THE WIZ: It’s hard to say how many parties that rapper Wiz Khalifa, who plays the Thomas & Mack Center on Nov. 15 ($32.50-$45.50), has lit a fire under with his anthems “Say Yeah” and “Black and Yellow.” What is certain is that Khalifa’s coming in here hot—his new album O.N.I.F.C., the follow-up to his runaway 2011 hit Rolling Papers, drops in early December—and the Thomas & Mack will likely blow up the way Pittsburgh’s First Niagara Pavilion did on Aug. 4, when Khalifa and Mac Miller played to a hometown crowd of 20,000. Scott Mervis of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette pretty much canonized the young rapper in his review, saying that Khalifa “oozed charisma” and is growing as a performer: “It’s getting more musical every time he comes around, and you can sense bigger things coming,” he wrote. The Wiz Khalifa party juggernaut continues on, unabated.
LIFE AFTER ROBOTO: I’d love to sit here and tell you that I never liked Styx, but that would be a lie. The journeyman rock band, scheduled to play the Pearl Nov. 16-17 ($54-$84), was a passing favorite of mine growing up; I even owned a copy of their 1981 concept album Paradise Theatre and scrutinized it for “hidden meanings,” of which there were none. As fond as I am of Styx’s meat-and-potatoes rockers—“Too Much Time on My Hands” and “Fooling Yourself” among them—the fact stands that Styx also recorded such pretentious horseshit as “Mr. Roboto” and “Come Sail Away,” the latter of which was actually improved when Eric Cartman croaked his way through it. True, I liked these songs as a kid—but then I grew up, and half of Styx’s music simply didn’t come with me.
NOW ON SALE: The Shins play The Joint on Dec. 6 ($34). But let’s say that the Shins alone aren’t enough for you, despite the fact that the band remains the standard-bearer for sensitive folk-rock. That’s fine—because this show also features Passion Pit, Youngblood Hawke and AWOLNATION. For the price of one emo band, you get an entire frigging Spotify channel.