This Month’s Can’t Miss Concerts in Pittsburgh
We've got your Valentine's Day roundup, your music festival roundup and plenty of other great shows packed into the shortest month.
If you’re interested in what kids these days are listening to — and why — then you should turn your gaze toward King Princess. The 21-year-old singer is at the crest of a wave of new and interesting pop music; as we move away from the super producer-manufactured boy bands of yore, there’s space opening for more authenticity, more innovation, more queerness. King Princess’ youthful openness and musical experimentation reinforce the permission pop music is giving itself these days to be smart and sincere and a lot of fun to listen to.
400 North Shore Drive, North Shore
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
February is not exclusively for lovers, but for the weekend of Feb. 14-16, why not indulge that special someone in your life with the gift of live music. And there’s plenty to be had! As usual, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra offers the perfect date night for your sophisticated paramour. This year, “Valentine’s Romance” will feature compositions from our friends Maurice Ravel (who was rumored to be permanently friend-zoned by his secret crush) and Jean Sibelius (whose partying drove his wife into a sanitorium), as well as an overture from Edward Elgar (who married a woman so committed to him that she didn’t mind being disowned by her snobbish family).
600 Penn Ave. Downtown
Durand Jones and the Indications
Something a little more contemporary? On Valentine’s Day, Durand Jones and the Indications will bring their lowrider soul to Spirit. Their harmonies recall the crooning romance of early ’70s soul, with a fresh twist that gives energetic lifeblood to their classic sound.
242 51st St., Lawrenceville
Is there an instrument with a more aphrodisiac call than the jazz saxophone? Maybe, but in the hands of acclaimed jazz musician Joshua Redmad, the sax comes alive perfectly for a date night with your hot-blooded jazz lover on
August Wilson African American Cultural Center
980 Liberty Ave. Downtown
Boyz II Men
Finally, to hear a Boyz II Men song is to hear romance itself. The band responsible for the ’90s most sensual love song, “I’ll Make Love to You,” will close out your special weekend with a Sunday night performance at Rivers Casino. Jackpot indeed!
777 Casino Drive, North Shore
Plenty of other great shows packed into our shortest month:
Country stars Little Big Town take the stage at the Benedum Center in support of the group’s new album, Nightfall (Feb. 1, trustarts.org). Dr. Dog has evolved quite a bit over the last 20 years, but the group’s psychedelic indie rock remains consistently listenable (Feb. 3, the Roxian, roxianlive.com). Also at the Roxian are two nights of drummer Stewart Copeland’s new composition, “Satan’s Fall,” performed by the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (Feb. 7-8, roxianlive.com). At City of Asylum, a performance of folk songs and historic spirituals from contrabass musician Hilliard Greene is set for Feb. 9 (alphabetcity.org).
Local folk rock outfit Andre Costello and the Cool Minors will play at the Buhl Planetarium accompanied by a laser light show (Feb. 8, carnegiesciencecenter.org). Synthy new wavers Lower Dens (pictured) head to Millvale for a mid-month show at Mr. Smalls (Feb. 13, mrsmalls.com) and rising Bronx rapper Maliibu Miitch takes the stage at the Smiling Moose (Feb. 21, smiling-moose.com).
Local jazz legend Roger Humphries has an ongoing weekly slot at new jazz spot Con Alma (Thursdays, conalmapgh.com). If you would like to see a costumed cover band of all Disney music, you must go to the Palace Theatre in Greensburg for a show from The Little Mermen (Feb. 22, thepalacetheatre.org). The Warhol’s Sound Series continues to impress with three shows this month: cellist and singer-songwriter Leyla McCalla at the Carnegie Lecture Hall in Oakland (Feb. 6); Duo Cortona, a contemporary ensemble feature a mezzo-soprano and a violinist co-presented by Pitt’s Music on the Edge series (Feb. 8); and Pittsburgh-based Eko Chamber Collective with their site-specific performance created for the Warhol’s entrance space (Feb. 20, warhol.org).
In addition to its Valentine’s fare, the PSO has a handful of other fun shows this month. On the weekend of Feb. 7-9, the musicians will play a selection of show tunes for Blockbuster Broadway. Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos pop up the weekend of Feb. 21-23, and you can watch “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with a live score on Feb. 27 (pittsburghsymphony.org).
Dust off your flower crown: It’s “festival” month at Pitt!
The music department at the University of Pittsburgh is one of the most consistent sources of quality programming throughout the year. In February, it’s hosting a few small “festivals” to get excited about. First up is the Heinz Chapel Chamber Choir Festival on Feb. 16. The Heinz Chapel Choir will welcome other regional chamber choirs for a day of a cappella choral music at the chapel. The following Saturday, Feb. 22, is another scheduled day of music with the Pitt Big Band Festival, during which the Pitt Jazz Ensemble will host bands for a day of concerts and seminars at Bellefield Hall. Finally, Pitt’s Music on the Edge series presents its Beyond: Microtonal Music Festival during the weekend of Feb. 28-March 1. The Beyond festival will present a number of concerts featuring microtonal music, which is composed using tuning that is not traditional to the Western canon and altered pitching, from local and visiting acts; there also will be symposiums for those curious about the emerging popularity and diversity of this sound. Events will be held at various locations, and all information for that weekend — and the ones above — can be found at music.pitt.edu.