Pittsburgh's Can't Miss Concerts in September

This month's lineup includes Paul Simon, Ringo Starr, Waxahatchee, Naughty Professor and Courtney Marie Andrews.

Photo: shutterstock

Sept. 17/ At this point, Paul Simon needs no introduction. For the last 60 years, he has amassed new fans at every stage of his career, from his plaintive duo with Art Garfunkel to the seductive soundtrack to “The Graduate” to the bouncy, slightly problematic pop masterpiece “Graceland.” For me, however, Simon’s real genius is in giving power to the picayune, creating small moments of mundane emotion and arranging them perfectly so that they become agents of some larger truth. Consider the hair falling across his old lover’s forehead in “Graceland” or the counting of cars on the New Jersey turnpike in “America.” Or the entirety of “I Am a Rock,” one of the truest moods ever put to music. In any case, “You Can Call Me Al” truly bangs, so you might as well go! (PPG Paints Arena, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown; 412/642-1800, ppgpaintsarena.com)


Sept. 28-30/ 2018 has been a banner year for Manfred Honeck. The 2018/19 Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s season is the musical director’s 10th, punctuated by a prestigious Grammy win for Best Orchestral Performance. The season that begins this month includes a more personal celebration: his 60th birthday. The performances at Manfred’s 60th with Zukerman feature a work commissioned for the occasion from the lauded and exciting composer, Mason Bates, as well as violin work from orchestral stalwart Pinchas Zukerman playing Bruch and Brahms. Happy Birthday, Manfred! (Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., Downtown; 412/392-4900, pittsburghsymphony.org)

Various/ Even if you are no longer in your “back to school” days, September still feels like a time of transition, a bumper between the carefree summer and the long autumnal march into winter. To find the perfect music this month, you must seek out something that straddles both sides, an emotional turn inward with enough zest to let you linger in the fading sunlight just a little longer.


Two concerts this month pull that off fairly well. First is Waxahatchee (pictured) (Sept. 12), the increasingly popular project from singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield. She writes songs that can feel like notes from a therapy session turned into poems, well-suited to this season of introspection. But her lo-fi Indie Rock kicks just hard enough to keep you from hibernating. (The Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky St., North Shore; 412/237-8300, warhol.org)

At the end of the month, catch Donovan Woods (Sept. 28), who often tends quieter than Waxahatchee but with such exquisite vocals that you’ll feel gentle and rapt, as opposed to low-energy. Woods plays mostly in the familiar folk-country space but thrives as a storyteller and will lead you easily into the mellow contemplation of fall. (The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls, 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale; 412/821-4447, mrsmalls.com)

19th Annual Allegheny County Music Festival — Hartwood Acres, alleghenycounty.us Sept. 2 
The Mattson 2 — Rex Theater, rextheater.net Sept. 2 
Saintseneca — Spirit, spiritpgh.com Sept. 4
Fall Out Boy — PPG Paints Arena, ppgpaintsarena.com Sept. 5


The Builders and the Butchers (pictured) — Club Cafe, clubcafelive.com Sept. 6 & 7
Les Mis N’At — The Palace Theatre, thepalacetheatre.org Sept. 8
Orgy — Jergel’s Rhythm Grille, jergels.com Sept. 10
Staciawa Abbott — Agnes Katz Plaza, trustarts.org Sept. 11
Dawes — Stage AE, promowestlive.com Sept. 12
American Idol: Live! 2018 — Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall, librarymusichall.com Sept. 13


GWAR (pictured) — Mr. Smalls, mrsmalls.com Sept. 14
Naughty Professor — Rex Theater, rextheater.net Sept. 15

Gary Numan (pictured) — Mr. Smalls, mrsmalls.com Sept. 17


Courtney Marie Andrews (pictured) — Club Cafe, clubcafelive.com Sept. 17
Guided By Voices — Spirit, spiritpgh.com Sept. 18
Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band — Heinz Hall, pittsburghsymphony.org Sept. 19
Rob Mazurek’s Farnsworth Scores — The Andy Warhol Museum, warhol.org Sept. 20
River Whyless — The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls, mrsmalls.com Sept. 21
Jazz Poetry: Claudio Cojaniz — City of Asylum, alphabetcity.org Sept. 21 & 22


Shakey Graves (pictured) — Stage AE, promowestlive.com Sept. 24
Justin Timberlake — PPG Paints Arena, ppgpaintsarena.com Sept. 25
Miniature Tigers — The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls, mrsmalls.com Sept. 26
Jaimeo Brown — City of Asylum, alphabetcity.org Sept. 27-29
Maroon 5 — PPG Paints Arena, ppgpaintsarena.com Sept. 29

Categories: Things To Do