Critics’ Picks, June 9-15 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics’ Picks, June 9-15

Performances by Beth Orton, the Dixie Chicks, Matt Aquiline, The Hotelier and Black Milk

click to enlarge Critics’ Picks, June 9-15
Photo courtesy of Tierney_Gearon
Beth Orton


Tonight, the Three Rivers Arts Festival showcases the whimsical musical workings of Beth Orton. On her latest release, Kidsticks, Orton’s raspy voice joins magnificently with the retro-tinged sound of her looping samples. She’ll likely play older material as well: Her previous work is in a folkier vein and displays Lucius-esque pop energy. Equal parts experimental and danceable, Orton’s work showcases the creative spirit of the artist behind the music. This is a perfect opportunity to groove barefoot in the setting sun. Meg Fair 7:30 p.m. 101 Commonwealth Place, Downtown. Free. All ages. 412-456-6666 or


Are you ready to enjoy the Dixie Chicks in the wide open spaces of First Niagara Pavilion? The country trio is the top-selling female band in America, and authors of such anthems of independence as “Goodbye, Earl,” “Not Ready to Make Nice” and “Lubbock or Leave It.” The band is embarking upon its DCX MMXCI World Tour with a unique lineup of funky rock band The Heavy and country singer/songwriter Josh Herbert. MF 7 p.m. 665 Route 18, Burgettstown. $35-212. All ages. 724-947-7400 or

click to enlarge Critics’ Picks, June 9-15
Photo courtesy of Richard Burke
Matt Aquiline


Matt Aquiline is coming home, and he’s bringing some friends. Aquiline was born in Pittsburgh but moved to Washington, D.C., where he performed music for several decades as a solo artist and in the band Kid Goat. Returning to Pennsylvania to raise his family, Aquiline has been keeping busy performing solo acoustic sets, but the storytelling songwriter will take the stage with a full band at Club Café. Joining him are his friends from D.C., The Highballers, another group of country-music tale-weavers. The night is sure to be a joyful homecoming for a Pittsburgher returning to his roots. MF 6 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $8. 412-431-4950 or


The Hotelier has a knack for writing records that start off strong. The gut-tearing “Introduction to the Album” kicked off Home, Like Noplace Is There. This time around, Goodness also features an epic, raw opening song: “Goodness, Pt. 2.” The band writes music that is honest and intimate, and the twinkly riffs accent the emotional ups and downs of the lyrics. Joining The Hotelier on this tour is ever-versatile Felix Walworth’s band Told Slant and the bedroom-y emo rockers of Loone. Catch the feels-heavy lineup tonight at Cattivo. MF 7 p.m. 146 44th St., Lawrenceville All ages. $15. 412-687-2157 or

[RAP] + WED., JUNE 15

Few things are as dynamic and magical as hip hop that features a live band. That’s what makes producer and rapper Black Milk’s collaboration with Nat Turner so compelling. Spirit hosts a team of musicians for a performance showcasing work from the two artists’ project, The Rebellion Sessions, as well as selections from Milk’s rap repertoire. If you enjoy To Pimp a Butterfly’s combination of jazz and hip hop, you’ll also like the way that Nat Turner and Milk riff off each other to create soulful, experimental sounds. MF 9 p.m. 242 51st St., Lawrenceville. $15. 412-586-4441 or

Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary
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Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary

By Mars Johnson