Charlotte Spring Concert Guide

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 By Mitchell Franklin

March 5, 2019 (*Updated April 10*)

Winter is the time of year where everyone seems to get complacent. It’s cold, the sun barely shines, and events seem to dwindle due to holidays and weather. Basically, it’s the time of year where you spend far too much time huddled in your home binge-watching whatever show you can find on Netflix. But spring is just around the corner, so it’s time to break out of those habits, get out of the house, and live a little. There is a whole slew of great concerts coming through Charlotte early this year, and we have taken the opportunity to highlight some of the shows that you don’t want to miss. Whether you’re a hip-hop head, folk purist, rocker, or indie elitist, there are plenty of performances to go see.

Leon Bridges – April 11 at Uptown Amphitheatre

A soul singer from Texas, Leon Bridges made a name for himself by performing songs with a throwback sound reminiscent of the 60’s. As he’s moved forward with his career and released his latest album, Good Thing, Bridges is showing his ability to craft more modern tinged pop songs. His voice always remains front and center, showing off his rich and smooth tones that shine through in live performances.

Death Cab for Cutie – April 12 at Ovens Auditorium 

Death Cab for Cutie has been a revolving cast of musicians for the last 22 years, centered around singer-songwriter Ben Gibbard. In the early 2000’s they found major label success and had songs prominently featured in shows such as The O.C. and Scrubs, including their biggest hit “I Will Follow You Into the Dark.” Their latest albums have incorporated more synthesizers and drum machines into their typically guitar-based work, reminiscent of Gibbard’s other project, The Postal Service.

Lil Baby – April 19 at The Fillmore

Lil Baby’s had an incredibly fast ascent in the hip hop community. He started with releasing his first mixtape in April of 2017, and just two short years later he’s headlining a show at The Fillmore and has put out albums with features from Drake, Young Thug, Lil Yachty, and Offset. The Atlanta rapper delivers his lines melodically over trap beats, telling stories about his past struggles and his shifting his focus towards music after a couple of years in jail.

Tuck Fest – April 25-28 at USNWC 

Returning for its 7th year, the US National Whitewater Center will be hosting Tuck Fest again this spring. The multi-day festival features a wide array of activities from raft races to yoga to kayaking and, of course, live music. This year’s performers include J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, Tyler Childers, The Milk Carton Kids, and many more. Plan for a full weekend out in the sun, and get ready to experience all that the USNWC has to offer.

Lyrical Lemonade Presents Lil Mosey – April 26 at The Underground

Lil Mosey is at the age where most kids would be in high school, but instead he is spending his spring touring around the country. The 17-year-old rapper is supporting his debut album, Northsbest, showcasing what he describes as “melodic rapping.” The Seattle MC has a couple of hits, including “Pull Up,” and this show will be a great opportunity to catch a young star on the rise.

Lord Huron – April 27 at The Fillmore

Americana-tinged folk rock isn’t the genre that immediately comes to mind when thinking of L.A., but California-based Lord Huron is crafting exactly that. After their single “The Night We Met” was prominently featured in Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” the band has seen a large increase in popularity. They released their first album on a major label, Vide Noir, in April of last year, which featured more bass, drums, and distortion than their previous work.

Camp Cope – April 30 at Snug Harbor

Camp Cope are out to make a difference in the toxic, male-dominated field of indie-rock. The all-female trio from Australia holds no punches, especially on their latest album, How to Socialize & Make Friends. Songs on this album focus on unwanted advances, power dynamics in relationships, and female musicians being shoehorned into opening sets. The bandmates are always fighting for equality, from writing essays on music industry discrimination to calling out festivals for barely booking any female musicians.

Gunna – May 1 at The Fillmore

Gunna, a young rapper signed to Young Thug’s label YSL Records, is trying to get out of his mentor’s shadow. Known for his series of Drip Season mixtapes and his collaborative mixtape with Lil Baby, Drip Harder, the rapper sounds much like Young Thug before he got big. Using a combination or rapping and singing, he is able to make some moving and affective songs that show the he can grow into something great.

