. This year's notables: Janiva Magness, headlining tonight; The Tedeschi Trucks Band (featuring Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks) Saturday, and Johnny Winter, playing Sunday. Local faves like Olga Watkins and The Igniters dot the weekend's lineup as well. AM 4 p.m. Continues through Sunday. 2914 Middle Road, Allison Park. Weekend pass $50; individual concerts $22-35. All ages. 412-460-2583 or

Photo courtesy of Rick Fagan


For Slayer and Rob Zombie -- two acts that, for some time, have had the market on hellish, quasi-satanic imagery pretty well cornered -- calling their tour "Hell on Earth" is fitting almost to the point of self-parody. Are they aware of this? Probably. Do they care?  Doubt it. And it's doubtful that anyone at tonight's show at Stage AE will care about anything other than head-banging and grinning at how completely awesome the whole thing is. The all-ages show is also the perfect opportunity for you to be the cool mom/dad/aunt/uncle you never had. Bring the kids (they may be surprised that filmmaker Rob Zombie is also a musician!) and let 'em experience semi-evil music at its finest. With Exodus. Margaret Welsh 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Drive, North Side. $39.50-42.00. 412-229-5483


[PUNK] + SUN., JULY 24

If you know just one Dead Milkmen song, it's probably "Punk Rock Girl." And while Rodney Anonymous sang a lot of the band's tunes, that one was actually fronted by Joe Jack Talcum, the band's guitarist. Talcum -- still based in Philly and still playing rock music -- has toured a good bit, solo and with his band The Low Budgets, in recent years. Tonight he returns to town with support from The Bassturd, The Weird Paul Rock Band and Will Simmons & the Nougat Boys. AM 8 p.m. Thunderbird Café, 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $8-10. 412-682-0177 or

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