With the official start of summer just around the corner, it’s time to gear up for the summer concert season! We are stoked to say the least at all of the choices at our disposal. After some intense internal debate, here are five must-see bands:
Yeah yeah, we know – how can a band synonymous with all-black outfits, eyeliner, moodiness, and a decidedly indoorsy fanbase possibly be a great fit for the June and July heat? Let’s start with three-hour, ever-changing sets that draw from the band’s entire career (and we mean entire career – yours truly saw a Cure show a few weeks ago in San Francisco that covered just about every album, with some B-sides, singles, and new songs thrown in). Add in live performance expertise honed by years of touring, an excellent stage show, and diehard fans of all ages, and you have the recipe for a perfect summer concert. I want to reiterate this again: they are playing roughly 35 of Robert Smith’s glorious, glorious songs every night. It’s an amazing show, and well-worth the ticket price.
A little bit funky, a little bit soulful, and more than a little bit energetic, The Revivalists are an office favorite here at Bohemian Guitars. Why? As Revheads all across the country can attest to, these guys totally bring it live. Purveyors of a brand of distinctly Southern, soul-inflected rock music, a Revivalists show is the perfect invitation to get down in the summer heat. Coming off a triumphant appearance in their hometown of New Orleans’ Jazzfest, they’ll be playing more dates throughout the US and Canada this summer. Fans in select California cities can even catch frontman David Shaw in three solo-acoustic performances. Don’t sleep on a chance to see them before they totally blow up.
Brand New/Modest Mouse
What appears at first glance to be a slightly odd pairing between punk/emo/alternative/whatever kingpins Brand New and indie rock stalwarts Modest Mouse is one of the most-anticipated double bills of the summer. Speaking from experience here: Brand New put on an unbelievable, energetic show that had just about the entire crowd in Oakland’s Fox Theater singing along to every word (seriously, it seemed like everyone but me, attending last minute after not having heard the band in years, knew all the lyrics). It was a pleasant surprise, and an experience I’m eager to repeat.
Modest Mouse have one of indie rock’s most-celebrated catalogs, a reputation for volatile, unpredictable live performances, and an excellent frontman in Isaac Brock. You might know them for “Float On” (a summer anthem in and of itself), but they bring a lot more to the table. Putting these bands together for two full sets each night will be a treat. The tour will be coming to an amphitheater near you in July.
Wilco is, in your author’s humble opinion, America’s best rock band. They combine virtuosic musicianship, excellent songwriting, and a rare tendency to push and experiment 9+ albums into their career, all while retaining whatever it is that sounds like Wilco. They shine brightest live, where their varied catalog allows the band to explore all sides of their sound. The first time I saw them, I started laughing out loud when Nels Cline busted out his solo on “Impossible Germany” -- I was left shaking my head and laughing some more when Pat Sansone and Jeff Tweedy locked in for some Allman Brothers-esque guitarmonies to bring the song home. Their shows reflect all aspects of their sound, with setlists running the gamut from the experimental krautrock of “The Art of Almost” to the sunshine jangle of “Heavy Metal Drummer”, and I have yet to see them in any capacity and be less than amazed.
The latest to shoulder the burden of saving “real” country music, Sturgill Simpson and his crack live band are back on tour this summer through the end of the year behind his awesome new album, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. The album builds on Sturgill’s distinct, slightly-psychedelic take on outlaw country, adding Muscle Shoals-style horns, string sections, and Nirvana covers to an already potent mix. These guys are total pros, and their Estonian lead guitar player, Loar Joamets, is an absolute ripper. They are more than capable of playing two hours without stopping, so be prepared to honky-tonk the whole night through!
We know we left out more than a few killer bands, so let us know who are you most looking forward to seeing below. Catch you at a show this summer!