All, or at least a lot, of the best Pittsburgh concerts and comedy for May 2022
Japanese Breakfast / May 5 / The Roxian
Michelle Zauner’s new JB album, Jubilee, was Slant, Yahoo, and AV Club’s “album of the year” last year. It’s full of luscious pop songs washed with synths, horns and strings, and builds you up and breaks you down in equal measure.
We Are All MC5 / May 6 / The Thunderbird
Kick out the jams with Detroit’s original anti-establishment, fuzzed-out proto-punks, MC5, or at least their frontman, Wayne Kramer, whose on a 8-date national tour. The show, featuring openers Murder for Girls, is presented by Pittsburgh’s Get Hip Records.
Black Pistol Fire / May 8 / Mr. Smalls
The Toronto-born, Austin-based rock duo play Pittsburgh for the first time. The pair are up for their first two Juno awards this year – basically, the Canadian Grammy’s – including best rock album. Recommended for those who like their keys black and their stripes white.
Deftones, Gojira / May 11 / Petersen Events Center
Chino + co still crush some 30 years later. Latest album, Ohms, is some of Deftones heaviest stuff yet. Backing them are French metal juggernauts, Gojira, who crush with equal ferocity. They rage against environmental devastation in songs like “Toxic Plastic Ocean” and “Amazonia”; proceeds from their latest album, Fortitude, go toward APIB – The Brazil’s Indigenous People Articulation.
Victor Wooten and Bass Extremes / May 12 / The Thunderbird
The bass, as noted bass player William Murderface once declared, is the foundation of the band. So what happens when your band is a trio built around a drum and two bass? It gets extreme. Victor Wooten, founding member of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, is one of the greatest to ever do it. He and fellow bassist Steve Bailey first performed together in 1992. Gregg Bissonette performs drums.
Savak, Upper Wilds, Bed Maker, Gotobeds / May 13 / Government Center
Brooklyn post-punks, Savak, meet Pittsburgh post-punk Sub Pop signees Gotobeds, at one of Pittsburgh’s independent record stores for an in-house performance. Don’t miss Upper Wilds, also from Brooklyn who could up and steal the show.
Pittonkatonk / May 14 / Vietnam Veterans Pavilion, Schenley Park
Pittsburgh’s original DIY May Day potluck brass band extravaganza. An interview with Pittonkatonk founder, Pete Spynda, runs next week in the Independent.
Earthgang, Mike Dimes / May 15 / Stage AE
A well-placed source (and common sense) tells the Independent it’s 99% likely that Pittsburgh’s Benji., part of the Spillage Village crew – hip-hop’s hottest new collective, says XXL — will make an appearance. Based in Atlanta (with Baltimore ties), the Spillage collective includes JID, 6lack, and others including the evening’s headliners, Earthgang: Olu and WowGr8
Jens Lekman, Chariot Fade / May 18 / The Andy Warhol Museum
From Sweden, welcome indie pop luminary Jens Lekman, whose very good and very Swedish-sounding new album, the Linden Trees are Still in Blossom, is over 80 minutes long, filled with strings, horn, xylophone, and Lekman’s impressive vocal range. Pittsburgh psychedelic pop band Chariot Fade opens.
Millvale Music Festival / May 21 / Millvale
Now in it’s fifth year, 300 local bands play 28 stages, for free, in Millvale, all day long. Not to mention some 30 comedians and nearly 50 artists. Where else would you go?
Maple House Music + Arts Festival / May 21 / Hartwood Acres
Excellent bands (Jason Isbell; Black Pumas; Lake Street Dive +++); questionable circumstances. Read all about it. Proceeds benefit Allegheny County Parks.
Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola / May 25 / Club Cafe
One of the best jazz guitarists and best jazz drummers, together.
The Sewerheads, Silver Car Crash, Big Baby, Blinder / May 27 / Thunderbird Cafe
Keep on eye on Pittsburgh’s Sewerheads, made up of members of Rave Ami, Gotobeds and Empty Beings. They were on a bill at Government Center last month that may have been their first gig, and they’ve already got a spot on a show lined up at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. Not bad for a band with just a few demos. There’s plenty more guitar noise spread throughout this gnarly bill.
Rakim, Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane, more: STEM benefit show / May 29 / Stage AE
Legendary hip-hop MCs descend on Pittsburgh for an afternoon benefit concert for the Citizen Science Lab. Rakim is internationally known, and simply one of the greatest MCs to ever do it. Slick Rick’s great adventure was once upon a time back in 1988. DJ Jazzy Jeff and Big Daddy Kane are on the bill as well. This is an afternoon performance.
SOLD OUT: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, May 22, Mr. Smalls.
Aries Spears / May 7-9 / The Improv
Longtime performer on MADtv.
Marc Maron: This May Be The Last Time! Tour / May 12 / Carnegie Library Homestead
Like the podcast, but IRL.
Chris Gethard / May 19 / Bottlerocket Comedy Club
What was once a Kevin Sousa dive bar has been resurrected into a comedy club. This is the grand opening performance.
Knights of the Arcade / May 20 / Arcade Comedy Theater
Nerd out at this monthly improvisational adventure show, inspired by Dungeons & Dragons.
Girls Gotta Eat / May 20 / Byham Theater
Like the podcast, but IRL
Steve Byrne & The God Damn Comedy Jam / May 20 / Carnegie Library Homestead
Byrne, who grew up in Western PA, co-created the Pittsburgh-based sitcom, Sullivan & Son.
Real Pittsburgh Stories: NSFW / May 28 / Arcade Comedy Theater
Like the Moth, but raunchy.
Brian Conway is an independent journalist based in Pittsburgh and founder of the Pittsburgh Independent. Published in Vice, the Daily Dot, and elsewhere, his investigative reporting into lead in Pittsburgh’s drinking water earned 2018 first prize in environmental reporting from the Keystone Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and prompted the water authority to strengthen its safe water drinking guidelines. His breaking news and investigative reporting into Pittsburgh’s Hays Woods parkland prompted resident outcry, which disrupted a high-end residential housing project planned for the site.