Steel City Vibes: Pittsburgh’s Thriving Music Scene

Rusted Root Pic

Rusted Root

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – a city woven between three rivers, nestled in the Allegheny region of the Appalachian Mountains.  The metropolitan area was once the paradigm of American industrial and economic prominence, and a singular factor in the Allied victory of World War II.  It’s commonly said that when Hitler decided it was a good idea to get in a scrap-up with the U.S., he must have forgotten about Pittsburgh.

The city has since adjusted to its steel-starved, post-industrial future, finding new industries and interests to branch out into.  Frontrunners for the successful transition from former steel town to modern economic powerhouse include healthcare, biotech, and financial services industries.  Perhaps the most surprising boon of all, however, is Pittsburgh’s thriving artistic community.

Music has always been prominent in the Steel City.  These days, though, it’s everywhere.  Some of the best bands in recent history have come out of Pittsburgh.  I’ll run through a few of them, as well as showcase some of the more popular spots to see them the next time you’re in town.


Anti-Flag Photo


Formed in the late 80’s, Anti-Flag quickly became a poster child for progressive sociopolitical punk rock.  The band just finished up their 20th anniversary tour, and released a music video to commemorate the occasion. Check it out here.
The Clarks

The Clarks Picture

The Clarks

Also spawning from everybody’s favorite prom decade, distinguished Indiana University of Pennsylvania alumni, The Clarks, are a rock band who gained popularity after moving to Pittsburgh to engage in the local music scene.  Now, with close to a quarter of a million albums sold, they decided to crowd-fund their upcoming studio album, Feathers and Bones.
Rusted Root

World music phenomenon and the reason people download the soundtrack from Matilda, Rusted Root harbors influences from across the spectrum.  Although multi-platinum in sales, most of their shows involve local venues, and founding member Jim Donavon teaches a popular hand drumming class at Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA.

Other notable bands from Pittsburgh: White Wives, Girl Talk, Wiz Khalifa, and Mac Miller.  Popular indie bands that call Pittsburgh home include Black Moth Super Rainbow, Satin Gum, Donora, Wise Blood, Broken Fences, Bear Cub, Steelesque, and Ennui.

Wiz Khalifa Picture

Wiz Khalifa wearing the appropriate hat for this article!

For a city so renowned and full of rich history, it’s great to follow the evolution and adaptation that allowed Pittsburgh to thrive in modernity.  Once the headquarters of the world’s foremost financiers and industrial tycoons, the Steel City is quickly becoming home base for the nation’s top musical talent.  From larger-than-life bands to emerging local talent, Pittsburgh has something for everyone.  Make sure to check out all the great artists and venues the city has to offer.

Article by Kevin Lankes 

Add a Comment