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Charlotte’s Ultimate Summer Concert Preview

posted by Andy Goh June 28, 2017
Bruno Mars. Image via bbc.co.uk

Summers in the Queen City involve lots of sweet tea, outdoor activities like cookouts and festivals and plenty of dynamic live music events. Our amazing performance locales are set to host some of the biggest names in music over the next few steamy summer months. Here’s your guide to the shows we’re most looking forward to, including great local bands for $10 a ticket and some of the biggest names in music filling the Spectrum Center at over $200 a pop.

Sturgill Simpson
July 7, Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre

Sturgill Simpson. Image via Austin360.com

Simpson’s music is a sweet, raucous and even jazzy evolution of country music hearkening back to the outlaw country sounds of Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. Sturgill Simpson earned a Grammy win for Best Country Album and a Best Album nomination for 2016’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. Just his third album, it’s written as a welcome letter to his newly-born son. Keep an ear out for his touching cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom”. The show is already sold out, but tickets are available on the resale market. Tickets: $50 and up

Brantley Gilbert, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley
Multiple Dates, PNC Music Pavilion

Brad Paisley. Image via livenation.com

Outdoor nights in the middle of the summer are the perfect nights to pick up seats on the lawn of PNC Pavilion in the University area to enjoy these five country crossover acts. Brantley Gilbert’s raucous party anthems will have you breaking out the red plastic cups, Georgia-born Jason Aldean will play songs that remind you a of dirt road at dusk, Florida Georgia Line’s duo of Brian Kelly and Tyler Hubbard bring a rock and pop heavy set of songs ready made for you to sing along to, Luke Bryan’s “Hunting, Fishing and Loving Everyday” tour speaks for itself, and Brad Paisley is one of country music’s most decorated stars with three Grammy awards.
Brantley Gilbert Tickets: $24 and up
Jason Aldean Tickets: $23 and up
Florida Georgia Line Tickets: $34 and up
Luke Bryan Tickets: $24 and up
Brad Paisley Tickets: $20 and up

My Morning Jacket + Gary Clark Jr.
July 8, Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre

Gary Clark Jr. Image via grantland.com

If a blues heavy, psychedelic, guitar-powered rock show is what you’re looking for, look no further. My Morning Jacket has emerged as one of the top acts in touring, and front-man Jim James might be one of the best talents in rock today. You won’t want to miss the other half of this bill, however. Gary Clark Jr. infuses lots of soul, rock and blues behind a wailing wall of guitar and vocals. Tickets: $30 and up

July 12, Neighborhood Theatre

STRFKR is an indie rock band from Portland, Oregon whose sound is witty and atmospheric with a conscious dose of pop influence to keep the dance floor moving. While their music may seem aloof at first, there’s plenty of instrumental and compositional depth beneath the surface. See this rising band at NoDa’s Neighborhood Theatre and you might hear their buoyant cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. Tickets: $21 advance, $23 day of show

Tedeschi Trucks Band
July 16, Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre

Tedeschi Trucks Band. Image via relix.com

Any other time or any other Tedeschi Trucks Band (or TTB) show, I’d already highly recommend this bluesy, southern, soulful gospel rock band’s ticket, but the July 16 show at the Uptown Amphitheater is particularly notable. First, TTB is partnering with NoDa Brewing to produce a Peach Slide Pale Ale, proceeds of which will benefit the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. Second, the band will no doubt honor the late Gregg Allman, whose legendary Allman Brothers Band Derek Trucks is a member of. This will certainly be a soulful experience on a southern summer evening outdoors. Tickets: $32.50 and up

July 17, Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre

Bass mad scientist Les Claypool bring his sonic alchemy to Charlotte in the form of Primus, his San Francisco-based band of over 30 years. Claypool has long been known to have an eccentric, unconventional and warped style of bass playing, but it always translates into a one-of-a-kind show. This trio counts both Buckethead and Dana Carvey as former members of its band, as well as having composed the iconic theme song to South Park. Tickets: $27.50 and up

July 18, Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre

Spoon. Image via consequenceofsound.net

Veteran rock quartet Spoon will bring their indie, pop and psychedelic rock sound to the former Uptown Amphitheatre stage on a warm night in July. Spoon, formed in 1993 in Austin, just released their ninth album, Hot Thoughts, in March and sound as fresh as ever on the record. Over the years, Spoon has managed to tightrope the line between all out absurd oddity and sensible pop composition all the while channeling that nexus into high quality, if not slightly idiosyncratic music. Tickets: $18 and up

