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Critics’ Picks, June 30-July 6

Performances by Pat Benatar, Hailey Wojcik and Chet Vincent & the Big Bend, plus a nostalgic XFEST lineup

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[SYMPHONIC ROCK] + THU., JUNE 30
Superstar collaborators Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo will be joining the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and guest conductor Arnie Roth at Heinz Hall for an evening of symphonic rock. The married couple has been working together for decades, and they’ve been responsible for enormous rock hits like “Love Is a Battlefield.” While it may seem like a big leap to take “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and turn it into a piece that can be performed with a full orchestra, the concept is not out of character for Benatar who, before becoming a rock icon, was trained as a classical musician. This will be way classier than getting wine-drunk and belting out “We Belong” in your kitchen. Meg Fair 7:30 p.m. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $29-129. 412-392-4900 or www.pitsburghsymphony.org
Hailey Wojcik - PHOTO COURTESY OF NICO RICO
  • Photo courtesy of Nico Rico 
  • Hailey Wojcik

[INDIE ROCK] + THU., JUNE 30

Queercore indie-rock musician Hailey Wojcik creates music that is spooky, witty and biting. Her most recent release, Book of Beasts, is the soundtrack to living out a day of spontaneity and debauchery in an unfamiliar city. It’s both weird and strangely familiar, and distinctly its own. Wojcik engineers and produces her music with warmth and charm that surrounds the listener like a large swatch of black satin. She’ll be performing at Howlers with Wisconsin singer-songwriter Kirby Jayes. Locals Distant Futures, who play bright alt-emo, and experimental indie-folk artist Vireo also appear. MF 9 p.m. 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $5. 412-682-0320 or www.howlerspittsburgh.com

[ROCK] + FRI., JULY 1
Locals Chet Vincent & the Big Bend are throwing a party to ring in their latest record, Celebrate, at Allegheny Elks Lodge No. 339. The album reflects the heart of the Big Bend’s sound: bluesy rock with a fuzzed-out edge. At times the music leans into the folky vibes of other indie-rock bands like Dr. Dog, showcasing a nice depth of sound under the vocals of Chet Vincent. In addition to performing the new record in its entirety, the group will be selling vinyl copies of the album, which is being released by Misra Records. Joining the party are the dark, jangly goofballs of Ghost Guts and blues-drenched rock entertainers The Commonheart. It’s an evening of locally grown rock music for the soul. MF 8 p.m. 400 Cedar Ave., North Side. All ages. $10. 412-321-1834 or www.thebigbend.net

SWMRS - PHOTO COURTESY OF ALICE BAXLEY
  • Photo courtesy of Alice Baxley
  • SWMRS
[NOSTALGIA POP] + SUN., JULY 3
Pittsburgh radio station 105.9 The X presents XFEST, also known as the festival that teenage me would have sold her soul to see. Weezer and Panic! At the Disco headline the event with support from pop-punk heartthrob/cutest dad ever Andrew McMahon. The fest is rounded out by the larger-than-life, fuzzed-out rock of Dorothy, as well as the feel-good punk ’tude of indie act SWMRS. Come spend the evening at Stage AE, even though it may mean drowning in nostalgia and feeling very old the next morning. MF 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Drive, North Side. All ages. $49.50. 412-229-5483 or www.stageae.com


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