Most music fans know by now that summertime is prime time for touring bands. There is always a myriad of shows to attend during the summer months and it can be impossible to choose which ones to attend. Luckily, The Aquarian Weekly has got you covered. We researched the best concerts in the area and put together this guide to help you determine which shows are most worth your time. There’s something for everyone in this list from classic rock to alt-metal to ‘80s pop to hip-hop, so give this guide a read and we’re sure you’ll find something that piques your interest.
Cyndi Lauper & Boy George – May 25, May 26, May 28, May 29
Pop icons Cyndi Lauper and Boy George have teamed up for an extravagant tour this summer. Both artists have remained active since their prime in the ‘80s. Lauper released her 11th studio album, Detour, earlier this year, which consists of covers of 12 country western music standards. Boy George released his latest album, This Is What I do, back in 2013 to critical acclaim and also recently joined the cast of The Voice UK. Catch them both at the BeaconTheatre on May 25 and May 26, the Sands Bethlehem Event Center on May 28, and the Borgata on May 29.
Adam Sandler – May 25
It’s easy to forget that Adam Sandler, world famous movie star, got his start on the stage performing stand-up. To promote his latest film with Netflix, The Do-Over, Sandler is hitting the road and returning to his roots, alongside friends and fellow castmates David Spade, Nick Swardson, and Rob Schneider. In what is sure to be a night full of laughs, Sandler and company will be performing at Kings Theatre on May 25.
The Monkees– May 29 and June 1
On this tour, The Monkees are not only commemorating 50 years together as a band, a huge accomplishment in and of itself, but are also celebrating the release of their first new album in 20 years. The album, Good Times!, features new songs written by Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie, and a song co-written by Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller. Don’t miss The Monkees as they perform these new tracks alongside old favorites at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank on May 29 and at Town Hall in NYC on June 1.
Nada Surf – June 2 and Sept. 17
Nada Surf just released their eighth album, You Know What You Are, and the critics are raving. With influences ranging from ‘90s pop punk to Death Cab For Cutie, Nada Surf have always managed to create fresh and exciting new music. In 2012, former Guided By Voices guitarist Doug Gillard joined that band as a fourth member. Definitely catch them at World Café Live on June 2 and the Music Hall Of Williamsburg on Sept. 17.
Michael Arnone’s Crawfish Fest has been bringing the best of NOLA to New Jersey for nearly three decades now, and this year is shaping up to be yet another big one for the annual spectacular. Taking place from June 3-5 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, NJ, this year’s festival will include performances by Funky Meters, Marcia Ball, From Good Homes, Jon Cleary And The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Cowboy Mouth, Amanda Shaw and many, many more. For more details, check out crawfishfest.com.
Flight Of The Conchords – June 9, June 12, July 20, and July 24
Flight Of The Conchords have been out of hiatus for a couple years now, but they’ve still managed to remain on the quiet side. That’s about to change as they embark on a huge tour of the U.S. with stops at the Capitol Theatre on June 9, the Mann Center For Performing Arts on June 12, Forest Hills Stadium on July 20 and Central Park SummerStage on July 24. The band has stated that they have new material that they will be performing on this tour, so for anyone interested in New Zealand’s biggest comedy-folk duo, this is something you won’t want to miss.
Mary Chapin Carpenter – June 10, June 15, and June 28
Mary Chapin Carpenter has low-key been one of the most consistent singer/songwriters of our time. She topped the charts in 1993 with her cover of Lucinda Williams’ “Passionate Kisses.” Additionally, she is the only artist to win four consecutive Grammy awards for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. Her latest album, The Things That We Are Made Of, was just released earlier this month. Mary Chapin Carpenter will be performing at The Space AtWestbury on June 10, the State Theatre on June 15, and the Bergen Performing Arts Center on June 28.
Fifth Harmony – June 10 and June 11
One of the biggest pop acts in the world, Fifth Harmony is an all-girl band featuring Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei, Lauren Jauregui, Camila Cabello, and Dinah Jane. The quintet has been climbing the musical ladder ever since their appearance on The X Factor in 2012, as their debut album, Reflection, peaked at number five on the Billboard 200 after its January 2015 release. They are now touring in support of their sophomore album, 7/27, which will be released May 27. Catch them at the Mercer County Park Festival Grounds on June 10 and the Nikon AtJones Beach Theater on June 11.