Steve Gunn – May 2 at Neighborhood Theatre

Steve Gunn initially became famous for his fingerstyle guitar work, particularly as a member of Kurt Vile’s backing band, The Violators. The guitarist has since stepped out into being a singer-songwriter, and is showing his aptitude for creating emotive songs with poignant lyrics. In typical folk-rock style, Gunn is frequently singing stories about characters out on the road who are exploring and wandering on their way to their destination. His music is familiar and comfortable, letting the listener relax and drift away.

Lucy Dacus – May 4 at Visulite Theatre 

Fresh off the heels of her excellent sophomore album Historian and her super-group’s debut boygenius EP, Lucy Dacus is bringing her indie-rock show to the Queen City. With her sorrowful vocals and the huge dynamic swells of the music, audiences can expect to be swept up in the power of the moment. Keep an eye out for new music from Dacus in 2019, as she releases singles to celebrate various holidays.

PJ Morton – May 5 at Neighborhood Theatre 

Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist PJ Morton returns to Charlotte. Boasting collaborations and production credits with BJ The Chicago Kid, Busta Rhymes, Jermaine Dupri, Jazmine Sullivan, Monica, India.Arie, and many more, Morton will perform songs from his 2017 Grammy-nominated album, Gumbo for this intimate show.

Smino – May 6 at The Underground

Smino, the St. Louis rapper and singer, is bringing the Hoopti Tour to Charlotte. His latest album, NØIR, blends neo-soul, funk, and rap into a similar sound as contemporaries Chance the Rapper and Noname. Be sure to look out for a rumored collaborative album coming later this year from Smino, Noname, and Saba.

Garbage – May 8 at The Fillmore

Formed in 1993, during the height of grunge, Garbage has been creating music together for over 25 years now. The alternative rock band creates an interesting blend of sounds, which the band has described as “taking pop music and making it as horrible sounding as we can.” They incorporate many different genres, including trip-hop, grunge, 80’s rock, and techno into their pop songwriting. The band has teased releasing a new album this year, so audiences can hope to hear some samplings of their new material at this show.

India.Arie – May 9 at Ovens Auditorium 

Four-time Grammy award winning singer-songwriter India.Arie is bringing The Worthy Tour to Charlotte. Her new album, Worthy, is all about the realization of everyone’s worthiness, without having to do something to earn it. She is an empowering, important figure, inspiring others to achieve personal and spiritual growth, and challenging pre-conceived racial and gender biases.

Shakey Graves – May 10 at The Fillmore

Once known for his one-man band touring setup, complete with a customized suitcase to function as a kick drum/tambourine, Shakey Graves will be bringing his full band through Charlotte. The Americana group is touring to support last year’s Can’t Wake Up, which finds the band expanding their musical palette, creating songs that ebb and flow and keep listeners on their toes. Filled with energetic guitar lines, vocal harmonies, and some synthesizer embellishments, the group is growing into a powerful unit, and are sure to put on a show that will enthrall the whole crowd.

The Struts – May 13 at The Underground

For people who weren’t alive to experience classic rock and glam acts in their prime, The Struts may be one of the closest experiences they can get. The English rock band lists Queen, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, and Def Leppard as influences, and frontman Luke Spiller has been described as “the musical lovechild of Freddie Mercury and Mick Jagger.” They have a reputation for putting on a great show, and have had the opportunity to play with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Foo Fighters, and many other legends.

Johnnyswim – May 13 at The Fillmore

Husband and wife duo, Johnnyswim, are coming through the Queen City to promote their upcoming album, Moonlight. The two singer-songwriters work together to create pop songs with folk and soul undertones, similar to contemporaries such as The Civil Wars and The Lone Bellow. Their show should feature plenty of songs examining their shared stories and bond created by working with your spouse day in and out.

Tash Sultana – May 14 at The Fillmore 

The incredibly talented Australian multi-instrumentalist Tash Sultana will be bring her unique amalgam of psychedelic and R&B reggae rock  to Charlotte. Playing over 20 instruments and also boasting a stellar voice, Sultana is truly a “one-person” band and musical prodigy.

