Charlotte Summer Concert Guide

 By Mitchell Franklin

June 20, 2019 (Updated)

Summer’s approaching, school’s out, and everyone is figuring out the best ways to enjoy the long, hot days that are ahead. One of the best ways to pass the time on a summer evening is relaxing on the lawn of one of Charlotte’s outdoor venues while enjoying some good music. With a wide variety of acts coming to Charlotte over the next few months, varying from arena headliners to small, up-and-coming indie acts, 2019 might be the biggest year yet for summer concerts in Charlotte. 

Here are some of our remaining summer concert picks (updated weekly): 

Dave Matthews – July 19 at PNC Music Pavilion 

The Dave Matthews Band has a legendary reputation of being one of the most talented and engaging live acts of the last 20 years. After releasing their first studio album in six years, Come Tomorrow, the band is stopping by PNC Music Pavilion to show Charlotte how they’ve earned their reputation as a must-see live act. Like many other jam bands, expect many songs to sound quite different from their recorded versions and plenty of solos for the instrumentalists to show off their talents.

Greensky Bluegrass – July 20 at Uptown Amphitheatre

Greensky Bluegrass has never been a typical bluegrass band, despite the genre’s tendency to resist change and cling to the traditional. Greensky incorporates elements of rock-and-roll, including light shows, into their high energy take on classic music.

Sebadoh and Eleanor Friedberger – July 20 at The Underground

Third Eye Blind, Jimmy Eat World, and Ra Ra Riot – July 21 at PNC Music Pavilion 

Ex Hex – July 23 at Neighborhood Theatre

In her nearly 30 year music career, Mary Timony has written and performed with many groups, including Autoclave, Helium, The Spells, and Wild Flag. Her most recent project, Ex Hex, finds Timony creating some of the most accessible and catchy music of her career, as she pivots away from the drones of her older projects into more direct garage-rock. Between Ex Hex and openers Spider Bags, things are going to get loud as these rockers being their guitar-heavy tunes to the Neighborhood Theatre.

Lil Wayne and Blink 182 – July 23 at PNC Music Pavilion *Giveaway

In one of 2019’s strangest musical turns, Lil Wayne and Blink 182 are going on a joint tour and releasing mash-ups of their songs. Whether this is a promotional stunt or a true collaboration, the pop-punk and rap legends will be sharing a stage for an evening of celebrating immaturity in music. Time will tell if this tour is indicating that Lil Wayne is planning to return to making rock music, a la his much maligned album, Rebirth.

Carly Rae Jepsen – July 24 at The Fillmore *Giveaway

Carly Rae Jepsen has had an interesting career so far. Starting as a one-hit wonder with her bubble-gum pop breakout “Call Me Maybe,” the Canadian singer seemed destined to be a blip on the fast-paced pop music landscape. However, in 2015 the release of her third album, E•MO•TION, saw the singer making a move into more mature, ‘80s synth-driven pop that brought critical praise and a cult-like following. Four years later Jepsen has returned with her fourth album, Dedicated, that is continuing to build on the sounds of her last album.

Mary J. Blige & Nas – July 25 at PNC Music Pavilion *Giveaway*

Mary J. Blige and Nas are co-headlining The Royalty Tour and are bringing it to Charlotte this summer. The R&B and hip-hop legends just released their joint single, “Thriving,” which is set to appear on Blige’s forthcoming 13th LP, My Life II… There’s Something About Me, My Self & MaryJane (Act 2). The latest release from Nas is last year’s album, produced by Kanye West as part of his Wyoming Sessions, Nasir. Known mostly for his legendary and lyrically dense masterpiece, Illmatic, Nas will perform tracks from across his 12 albums throughout the evening.

Town Mountain – July 25 at Visulite Theatre 

Asheville quintet Town Mountain are keeping the spirit of bluegrass alive through honky-tonk songs with rock-and-roll emotions. The band has been together for over 14 years and is still as dedicated as ever to putting on the most engaging, energetic live shows as possible. After going viral with their cover of Springsteen’s classic “I’m on Fire” the band has seen some increased attention and is quickly rising in the acoustic music community.

American Aquarium – July 26 at Neighborhood Theatre

Named after a Wilco song, Raleigh band American Aquarium is making the exact type of music you might expect from a band of Wilco devotees. The country-tinged indie-rock group released their eighth studio album, Things Change, last year, which focused on the difficulties of the modern world and how everyone needs to work together to make a better future for the next generation, including frontman BJ Barham’s baby daughter.

