Pittsburgh's 5 Can’t Miss Concerts in May
This month's lineup includes Cyndi Lauper, The Avett Brothers and Chelsea Wolfe.
photo by shaina hedlund
May 14/ If Chelsea Wolfe’s previous releases were merely an acknowledgment of the battle between dream and reality, then her fifth release, “Abyss,” sounds like a real doozy: the documentation of a full-on conflict between those visions and actualities. Combine that with special guest, A Dead Forest Index, and no doubt we are in for some aural fireworks. (Mr. Smalls, 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale; 412/821-4447, mrsmalls.com)
photo by lisa tanner
May 5/ Marshall Crenshaw is still going strong and touring in support of several 10” vinyl releases recorded between 2013 and 2015. Gathered together as “#392: The EP Collection,” the compilation is an assemblage of new songs with a few rarities thrown in. Take a trip to the South Side to hear the tunes live. (Club Café, 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side; 412/431-4950, clubcafelive.com)
May 6-8/ Fan favorite Daniil Trifonov appears on Friday and Sunday performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with a rousing execution of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. That’s not all: Saturday’s concert features Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. (Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., Downtown; 412/392-4900, pittsburghsymphony.org)
May 12/ Word on the street is that the Ramones were a big influence on The Avett Brothers. While some may find this claim unnecessary (and highly dubious), don’t let it prevent you from enjoying their folk pop sensibilities and energetic live show at Stage AE. (400 North Shore Drive, North Shore; 412/229-5483, stageae.com)
photo by chapman baehler
May 13/ Because Grammy winner Cyndi Lauper is most famous for her mega-hit song “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” some might find it unusual that Ms. Lauper also has won an Emmy and performed on Broadway. Knowing all of that, it should come as no surprise that her last album, titled “Memphis Blues,” was an ambitious effort with contributions from notable artists such as B.B. King and Ann Peebles. She’s coming to town to support “Detour,” which was released this month. (Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall, 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall; 412/462-3444, librarymusichall.com)
Opening song “Big Poison Little Poison” kicks off with a bass riff enveloped in feedback, foreshadowing a weighty anthem that percolates with anxiety. Then, before you know it, the guitars and drums come crashing, with vocals deftly committing to pointed themes delivered in a manner both witty and barbed. (Side note: None of this should be a surprise, as Cyrus Gold contains former members of criminally underrated indie rock outfit Davenport. Check ’em aht, if you haven’t heard.) The band keeps it lean and rabid, while the slinking, odd time-laden “Bones” veers off into frenzied rhythms reminiscent of Quicksand and Drive Like Jehu or, on a more local level, Hurl. Despite this, the record creates a vibe that holds no allegiance to the past nor the present; if anything, the stimulating cadence and searing guitars of “Your Party” gets downright sinister at times — and we all know that sinister is timeless.