Local Scene: 08/25/11

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Introducing Static

Static, a new venue billed as "Pittsburgh's first electronic dance club," will premiere at 9 p.m. Saturday at 1650 Smallman St. in the Strip, the space formerly housing Rosebud, The World, Prive and Fate.

The ownership group, which includes Bernie Firman (owner of Club Zoo next door), promises that the space has been "gutted and reborn with new sound and lighting and 1000% exclusively electronic music all the time. No hip hop. No Top 40. No Bull. Ever."

On Saturday nights, DJ Strobe will spin the global-tech-electro-Dutch house anthems he was doing at the former Firehouse Lounge. On Fridays, he will be joined by national and international DJs spinning house, techno and dubstep.

Static features a "50,000-watt linear pressure bass-driven sound system," modern lighting and interior, two bars, plush VIP sections, and an outdoor patio.

It will be open every Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Cover is $10. Must be 21 or older. Go to www.djstrobe.com or www.STATICPGH.com.

Meet Pheni

There will be MCs moving on and off the stage rapidly tonight at the Rex Theater, where the headliners are Scripture & Flexx, Big-T and Blo Bugotti.

Trying to jump out from the pack will be newcomer Pheni, who recently released his debut album "Past Due." Pheni is a rapper who grew up with his mom and sisters in the Mon-View Heights housing projects in West Mifflin. He is also a father and a grill cook at the Pittsburgh Burger Company who aspires to be a "voice of the people" rather than a party rapper.

"He's a blue collar guy from Pittsburgh and that allows his music to make a greater impact with the people," says his manager Chris Scott. "I know when people listen to music (in general) they want a release from their everyday grind and struggle and the last thing they want to hear is someone complain about their own issues. What Pheni does so well is that when he talks about the grind and the struggle he flips it as a way to inspire and motivate."

Check him out at http://wherespheni.com

The show begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $9.50. Go to http://rex.greyareaprod.com.

Roboto kick-starter

The Mr. Roboto Project, a DIY music and art coop that vacated its decade-old Wilkinsburg location last year, is set to launch in its new Garfield spot in mid to late September.

The buildup to that is a Roboto kick-starter to raise money for amenities. The board reached its goal of raising $4,000, but would like to double that to upgrade its sound system and install air conditioning, bike racks and furniture.

For details go to www.kickstarter.com/projects/1351705831/roboto-takes-it-to-the-next-level

VMA and Wiz

Don't forget to tune in Sunday night to see if hometown rapper Wiz Khalifa wins the MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist.

The 28th annual VMAs air live at 9 p.m. Sunday from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Among those set to perform are Lady Gaga, Pitbull, Jessie J, Adele, Bruno Mars, Chris Brown, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne and Young The Giant.

Khalifa's Pittsburgh-filmed "Black and Yellow" video is up against clips from Foster the People, Big Sean featuring Chris Brown, Kreayshawn, and Tyler the Creator.

You can vote at www.mtv.com/ontv/vma/2011/best-new-artist/

Meanwhile, Khalifa came in at No. 15 last week in Rolling Stone's ranking of the "King of Hip-Hop." It was based on albums released from 2009 to the present, album sales, rankings on the R&B, hip-hop and rap charts, YouTube video views, social media, concert grosses, awards and critics' opinions.

Eminem was declared the king and moving ahead of Wiz were 2) Lil Wayne, 3) Drake, 4) Kanye West, 5) Jay-Z, 6) Nicki Minaj, 7) Rick Ross, 8) Ludacris, 9) Gucci Mane, 10) T.I., 11) Snoop Dogg, 12) Diddy, 13) Pitbull, 14) Fabolous.

You may have heard that Lil Wayne will drop "Tha Carter IV" at midnight, after the VMAs, on iTunes, Amazon and other MP3 sites.


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