Motion City Soundtrack – June 16, June 17, June 18, Aug. 5, and Aug. 6
After nearly 20 years and six albums, Motion City Soundtrack are calling it quits. It’s a shame since the five-piece has been one of the most endearingly consistent pop-punk bands in recent history. Their 2005 breakthrough album, Commit This To Memory, is widely considered a classic of the genre. But, alas, all good things must come to an end. Lucky for their fans, Motion City Soundtrack is embarking on a farewell tour across the country and will be stopping at Irving Plaza on June 16, the Gramercy Theatre on June 17, Nikon At Jones Beach Theater on June 18, the Sherman Theater on Aug. 5, and the Starland Ballroom on Aug. 6.
Thrice with La Dispute – June 16, June 17, and June 18
Later this month, Thrice will release To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere, their first album since 2011’s Major/Minor. The band has been active for almost 20 years and recently was on hiatus for the time in between those two records. They’re back now, however, and recent singles “Blood On The Sand” and “Black Honey” prove that the band hasn’t lost an ounce of talent while on break. Come see them perform tracks from their new album as well as old favorites at PlayStation Theater on June 16, The Fillmore on June 17, and the Starland Ballroom on June18.
Kamasi Washington – June 18
Kamasi Washington’s The Epic was heralded by many critics as one of the best albums of last year. This is no small feat for a double LP jazz album. The Epic contains tributes to old sounds and new ones as well, resulting in a cavalcade of sound that will catch the attention of everyone from casual jazz listeners to aficionados. Since releasing the album, Washington has taken his band on the road, playing a plethora of shows and music festivals. Washington will be participating in the summer concert series at Central Park SummerStage on June 18.
Dead & Company – June 20, June 25, June 26
Dead & Company consists of former members of the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann, along with John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti. Proving that the music of the Grateful Dead will forever live on, the band has been relentlessly touring since forming last year. Some may balk at the inclusion of John Mayer in the lineup, but his presence hardly constitutes sacrilege. He certainly has an affinity for the music and the guitar chops as well. Catch the whole lineup at the BB&T Pavilion on June 20 and Citi Field on June 25 and 26.
The Stone Roses – June 30
The Stone Roses are undoubtedly one of the most important and influential British rock bands probably ever. They cultivated the Britpop genre and made way for artists like Blur and Oasis to gain popularity across the pond. The Stone Roses never quite made as big of an impact in the States as their successors, which is a shame because it means that they don’t often play shows in the U.S. This show at Madison Square Garden is their only U.S. tour date this year and it’s the first time they’ve played the U.S. since their lukewarm reception at Coachella in 2013. All this makes this June 30 show a huge deal that you will not want to miss.
Weezer & Panic! At The Disco – June 30, July 2, July 5
Earlier this year, Weezer unveiled their 10th studio album and fourth self-titled album, Weezer (The White Album), to critical acclaim. Now they’re hitting the road with Panic! At the Disco, who are also touring behind their fifth album, Death Of A Bachelor. Both bands possess a rich catalogue of upbeat alt-rock tunes that will get your feet moving for sure. Make sure to catch them both at Nikon At Jones Beach Theater on June 30, the PNC Bank Arts Center on July 2, and the BB&T Pavilion on July 5.
Rakim – July 8, July 12, July 13, and July 14
Rakim is best known as half of the golden-age hip-hop duo Eric B. & Rakim. The duo’s 1987 album, Paid In Full, is widely considered an emblematic staple of the genre. Since then, MC Rakim has worked with everyone from Dr. Dre to Jay-Z to Kanye West as well as Linkin Park. As of late, Rakim has been working on new music and was reportedly working in the studio with Pharrell Williams last year. If we’re lucky we may get to hear some of those new tracks during his performances at The Wellmont Theater on July 8, BB King Blues Club on July 12 and July13, and Union Transfer on July 14.
Freedom Fest State Fair
The annual Freedom Fest State Fair is a four-day extravaganza that features carnival rides, attractions, entertainment and more. The fair takes place at the Horse Park Of New Jersey in Allentown, NJ from July 13-17, and set to perform this year are The River Dogs, Not Fade Away, the Artimus Pyle Band, Southern Steel, the Marshall Tucker Band and more. Tickets are available at the gate for just $15. For more information, go to freedomfeststatefair.com.
Jane’s Addiction with Dinosaur Jr. – July 15, July 16, July 17, and July 20
The Amphitheater At Coney Island Boardwalk is a relatively new spot for shows. This year, their concert series includes a show featuring two alt-rock titans whose music dates back to the late ‘80s. Jane’s Addiction’s Silver Spoon Anniversary Tour commemorates the 25th anniversary of the release of their classic album Ritual De Lo Habitual, and in order to celebrate they’ve brought along Dinosaur Jr. You won’t want to miss these two when they hit Coney Island on July 15, as well as the Stone Pony Summer Stage on July 16, the Capitol Theatre on July 17, and The Fillmore on July 20.
