Critics' Picks, July 2-8 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks, July 2-8

The DreamOn festival, plus concerts by theSHIFT, Pink Martini and Arstioir


Some artists, including Meghan Trainor and Frank Ocean, got their start by working behind-the-scenes for A-listers before becoming stars in their own right. theSHIFT hope to be the next rock band to make the 20-feet-from-stardom leap: The group of accomplished session musicians have been recruited in the past by John Mayer, Lauryn Hill and even Louis CK. However, the band's debut, 7th Direction, seems to shrug at the notion of becoming outright superstars, especially on lead single "Dreams": "Dreams are calling out my name, so what?" TheSHIFT performs tonight at Thunderbird Café. Shawn Cooke 9 p.m. 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville.$8-10. 412-682-0177 or


Most music festivals pair up with food in some capacity, but the DreamOn Festival has dared to pave some uncharted territory — as a music and ice-cream festival. The second annual event, which runs Wednesday through Friday at Market Square, offers live music throughout the day, along with 30 flavors of Dream Cream Ice Cream to choose from. Put on by Omicelo and Dream Cream, the event will provide business training to 30 high school and GED student volunteers, as well as 5 percent of the festival's ownership stake. The music spans most genres, featuring performances from The ChopShop, Beauty Slap, Mic Blaque and many more. SC 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thu., July 2; and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri., July 3. 23 Market Place, Downtown. Free.

click to enlarge Pink Martini - PHOTO COURTESY OF HOLLY ANDRES
Photo courtesy of Holly Andres
Pink Martini


Given that the band was formed to entertain Oregon politicos more than 20 years ago, it's amazing how Pink Martini has widened its scope. Nearly impossible to pin down with one genre, the troupe has navigated swing, classical and world music through a massive discography of originals and standards. Most recently, Pink Martini released Dream a Little Dream, a collection of tracks with vocal assistance from the von Trapps. Tonight, the band performs at the Byham Theater. SC 8 p.m. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $52.75-72.75. 412-456-6666 or

click to enlarge Árstíðir - PHOTO COURTESY OF MATTHEW EISMAN
Photo courtesy of Matthew Eisman


They're both from Iceland, but don't be tempted to compare Árstíðir to Sigur Rós. Both bands make gorgeous, enveloping music with a gliding string section, but Árstíðir ("seasons" in English) might have more in common with Il Divo than the famed post-rockers. With four vocalists switching between Icelandic and English, the band's gentle harmonies and mostly acoustic guitar-work keep the beauty on a more conventional autopilot than Sigur Rós' bombastic swells. Tonight, the band supports its rock-solid third album Hval at Pittsburgh Winery, with help from The Anatomy of Frank. SC 8 p.m. 2815 Penn Ave., Strip District. $20-25. 412-556-1000 or

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