We all know that Pittsburgh is a great city for shows. With the sheer number of venues spread out across a plethora of neighborhoods, there’s bound to be something for everyone. But until you read our definitive guide to must-see shows this winter and early spring, you probably won’t know just how much great music is coming your way.
If you’ve got a taste for jangly indie-pop, Givers will deliver. With an under-$20 price tag, this show will give you a much-needed taste of summer in the middle of a frigid Pittsburgh winter. And, because Cattivo has a great dance floor, it’s the perfect place to have a few drinks, let your hair down and enjoy a bevy of catchy love songs. February 2 @ Cattivo, w/Doe Paoro.
Despite the fact that Pitchfork described Kid Cudi’s latest release as “interesting in the same way as a friend getting a dramatic bad haircut is interesting,” this show is likely to be packed and primed for a night of drinking, dancing and singing along. Get your tickets soon, though — the show is in just over a week, and will likely be very close to being sold out. February 5 @ Stage AE.
Reel Big Fish
Remember when you were in the eighth grade and you had a huge crush on that kid in sixth-period Social Studies with shaggy hair, Vans and an affinity for the local skate park? You can bet your life that he’ll be at the Altar Bar this February seeing Reel Big Fish. If you haven’t found him on Tinder yet, it’s time to get your ska on and rekindle your middle school romance. February 8 @ Altar Bar.
Do you like Beethoven? How about Iron Maiden? Or are you more of a Beyonce fan? It doesn’t matter, because Croatian cello duo 2CELLOS covers just about everything. They’re extremely talented and extremely entertaining and though the tickets are a bit pricey, it’s well worth it for a night out at the Benedum. February 16 @ Benedum Center.
With warm, soaring dreampop melodies and smooth vocals, this relatively young Nashville band is already gaining traction after being featured in Paste Magazine last month. At just $10, you can have a cup of coffee, check out Black Forge Coffee House and enjoy Keeps‘ tunes before they inevitably appear in small print on the Lollapalooza lineup next year. February 16 @ Black Forge Coffee.
The Soft Moon
Come down to Cattivo and immerse yourself in the melancholy rhythms of The Soft Moon for only $10. Additionally, the three openers are all proud Pittsburgh bands, so it’s a great opportunity to support local music. And if you’re not sure what you’re in the mood for, it’s a mixture of genres — introspective songwriting, electronic music and post-punk. February 19 @ Cattivo, w/The Garment District, The Gotobeds, Silence.
Rhiannon Giddens is no stranger to the Pittsburgh music scene. She was one of the headliners of last year’s Three Rivers Arts Festival, and this winter, she’ll be lighting up the stage at Club Cafe. A talented multi-instrumentalist and singer, Giddens is not one to miss, especially when she’s performing in the intimate atmosphere of Club Cafe. February 21 @ Club Cafe w/Bhi Bhiman, Leyla McCalla.
Kurt Vile will be a headliner during the festival season this summer, so catch him while he’s here in town for a fairly low price. Get your ticket now, as they’re selling quickly, and prepare yourself for a night of PBRs, awkward dancing and dozens of lovely, catchy folk tunes. February 22 @ Mr. Smalls, w/Xylouris White.
This winter, one of the most widely-known Finnish bands will be performing at the beautiful Carnegie Music Hall in Homestead. The symphonic metal band, Nightwish, has accrued many accolades both in their native country and worldwide, and the Homestead music hall will provide the perfect acoustics for the show. February 24 @ Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead, w/Sonata Acrtica, Delain.
Experimental musician Julia Holter released her latest album, Have You In My Wilderness, to great critical acclaim just last year. It’s difficult to classify her music — the sheer range of style utilized in her compositions is truly impressive. And, at only $15, you have the opportunity to see her perform live right here in Pittsburgh. February 27 @ Club Cafe, w/Circuit Des Yeux.
The Benedum Center is a great place for live music, and Isbell’s classic sound will be sure to draw a crowd. Tickets may be pricey, but they’ll provide a comfortable viewing experience. Additionally, openers Shovels & Rope are raucous, fun and bluesy, and well worth showing up a little bit early. March 2 @ Benedum Center, w/Shovels & Rope.
Jukebox the Ghost
Though Jukebox the Ghost hasn’t released a full album since 2012, concertgoers will still have a chance to bop around the floor of Mr. Smalls, beers in hand, and hear some of their favorite songs from their college years. The Family Crest offers an orchestral take on indie pop, and is definitely worth a listen as well. March 5 @ Mr. Smalls, w/The Family Crest.
Sure, $30 may be a bit of a hit to the wallet, but it’s the Dropkick Murphys! This year, we’re shipping out to Pittsburgh instead of Boston. Make sure to get your tickets now to ensure a night of good old Irish moshing. Stage AE has more than enough room to accommodate a large — and rowdy — crowd. March 8 @ Stage AE, w/Tiger Army, Darkbuster.
The blonde-haired pop songstress has been making her rounds for the Wildfire Tour to promote her latest album, and if you don’t mind shelling out an extra $40, you can even get a ticket to her pre-show soundcheck experience. Rachel Platten’s voice is undeniably soaring, and her upbeat tunes will have you dancing all night. March 15 @ Mr. Smalls, w/Eric Hutchinson, Christina Grimmie.
