Mobb Deep. Photo courtesy the artist.
Mobb Deep. Photo courtesy the artist.

Mobb Deep

Thursday, April 21. 8 p.m.

Spirit. 242 51st St.

$25 (21+)

This one is for the killers and the 100 dollar billers: NYC hip-hop duo Mobb Deep make a rare appearance in Pittsburgh on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of their 1996 album, Hell on Earth. Together, rappers Havoc and Prodigy were one of the premiere East Coast hardcore rap outfits during the heyday of the East Coast/West Coast hip-hop rivalry. Like so many great rappers of the era, the pair were raised in the Queensbridge Housing Projects. Forget the beefs with Tupac—what Mobb Deep will be remembered for is their unflinching, Dickensian chronicle of life on the streets at a time when hip-hop was seen by many young people as one of the only ways out.

Fanfare Ciocărlia. Photo courtesy the band.
Fanfare Ciocărlia. Photo courtesy the band.

Fanfare Ciocărlia

Saturday, April 23. 8 p.m.

Spirit. 242 51st St.

$18 adv.; $20 d.o.s. (21+).

Well this is fun! Get warmed up for May’s Pittonkatonk and prepare to dance yourself into a frenzy with the world’s premiere Gypsy brass band. From Romania, Fanfare Ciocărlia are touring the country as part of a world tour in celebration of 20 unlikely years as the face of Romani music to the West.  The band was  “discovered” in 1996  by a German sound engineer searching for traditional village music. Today, the 12-piece ensemble is celebrated for their frenetic pace and off-kilter sound that could sounds like it could fall off the rails at any moment.

Wild Belle. Photo courtesy Billions Corp.
Wild Belle. Photo courtesy Billions Corp.

Wild Belle

Monday, April 25. 7 p.m.

Club at Stage AE. 400 N. Shore Dr.

$12 adv.; $14 d.o.s.

Wild Belle is the brother-sister duo of Elliot and Natalie Bergman. From Chicago, they credit their parents for exposing them to a diverse range of musicians growing up, and their distinct, calypso-tinged pop owes as much to Bob Marley as Fela Kuti. Natalie handles most of the singing— Entertainment Weekly described her as having “sultry soul vocals with deep pass-the-dutchie raspiness”—while Elliot handles the rhythm and occasional baritone sax. The music, danceable and dubtastic, will stick in your ear for days. The pair are on tour in support of their second LP, Dreamland, out ten days before this show.
Freddie Gibbs. Photo courtesy the artist.
Freddie Gibbs. Photo courtesy the artist.

Freddie Gibbs

Friday, April 29. 8 p.m.

Mr. Smalls. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale

$20 adv.; $22 d.o.s.

It’s easy to forget how long Freddie Gibbs has been around. From Gary, Indiana, Gibbs signed to Interscope a decade ago but was dropped a year later without even releasing an album. Afterward he returned to Indiana where he continued to trap and release mixtapes. A few years later Gibbs began a long and fruitful series of collaborations with Madlib, culminating in 2014 with the excellent joint album, Piñata. On the track “McDuck,” off of 2015’s follow-up, Shadow of a Doubt, there’s a snippet of an interview Gibbs did with Snoop Dogg in which Snoop tells Gibbs he sounds like he’s “not from nowhere,” because what does rap from Gary, Indiana sound like? “I made that sound,” says Gibbs.

The Helio Sequence. Photo by William Anthony.
The Helio Sequence. Photo by William Anthony.

The Helio Sequence

Saturday, April 30. 8 p.m.

Cattivo. 146 44th St.

$13 adv.; $15 d.o.s. (21+)

Listen to a track by The Helio Sequence and you won’t believe that it is just two people making all that sound. Signed to Sub Pop, the Portland indie rock duo of Brandon Summers (guitar/vocals) and Benjamin Weikel (drums/keys) will visit Pittsburgh in support of their sixth, self-titled album. The album came about after the pair decided to write as many songs as they could in a one-month span. From those 26 songs came the 10 that make up this new album. It feels like they’ve been reinvigorated by this carefree approach to songwriting. The new songs feel light and euphoric, the product of a band that fell in love with making music all over again.

DEEP CUTS: 15 more Pittsburgh concerts to consider

  • Aussie indie rockers DMA’s visit Club Cafe April 1.
  • Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Elle King has a SOLD-OUT performance at Mr. Smalls April 4
  • Gregg Allman will perform to a SOLD-OUT crowd at the Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead April 5.
  • Pop-punk outfit The Front Bottoms also have a SOLD-OUT gig, April 7 at Mr. Smalls
  • Avant-pop musician Ryan Lott, better known as Son Lux, returns to the Warhol Museum April 9.
  • Welsh rockers The Joy Formidable visit Mr. Smalls April 10 in advance of their new album, Hitch.
  • Guitar hero Joe Satriani visits the Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead April 12.
  • Indie pop favorites, Ra Ra Riot, will perform at Mr. Smalls April 12, in support of their new LP, Need Your Light
  • There’s free jazz at the First Unitarian Church April 18 with the Matthew Shipp & Michael Bisio Duo
  • Velvet Underground disciples The Dandy Warhols visit Pittsburgh April 18 at Mr. Smalls.
  • Also April 18, Brazilian psych-rockers Boogarins play Cattivo.
  • “Wizard rock” progenitors Harry and the Potters perform at Most Wanted Fine Art April 20.
  • Tech N9ne‘s Independent Powerhouse tour hits Stage AE April 21, with Krizz Kaliko and Rittz.
  • Death metal band Nekrogoblikon performs at Altar Bar April 28, just a few months after a set at Cattivo.
  • Finally, Crash City & Cali AC‘s reunion show takes place at the Club at Stage AE April 29.

And for all the tours that pass over Pittsburgh . . . Road Trip!

  • The Smashing Pumpkins (or whoever’s playing with Billy these days) play Detroit April 1 and Columbus April 2
  • Autolux is on tour in support of Pussy’s Dead, their first album in 6 years. See them in DC April 1 or in Philadelphia April 2.
  • Santana has a two-night residency at DC’s stately Warner Theater, April 5 and 6.
  • Tuareg guitar phenom Bombino plays Cleveland’s Beachland Ballroom April 6.
  • The legendary Arturo Sandoval has a four-day residency at Blues Alley in DC, April 7-10.
  • Seattle surf-punks Tacocat will visit Philadelphia April 15 and DC April 16.
  • Santigold is on tour in support of her third album, 99¢. Catch her in Cleveland April 19 or Columbus April 20.
  • Rapper and maybe Presidential candidate Waka Flocka Flame has a SOLD-OUT performance at Mainstage Morgantown April 21.
  • Father John Misty is on tour again. Catch him in Philadelphia April 23.
  • Channy Leaneagh and Poliça are on tour in support of their new album, United Crushers. See them in Philly April 25 or DC April 26.

Looking for more Pittsburgh fun? Check out our 12 Pittsburgh events not to miss in March.

In search of family fun? Don’t miss our Top Family Adventure in Pittsburgh in March.

Brian Conway is a writer and photographer whose articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune and local publications. In his free time, he operates Tripsburgh. Brian lives in the South Side.