January 6, Mr. Smalls
Oh my my, oh hell yes: Join more than 40 Pittsburgh musicians at Mr. Smalls as they pay tribute to recently-departed rock legend, Tom Petty. Presented by I.C. Light and 102.5 WDVE, the original December 29 date sold out in three days, so don’t sleep on night two.
January 9, Stage AE
On the heels of releasing one of the most anticipated albums of 2017, St. Vincent brings her “Fear the Future” tour to Stage AE January 9 in what’s an early favorite for best concert of 2018. The artist, real name Annie Clark, released her sixth studio album, MASSEDUCTION, in October, to near-universal praise, with phrases like “towering achievement” and “masterpiece” thrown around without hesitation.
January 25-28, Mr. Smalls
Having already mashed up Tchaikovsky with Drake and Brahms with Radiohead, rockstar conductor Steve Hackman turns his attention to the music of Nobel Laureate and voice of a generation, Bob Dylan, as he leads the Mendelssohn Choir on a four-day residency at Mr. Smalls in Millvale where they’ll perform Hackman’s new oratorio, “The Times They Are A-Changin: The Words and Music of Bob Dylan.” The first half of the performance will also include choral performances of songs from The Beatles, Radiohead and Leonard Cohen. This is to be Hackman’s only appearance in Pittsburgh this year.
January 26, Club Cafe
One of the great things about concerts in Pittsburgh is that it’s not uncommon for big-name performers to headline intimate venues that they otherwise have no business performing in. Take, for example, Thurston Moore at the Warhol February 9, or this pair of performances by L.A. rock band Los Lobos at Club Cafe. Tickets come at a premium, but the chance to see “one of the best bands in American history” in a space that’s not much larger than a coffee shop makes it worthwhile.
February 3, The Andy Warhol Museum
When Jens Lekman hits that warbling falsetto at the peak of “To Know Your Mission,” the lead track off his new album, “Life Will See You Know,” you might just mistake him for a Swedish Morrissey. Lekman, from Gothenburg, has been signed to the highly-regarded Secretly Canadian label for 15 years. He will perform a solo set in the Warhol’s intimate theater space. And in case the show sells out, but you are still looking for a fix of Swedish indie rock, check out The Radio Dept. Feb. 2 at Mr. Smalls.
February 7, Stage AE
This winter is light on big metal shows so far (Architects visit Mr. Smalls 2/14, and Machine Head plays Stage AE 2/15 ), but one exception is Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society. Dependably heavy, they’ll be joined by stoner metal OGs, Corrosion of Conformity, and Relapse Records mainstays Red Fang.
February 9, The Andy Warhol Museum
Yes, that Thurston Moore, the one from Sonic Youth, will headline the Warhol Museum’s 100-person theater. One of the greatest guitar players, uh, ever, Moore will perform a stripped-down, acoustic set in front of an “atmospheric film projection” that Yoko Ono recently had on tour with her. Tickets for this will sell out quickly, so don’t sleep.
February 20, Stage AE
If you weren’t a Tyler, the Creator fan before, it’s time to give him a second listen. His new album, “Flower Boy,” is Tyler’s most cohesive and enjoyable work to date: 14 self-reflective tracks that see Tyler expressing his inner-most feelings, balanced with the aggression that marked earlier albums like “Goblin.” None other than Vince Staples shares the headline slot, fresh off releasing one of the other best hip-hop albums of 2017, “Big Fish Theory.” Wolf Gang member Taco rounds out the bill.
March 2, Yellow Couch Studio
These just seem like people we want to get to know. Michael Trotter Jr. — a former soldier deployed to Iraq who taught himself to play piano while encamped in on one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces — and now-wife Tanya Blount fell in love over music, and have been making it together ever since. They put out their first album, Down to the River, in 2017, and will make a stop at Yellow Couch Studios to give Pittsburgh a taste of it. This will be an intimate concert you won’t want to miss.
March 24, Heinz Hall
Blow up your tv, throw away your paper, go to Heinz Hall, and bask in the ballads of living legend John Prine, one of the best damn singer/songwriters in the American folk and country music canon. His latest studio album, “For Better, For Worse,” features Prine dueting with some of the best female vocalist across generations, including Alison Krauss, Kacey Musgraves, Susan Tedeschi, and Iris DeMent.
Diet Cig at Mr. Smalls 12/13
Matisyahu at Rex Theater 12/15
Mod Sun at Cattivo 2/2
Yung Lean at Spirit 2/10
Galactic at Rex Theater 3/1