Cowboy Junkies

The summer concert schedule is dominated by country, but there's still a show for every taste

While country acts dominate the summer concert schedule, there's still a show for every taste Back in February, Live Nation began pushing a Country MegaTicket that included admission to all of the summer's big country concerts. And there are a lot of them. They kind of dominate the summer schedule. Tim McGraw played a sold-out show at the end of May to kick it off and then all the biggest names (Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Jason Aldean, to name a few) have dates there in the coming months.  But there's more to the summer concert season than just country. Here's a rundown of what's coming our way.


The month starts off with an appearance by veteran bluesman B.B. King (June 7), who comes to the Akron Civic Theatre. At 87 years old, the guy is one of the last living blues legends and he still plays about 100 shows a year. Also coming early in June is a package tour featuring former boy bands New Kids on the Block and 98 Degrees (June 9), who play Quicken Loans Arena with veteran R&B act Boyz II Men. Ten years ago, this would have been the hot ticket for teens and tweens. Now, however, it'll just be a night of nostalgia for twentysomethings.

Brit alt-rockers alt-J (June 11) have one of the lamest band names (it's really just a symbol) but that didn't keep them from winning the coveted Mercury Prize last year. They're not as big in the States as they are in the UK, but they're getting bigger here. Their show at House of Blues is already sold out. Shock rockers Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson (June 13) have teamed up for their tour together ever. Manson clearly owes a debt to Cooper, so he'll open the show at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica. Portugal.The Man (June 13) isn't a man per se but an indie rock band with a terrific new album produced by Danger Mouse (the sonic architect behind the Black Keys last couple of albums). The group plays House of Blues.

Classic rockers Fleetwood Mac (June 15) have put their differences aside and are on a long arena tour that includes a stop at the Q. Expect to hear all the hits, plus a couple of new songs the band has just recorded for an EP. On tour to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of their best album, Remember Right Now, punk rockers Spitafield (June 16) play the Grog Shop. It'll be one helluva a party when Kenny Chesney (June 20) returns to play Blossom. He's the country equivalent of Jimmy Buffett so bring the beach ball and blanket. Best known for his acting abilities, Kevin Costner (June 21) fronts the country rock band Modern West. He brings the band to town to play Brothers Lounge.

Some would argue that old school hip-hop is better than anything you hear on the radio these days. If that's your take on the current state of hip-hop, you'll want to check out Kings of the Mic (June 25), a festival featuring LL Cool J, Ice Cube, De La Soul and Public Enemy at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica. Perhaps the summer's best country double billing, Rascal Flatts and The Band Perry (June 28) roll into town to play Blossom. Sharon Jones and her backing band the Dap-Kings (June 30) have been through town numerous times and always put on a good show. They've graduated to playing bigger venues and headline Cain Park. The seemingly ageless Zombies (June 30) have regularly come through town ever since reuniting and they played the Beachland Ballroom.


The month begins with a bang as Kid Rock (July 2) plays Blossom. The Detroit rocker isn't as popular as he once was but has reduced tickets to only $20 to cater to fans who still like his particular brand of rap-rock. Columbus-based jam band O.A.R. (July 7) makes Cleveland a regular stop on its summer tour and will play at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica while celebrated singer-guitarist Richard Thompson (July 8) is at Kent Stage. We've never had Bieber fever, but anyone who does will want to check out Justin Bieber (July 13) when he plays Quicken Loans Arena. Bon Jovi (July 14) is spending his summer playing stadiums and he's at FirstEnergy Stadium with local hero Michael Stanley opening the show. Speaking of local heroes, Machine Gun Kelly and Kid Cudi (July 14) headline Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica. Indie rockers Animal Collective (July 16) play House of Blues as they make up for a date that was cancelled earlier this year.

Seminal proto-punk act Wire (July 17) is at the Beachland Ballroom. The past couple of Warped Tours (July 18) have leaned more toward metalcore and screamo and this year's installment that touches down at Blossom is no different. The line-up features acts such as Sleeping with Sirens, We Came As Romans and Bring Me the Horizon. It's hard to find any veteran punk bands on the bill. Soul Rebels (July 19 and 20) sold out Mahall's when they played the small club the last time they swung through town so they're now playing two nights there. Country singer Toby Keith (July 19) makes his annual sojourn out to Blossom and recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Heart (July 22) are also on the venue's schedule. The up-and-coming alt-rock act Imagine Dragons (July 30) plays Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica. The month concludes with something for the kids as the Nickoledeon act Big Time Rush (July 31) plays Blossom.


August kicks off predictably enough with a big country show as Blake Shelton (Aug. 1) plays Blossom but over at the Beachland Ballroom, former Husker Du frontman Bob Mould (Aug. 1) makes a rare appearance in town. Alt-rockers The Killers (Aug. 5) aren't as popular as they once were, but they're still regularly out on the road and they play Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica. Singer-songwriter John Mayer (Aug. 6) is also at Blossom with one-hit wonder Phillip Phillips opening. The next night, Lil Wayne (Aug. 7), who teams up with T.I. and 2Chainz, will tear the place up.  

Boy bands continue to come out of the woodwork and Backstreet Boys (Aug. 10) are at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica while roots rockers Old Crow Medicine Show (Aug. 16) are at the Ohio Theatre. Last year, country singer Jason Aldean (Aug. 23) sold out Blossom in record time. He's back at the venue again this summer in a show that will likely sell out. Maroon 5 and American Idol alum Kelly Clarkson (Aug. 26) have teamed up for a tour that also touches down at Blossom. On his first extensive tour in 18 years, '80s rocker Adam Ant (Aug. 28) comes to the Agora Theatre.

Phew. Start making your plans pronto.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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