Critics’ Picks, Sept. 1-7 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics’ Picks, Sept. 1-7 

Performances by Mac Sabbath, Same, The Mountain Goats and Maja Ratkje, plus the 17th annual Allegheny County Music Festival

click to enlarge Mac Sabbath - PHOTO COURTESY OF PAUL KOUDOUNARIS
  • Photo courtesy of Paul Koudounaris
  • Mac Sabbath


If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Man, I’d love to see a heavy-metal parody band critique the fast-food industry in the style of Black Sabbath,” then wow, does the Rex Theater have a gig for you. Mac Sabbath is just that, a costumed act dressed like spooky versions of fast-food legends like Ronald McDonald and Grimace. With tongue-in-cheek tracks like “Frying Pan,” “Pair-a-Buns” and “Never Say Diet,” this band found the nichiest niche and did the damn thing. Joining the bill is Clownvis Presley, Only Flesh and Super Fun Time Awesome Party Band. Meg Fair 7 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $17-20. All ages. 412-381-6811 or


Same is celebrating the release of its debut EP Weird as Hell at The Shop. The spacey rock record is five songs of crunch and grit with a heavy ’90s influence. Weird as Hell emulates the catchy riffage of acts like The Sidekicks, while expressing the pop spirit of That Dog. Saccharine at moments and sour at others, Same seems to be carefully carving a place for itself in the local music scene. No party is complete without friends: Joining the bill are Lithe Lungs, YRS and Mere Phantoms. All local everything. MF 8:30 p.m. 4214 Main St., Bloomfield. $5-10. All ages. Search “Weird as Hell release show” on Facebook.


Tonight, The Mountain Goats show off the band’s influential folk prowess at Mr. Smalls Theatre. Frontman and songwriter John Darnielle has written more than 15 albums worth of carefully crafted vignettes, earning him a cult following and plenty of adoration. This special mini-tour features a new band member, Matt Douglas, on sax and keys. Opening up the night is Tristen, a poppy, folky artist with harmonies for days and a natural inclination for crossover appeal. MF 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $25. All ages. 412-821-4447 or

click to enlarge Valley Queen - PHOTO COURTESY OF TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS PR
  • Photo courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR
  • Valley Queen


Thanks to its golden sounds, Los Angeles four-piece Valley Queen has drawn comparisons to Fleetwood Mac (high praise, but who ISN’T compared to Fleetwood Mac these days?). The band — appearing tonight at Club Café with locals the Semi-Supervillains — draws from freewheeling West Coast folk-rock influences. But stirring, memorable melodies and singer Natalie Carol’s soaring warble elevates Valley Queen to something beyond retro facsimile. Margaret Welsh 7 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $8. 412-431-4950 or

[MISC.] + SUN., SEPT. 4

It’s time again for the Allegheny County Music Festival.  Roll up to the Hartwood Acres Amphitheater for an evening of family-friendly tunes: Nevada Color brings its energetic indie pop to the park, and Jim Donovan & Sun King Warriors offer a unique blend of pop, world music and classic-rock styles. Ferdinand the Bull will present its bluegrass-ish crooning and banjo artistry, and headlining the 17th annual event is Rusted Root, the world-music-meets-rock-meets-acoustic band that, for Pittsburghers, really needs no introduction. MF 5 p.m. 200 Hartwood Acres, South Park. $20 suggested donation per vehicle. All ages. 412-350-4636 or


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