Critics’ Picks, Sept. 8-14 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics’ Picks, Sept. 8-14

Performances by Agent Orange, Bruce Springsteen, Meghan Trainor, Rocky Votolato and Guitar Wolf


Agent Orange has been around for almost four decades, carving an important niche in punk history as one of the first bands to marry punk music with surf rock. Over the years, the group has taken a raw punk sound and carefully adapted it, adding the stylings of 1960s-era surf. Songs like “Bloodstains” and a cover of Dick Dale’s “Miserlou” feel as innovative and fun now, as they did when they were released by Agent Orange decades ago. Also playing is Chicago’s Counterpunch, a riffy, anthemic band to circle pit to. The Filthy Lowdown and A Lovely Crisis open this gig at Cattivo. Meg Fair. 7:30 p.m. 146 44th St., Lawrenceville. $15. 412-687-2157 or


Bruce Springsteen has long been more than just a rock musician. He’s created the musical embodiment of blue-collar America by spinning narratives about the little people who are the lifeblood of the United States, and reminds us that, yeah, New Jersey’s a little rough around the edges, but it’s just as lovable as the other 49 states. Springsteen’s The River Tour at Consol Energy Center comes at an important time, since everything about the country right now kind of makes you feel like you’re stuck in a car that’s on fire. In our time of uncertainty, Springsteen reminds us that we hard-working folk are America. MF 8 pm. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. $55-105. 412-642-1800 or

[POP] + SUN., SEPT. 11

Delicately produced, crisp and clean pop will dominate the Untouchable Tour tonight at the Petersen Events Center. Opening the show is Common Kings, a smart pop band that fuses squeaky-clean melody with groovy touches and reggae energy. Hailee Steinfield also appears, and her radio-ready anthems and near-Disney-princess-level vocal control makes her a fun addition to the tour, with songs including “Starving” and “Hell Nos and Headphones.” Headlining the evening is everyone’s problematic fave, Meghan Trainor. Her new record, Thank You, has more than a few earworms that will burrow into your brain like “All About that Bass” did. “Me Too” is the best song to roller-skate to. MF 7 p.m. 3719 Terrace St., Oakland. $27-282. 412-648-3054 or

Photo courtesy Björn Lexius


Rocky Votolato is a singer/songwriter with a voice that overflows with expression, especially when he throws some grit behind it. You could call it alt-country, indie or folk, and you wouldn’t be wrong on any front, which is evidence of Votolato’s endless crossover appeal. He’ll be performing at Club Café with Chris Staples. Staples is another singer/songwriter whose music, much like Votolato’s, is intensely honest and personal. Where Votolato puts forth rawness and power, Staples quietly lets you in with his gentle timbre and lilt. They make perfect foils for an evening of thought-provoking, intimate acoustic art. MF 8 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $13-15. 412-431-4950 or

[ROCK ’N’ ROLL] + WED., SEPT. 14

Would you like some jet rock ’n’ roll with your hamburger and onion rings? Japanese punk veterans Guitar Wolf are a colorful blend of rock-star attitude and classic punk sensibility. They take over the Hard Rock Café, with Expires and Thunder Vest, in what is sure to be a memorable night of high-energy punk rock and style. Shake your shaggy hair to the Guitar Wolf staple “UFO Romantics,” and push around your friends to “Fire Ball Red.” Local act Expires brings the psych and noise edge to the lineup, while Thunder Vest dives in with its booze-drenched Pittsburgh street punk. MF 7:30 p.m. 230 W. Station Square Drive, South Side. $13-15.

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