As the late, great lead singer of Sublime Bradley Nowell once sang “Summer time and the living’s easy.” What makes the living easy (besides the weather, beaches, pools, barbecues, girls, and baseball)? How about the crazy good concerts and music festivals? There is nothing better than going to see a show on a nice summer day or night with a fun group of friends. Although in past years ticket prices have been rather outrageous, many artists are making changes to accommodate their fans in today’s tough economic times. I have put together a little guide to let you know about some great shows worth catching this summer. Check it out below!
Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj
Hmmm, can’t go wrong with these two pop powerhouses. The queen of teen pop has teamed up with the new queen of hip hop on what’s sure to be one of the most entertaining shows of the 2011 summer tour season. Both females have had strong years on the pop charts.
Britney is back, due to the success of her latest chart topper, “Femme Fatale” which put the singer back on the dance floor and pumping in our stereos.
Nicki Minaj, who appears on the remix to Britney’s “Till the World Ends,” had a huge 2010-2011 campaign in support of her debut album “Pink Friday.” This chick has the verbal game and the extended frame (You see that butt?) to make people stand up and take attention. Tickets prices range from $23.25-$103.25.
Rihanna and Cee-Lo Green
Ms. “Loud” teams up with one of the stars from NBC’s “The Voice” to create one of the more interesting hip-hop/R&B related tours this summer.
Rihanna is a full-fledged superstar. She continually turns out #1 singles and albums, and this year’s “Loud” is no different. Driven by hit singles “Only Girl (In the World),” “What’s My Name,” and “S&M,” this pop diva knows how to keep the crowd moving.
Cee-Lo has also had an amazing year, receiving tons of critical and commercial acclaim for his latest album, “The Lady Killer.” You know when Gwyneth Paltrow is covering your tune on national TV, you have made it. Hopefully these two will collaborate on a couple of songs during the show. Also B.o.B. and J.Cole are serving as the opening appetizers. Not too shabby. Ticket prices range from $25-$150.
Kings of Leon and Band of Horses
Talk about a great show. This is a rock fan’s dream. Kings of Leon and Band of Horses are two of the best bands making music today and are both incredibly on point live. I have had the pleasure of seeing both bands on separate occasions more than once and been blown away in the process.
The Kings are hitting the road in mostly amphitheaters this summer, for that outdoor chill vibe. They’re on the road supporting their 5th major album, “Come Around Sundown.”
Meanwhile Band of Horses will be along for the ride, winning over new fans who don’t know about them yet with every show. They are simply incredible. They will be supporting their third major label release, “Infinite Arms.” This is definitely a great show to check out. Ticket Prices range from $35-$85.
311 and Sublime
This would be the perfect fun, punk rock, stoner show in the late ’90s, but instead it has been reincarnated in 2011. These 2 party bands are teaming up for the Unity Tour.
311 is still trucking along, playing the classic jams that made you jump around from it feels like way back when. 311 has a new album called “Universal Pulse” which will be released in the middle of July. In the meantime, be ready to hear “Down,” “Come Original,” Amber,” “Beautiful Disaster,” and the rest of their catalog at their energetic and fun live show.
Along for 311’s musical party is Sublime with Rome, who has replaced Bradley Nowell with new artist Rome as singer of the group. Rome, who sounds incredibly close to Bradley, is a talented singer/songwriter. He, along with two founding members of Sublime, Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson, have comprised this new group which will keep Sublime’s legacy alive as well as create the next chapter of the Sublime story. The band is hard at work on their debut album. Expect to hear songs from that release as well as endless punk-rock classics that you know and love from Sublime. Ticket Prices range from $30-$100.
U2′s 360 Tour with Interpol & Florence and the Machine
The mothership of all shows, U2’s 360 tour is back with its third and final leg. Dublin, Ireland’s own is playing the US through August. Although ticket prices are insane, they are bringing out some very cool special guests for this leg of the tour, including Florence and the Machine and Interpol. The theatrics of this show are out of this world…literally. I saw the first leg of the tour with Muse and was really blown away. At the core essence of it all is the fact that U2 is one of the greatest bands to ever live and to hear them continue to shine and actually sound better than they did when they were young is very impressive. Throw in Florence and Interpol and that’s just icing on the cake. The band is still touring behind 2010’s “No Line on the Horizon” album but expect a belly full of U2 classics to make you rock out all night long. Ticket Prices range from $40-$270.
