Critics' Picks: July 25 - August 1 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: July 25 - August 1

Local shows by Heart, Heavy Breathing, Matisyahu, Janka Nabay, The Head and the Heart


After the release of its breakthrough album Dreamboat Annie in 1976, Heart enjoyed massive rock-circuit success, which has waxed and waned for Ann and Nancy Wilson and company over the years. Although the band suffered through an 11-year drought without an album between 1993 and 2004, the 21st century has been good to Heart: The group has released two new albums, as well as a boxed set that hit the streets last month. The Wilson sisters rock Stage AE tonight. Gregg Harrington 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Drive, North Side. $39.50-42. All ages. 412-229-5483 or


In the early '00s, The Apes released a couple of infectious, heavy records on FrenchKiss — and went through a few lead singers. The core of the band then transformed into Heavy Breathing: The trio features all three longtime Apes, plus … synthesized vocals. It's still weird, powerful and occasionally funky stuff. Tonight the band plays its first show outside its hometown of Washington, D.C., here in Pittsburgh at The Shop. K-Hun and Raw Blow play as well. Andy Mulkerin 8 p.m. 4312 Main St., Bloomfield. $7. All ages. 412-951-0622


It was the shave heard 'round the world: Late last year, Matisyahu walked into Supercuts and had his beard — and part of his Orthodox Jewish identity — removed. It was the Hasidic equivalent of Dylan going electric at Newport Folk. Now the reggae singer has short, light hair, doesn't carry the signifiers of devout religion, and has moved to Los Angeles. His latest, Spark Seeker, came out last week, and what he didn't lose includes his songwriting chops and that faux-Jamaican accent. He plays the Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead tonight with The Dirty Heads, a California group that sent me a press kit with rolling papers in it. AM 7 p.m. 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall. $40-42. All ages. 412-368-5225 or

[BUBU] + TUE., JULY 31

As the story goes, Janka Nabay was first acquainted with bubu music growing up in Sierra Leone; it was used in processions that took place during Ramadan. Now he's the biggest — really, the only — purveyor of the sound, albeit an updated take. Bubu is percussive, it includes intervals we're used to in West African music, and it's … not really defined specifically. ("Janka's never explained it," his drummer once told the Village Voice.) His infectious first album on Luaka Bop, En Yay Sah, comes out in August. Nabay brings his band, The Bubu Gang, to Shadow Lounge tonight. Lungs Face Feet, Dean Cercone and Ian Hess open. AM 8 p.m. 5972 Baum Blvd., East Liberty. $7. 412-363-8277 or


Seattle-based folk-pop group The Head and the Heart has been busy since its inception three years ago. After self-releasing its self-titled debut effort, the band promoted relentlessly, and the album sold more than 10,000 copies. Hometown label Sub Pop took notice and immediately signed the band. The Head and the Heart has been busy since, touring the States and Europe with bands like Death Cab for Cutie and Vampire Weekend. Tonight, the group graces the stage of Mr. Small's with Lost in the Trees. GH 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $20. All ages. 412-821-4447 or

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