Sound Picks: 11 can’t-miss Pittsburgh concerts in September

Mac Miller. Photo courtesy MTV.

Mac Miller. Photo courtesy MTV.

September sizzles with exceptional shows all month long. From hip-hop superstars to indie rock legends, there are so many outstanding Pittsburgh concerts this month that we had no choice but to go to 11:

Read on for 11 of the top concerts happening in Pittsburgh this month, with plenty of equally deserving Deep Cuts at the end for good measure. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to enter to win two tickets to an already sold-out performance.

Tal National. Photo courtesy the artist.

Tal National. Photo courtesy the artist.

Tal National

Thursday, September 3. 8 p.m.

Thunderbird Cafe – 4023 Butler Street

$15/$12 adv.

Tired of the same old pre-post-electro-indie-synth-rock? Why not try something completely different. From Niger, Tal National is the project of guitarist Hamadal Moumine, who started the ensemble in 2000. Niger is home to many distinct ethnic groups, and members of several are represented in the group, which adds to the band’s unique sound. Pitchfork called their most recent album, Zoy Zoy, released in April on UK label FatCat, “colorful and bright and dizzying … frenzied and texturally varied.”

Agnostic Front

Sunday, September 6. 6:30 p.m.

Cattivo – 146 44th Street

$14/$12 adv.

New York hardcore legends Agnostic Front have been around for well over 30 years and they are still putting out quality, incendiary stuff. Their most recent album, The American Dream Died, is about as subtle as a punch to the face, both in terms of lyrics and decibels. But the message, which has always been unity, is more important than ever. Hardcore acts Freedom (Detroit) and Killer of Sheep (Pittsburgh) open.

Albert Hammond Jr. Photo courtesy BB Gun Press.

Albert Hammond Jr. Photo courtesy BB Gun Press.

Albert Hammond Jr.

Wednesday, September 9. 9 p.m.

Brillobox – 4104 Penn Avenue


Best known as the guitarist from The Strokes, Albert Hammond Jr.’s new solo album, Momentary Masters, takes its name from Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot. The album finds Hammond contemplating Sagan-worthy big-picture questions, the type of stuff one might consider after spurts of rehab brought on by years of excess in one of New York’s biggest rock bands. Joining Hammond on tour are Hammarsing Kharhmar (frontman of Mon Khmer), guitarist Mikey Hart (Bleachers), bassist Jordan Brooks and drummer Jeremy Gustin (Delicate Steve, Marc Ribot).

The Internet

Tuesday, September 15. 8 p.m.

Mr. Smalls – 400 Lincoln Avenue (Millvale)


Having trouble keeping up with all the Odd Future spin-offs, side projects and collaborations? You’re not the only one. Sydney Barrett, AKA Syd the Kid, had mostly done production work for the possibly-defunct hip-hop collective, providing vocals on only a couple of tracks. Her main pursuit (alongside producer Matthew Martin, AKA Matt Martians) has been R&B/neo-soul outfit The Internet. Pairing sparse instrumentation with understated vocals, the pair’s new album, Ego Death, is one of the standout albums of the year thus far. Get a taste with this track, “Girl”:

Thurston Moore Band. Photo courtesy Matador Records.

Thurston Moore Band. Photo courtesy Matador Records.

Thurston Moore Band

Wednesday, September 16. 8 p.m.

Club Cafe – 56-58 South 12th Street


Sonic Youth is dead and gone but Thurston Moore is still at it. His most recent album, The Best Day, is no Goo, but it’s quite good in its own right. Its stabbing guitar and drenching feedback might even fool some casual fans into thinking it’s a long-lost B-side compilation. Joining Moore on tour is long-time Youth drummer Steve Shelley and My Bloody Valentine bassist Debbie Googe.

Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats

Friday, September 18. 8:30 p.m.

Mr. Smalls – 400 Lincoln Avenue (Millvale)


Generally speaking, there are two types of psychedelic rock. There’s the far-out, trippy psych, found in a lot of early Pink Floyd and Grateful Dead. Then there’s hard psych, a la Blue Cheer and Hawkwind, which is light on nuance and heavy on face-melting guitar solos. Uncle Acid’s new single, “Waiting for Blood,” with its minute-long guitar solo and crushing, Sabbath-style guitar riffs, leaves no doubt which camp they belong in. Ruby the Hatchet and Ecstatic Vision open.

Frank Turner. Photo by Ben Morse.

Frank Turner. Photo by Ben Morse.

Frank Turner

Saturday, September 19. 8 p.m.

Mr. Smalls – 400 Lincoln Avenue (Millvale)


Despite an abundance of excellent shows this month, UK singer-songwriter Frank Turner’s is the only one to have sold-out as of this writing. NME called his most recent album, the acclaimed Positive Songs For Negative People, “the sixth entry in Frank Turner’s Open Diary Of A Hard Fought Folk Punk Success.” We can’t put it much better than that. Scroll down for a chance to win two tickets to this sold-out performance.