Luna. Photo by Stefano Giovannini.
Luna. Photo by Stefano Giovannini.
Luna. Photo by Stefano Giovannini.

Southern rap and Southern rock. Northwest grunge, and a boatload of local bands. Don’t forget some Layer Cake for dessert.

Lee Bains III and Glory Fires. Photo by Wes Frazer.

Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires

Thursday, October 1. 10 p.m.

Smiling Moose – 1306 East Carson Street


Sometimes, you just wanna rock. Forget the synths, kick out the jams, and start melting faces. Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires give listeners that unmistakable southern rock sound blended with a snarling punk ferocity. The band are touring in support of Dereconstructed, their second album and first on the Sub Pop label. Rounding out the bill are Nashville’s Pujol and Jay Wiley, frontman for Pittsburgh’s The Hawkeyes.

Layer Cake. Poster by Joe Mruk.
Layer Cake. Poster by Joe Mruk.

Layer Cake – Music & Art Festival

Saturday, October 3. 1 p.m. – 2 a.m.

James Street Gastropub – 422 Foreland St.

$15 adv./ $20 d.o.s.

Always wanted to get into the local music scene, but weren’t sure where to start? Check out dozens of local musicians spread out over three stages at the inaugural Layer Cake. Presented by local promoter Ziggy Sawdust, the lineup boasts over 35 bands, a dozen live painters and a comedian hosting each of the three stages. Check out the glorious Joe Mruk poster for the full lineup. Go for even an hour and you’re guaranteed to find something you like.

MC Lyte. Photo courtesy the artist.
MC Lyte. Photo courtesy the artist.

MC Lyte – VIA Main Event

Saturday, October 3. 8 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Spirit Lounge – 242 51st St.


Legendary Brooklyn rapper MC Lyte headlines VIA 2015’s main event. Not only was Lyte was the first female rapper to release a full-length album, with 1988’s Lyte as a Rock, she was also first female solo rapper ever nominated for a Grammy. She’ll be performing as a legacy artist at VIA, with visuals provided by Mexico City’s Alfredo Salazar-Caro. Lyte just recently released her first album in 12 years, Legend. The album was available for one day only, on Record Store Day 2015, and only on vinyl. But you’re in luck: the only other place to score a copy is at one of her shows.

3 Hour Tour. Poster by Aaron Shafer.
3 Hour Tour. Poster by Aaron Shafer.

3 Hour Tour

Sunday, October 4. 1:30 p.m.

Gateway Clipper – 350 W Station Square Dr.


A typical one-hour riverboat sightseeing tour of Pittsburgh runs $20. Plunk down an extra Jefferson and spend three hours on the Gateway Clipper’s “Princess” riverboat partying with some of Pittsburgh’s finer musical acts at the third annual 3 Hour Tour. Performing will be local indie rockers Wreck Loose, The Commonheart, Round Black Ghosts and Paul Luc. And if we’ve learned anything from T-Pain, it’s that everything is better on a boat:

Strange Wilds

Tuesday, October 13. 8 p.m.

Spirit Lounge – 242 51st St.

$8 adv./ $10 d.o.s.

Olympia is 60 miles southwest of Seattle, birthplace of Riot Grrl, and the final resting place of Kurt Cobain, whose ashes were scattered in a creek there in 1994. (It was where Cobain “had found his true artistic muse,” or so says Charles Cross.) That’s where this band is from. Strange Wilds is a noisy, raucous, sneering punk rock trio who will spit you up and chew you out   that would put them right at home with rest of the late ’80s – early ’90s Seattle grunge scene. They signed to Sub Pop on the strength of just one EP:


Wednesday, October 14. 8 p.m.

The Andy Warhol Museum – 117 Sandusky St.

Sold Out

Is it too early to call Luna the official house band of the Andy Warhol Museum? Dean Wareham & co. played a free show in the museum’s parking lot back in 2000, as part of a street bazaar celebrating the cultural underground’s influence on Warhol. Years later, the museum commissioned Dean & Britta to compose songs for a series Andy’s screen tests, which premiered at the Byham in 2008 as 13 Most Beautiful…Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests. The pair returned last year to perform in front of three more Warhol screen tests as part of Exposed: Songs for Unseen Warhol Films. There’s a distinct Velvet Underground vibe that runs through Luna’s music, which makes the Warhol partnership that much more fitting. They return to the Warhol next month as part of their nationwide reunion tour.


The Zombies

Wednesday, October 14. 8 p.m.

Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead – 510 East 10th Ave, Munhall


Not only are The Zombies performing their era-defining album “Odessey and Oracle” in its entirety, the British psych-pop legends are also touring in support of a new album, Still Got That Hunger, which comes out in early October. For what it’s worth, Rolling Stone hyped the new album in a recent piece on The Zombies, but remember that this is coming from the same magazine that named U2’s Songs of Innocence “album of the year” last year. With a pair of founding members still onboard, keyboardist Rod Argent and singer Colin Blunstone, the new tunes can’t be that bad. If nothing else, they’ll put timeless tracks like “Time of the Season” and “She’s Not There” in proper perspective.

Kylesa. Photo courtesy the band.
Kylesa. Photo courtesy the band.


Saturday, October 17. 8 p.m.

Altar Bar – 1620 Penn Ave.


Kylesa bubbled out of the same cauldron of stoner psych and sludge metal as fellow Savannahians Baroness and Black Tusk. The band is touring in support of Exhausting Fire, their seventh and newest LP, which will be released on October 2nd. The new singles released so far find the trio as heavy as ever. Guitarists Phillip Cope and Laura Pleasants continue to trade off on vocals, lending even more variety to the band’s already diverse sonic palette.
Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life Performance Tour

Monday, October 19. 8:00 p.m.

Consol Energy Center – 1001 Fifth Ave.


Stevie Wonder has had an incredible life so far. Number One hit at age 13. Academy Award Winner. More Grammys than any solo artist.  UN Messenger of Peace. Motown legend. He even led the campaign to honor Dr. Martin Luther King with a national holiday.  Take the money you were going to spend to see The Who at Consol and re-invest it into seeing an American legend. Stevie will be performing his Songs in the Key of Life album in its entirety, as well as other hits from his expansive back catalog.

Big K.R.I.T.

Thursday, October 29. 8 p.m.

Mr. Smalls – 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale


Most probably heard Big KRIT for the first time on “Glass House,” a track tucked at the end of Wiz Khalifa’s hyper-popular Kush and OJ mixtape. That was in 2010, a year before the Mississippi MC appeared on the cover of XXL‘s Freshman issue, alongside the like Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, Yelawolf and Meek Mill. Big KRIT is still as vital as any of those rappers. Currently signed to Def Jam, KRIT’s latest album, Cadillactica, was seen as one of the best hip-hop albums of 2014. And while KRIT is not officially working on a new album, he did just release a new track, “86,” just last month:


Bully. Photo by Emma Swann.
Bully. Photo by Emma Swann.
  • Grungy Nashville rockers Bully play Brillobox with Heat October 3, and were just featured on an episode of Sound Opinions.
  • Local singer-songwriter Brooke Annibale celebrates her new album, The Simple Fear, with a full band album release show at the Pittsburgh Winery October 3.
  • 70s NY punk rocker Sonny Vincent performs at Get Hip Records Headquarters October 3.
  • Also on October 3, famed jazz outfit The Yellowjackets visit Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild.
  • Electronic artist Michal Menert performs songs from his Space Jazz album at Club Cafe October 4.
  • Indie rock veterans Built to Spill visit Mr. Smalls October 4 in support of their new album, Untethered Moon.
  • Steve Hackman is back for more FUSE@PSO, this time mashing up Beethoven + Coldplay October 6.
  • Nevada Color headline a quartet of local rock bands at Cattivo October 9, including Emerson Jay, The Nox Boys and William Forrest.
  • Portland post-metal band Red Fang perform at Altar Bar October 9.
  • The Van Allen Belt play a free show October 11 at Spirit, w/ The Lopez and Mrs. Paintbrush.
  • LA rapper Hopsin — AKA the guy with the white contact lenses — is at Altar Bar October 12.
  • Guitar virtuoso Mark Knopfler performs at Heinz Hall October 13.
  • Buzz-heavy Toronto electro-pop band Grounders visit Spirit October 16.
  • Local indie pop bands Donora and Wreck Loose welcome Chicago’s AyOH to Brillobox October 16.
  • Electronic artist Emancipator brings the full ensemble for a performance at the Rex Theater October 20.
  • And finally, the rock-steady, inimitable Ringo Starr brings his All-Starr Band (including Todd Rundgren) to Heinz Hall October 27.

For even more October happenings, check out our 11 Pittsburgh events not to miss in October.

Looking for family fun? Top Family Adventures this October in Pittsburgh.

Brian Conway

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.