A 2017 Guide to Summer Concerts in Charlotte

By Amber Donoghue

April 27, 2017 (Updated May 22)

It’s that time of year again. Counting the hours of work away until you can hit your next favorite show. Concert season. Some people call it summer but isn’t it much more than that? Humidity mixed with that emotion that evolves from the music we love. Add a few blades of grass, rays of warm sunlight and a connection with complete and total stranger through that universal language called music and you’ve got the bones of sanity that will hold you up the rest of the year.

What are you going to build your skeleton with? These are our top summer show picks, so far:

Lake Street Dive – June 4 at Primal Brewing

Paul Simon – June 6 at Uptown Ampitheatre

Legend. Do you need another reason? The skyline of the Queen City will frame the 75 year old musician for a night of all his greatest hits. Under the moon hanging above the Uptown Amphitheatre, listen to Paul tell you about “50 Ways to Leave your Lover.” Snap your fingers and swing to “Loves Me Like a Rock” with someone you don’t know. Shake your shoulders loose and belt out the words to “You Can Call Me Al.” We lost a lot of good music makers last year. Be grateful for this one.

Tegan & Sara – June 8 at Fillmore

At first listen, Tegan & Sara sound like an overly sentimental candy pop band. As you continue to soak-in their melodic synth-pop sounds, you realize there is an essential artistry in writing pop music with a slight edge. A sonic range of drums, synths, and effects, paired with their songwriting and harmonious singing, Tegan & Sara bring simple complexity and color to tired 80s-style pop music.

Chance the Rapper – June 8 at PNC Music Pavilion

You should know the story by now, 24-year-old Chance the Rapper is the first artist to win a Grammy with a streaming-only album (or mixtape). The Chicago native’s uniquely poetic and humorous style of rap/singing has earned him a ton of adoration from young hip-hop fans and the music industry titans alike.

Junior Astronomers, Cold Fronts, and Cuzco – June 9 at Neighborhood Theatre 

Kaleo – June 10 at Fillmore

Think Dirty Dancing house party meets the boy your mother warned you about. Kaleo is the Hawaiian term for sound or voice. This Icelandic band is the perfect example of rock and roll, the kind our parents were worried about. Bring an accountability buddy and make good decisions at this show. I dare you not to move.

Muse – June 15 at PNC Music Pavilion

Theatrically talented British rock and roll musicians Muse put on a spectacular live show. They are like The Killers on the other side of the pond. A little older. A little more mature. This proggy classic progressive metal, electric, rock opera is unwavering of time and trends. They’re going to make good music no matter what decade they play in and it’s going to be unapologetically Muse.

All Them Witches – June 16 at Visulite Theatre

Touring with their junior album Sleeping Through the War, All Them Witches bring that perfect mix of post-modern psychedelic sound. Catch this Friday night show at the intimate The Visulite Theatre on a hot summer night. It’ll be that show you caught before the band got big.

Elvis Costello – June 21 at Uptown Ampitheatre

Another show for the résumé. This British rock legend came on the scene in 1977 with My Aim is True and he’s been hitting the Billboard top 100 repeatedly ever since. There are 50 years worth of reasons why you should see this show but if you need only one then let that be singing “Pump It Up” dancing on the lawn with your fist pumping in the air.

Lizzo – June 22 at The Underground

Combining a unique set of talents like a Lauryn Hill, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez and Amy Winehouse super-artist, Melissa Jefferson is a female vocal powerhouse you’ve never heard of. When St. Paul & the Broken Bones asked Jefferson to share the stage with them to sing “A Change is Gonna Come” the music world had to sit up and pay attention to this now 29 year old artist. Releasing Coconut Oil in October of last year, this show is going to be pure fun, just like summer should be.

Chicago and the Doobie Brothers – June 24 at PNC Music Pavilion

Grab lawn seats and enjoy a hot summer night on a quilt stretched out with friends. It’s classic, nostalgic, and damn good music. It’s gonna be a big sing along with lots of weird dancing. Chicago and the Doobie Brothers are the ultimate summer party combo. Don’t sleep on it.

Oddisee & Good Compny – June 25 at Visulite Theatre

Sturgill Simpson – July 7 at Uptown Ampitheatre

Real. Country. Music. They will credit Sturgill Simpson for reviving country music for our generation in the history books. Leave your pick-up truck and cheating wife lyrics on that crumpled up paper in the trash. There are some people with the gift of expressing the understanding of the pain and beauty in life. Enter Sturgill Simpson.

My Morning Jacket and Gary Clark Jr. – July 8 at Uptown Ampitheatre

Austin Texas born Gary Clark Jr is an old soul with a guitar. Sharing the stage with the likes of Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, and BB King, Clark has been in good company but is still an entity all his own. He plays his guitar, your heart stops, then you remember why you’re alive. Jim James gets ahold of your soul and takes it for a ride. My

Morning Jacket is a special show because its like nothing else. Magic floats on top of the air around you as he sings. Having played with each other for nearly two decades, MMJ will have the Uptown Ampitheatre echoing with beautiful sounds with epic anthems like “One Big Holiday” and “I’m Amazed.”

STRFKR – July 12 at Neighborhood Theatre

Another summer soundtrack, the Portland born STRFKR is not to be missed! Appropriately playing The Neighborhood Theater, Joshua Hodges indie rock band is a great show to catch solo or with friends. Dance montage opportunities galore, this a great show to shake off all that serious grownup stuff we carry around.

Tedeschi Trucks Band – July 16 at Uptown Ampitheatre

Rock n’ roll love stories are the best kind. Husband and wife team Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks are like a modern day Johnny and June. He plays the guitar and she compliments with that voice. That voice. Susan Tedeschi will make you stand still as she sings “Midnight in Harlem.” Derek’s guitar plays against her lyrics and your heart beat seems to follow the melody as the two seem to talk to each other on stage. With the grass under your feet from the Uptown Amphitheater, this is the only way to spend a hot July night.

Primus – July 17 at Uptown Ampitheatre

Let’s get weird! Les Claypool is not from this planet. Starting the band in 1984, these cats have always been cool in that “on the fray” kind of way. Funky bass guitar licks, jam circles, pig masks and unapologetic Primus t-shirt wearing fans will rejoice for a fun summer rock show at the ampitheatre.

Spoon – July 18 at Uptown Ampitheatre

On the festival circuit all year in 2016, Spoon is back! Releasing Hot Thoughts in March this Austin, Texas based band has stood the test of time. Together since 1993, there has been a few band member changes but the sound has always been there. Remember when you thought The Black Keys were bringing that rock and roll vibe back to the radio? They were using Spoons playbook.

Phantogram and Tycho – July 22 at Fillmore

Logic and Joey Bada$$ – August 1 at PNC Music Pavilion

J. Cole – August 9 at Spectrum Center

Hip hop and rap don’t exist within the confines of state lines anymore. North Carolina son, J.Cole is bringing that fresh sound to the scene and knocking down stereotypes and boarders across the country. The self taught pianist is more than a lyricist, but an artist; producing singles for Kendrick Lamar and Janet Jackson. In April of this year 4 Your Eyez Only went platinum. Want to feel even better about buying a ticket to this show? Dreamville Foundation, a nonprofit that Cole runs has been housing single mothers rent free in his childhood home at 2014 Forest Hills Drive in Fayetteville, NC since 2015.

John Mayer – August 15 at PNC Music Pavilion 

This guy has it all figured out. Write a few basic tunes that make a ton of money. Play guitar like a bad-ass low-key, then earn the respect of every music legend in the business. Play with Dead and Company and turn all the Dead Heads into believers. Think John Mayer’s a Dbag? Your girlfriend probably just bought tickets to this show. So you should go.

Kendrick Lamar, YG, and D.R.A.M. – August 29 at Spectrum Center

We’ll be updating this list throughout the summer. Be sure to subscribe to our Weekend Guide for more Charlotte area concerts and giveaways!

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