Purchase your ticket and prepare to settle in for a night of psychedelic indie rock. Shearwater’s latest album, released earlier this month, includes contributions from members of Okkervil River and Wye Oak. The show also features Laura Gibson, whose soft songs will lead smoothly into Shearwater’s set. March 16 @ Club Cafe, w/Laura Gibson.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Jepsen hasn’t stopped at the chart-topping “Call Me Maybe.” She’s gone on to release an eighties-inspired album that ended up on almost all of the end-of-year “Best of 2015” album lists. Tickets are only $25, and the show will probably sell out quickly, so get yours now. March 18 @ Mr. Smalls.
Get ready for a night of night of loud, insistent indie rock at Cattivo, because Titus Andronicus is coming to town. The Cattivo dance floor is the perfect place for you to shed some anxiety, knock back a few drinks and enjoy live versions of the band’s latest album, released last year. March 20 @ Cattivo, w/Craig Finn.
Legendary blues singer and guitarist Bonnie Raitt will be making a stop at Heinz Hall this winter. Raitt will be releasing an album later this year, her first in three years, and despite the price of the tickets, the show will be well worth it. Her one-of-a-kind voice will fill Heinz Hall, and if you don’t get your ticket now, you’ll wish you had. March 23 @ Heinz Hall.
What does a man in a full-size chicken costume, a series of obscure, fuzzy ‘80s video clips and a MOOG keyboard have in common? They’re all sensations you might take in at a typical Tobacco show. At only $15, this show is a steal — Spirit Hall’s setup includes a large video screen to enhance the experience. Purchase your tickets and buckle up, because Pittsburgh’s about to get weird. March 25 @ Spirit, w/The Hood Internet, Showyousuck.
Cage the Elephant
If you like your indie rock loud, this is the show for you. Cage the Elephant offers a number of bluesy, vigorous tunes that will have you tapping your feet. Openers Foals will also be a big draw. The Petersen Events Center will likely be packed, so cross your fingers for good weather. March 25 @ the Petersen Events Center, w/Foals.
At just 16, Elle King, daughter of comedian Rob Schneider, began busking around New York City to begin her songwriting career. Now, she has two Grammy nominations under her belt, and she’s bringing her bluesy act to Mr. Smalls. Tickets might be a little higher than the average Smalls price, but for a voice like King’s, it’s well worth it. April 4 @ Mr. Smalls.
The remaining Allman brother will be performing at one of the best venues for live music in the whole city. He’s a living legend, so it’s no surprise that tickets are selling extremely quickly. Make sure to get yours now before the show is sold out entirely. April 5 @ Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead.
Rollicking alt-rock band Wolf Alice will be sure to keep you on your feet all night. Their last album, My Love Is Cool, earned them a NME Magazine nomination for Best British Band and Best Live Band, as well as a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance. At $15 a ticket, this show is definitely a steal. April 7 @ Stage AE.
Thao & the Get Down Stay Down
Thao Nguyen and her band will be releasing their sixth studio album later this year, and their brand of sharp, self-aware songwriting will be an act worth following to Mr. Smalls Theater later this spring. Additionally, opener Saintseneca is starting to gain some real traction in the indie world, and are definitely worth a listen. April 8 @ Mr. Smalls, w/Saintseneca.
This relatively young act hailing from New York City plays its own haunting brand of psych rock. Sunflower Bean’s latest album will be debuting in February, and it’s likely to be one of the best albums of the year. If you’re a fan of Tame Impala or the Velvet Underground, this is a show you’re not going to want to miss. April 9 @ The Smiling Moose.
Small Black are synth-pop at its finest. With tickets likely to be relatively inexpensive, you’ll want to grab a drink and fall into the hazy sounds of the MOOG keyboard along with vocalist Josh Kolenik’s whispery lyrics. Keep your eye out for ticket announcements on the Club Cafe website. April 28 @ Club Cafe.
Pop punk is coming to the ‘Burgh this May, and it’s the perfect opportunity to relive your high school days and sharpen your potentially rusty moshing skills with Say Anything. Tickets are selling very quickly, though, so grab yours fast; it looks like it’ll be a sold-out show. May 11 @ Stage AE.
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers are the definition of modern-day Americana. If you’re a fan of folk, this is undoubtedly the show for you. And, since Stage AE has a large capacity for crowds, you’ll have a good time dancing and singing along all night. May 12 @ Stage AE.
One of today’s most hyped pop singers will be visiting Pittsburgh in mid-May, and you can bet that tickets will sell like hotcakes. Most recently, a song she wrote for the movie Fifty Shades of Grey earned a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Solo Performance. To catch one of Ellie Goulding’s highly-rated performances, make sure to visit the Stage AE website. May 13 @ Stage AE.
Savages are one of the most exciting post-punk bands out there today. The all-woman band recently released its latest album, Adore Life, to a number of accolades by music reviewers. If there’s one show on this list that you absolutely must see, it’s this one. Keep checking back for ticket announcements and pricing. May 17 @ Mr. Smalls.
The Milk Carton Kids
Experienced lo-fi duo The Milk Carton Kids will be a treat to watch, especially at the Music Hall. With an album released just last year, recorded during tour stops, the band will be sure to hold your attention with its soft acoustic harmonies. Make sure to get your tickets now, because the event will likely sell out. May 21 @ Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead.
Want a quick preview? Check out our Spotify playlist featuring the bands and openers on this list.