Eric Burdon & The Animals – July 17 and July 20
Eric Burdon is one of the most prolific figures in all of rock and roll. He’s released 50 albums in almost 50 years as the frontman for The Animals as well as for War. His latest album ‘Til Your River Runs Dry, came out in 2012. You can catch Eric Burdon & The Animals at the MAYO Performing Arts Center on July 17 and the Count Basie Theatre on July 20.
July 20, July 22, and July 23
The Summerland Tour is back for another go-round, and this year it’ll be hitting the SteelStacks – Levitt Pavilion in Bethlehem, PA on July 20, The Paramount in Huntington, NY on July 22, and the Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park, NJ on July 23. This explosive tour features Sugar Ray, Everclear, Lit and Sponge, and for fans of pop/alternative rock, this is a must-see.
Super Furry Animals – July 21 and July 22
Super Furry Animals are one of the most noteworthy bands to come out of Wales. They’ve even released Mwng, an album sung entirely in the Welsh language. Super Furry Animals have been around for over 25 years and have released nine studio albums in that time. They’ve been the recipient of numerous awards and have enjoyed a solid fanbase during that time. Their music is always on the psychedelic cutting edge and, although the band has remained quiet as of late, it’s more reason as ever to catch them at Webster Hall on July 21 and Union Transfer on July22.
Guns N’ Roses – July 23 and July 24
The tour is called the Not In This Lifetime Tour because no one could have predicted that one day Axl Rose and Slash would reunite and bring back the classic Guns N’ Roses lineup. But here we are. After two headlining performances at Coachella, the reunited Roses will be on the road for the majority of the summer. They’ll be rocking through all their classic tracks on July 23 and 24 at MetLife Stadium.
Heart & Joan Jett And The Blackhearts + Cheap Trick – July 28, July 31, and Sept. 10
This is a show that any fan of classic rock won’t want to miss. Heart, most famous for that driving guitar riff on “Barracuda,” will be joined by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts as well as Cheap Trick resulting in a truly star-studded lineup. These three bands all have multiple memorable hits under their belt and seeing them all perform on the same night is a once in a lifetime experience. Catch them at Nikon Theater At Jones Beach on July 28, the BB&TPavilion on July 31, and Sept. 10 at the PNC Bank Arts Center.
Deftones with Refused – Aug. 2, Aug. 5, Aug. 6, and Aug. 10
One of the biggest stories in alt-metal news this year has been the return of Deftones. The band was quiet for a couple years following the release of Koi No Yokan in 2012. Their latest record, Gore, was released in April to a great deal of critical acclaim. Joining them for this tour is Refused, who recently reunited after a long hiatus and released their fourth studio album¸ Freedom, just last year. Catch both bands at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center on Aug. 2, the Amphitheater At Coney Island on Aug. 5, Festival Pier At Penn’s Landing on Aug. 6, and the Stone Pony Summer Stage on Aug. 10.
Don Henley – Aug. 10 and Sept. 21
After the tragic passing of Glenn Frey earlier this year, there are now far fewer opportunities to see members of the Eagles live. Luckily, Don Henley has us covered for the time being. Not only does Henley possess the cred of being a founding member of one of the greatest American rock bands of the ‘70s, he also boasts an impressive solo career. Perhaps his best known track is the nostalgic “Boys Of Summer,” which won a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance in 1984. See him perform songs from throughout his fruitful career at Musikfest on Aug. 10 and the Amphitheater At Coney Island on Sept. 21.
Drive Like Jehu – Aug. 11 and Aug. 12
In 2014, ‘90s post-hardcore legends Drive Like Jehu played together for the first since 1995 at Spreckels Organ Pavilion in San Diego’s Balboa Park. The collaboration with the massive organ was supposed to be their one and only reunion show, but it turns out that the band thankfully has chosen to continue touring. After a handful of dates last year mostly in California, the band is finally making their way east. They’ll be playing at The Bell House on Aug. 11 and Irving Plaza on Aug. 12.
Ani DiFranco – Aug. 23
Since 1990, Ani DiFranco has been crafting her own sophisticated version of folk rock. She has recorded 18 studio albums since being active, most of which were released on her self-founded record label, Righteous Babe Records. With heavy reliance on fingerpicking and alternate tunings, she proudly stands in the tradition of Joni Mitchell. DiFranco has won numerous awards for not only her music, but for her dedication to activism. Ani DiFranco will make an appearance at the Newton Theatre on Aug. 23.