Come December, the concert calendar can feel as bare as Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. Fortunately, Pittsburgh’s local scene picks up the slack with plenty of release parties and holiday showcases. Take a break from the holiday hustle and bustle and check out some of these can’t-miss local and national December Pittsburgh concerts. After all, new music is the gift that keeps on giving.
Tuesday, December 1. 9 p.m.
Spirit – 242 51st St.
While vinyl continues its resurgence, Pittsburgh electronic musician Jan-Tosh Gerlin—AKA Troxum—made his new album, Gaia Lesson, available on a 24kt gold CD designed to last for at least 300 years. Fitting for an artist fixated on the longview, whose music may sound to some like it is from the year 2300. Glitchy yet melodic, spacey yet danceable, Gaia Lesson is an album that begs repeated listens. New Mexico synth/shoegaze artist REIGHNBEAU also performs, with support from Pittsburgh’s Slowdanger and Good Dude Lojack. ProjectileObjects will VJ. Check out the incredible video for the track “Lucky Sun” for a sample:
Friday, December 4. 9 p.m.
Brillobox – 4104 Penn Ave.
Celebrate a decade of floor-shaking global beats with a night of, uh, some more floor-shaking global beats at Pandemic’s 10th anniversary party. DJ Pete Spynda and a revolving door of world-class DJs combine cumbia, Bhangra, Balkin Brass, Afrobeat and more to create one of Pittsburgh’s most popular and original dance parties. On this occasion, drink, dance, stomp and yell with Pandemic Pete; “Crypto Crunk Charlatan” Joro Boro, from Bulgaria; and New York DJ and Cumba Mela co-founder Thornato.
Sunday, December 6. 3:30 p.m.
Romp n’ Roll – 1661 E Sutter Rd., Glenshaw
$5-$10 suggested donation. (Free for 18 and under. Skate rental extra)
Girls Rock! is an empowerment program for young women of all backgrounds, that uses the process of making music “for amplifying self-confidence, creative expression, independent thinking, mutual respect and cooperation.” Over the summer, campers ages 8-18 met for four days, formed bands, and composed and recorded their own original songs. This Rollerskating Album Release Party is a chance for campers to reunite and perform their songs live. Copies of the album, which contains one song from each of the nine bands, will be available for sale. And be sure to stick around for a performance by local supergroup Dream Phone.
Tuesday, December 8. 9 p.m.
Mr. Smalls – 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale
The Sword straddles that imaginary line between hard rock and heavy metal. Hailing from Austin, the band’s most obvious influences are Black Sabbath (musically) and Led Zeppelin (philosophically). Their songs are about mountains, and witches, and mythical women on horseback. They even do the whole “zoso” symbol thing for each member of the band. It’s meat and potatoes, retro rock and roll at its finest. The Sword are touring in support of their 2015 release, High Country. For more gnarly riffs, check out the opener, Royal Thunder.
Wednesday, December 9. 8 p.m.
Altar Bar – 1620 Penn Ave.
G Herbo, formerly Lil Herb, is from Chicago’s South Shore, specifically the east side, known locally as “Terror Town” for its violence and gang activity. Herbo is touring in support of his Ballin’ Like I’m Kobe mixtape, a reference not to Kobe Bryant but his friend, Jacobi Herring, murdered at age 21. As expected, Herb has an aggressive rap style similar to other Chicago drill rappers. He has collaborated with both Nicki Minaj and Common and is signed to indie hip-hop label Cinematic Music Group, home to the likes of Big K.R.I.T. and Joey Bada$$. Not bad for a 20 year old.
Thursday, December 10. 7 p.m.
Stage AE – 400 North Shore Dr.
$17 adv. $22 d.o.s.
Hoo-te-nan-ny \ˈhü-tə-ˌna-nē\ noun, a gathering at which folksingers entertain often with the audience joining in. This year, local musicians Norm Nardini, Brooke Annibale, Bill Deasy, Kai Roberts, Chet Vincent & Molly Alphabet, City Dwelling Nature Seekers, and over a dozen more of Pittsburgh’s brightest musicians join together for a celebration of local music brimming with holiday carols and cheer. Every year the “Hoot” is a bit different, but here’s hoping for another enormous cookie table. Gifts will be collected for Veterans’ Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania.