Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Concert Series: Five Bands to See

With summer here, there are a slew of activities to enjoy, including trips to the shore, barbeque's, block parties, fireworks displays, ballgames, and outdoor concerts. Here is a small list of bands worth checking out this summer.

5. Of a Revolution (O.A.R.)
One of the better bands to emerge from college radio, Of a Revolution promises energy and slamming tunes with each set. Perhaps best known for their original hit, "That Was a Crazy Game of Poker," O.A.R. has established themselves commercially, with newfound hits in "Shattered" and "This Town," the latter of which has become the name for their current '09 summer tour. This go-around, O.A.R. headlines with Matt Nathanson (check out "Car Crash" and "Come on Get Higher" from this San Fran-based troubadour).
Visit for more information, including a local stopover at Bethel Woods, just down the road from Woodstock.
4. Earth, Wind, & Fire with Chicago
These two behemoths, like Elton John and Billy Joel before them, have made it a point in recent memory to join forces for a summer tour that is big on radio-chart toppers and nostalgia. These ultra-talented forces promise two jam-packed shows, complete with several songs in which both will be playing together for a display and range of talent that, even 30 years after their peak on the musical scene, delivers some hard-hitting, jazz and soul stylings. Earth, Wind, and Fire has channeled the Beatles for a track or two ("Gotta Get You Into My Life"), but has "brought the fire" with some other memorable tracks, including "Shining Star," "That's the Way of the World," and "Mighty Mighty" that translates relatively well to the live setting. Chicago, despite lineup changes that have affected their sound over the years, has delivered some stupendous hits in the form of "Saturday in the Park," "Make Me Smile," and "Colour the World," not to mention later hits in the Peter Cetera-laden tracks "You're the Inspiration" and "Glory of Love," that latter of Karate Kid II fame.
Visit for more tour related information, including a nearby stop at Bethel Woods in upstate New York.
3. Rascal Flatts
They are one of the few country-rock acts to produce mainstream hits that display their collective talents of a band at its apex, one whose live show is truly a spectacle to marvel over. Gary LeVox has, arguably, one of the best voices in the music business, a set of vocals that is not compromised on-stage whatsoever. Behind LeVox are the talented Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney, both of whom convinced Gary to join their musical pursuits in a chance meeting at Printer's Alley in Nashville, TN in 1999. The band will feature material from their latest effort, Unstoppable, with former Hootie and the Blowfish lead man Darius Rucker providing support as an opening act.
Visit for shows near you, including a stop at the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton, PA.
2. U2
Mind you, you'd have to be in Europe to savor the majority of their summer tour, but the European Union's fanbase is as rabid as they are stateside, promising some shows that allow the band to build off the energy that pulsates from the crowd night in and night out. Throughout the 360 Tour, U2 will be showcasing material from their latest album No Line on the Horizon, which Rolling Stone magazine touted as a classic on the level with Achtung Baby. Most recently, the band headlined several shows to support President Barack Obama's campaign, candidacy, and inauguration, even going so far as to feature tracks from Horizon on a five-night run on the David Letterman Show in April. You would think that the non-stop touring and global advocacy would tire the likes of Bono and the Edge out, but their efforts have been channeled into delivering diverse sets that promise a near-religious experience for fans that come out in droves to witness their high-energy shows. Visit for more tour information; they'll be stateside for good come September.

1. Dave Matthews Band
In having seen the band 8 times in concert, I can say, without question, that the Dave Matthews Band offers something unique through every single show they concoct, with setlists that portray a vast catalogue that exudes the good feelings of the summer season. The band boasts variety, various interpretations of their studio material, and jams that will leave you gaping in awe of the talents the band projects. In support of Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King, DMB will be putting on their first full tour without founding member Leroi Moore, the band's one-time sax player. With each show serving as a tribute to Moore, this summer proves to be even more magical than previous years.
Visit for local stops that include Montage Mountain in Scranton, PA and Bethel Woods in NY.

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