Sade and John Legend
This should just be renamed the “sex” tour because when couples come home from this show, that’s all they’ll want to do, unless they are stuck in an hour’s worth of traffic leaving the venue. But in all seriousness, it doesn’t get too much better than this.
Sade has been one of the most consistently impressive artists over the last twenty years. She doesn’t rush out albums. She plays with unbelievable musicians. Her albums have like 10-12 songs tops, no skits, no fillers. She just makes quality music. Last year, she released “Soldier of Love,” another certified banger and is finally supporting this album along with her arsenal of hits in her first tour in over five years. Sade is an icon.
John Legend is multi-talented singer /songwriter who by himself is one of the leading faces in music today. He is the opening act in this production, so you know you are getting a treat when someone of his stature is the opening act. This will definitely be one of the best shows of the summer. Ticket Prices range from $60-$200.
GET YOUR FESTIVAL ON!
There is nothing better than spreading three days out in huge fields with thousands upon thousands of strangers dancing and getting dirty with true music lovers over a big summer festival. The summer festival season has really blossomed over the past five to eight years as the premiere summer experience to do. Instead of shelling out tons of dough to see your favorite bands at different points throughout the summer, you decide to put your money towards an event that embodies many of your favorite bands all at the same time. There are an impressive collection of festivals this summer. I will give you a brief preview of the ones worth traveling too. Remember, you may never get to see this great of an array of artists together in one place again. Check it out.
My Morning Jacket, Government Mule, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, The Avett Brothers, Michael Franti and Spearhead and others jam out in upstate New York.
The Roots Picnic
The Roots annual backyard party has gotten bigger each year since its inception. This year they invited Nas, Wiz Khalifa,Esperenza Spaulding, Yelawolf and others to jam out at Festival Pier in Philly.
Eminem, Arcade Fire, Widespread Panic, Black Keys, buffalo Springfield, Mumford and Sons, Lil Wayne, and many others rock out for three days in Manchester, Tenn.
Dave Matthews Band’s Caravan
(June 24th-26th, Atlantic City, July 8th-10th, Chicago, Aug 26th-28th, New York City, Sept 2nd-4th, Washington)
One thing you can expect every summer is the opportunity to see the Dave Matthews Band play live. This year they have switched things up a bit and having four 3 day festivals where they will be the headliner each night. They invited along some pretty cool friends to play at these shows as well. Festival acts include The Roots, Ray LaMontagne, David Gray, Dispatch, Flaming Lips, O.A.R., and many more. http://www.dmbcaravan.com/
(June 29th-July 3rd, July 5th-July 10th)
11 days, 11 stages, over 700 bands. That is tag line for this massive concert in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It would be foolish to list all of the acts on this gigantic concert, but I will list you a couple of the headliners. Kanye West, Peter Gabriel, Toby Keith, Girl Talk, Maroon 5, Ben Harper, Kid Rock, Black Keys, Florence and the Machine, O.A.R., Sugarland, 311, Britney Spears. Isn’t that enough?
Perry Farrell’s weekend staple of music returns to Grant Park in Chi-Town. You can’t go wrong at a Lollapalooza experience. Great music, fun people, sick dance tent, and everything you need in a three day party. Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Muse, My Morning Jacket, Cee-Lo Green, A Perfect Circle, and many others will be performing.
Rock the Bells
(Aug 20th LA, Aug 27th San Francisco, Sept 3rd NY, Sept 10th, Boston)
Guerilla Union is back with an another addition of their annual hip hop powerhouse festival, Rock the Bells. The lineup is stacked and what’s great about this is it has artists doing their classic albums in their entirety. Lauren Hill doing “The Miseducation of Lauren Hill,” Nas performing “Illmatic,” Mobb Deep performing “The Infamous,” Mos Def and Talib Kweli performing “Black Star,” Raekwon and Ghostface performing “Only Built for a Cuban Linx,” Cypress Hill performing “Black Sunday,” and many more. http://www.rockthebells.net/
Austin City Limits
Technically the season of Fall doesn’t start until September 23rd, so I had to throw in Austin City Limits, which I think is the pinnacle of the festival season. Austin City Limits is celebrating its ten year anniversary this year and they are doing it in grand fashion. Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, Arcade Fire, Coldplay, My Morning Jacket, Fleet Foxes, Nas & Damian Marley, and a host of others.
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