Critics’ Picks, Sept. 22-28 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics’ Picks, Sept. 22-28

Performances by the Handsome Family, Miserable and a jam-packed Thrival lineup

[FEST] + SEPT 23-24

Thrival Innovation + Music Festival returns for a fourth year to meld start-up culture with dance-party vibes. Following three days of programming dealing with city policy, entrepreneurship and technology (workshops run through Sept. 22), two days of musical performances are guaranteed to get you on your feet. There’s something for everyone, so take a break from brainstorming the next big app, and start limbering up so you can get the heck down. If you’re looking to get faded and drop it low, Ty Dolla $ign is your best bet. If St. Patrick’s Day is your favorite holiday and you really like whiskey, check out Pittsburgh’s own Bastard Bearded Irishmen. Electropop outfit Rubblebucket walks the line between moody and happy, and seven-piece indie rock band Wild Child offers a dose of catharsis with its spirited and emotional anthems. Metric is criminally underrated, IMHO, and tracks like “Monster Hospital” and “Help I’m Alive” feel as exciting and dynamic as they did in 2005 and 2009, respectively. One could argue that Metric helped create a sound that subtly bleeds into the style of modern acts like headliner CHVRCHES, who have mastered a saccharine synth energy with bite and attitude. While Top 40 DJs The Chainsmokers kick up the party factor with hits like “Don’t Let Me Down” (featuring Daya, who will also be performing), Thievery Corporation — the influential DJ duo who incorporates elements of dub, Indian classical, bossa nova and more — holds down the finale of the festival. The coolest part of this entire fest is the fact it takes place at the historic Carrie Furnace, a retired blast furnace that was built in 1907 to fuel Homestead Work’s iron-making. Meg Fair 4:30 p.m. Fri., Sept 23, and noon, Sat. 24. Carrie Furnace Boulevard, Rankin. One-day pass $50-55; two-day pass $69-79. All ages.


Fans of the Bay Area heavy-shoegaze band King Woman already know singer Kristina Esfandiari’s dark, ethereal croon. With the band Miserable — which performs tonight at The Shop — she takes an even starker turn: While King Woman could hardly be called upbeat, Miserable goes further inward, and Uncontrollable, a record inspired by a painful relationship, packs a slow-motion emotional punch. Esfandiari’s sadness surrounds like a foggy mist without veering into melodrama. Forever Grey, Doors in the Labyrinth and Bring Her also perform. Margaret Welsh 7 p.m. 4314 Main St., Bloomfield.  $10.

click to enlarge The Handsome Family - PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDON SODER
Photo courtesy of Brandon Soder
The Handsome Family


If you only know The Handsome Family from watching season one of True Detective — the song “Far From Any Road” was used as the show’s main title theme — you’ve got some homework to do. Fortunately, exploring the husband/wife duo’s extensive catalog of gothic folk tunes is a rewarding task. This month, the two released their 11th studio record, Unseen: As always, singer Brett Sparks’ haunting baritone gives life to Rennie Sparks’ lyrical short stories of ghosts, animals, ominous good luck and tragicomic loss. Hear for yourself when the Family stops by Club Café tonight. Locals Arlo Aldo open. MW 8 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $15. 412-431-4950 or

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