Critics' Picks: September 12-18 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: September 12-18

Local shows by Kishi Bashi, Steve Earle, GZA and Maria Minerva


Kishi Bashi is, in a way, best known for not being well known: He's played bit parts, mostly violin, on plenty of records (of Montreal, Sondre Lerche). But he's breaking out with 151a, an upbeat and beautiful solo effort with strings and synth sounds, which he plays live using looping technology. The fact that it's violin-based doesn't make it stodgy, or even dreamy; most of 151a is actually anthemic and happy. Fans of art-pop a la Dirty Projectors and Pattern Is Movement should like it. He plays tonight at Shadow Lounge; The Last Bison open. Andy Mulkerin 7:30 p.m. 5872 Baum Blvd., East Liberty. $10. 18 and over. 412-363-8277 or


The title of Steve Earle's 2011 record I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive seems slightly modest. He's already, against all odds, survived his own wild life — and badasses don't come much badder. A teen-age protégé of Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, Earle, who appears tonight at the Carnegie Lecture Hall, helped define "new country" with his first record, Guitar Town. More recently, he's maintained a steady recording output, while finding time for anti-death-penalty advocacy, writing (his first novel came out last year), and acting on appropriately cool TV shows like The Wire. Charlie Mars opens. Margaret Welsh 7:30 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave, Oakland. $45-49. All ages. 412-361-1915 or

[HIP HOP] + MON., SEPT. 17

 "We form like Voltron and GZA just happens to be the head," fellow Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man once famously said. He was referring to the thought-provoking lyricist responsible for the critically acclaimed 1995 album Liquid Swords, who makes his way to Pittsburgh for a rare solo performance. His cousin RZA's razor-sharp production has long been the backing to GZA's rhymes.  Earlier this year, GZA announced his work on an audio-visual project that would be an exploration of his lifelong interest with various academic fields, particularly astronomy and quantum physics. GZA will be joined by an eclectic mix of openers tonight, including Sweet Valley, Killer Mike and Bear Hands, at Altar Bar. Rory Webb 7:30 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. $25-28. All ages. 412-206-9719 or


It's weird enough to see anyone from Estonia playing in Pittsburgh; weirder still is the sound-sculpture that Maria Minerva brings to the table. The young DJ and musician, who can truly be deemed experimental in her methods and tendencies, builds beats, lays down synths and occasionally provides vocals. Her latest just came out on Los Angeles' Not Not Fun label; tonight, she makes a rare Pittsburgh appearance at Brillobox. Father Finger, Majeure and Rivka open. AM 9 p.m. 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $8. 412-621-4900 or

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