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Soundcheck: Weekend edition

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  • Wiz Khalifa
Pittsburgh emcee Wiz Khalifa's success can't be measured in record sales. He has one hit under his belt, "Black and Yellow," a charming, good-if-not-great paean to his hometown that Khalifa hopes will be adopted as a theme song by Pittsburgh sports teams. But fans still await his debut full-length, and are snapping up mixtapes and concert tickets in the meantime. His Kush and Orange Juice download was all the rage in the Twittersphere in early 2010, and his Thursday gig at the Egyptian Room sold out well before showtime. So the Shriners added an extra show at 9 p.m. Friday, $35.25 tickets to which remain available.

The extension of Khalifa's engagement will make the Murat hip-hop central Friday night, with Salt-n-Pepa and three other classic rap acts performing simultaneously in the Murat Theatre. And if you're not inclined towards hip-hop either classic or contemporary, concerts by Margot & the Nuclear So and So's, Liz Janes and Shannon Forsell are also at the top of our list.

Friday

Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s, Hotfox, John Rambo & the Vietnam Wars
Earth House Collective, 237 N. East St.
8 p.m., $20 (advance at brownpapertickets.com), all-ages
Margot’s all-ages gig at Earth House also functions as a release show for Happy Hour at Sprigg’s, Vol. 1, a 6-song acoustic EP featuring alternate version of songs from their 2010 LP, Buzzard, and previously unreleased songs recorded specifically for the EP. Hence the $20 ticket, which buys both admission and a physical copy of the EP.

Salt-n-Pepa, Whodini, Special Ed, UTFO
Murat Theatre, 502 N. New Jersey St.
7:30 p.m., $30-40 (plus applicable fees), all-ages
Reunited since 2007 after a five year break from first openly talking about sex and then clamming up about it, asserting that it was none of our business, pioneering hip-hop trio Salt-n-Pepa headlines a classic rap showcase featuring first-wave act Whodini, one-time Crookyln Dodgers member Special Ed and “Roxanne, Roxanne” group UTFO.

Vegas 66, Art Adams, The Madeira, Destination: Earth!
Melody Inn, 3826 N. Illinois St.
10 p.m., $7, 21+
Columbus, Ohio psychobilly band Vegas 66 and Rockabilly Hall of Famer Art Adams are joined by two local surf-rock bands, the nerdy Destination: Earth! and The Madeira.

The Ragbirds
The Mousetrap, 5565 N. Keystone Ave.
10 p.m., no cover, 21+
Ann Arbor-based folk rock band The Ragbirds is moving towards being carbon neutral, having followed in the footsteps of Willie Nelson in buying a converted Ford van that runs on waste vegetable oil. Once the band gets to its destination, it’s fronted by Erin Zindle, a dynamic lead singer and multi-instrumentalist (fiddle, mandolin, accordion, banjo, etc.) who ably negotiates the group’s Putamayo-esque fusion repertoire.

Saturday

Liz Janes
Luna Music Midtown, 5202 N. College Ave.
Saturday, Jan. 15, 4 p.m., free, all-ages
Janes, the subject of this week's cover story, premieres her new album Say Goodbye Saturday afternoon in the always-hospitable Luna Music. Say Goodbye results from Janes' attempt to make a soul-inspired, ballad-driven record, one which leaves behind her alt-country-ish roots. And it's pretty darn good, a thoughtful sleeper that grapples with domestic and spiritual issues in a graceful, idiosyncratic way.

Shannon Forsell
The Jazz Kitchen, 5377 N. College Ave.
7 and 9 p.m., $15, 21+
Forsell, who transformed what was once the American Cabaret Theatre into the Cabaret at the Columbia Club, and changed the organization into a true cabaret in the process, found time last year in her evidently busy schedule to record songs from the Hoagy Carmichael songbook. The results, collected on a new album, The Nearness of You, are being released this month by national cabaret label LML Music. Saxophonist Rob Dixon supplied arrangements and co-produced the album, which was recorded at Owl Studios with pianist Zach Lapidus, bassist Frank Smith, drummer Greg Artry and trumpeter P.J. Yinger. Dixon’s quartet will accompany Forsell for Saturday’s release party at the Kitchen.

Punk Rock Night feat. Junker, Stand & Deliver, The Bloody Muffs, Dead Set Ready
Melody Inn, 3826 N. Illinois St.
10 p.m., $7, 21+
A typically strong Punk Rock Night lineup features working-class punk band Junker, the Fat Sammy-led Stand & Deliver, NYC punk trio The Bloody Muffs and Columbus, Ohio’s Dead Set Ready.

Dick Dickinson Jazz Scholarship Concert
Chatterbox Jazz Club, 435 Massachusetts Ave.
10:30 p.m., $10, 21+
The Jesse Wittman Jazztet commands a slightly higher than usual cover charge Saturday night, but it’s all going for a good cause: The Dick Dickinson Jazz Scholarship, christened in memory of the drummer who held down Wednesday nights at The Chatterbox for 22 years, destined for a student at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Dickinson, an IU grad, passed on the Wednesday night gig to Wittman shortly before his 2008 death.

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