Woodland Creatures hosts an album release party on April 2 at The Thunderbird. Photo courtesy of Woodland Creatures.

From its comparatively humble beginnings as a one-day concert in 2014 at the former Club Zoo, the Four Chord Music Festival returns with its ninth edition to Washington Wild Things Park on Aug. 12 and 13. 

The festival has become a destination concert for pop-punk and emo fans over the years. Headliners for 2023 include The Gaslight Anthem, Yellowcard and Taking Back Sunday. Several local bands are also in the lineup, including Eternal Boy (Four Chord founder Rishi Bahl’s group), Old Neon, Look Out Loretta and Punchline.

Old Neon. Photo courtesy of Old Neon.

“I don’t know that it’s totally sunk in yet, but we’re incredibly proud to be a part of a great legacy of an amazing festival,” says Michael Fourghtnyht, guitarist with Old Neon. “Hopefully it will bring even more eyes to this underground scene that has been growing steadily over the past few years.”

Four Chord, Pittonkatonk and WonderWorks are among the spring and summer festivals that have already listed their lineups. As we look forward to similar announcements from the Millvale Music Festival, Three Rivers Arts Festival, the Allegheny County Summer Concert Series, Northside Music Festival and more in the next few months, there’s plenty of live music to hear right now.

Honky-Tonk Jukebox is (from left) Billy Price, Jon Bindley and Lee Hintenlang. Photo by Annette Bassett.

Out like a lion

We start with a dilemma: Honky-Tonk Jukebox and The Spuds, same time, same night, on March 31. The honky-tonk happening, charmingly hosted by Jon Bindley of Bindley Hardware Company, happens monthly at the Bloomfield Liedertafel Singing Society. The multi-generational party features Pittsburgh’s best country, bluegrass and blues musicians. 

It’s worth going just to hear Pete Freeman on pedal steel — but Molly Alphabet, Alan Getto and Bindley himself join the band as well. Where else can you hear Hank Williams in Bloomfield?

But also, The Spuds: the pride of Larryville and Pittsburgh legends for 40 years or more. They’re not playing out as often as they used to, and Moondog’s is THE place to see them. Here’s a clip of their paean to wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino. With luck, they’ll play “Jagoff” and “Emotional Coattails.” 

The only way you go wrong on March 31 is if you stay home.  

Woodland Creatures album release party

Two nights later, on April 2, Woodland Creatures headline an album release party at The Thunderbird, with guests Cello Fury and The Living Street

The local six-piece’s latest single, “Keep On Running,” sounds a bit like Heart, with violin (by Hannah McGovern) layered in. Cello Fury plays cello rock originals, and The Living Street, who just returned from SXSW and a southern tour, does folk rock. A lot of good music for a Sunday night.

Beauty Slap. Photo courtesy of the band’s Facebook page.

More local concerts

Then on April 7, there’s also a triple bill at The Government Center. Frantic Orange, who say they’re “Pittsburgh’s favorite soft-rock-post-surf-indie-folk-punk band,” are playing with The Seltzers (“refreshing indie pop, no added sugars”) and Miracle Finds (“power pop guitar songwriting … leave the computer at home.”)

Finally, Beauty Slap, the brass-heavy electronic dance music powerhouse, plays at Brillobox on April 14. And singer/songwriter Zack Keim performs there on April 22, just before heading out for some dates in Spain. 

Annette Bassett

Annette Bassett is a freelance writer and grant writer living in Bloomfield. She likes visiting local breweries, going to concerts and walking the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh while listening to audiobooks. She prefers wired earbuds.