International Children’s Festival Kicks Off; Jason Bonham’s Zeppelin Experince Rocks the Palace (CPs Wed., 5/14/2014)

1) The Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival brings the best of the performing arts to future generations of audiences. Throughout the Downtown’s Cultural District, parents and little ones alike will find plenty to do, from theater performances to crafts to family friendly art exhibits. With most activities appropriate for children as young as age two, the five-day festival is a great way to spark young minds (and maybe the parents’, too). Visit the website for a complete schedule of performances and locations; there are free activities ranging from a sandbox and Lego Derby to story readings; some events start at just $5. Runs through May 18. Cultural District.

2) Has it been a long (lonely, lonely, lonely) time since you rock and rolled? Jason Bonham, son of the late, great Led Zeppelin drummer, takes a walk in his father’s shoes to bring you Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience at The Palace Theatre. The cover band keeps Led Zeppelin alive in this one-of-a-kind show that includes father (on a background screen) and son playing together with Zeppelin doppelgangers Page and Plant. Bonham does right by his father with impressive drumming skills (he started at age four) accompanied by an intense stage presence that may transport you back to the ’60s. Ramble on! 8 p.m. 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg.

3) One of the most popular alternative rock bands out there, Neon Trees will perform an indoor show at Stage AE. The band gained national attention after opening for The Killers on their 2008 tour. With radio-friendly riffs and just enough edge to appeal to pop and rock fans alike, the band can be heard on pretty much any radio station with songs like “Everybody Talks” and their latest single, “Sleeping With a Friend.” Like a modern-day Billy Idol (or any ’80s icon, for that matter), Neon Trees consistently deliver feel-good beats that have audiences dancing in no time. Special guests are Smallpools and Nightmare & The Cat. Doors open at 7 p.m. 400 N. Shore Dr., North Shore.

4) Blue October emerged on the national rock scene at the height of the post-grunge era of the late ’90s and, in proper rock ‘n roll style, haven’t slowed down since. With the new album Sway, they’re back on the road to play some old favorites and introduce you to new ones when they stop at the Altar Bar. Emotions run high in songs like “Bleed Out” and “Hate Me,” seemingly opening up proverbial wounds and poking around them with a salt-covered stick. The end result is the trademark raw angst-filled music and lyrics that started with grunge and evolved into bands like Foo Fighters and Blue October. Get in touch with your inner rebellious teen, just don’t let yourself bleed out. With special guests ZEALE and Matthew Mayfield. 7 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District.

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Jessica Dayhoff

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