- Who's Bad, Nov. 6
Lately, it's become poor form to snub a couple of the celebrity musicians that are coming through Pittsburgh this concert season. So we'll acknowledge them first to avoid any such accusation: Taylor Swift plays Mellon Arena on Oct. 1, and Michael Jackson* plays the Hard Rock Café on Nov. 6. OK, now we can get down to business.
- Silversun Pickups, Oct. 24
This fall offers several intriguing larger rock shows: legendary psych-rockers Os Mutantes at Mr. Small's (Oct. 9); AFI at Club Zoo (Oct. 11); and Silversun Pickups at Ches-A-Rena (Oct. 24). Meanwhile, dudes from three worthy bands -- Hot Water Music's Chuck Ragan, Avail's Tim Barry and Sparta's Jim Ward -- join forces for the Revival Tour, visiting the Rex Theatre on Oct. 21, and Dashboard Confessional plays the Ice Garden Arena on Dec. 5.
- Califone, Oct. 13
Promising smaller club shows include MC Immortal Technique at Altar Bar on Sept. 30; Th' Legendary Shack Shakers at Thunderbird Café, and Jaguar Club at Lava Lounge, both on Oct. 1; Bad Veins at Club Café (Oct. 5); Califone at The Andy Warhol Museum (Oct. 13); and the Spinto Band at Garfield Artworks (Nov. 7). For an absolutely tiny show you'll not soon forget, acoustic-guitar whiz Jack Rose plays the Morning Glory Coffeehouse on Sept. 30.
Classic pop acts rolling through this season include The Cowboy Junkies (Oct. 6) and The Tragically Hip (Oct. 16) at the Byham Theater, and They Might Be Giants at Mr. Small's, also on Oct. 16. Loudon Wainwright III and British folk guitarist extraordinaire Richard Thompson join forces for "Loud & Rich" at the lovely Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead, on Oct. 25, while head Beach Boy Brian Wilson (at least the part living in this dimension) plays there Nov. 6. Herb Alpert, of thrift-store LP fame, plays Manchester Craftsmen's Guild with Lani Hall on Nov. 7, and groovy New Wavers The English Beat play Diesel on Nov. 13.
- Shemekia Copeland, Oct. 2
Classic punk also gets some this fall, with Social Distortion rocking the Ches-A-Rena (Oct. 3), some version of the Misfits playing Altar Bar (Oct. 18) and seminal U.K. punks The Damned playing Diesel (Oct. 23); The Queers play 31st Street Pub on Dec. 6. On the more metal side, All That Remains and Lacuna Coil play Club Zoo Sept. 27; Gojira (Oct. 16) and Soulfly, Prong and Cattle Decapitation (Oct. 18) shred at Diesel; and Attack Attack! visits Mr. Small's on Oct. 24. (OK, the latter is more a hilarious mix of hardcore, techno, Auto-Tune and crouching.)
- Warsaw Village Band, Nov. 2
For roots and folk, there's blues from recent Three Rivers Arts Fest headliner Shemekia Copeland (Diesel, Oct. 2); contemporary bluegrass from Yonder Mountain String Band (Mr. Small's, Oct. 6); klezmer from The Klezmatics (Carnegie Lecture Hall, Oct. 17); and modern Polish folk from the Warsaw Village Band (Synod Hall, Nov. 2). For singer-songwriters, don't miss Soul Coughing's Mike Doughty (Club Café, Oct. 8), Jesse Malin (Thunderbird Café, Oct. 11) and Jill Sobule (Carnegie Lecture Hall, Nov. 7).
- Jill Sobule, Nov. 7
Spice things up with New Orleans funk from Galactic (Oct. 22) and the Ska Is Dead IV tour, featuring The Toasters and Voodoo Glow Skulls (Nov. 10) at Mr. Small's; toward the end of the season, catch The Wiyos at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (Nov. 19), last in town opening for this summer's blowout Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp concert.
- John Tesh, Oct. 11
As always, there's plenty of somewhat ... ripe fare to be had this fall; whether you genuinely enjoy it or just can't look away is your business. For starters, there's Foreigner (Sept. 26) at PNC Park, celebrating the release of Can't Slow Down (the cover features both a hologram and that computer-looking font). Stryper brings the godly hair-metal to the Palace Theater Oct. 1, the Australian Pink Floyd Show hits the Benedum Oct. 5-6, and Eddie Money takes you home Oct. 22, also at the Palace. Adult-contemporary listeners face a smooth dilemma on Oct. 11, when Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers (Carnegie Library Music Hall) square off against John Tesh (Benedum). For pop arrangements of auld country tunes, Celtic Thunder visits Heinz Hall on Oct. 20.
Finally, there's December's holiday-themed shows, which include Lee Greenwood (Dec. 2) and The Manhattan Transfer (Dec. 4) at the Palace Theatre; B.E. Taylor (Dec. 4-5) and Chris Botti (Dec. 13) at Heinz Hall; and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Dec. 16) at Mellon Arena. But if you really want to ride out the season in style, bust out the greasepaint and Faygo at Club Zoo Dec. 9 for Insane Clown Posse. For juggalos -- and you, if you want it -- this still counts as a "family" gathering.
* actually Who's Bad, The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band.