Phantogram + Tycho
July 22, The Fillmore

Phantogram. Image via abcnews.com

Electric pop duo Phantogram return to the Fillmore just eight months after their last appearance in the Queen City. If this show is anything like the last one, it will be a visually stunning, high energy and bass-heavy night. The combination of Sarah Barthel’s vocals and Josh Carter’s production and guitar playing produce gripping live shows that are simultaneously electric pop, rock, and hip-hop. On the other side of this bill, down-tempo producer Tycho brings hypnotic ambient instrumentals to the stage. Tickets: $35 general admission

Logic + Joey Badass
August 1, Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre

Logic. Image via forbes.com

It’s not hard to find laments of the state of hip-hop today according to many long-time listeners. However, young rappers like Logic and Joey Bada$$ have restored faith in the old guard with their brand of thoughtful, lyrically sharp rhymes and head-nodding beats. You can hear the hard rapping boom bap of the mid-nineties east coast scene in every Joey Bada$$ line, while DC-area rapper Logic has been astounding audiences at every show with his rapid-fire flow and deft delivery. Tickets: $30 and up

Gillian Welch
August 4, Knight Theater

David Rawlings and Gillian Welch. Image via bbc.co.uk

While many know about Gillian Welch as one of the driving forces behind the smash hit soundtrack to 2002’s O Brother Where Art Thou?, Welch’s folk credentials extend far beyond that. Having released seven albums since 1996 with her musical partner David Rawlings, Welch has sound rooted in bluegrass and folk, but isn’t afraid to reach out and experiment with elements of rock, swing, and punk. The Knight Theater should be an excellent venue to see Welch’s fiercely intimate and personal performance. Tickets: $36.50 and up

J. Cole
August 9, Spectrum Center

J. Cole. Photo via Jeremy Deputat/Red Bull

While the South has held the proverbial (and of course highly subjective) crown of hip-hop for the better part of the last decade, North Carolina’s presence at the party was the wallflower to the Houston, New Orleans and Atlanta dance floor. Almost single-handedly, however, Fayetteville native J. Cole has made fans stand up and take notice of the Old North State. Since being signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation in 2009, Cole (whose real first name is Jermaine) has produced hit after hit across four platinum albums (two of which had no features). Fans should expect a voracious show with Cole back in his home state. Tickets: $39.50 and up

Charlotte Funk Fest
August 12, PNC Music Pavilion

Funk Fest is a multi-city tour that brings the most luscious and head-nodding grooves from R&B and hip-hop to the Queen City in August. This year’s headliners include former So So Def crooners Jagged Edge, Atlanta rap legends Goodie Mob, Babyface and funk/soul goddess Erykah Badu. A one-day festival, Funk Fest is a great way to see some of your favorite R&B acts all on one bill. Tickets: $35 and up

God Save the Queen City
August 25 & 26, Neighborhood Theatre

Since apparel printing company Ink Floyd introduced the God Save the Queen City Festival in 2011, it has become one of the main places to see some of the bands that make up the heart of the Charlotte music scene. Originally held at the Chop Shop before it closed, the event has found a new home at the nearby Neighborhood Theatre and will feature ten bands over two days including Benji Hughes, Ancient Cities, Daddy Issues, Faye and more. Tickets: $25 for a Two-Day Pass

Kendrick Lamar
August 29, Spectrum Center

Kendrick Lamar. Photo via Getty Images and npr.org

Fresh off of the release of his fourth studio album, DAMN., Kendrick Lamar might be the biggest name in hip hop, and up there with any other name in the music industry. In a hip-hop world dominated by slurred lyrics and off-beat flows, Kendrick Lamar is the rap game Walt Whitman. A lyrical Michelangelo, K. Dot’s rhymes are a Rubik’s Cube of metaphors and layered symbolism spread across bars, verse, songs and entire albums. Extraordinary and intense performances like those at the 2015 Grammys and his headlining spot at this year’s Coachella have made Lamar a must-see show. Tickets: $39.50 and up

