Critics’ Picks, Oct. 15-21 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics’ Picks, Oct. 15-21

Concerts by Mathew Tembo, Amy Bezunartea, The Devil Makes Three and Spirit Caravan

[AFRO POP] + THU., OCT. 15

“Chachacha” is a traditional form of protest song, played on homemade instruments like the kalimba (a xylophone made out of hollowed-out gourds), and originally sung by Zambian freedom fighters in the 1960s. It’s also the title of a new work by Mathew Tembo, who is an international pop star and one of the biggest in his home country of Zambia. But he has recently resettled in Pittsburgh — which was his first long-term home when he moved to the U.S. several years ago — to be close to his young daughter. Tembo will be performing Chachacha tonight at the New Hazlett Theater, with assistance from his band, the Afro Routes. Andrew Woehrel 8 p.m. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $20. 412-320-4610 or

click to enlarge Amy Bezunartea - PHOTO COURTESY OF TIM ANDERSON
Photo courtesy of Tim Anderson
Amy Bezunartea

[INDIE] + FRI., OCT. 16

At first listen, Amy Bezunartea may sound like any other indie-folk singer-songwriter from any time between 1995 and 2005. Though her voice and chords occasionally echo tropes of confessional indie music, her lyrics are braver and more frank than one might expect, and her melodies have a knack for unfolding in unexpected ways. Bezunartea’s slow and somber tales are rewarding; a close listen will reveal how she subverts the expectations listeners may have of a sweet-voiced and poised modern woman. She’s playing tonight at the Mr. Roboto Project, with Advance Base (formerly Casiotone for the Painfully Alone), Cold Weather and more. AW 8 p.m. 5106 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $5. All ages. 412-345-1059 or

click to enlarge The Devil Makes Three - PHOTO COURTESY OF PIPER FERGUSON
Photo courtesy of Piper Ferguson
The Devil Makes Three


“Alt-country,” “gothic country,” “neo-bluegrass,” “Americana” and other similar genre names are tossed around frequently these days, as there are a lot of young musicians pairing bluegrass, country and traditional old-time music with a modern attitude and punkish energy. The Devil Makes Three, an aptly named trio of troubadours from Santa Cruz, Calif., are a perfect example, and they tread familiar territory: banjos, stand-up basses and Southern drawls, and lyrics about booze, the devil, sins, morals and retribution. You can see them tonight at Mr. Small’s Theatre with support from The Deslondes. AW 7 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $20. 412-821-4447 or

[METAL] + WED., OCT. 21

Scott “Wino” Weinrich has been a huge figure in American doom-metal, having fronted some of the genre’s most influential bands, including The Obsessed and Saint Vitus. He also leads Spirit Caravan, a three-piece from Maryland that reunited last year after a 12-year hiatus. Originally active from 1996 to 2002, the band operated as sort of a return to early-’70s Black Sabbath, as Weinrich’s voice and guitar-playing are clearly indebted to Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi, respectively. Tonight, Spirit Caravan plays Brillobox, with support from Tennessee’s Dirty Streets and locals Monolith Wielder. AW 8 p.m. 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $12-15. 412-621-4900 or

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