Bob Seger – May 16 at PNC Music Pavilion 

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bob Seger brings his wholesome midwest brand of heartland rock with his Silver Bullet Band. With a 40-year music catalog to draw from, this show will be a chance to enjoy some great tunes by a rock ‘n’ roll legend. Lay a blanket on the pavilion lawn and enjoy iconic songs like “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” “Night Moves,” “Turn the Page,” and many more.

Ella Mai – May 17 at The Fillmore (*Giveaway*)

The UK R&B songstress has extended her tour due to high demand, and she’ll be bringing her love-struck sounds to Charlotte. Her mega hits “Boo’d Up” and “Trip” from her debut self-titled album has launched the 24-year-old to superstardom as one of the hottest international acts. She’ll be bringing fellow up-and-coming English singer-songwriter Mahalia with her on this leg of her tour.

1975 – May 19 at Uptown Amphitheatre

The 1975 have been creating music together since they were teenagers back in 2002, but the last few years the band has seen a meteoric rise. 2016’s I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it and last year’s A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships received critical and commercial success for being able to create catchy, synth-pop songs while also remaining experimental and relevant. The band will be performing in Charlotte in May, which is the same month they are expected to release their next album, Notes on a Conditional Form. Be sure to catch this act while they are at such a prolific, golden age of their career.

Ozzy Osbourne – June 4 at PNC Pavilion 

What can be said that hasn’t already been said about The Prince of Darkness? Ozzy Osbourne: frontman of Black Sabbath, reality TV star, bat head biter, heavy metal badass. His reputation proceeds him, and it’s hard to discern how much of his legacy is fact vs. fiction. The 70-year-old rocker is coming to town as a part of his “No More Tours II” tour (the original “No More Tours” tour took place in 1992). This is definitely not a concert to miss, as Ozzy has said that he is considering this his final tour and a celebration of the music that he has been creating over the last 50 years.

Wu-Tang Clan – June 7 + 8 at CCNB Amphitheatre (June 7) and Red Hat Amphitheatre (June 8) 

The iconic Staten Island hip-hop collective will reunite to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The group has performed at occasional festivals and one-off events, but this will be their first official tour with all members performing together in years. Although the tour will not be making a stop in Charlotte, shows in Raleigh, NC and Simpsonville, SC will make for a fun and convenient road trip for Wu-Tang heads in the Queen City area.

Ariana Grande – June 10 at Spectrum Center 

Ariana Grande can’t seem to keep out of the news these days. From high-profile relationships and their aftermath to Mean Girls-referencing music videos to public feuds with the Grammys, she has mastered the art of trending on social media. The pop starlet will be coming through Charlotte in support of 2018’s Sweetener and 2019’s Thank U, Next. Expect a high-energy, flashy performance for the former Disney star to show off her powerful vocals and big personality.

Jon Bellion – June 16 – Uptown Amphitheatre

Jon Bellion crafts music that is so intricate and expansive that it sounds absolutely larger than life. The singer-songwriter, producer, and rapper creates pop music that constantly twists and turns, never becoming complacent. His latest album, Glory Sound Prep, is a little too quirky to be fully mainstream, but Bellion has a distinct style that is unique and captivating.

Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers – June 19 at Knight Theater 

Grateful Dead collaborator and legendary solo artist Bruce Hornsby is coming to town with The Noisemakers to support his upcoming album Absolute Zero. The new album features contributions from members of Bon Iver, The Staves, and modern classical ensemble yMusic. Hornsby continues to evolve his sound thirty-three years after he released his debut album.

Vampire Weekend and Chicano Batman – June 22 at Uptown Amphitheatre

Finally, Vampire Weekend has returned. The New York indie rock band found great amounts of success from their first three albums, but have been relatively quiet since their last release in 2013. With a new album on the way, and the loss of founding member Rostam, Vampire Weekend is ready to prove that they haven’t lost what made them special all those years ago.

Be sure to keep checking back as we continue to update our Spring Concert Guide. Have a concert that should be added to this list? Shoot us an email at info@CLTure.org.

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