Hot list: The Flaming Lips, Lil' Wayne and The Freya Quartet
Still hot, still rocking
The Flaming Lips are one of the few rock bands to have reached that sweet spot of success, where they have enough fans, money and influence to do pretty much whatever weird stuff they can dream up. And they do, from entire albums meant to be played on synchronized car stereos, to making their own super-weird movie “Christmas on Mars.”
Of course, that sets up its own dilemma. When your fans expect something new and weird all the time, you've got to pick up the pace. What tops seeing lead singer Wayne Coyne inside a giant inflatable hamster ball rolling over the audience?
The Flaming Lips will be at Stage AE, North Shore, on July 16, with psychedelic space-rockers Spiritualized opening. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $35-$37. Details: 800-745-3000 or www.stageae.com
— Michael Machosky
Ready to stomp, dance and yell
There are a lot of bands out there who like to be the center of attention. Fanfare Ciocarlia are sort of the opposite of that.
In fact, if you're not dancing madly (or at least trying), they'd probably feel ashamed. Then again, when you're pretty much the hottest dance band on the planet, not dancing is rarely a problem. When this giant Gypsy brass band from Romania gets blowing, it's kind of like one of those famous Old Country weddings that go on for an entire week.
A host of American bands have recently adopted the Balkan brass band's sound and energy, but it's rare to see the real thing, raw, undiluted and straight from the source. Fanfare Ciocarlia, with locals Pandemic and Lungs Face Feet opening, will perform at 8 p.m. July 13 at the Rex Theatre, South Side. Tickets are $16 to $20. Details: 412-381-6811 or www.rextheatre.com.
— Michael Machosky
Whiskey, Washington, wonderful time
Come and engage with Washington's rich history at the Whiskey Rebellion Festival, July 11 to 13, across from the David Bradford House in historic downtown Washington. The event will feature food from local eateries like Big Girls BBQ and Jason's Cheesecake Co., and family-friendly activities like a parade, carriage rides and a petting zoo. The Billy Price Band, the SteelDrivers, Spence's Rye and more will give live performances. Fireworks will close out the festival July 13. Parking is free in all city lots and garages during festival hours. Details: 724-222-3604 or www.whiskeyrebellionfestival.com.
— Emma Deihle
The jazz-classical connection
Jazz is loved by many classical musicians, including composers who were influenced by it. The Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society will honor that connection with three concerts in July, the first on July 11. They are co-presented with theKelly Strayhorn Theater and the African American Jazz Preservation Society of Pittsburgh.
The Harlem Quartet opens the series with “Take the ‘A' Train,” a program that includes music by one of the theater's namesakes, Billy Strayhorn, as well as Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, Walter Piston and Guido Gavlian.
The ensemble was founded by the Sphinx Organization, which advances diversity in music. The Harlem Quartet is in residence at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. July 11 at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. Admission is $20.
Details: 412-624-4129 or www.pittburghchambermusic.org.
— Mark Kanny
Snapshots, 15 years later
In 1999, the Frick Art & Historical Center embarked on its first venture working with a living artist. The result was an exhibit of 65 photographs made on-site and around Pittsburgh.
This summer, the Frick will restage that exhibit, including some new materials, for “Clayton Days | Revisited: A Project by Vik Muniz.” The show runs July 13 through Oct. 27.
Born in, São Paulo, Brazil, Muniz now lives and works in New York City and Rio de Janeiro. His work is known for its blend of wit, historical references and social relevance.
An opening celebration of the exhibit will be 6 to 8 p.m. July 12 at the Point Breeze museum. Admission is $12 and reservations are recommended.
Details: 412-371-0600 or thefrickpittsburgh.org.
— Rachel Weaver
When Amadeus isn't enough
The delights to be found in the vast amount of music Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed in his 35 years of life are virtually inexhaustible. Even so, Opera Theater's Summerfest is broadening the perspective in its chamber music concerto this season to include music by the composer's father, Leopold, and son, Franz Xavier.
TheFreya Quartet is the core ensemble for the concert, and will be supplemented by pianists and singers.
“It was a transition period for classical music and it's interesting to see how Mozart was really the catalyst for sending music into a new direction,” says Freya violinist Jason Hohn.
The July 16 program, “In the Salon,” features music the family would have played at home. The concert includes a Piano Trio Leopold Mozart wrote six years before his famous son was born. Franz Xavier Mozart, will be represented by a Violin Sonata.
Two Mozart quartets will highlight the July 17 program, which also includes a symphony by Leopold arranged for piano and quartet. The final concert July 18 features vocal music of a spiritual bent.
Concerts start at 7:30 p.m. July 16 to 18 at the Twentieth Century Club, 4201 Bigelow Blvd., Oakland. Admission is $25; $60 for three concerts.
Details: 412-326-9687 or otsummerfest.org
— Mark Kanny
Scaggs' Southern family roots
Boz Scaggs, who became famous in the '60s as a singer for the Steve Miller Band and in the '70s as a soloist, will perform July 16 at the Carnegie Library Music Hall in Homestead. Scaggs' music includes elements of rock, jazz and R&B, and his biggest hits include cuts from “Silk Degrees” and “Middle Man.” In March of this year, Scaggs released “Memphis,” his first studio album in five years.
The new record shows Scaggs' Southern family roots with songs such as “Rainy Night in Georgia.” The show, which includes special guest Rayland Baxter, begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $56 to $95. Details: 412-368-5225 or www.carnegieconcerts.com
— Kellie B. Gormly
Tha pavilion will be hot
New Orleans-bred Rapper Lil' Wayne will be bringing his America's Most Wanted Festival to First Niagara Pavilion, Burgettstown, on July 16. Lil' Wayne's debut studio album, “Tha Block Is Hot,” went platinum after its 1999 release, and the rapper has enjoyed a lot of success since then. The 2008 album “Tha Carter III,” which includes the No. 1 song “Lollipop,” sold more than 1 million copies in its first week. His ninth album, “Tha Carter IV,” sold more than 900,000 copies in its first week of 2011, and includes the songs “How to Love” and “She Will.” Lil' Wayne will be performing with special guests T.I. and 2 Chainz. The show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $19.75 to $83.75. Details: 800-745-3000 or www.livenation.com
— Kellie B. Gormly
Young and from far away
The Carnegie Library Music Hall in Munhall welcomes Cody Simpson to the stage at 7 p.m. July 13.
The 16-year-old singer is on his summer Paradise Tour to promote his new album, “Surfers Paradise,” out July 16. Simpson signed to Atlantic Records after being discovered on YouTube by Grammy-nominated record producer Shawn Campbell.
In 2010, he released his debut single, “iYiYi,” and has since released his first studio album, “Paradise,” along with a series of songs centered on young love like “On My Mind” and “Wish U Were Here.” However, this young Aussie “is much more than a teen heartthrob,” says Randy Phillips, president and CEO of AEG Live. He does have a loyal following of love-struck adolescents, though.
Simpson will be joined by opening acts Ryan Beatty and Before You Exit. Tickets are $39.50 to $149.50. Details: 412-368-5225 or www.librarymusichall.com.
— Emma Deihle