Ed Sheeran
September 3, Spectrum Center

Ed Sheeran. Image via billboard.com

Multiple Grammy winner Ed Sheeran rides the wave of momentum from his recently released album ÷ (“divide”) into the bright lights of the Spectrum Center this September. Sheeran has been a red hot name in music ever since he began touring as an opening act for Taylor Swift in 2012. Sheeran is an expert songwriter and composer, with his songs often displaying a heartfelt simplicity with a lively pop engine when he kicks it into fifth gear. The show is already sold out, but tickets are available on the resale market. Tickets: $99 and up

John Prine
September 16, Belk Theater

John Prine. Image via bbc.co.uk

John Prine may not be a household name in folk music the way a Woody Guthrie, Gillian Welch, Doc Watson or Bob Dylan are, but Prine stands eye-to-eye with all of them as a composer and songwriter. Since releasing his self-titled debut album in 1971, the folk singer from Chicago has made a reputation for witty and whimsical songs rooted in a crafty soil of wisdom and sentient humor. Prine’s music is easily accessible, but a diligent listeners will be rewarded with layered meanings and depths that extend well beyond the surface. Tickets: $59 and up

Bruno Mars + Anderson .Paak
September 14, Spectrum Center

Bruno Mars. Image via bbc.co.uk

There may not be a better show to see this year to get up and cut a serious groove right there in your $200+ Spectrum Center seat than this one. Bruno Mars’ one goal at a show is to get you strutting, shaking and shimmying with infectious melodies, inescapable rhythms and eminently singable hooks. Anderson .Paak was 2016’s breakout star of the year, releasing the album Malibu and his duet album Yes Lawd! with producer Knxwledge, while appearing on projects ranging from the Compton soundtrack to the new A Tribe Called Quest album. Originally a drummer in a church choir, .Paak is a skilled and knowledgeable practitioner of soul, funk, doo wop, gospel and hip-hop, making this double bill with Bruno Mars an absolute can’t miss show. Tickets: $223 and up

Katy Perry
September 27, Spectrum Center

Katy Perry. Image via youtube.com

Katy Perry has been one of the biggest names in music since 2008 and her elaborate, high energy stage shows make her one of the biggest names on the touring scene as well. While she may not dance with sharks or ride golden lions like she did in her 2015 Super Bowl performance, you can still expect to sing along with her most popular songs, including “I Kissed a Girl”, “Teenage Dream”, “Firework” and more. Venues like the Spectrum Center were made for extravagant shows like this one, so buy a ticket and be amazed. Tickets: $50 and up

Jason Isbell
September 29 & 30, Ovens Auditorium

Jason Isbell. Image via Gambit Weekly

After building a following with the Drive By Truckers in the early and mid-2000’s, Jason Isbell has carved out a name for himself as a successful solo artist  playing music that playfully shifts between country, rock, folk and Americana. The Nashville Sound, Isbell’s sixth studio album, was released earlier this month. Isbell’s backing band, the 400 Unit (named after a psychiatric ward in their native north Alabama) is a talented lineup of musicians who are sure to make this date at Ovens one you don’t want to miss. Tickets: $34 and up

Recurring Concert Series

River Jam
Thursday & Saturday nights through September, U.S. National Whitewater Center

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

For a complete music, outdoor and activity filled experience, River Jam is an absolute can’t miss event. Thursday and Saturday nights at the U.S. National Whitewater Center local bands ranging from Sinners and Saints, Elonzo Wesley, Bombadil, The New Familiars and others fill one of Charlotte’s most unique facilities with blissful music while you enjoy the show from the banks of the man-made rapids with a cool craft beer in your hand. Best of all? The show is free (just pay $5 for parking). River Jam 2017 Lineup

Alive After Five
Thursdays until September 15, The Epicenter

Alive After Five has been an uptown Charlotte summer tradition for many years. Once held at the Wells Fargo Plaza, AAF has since moved to the middle of The Epicenter, putting it in the middle of the action with plenty of bars and restaurants surrounding the music. Alive After Five usually attracts many young professionals, making it a lively and often rowdy affair, but one well worth attending if you work Uptown. Each show is free, so stop by the Epicenter Thursday nights after work for some live music and cold brews. Alive After Five 2017 Lineup

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