Some of the biggest names in music are coming to Pittsburgh this spring. Now that you’ve emerged from winter hibernation refreshed and reinvigorated, get ready to take on 93 days worth of concerts at venues large and small across the city.
Cream of the Crop
Daya. March 30. Stage AE.
18-year old Grammy winner and Pittsburgh (woo!) native Daya is poised for superstardom. Born Grace Tandon, Daya’s first album Sit Still, Look Pretty went gold even before she provided vocals on The Chainsmokers’ smash summer hit “Don’t Let Me Down.” (You can catch them at PPG Paints Arena March 24). Alexx Mack and Liberty Deep Down open. Pittsburgh is the final date on the 26-stop tour, her first as headliner.
Tinariwen. April 21. Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall.
From Mali, Tuareg desert bluesmen Tinariwen return to Pittsburgh in support of their new album, Elwan, which was recorded in Southern Morocco and California’s Joshua Tree National Park with contributions from indie rockers Kurt Vile and Mark Lanegan. Get there early for the openers, Dengue Fever, an L.A. band inspired by ’60s Cambodian psychedelic pop whose lead singer croons in English and Khmer.
Chance the Rapper. May 20. PPG Paints Arena.
Independent rapper and friend of the Obamas Chance the Rapper keeps rewriting the playbook. Just 23 years old, Lil Chano took home Best Rap Album (among other awards) at the Grammy’s last month for his genre-defying, gospel-flavored Coloring Book. It was the first time an artist won a Grammy for a streaming-only album. When he’s not inspiring a generation with his music, he’s doing it with his deeds: earlier this month Chance donated $1 million to the Chicago Public School system.
Tool. June 5. Petersen Events Center.
Tool is coming! Tool is coming! Give someone a bell and put them on horseback to bellow through yonder towns that Tool will finally return to Pittsburgh. It’s the first time the enigmatic metal gods will visit Pittsburgh since 2006, the same year they released their most recent album, 10,000 Days. The band is playing just a handful of shows and festivals this summer, and if the rumors are true, then maybe, just maybe, we’ll get to hear some new songs. (Then again, maybe not.)
Sigur Rós. June 15. Stage AE.
From Iceland, Sigur Rós has always had a fantastical, otherworldly quality to their music. Maybe that’s why they played the wedding band in an episode of Game of Thrones. (They’ve been on The Simpsons too, in case you’re keeping track.) Seven albums into their career and Jónsi and crew continue to make majestic, awe-inspiring, life-affirming music for fans in every kingdom of the realm. On this tour, the band will perform two career-spanning sets along with a “custom visual show.”
Heavy Metal Madness
Even before Tool was announced in early March, this was shaping up to be a huge season for metal, headlined by a pair of titanic triple bills at Stage AE.
First up, May 12, the mighty Mastodon roll into town, new album in tow, with black-hole-heavy instrumental trio Russian Circles and the not-quite-metal-but-still-fun-even-without-Josh-Homme-on-tour-with-them Eagles of Death Metal. Then, on May 17 it’s perhaps the best metal band on the planet today, Gojira, playing with support from black metal iconoclasts Deafheaven and Pittsburgh metalcore heavyweights Code Orange.
Doom metal greats Windhand play Cattivo May 18, the same night Coheed and Cambria visit Stage AE. For something a little different, Scott Conner’s acoustic black metal project Xasthur visits Black Forge Coffee House May 27. (Black Forge also hosts Boston post-metal act Junius April 21.) And for the old heads, Anthrax plays Stage AE April 9, with support from Killswitch Engage and The Devil Wears Prada.
Besides Chance the Rapper, there are a handful of top-tier rappers visiting Pittsburgh this spring, beginning with the prolific Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane outdoors at Stage AE April 26. Two more veteran rappers come to Stage AE indoors the following month with Tech N9NE on May 15 and Wale May 24.
For artists who sing as much as they rap, catch Travis Scott May 2 at Stage AE or Future May 25 at KeyBank Pavilion (which is what they’re calling Star Lake this year), with support from Migos. On June 2 Brother Ali (signed to Rhymesayers) plays Mr. Smalls with Sa-Roc, and on June 10 it’s Georgia rapper (and flat Earth advocate) B.o.B. at Diesel in the South Side. You can also catch some good vibes at Smalls April 20 with Rostrum Records signee Mod Sun.
One of the best lineups of the season comes April 15 at Mr. Smalls when Jimmy Wopo headlines a showcase of the next generation of Pittsburgh rappers including Flatline Nizzy and PK Delay. Voice of a generation, Pittsburgh’s Jasiri X and his 1hood family perform at Chatham University March 24 at an event sponsored by the Chatham University Muslim Student Association. For more local hip-hop, hit up Drip Lounge April 7 for a showcase featuring Komplex and Traxx, with headliner Coolzey from LA.
Sorry, ’90s kids, but Green Day and the Red Hot Chili Peppers both get played on DVE now, which means that, at least in Pittsburgh, they qualify as classic rock. Catch the former with Against Me! March 25 at the Pete, while the Chili Peppers play PPG Paints May 11. Speaking of ’90s bands, Everclear bring their So Much For The Afterglow 20th Anniversary Tour to Stage AE June 1.
More than a few rock legends visit Pittsburgh in spring, beginning with Stevie Nicks and The Pretenders March 31 at PPG Paints Arena. Next comes Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry at Heinz Hall April 1, followed by Bon Jovi‘s This House is Not For Sale tour April 5 at PPG Paints.
June is littered with heavy hitters: U2 brings The Joshua Tree tour to Heinz Field June 7, with special guests The Lumineers. On June 8 The Warhol Museum welcomes Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for a sold-out show at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland, while June 9 sees Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers‘ 40th anniversary tour at PPG Paints Arena, with special guest Joe Walsh.
But wait, there’s more!