TLC, Nelly and Flo Rida – July 26 at PNC Music Pavilion 

If you’re looking for a night to transport yourself back to the ‘90 and 2000s, look no further than TLC, Nelly, and Flo Rida sharing a bill. Expect to hear plenty of mega hits, including “Waterfalls,” “No Scrubs,” “Hot In Herre,” “Low,” and “Right Round.”

Eric B. & Rakim – July 27 at The Fillmore *Giveaway

Back representing the golden age of hip-hop after all of these years, the classic duo of DJ Eric B. and MC Rakim are gracing Charlotte with a night of old school jams. Since reuniting in 2017 after their split in 1993, the duo has been touring the country playing their acclaimed material. The tour shows a true bond between the musicians, as Eric B stated “We’re family for real. You can have an internal argument but we’re still family. Nothing changes.”

The Growlers – August 8 at Neighborhood Theatre

Californian surf-rockers The Growlers are making their way to the Neighborhood Theatre in support of their recent B-sides and rarities album, Casual Acquaintances. Using previously unused tracks from the studio sessions for their album, City Club, the band is mastering their retro rock sound. With a fuzzy garage-rock vibe with sprinklings of new wave, this band has a unique and exciting sound.

John Mayer – August 9 at Spectrum Center

If seeing John Mayer perform Grateful Dead songs earlier in the summer isn’t really your thing, maybe you want to catch a more traditional performance from the guitar virtuoso. Performing his own material, including massive hits like “Your Body Is a Wonderland,” the pop/rock/blues musician will play songs from across his catalog, including his most recent album The Search For Everything.

The Flaming Lips – August 5 at Uptown Amphitheatre

A band that’s known for their live shenanigans, The Flaming Lips have been enthralling audiences since 1983. An alternative rock band that shifted more towards the psychedelic over time, their shows are guaranteed to feel like going to a wild party. Frontman Wayne Coyne exudes energy throughout the evening, which is complete with things like confetti, costumes, inflatable robots, and Coyne running in a giant ball over the audience.

Joey Badass & Flatbush Zombies – August 7 at Uptown Amphitheatre

With a line-up that reads more like a small festival than a single concert, Beast Coast is coming to Charlotte as a part of their Escape From New York tour. The supergroup, which is made up of members from Pro Era, Flatbush Zombies, and The Underachievers, is touring behind their album of the same name. Members of the group appear to be performing individual sets, including Joey Bada$$, Flatbush Zombies, The Underachievers, Kirk Knight, Nyck Caution, Power Pleasant, and CJ Fly.

Ben Folds & Violent Femmes – August 8 at Uptown Amphitheatre

Ben Folds and Violent Femmes, two acts that have been making their way through the indie scene for decades, are co-headlining a short tour through the U.S. Both are promoting upcoming releases, with Folds releasing a memoir titled A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons and the Femmes releasing a new album Hotel Last Resort. The evening promises a variety of musical styles, with Fold bringing piano-pop and the Femmes with folk-punk, but the performers share a level of irony and snark to tie the genres together.

John Mayer – August 9 at Spectrum Center 

Kiss – August 10 at PNC Music Pavilion 

Get ready to don your face paint and leather for one last night, as KISS is going out for one final time with the End of the Road tour. Billed as their final tour ever, the long-running hard rock band is sure to pull out all the stops to make every show unforgettable. The band will rock and roll all night as they take the audience through their years of excess.

Khalid – August 13 at Spectrum Center

Georgia singer-songwriter Khalid is heading to Charlotte to promote his 2019 album Free Spirit. He’s having a big year, with Free Spirit being his first number one album and, at one point, occupying the entire Top 5 of the Billboard R&B Songs charts. Having collaborated with artists such as Billie Eilish, Shawn Mendes, Lorde, SZA, and Kendrick Lamar, Khalid seems poised to become even bigger from here.

Santana – August 13 at PNC Music Pavilion 

In their over 50 years of being a band, Santana has become legendary for their hybrid of Latin sounds with American rock and jazz music, as well as their exemplary guitar work. Newly reunited with their classic line-up from their original Woodstock ‘69 performance, Santana is playing shows in celebration of their long and storied career, as well as their new album Africa Speaks.

21 Savage and DaBaby – August 15 at Uptown Amphitheatre

Charlotte’s DaBaby is having a moment. Newly signed to Interscope Records and releasing his debut album Baby on Baby, the “Suge” rapper is getting more attention than ever. Touring with Atlanta’s 21 Savage, this stop at Uptown Amphitheatre is sure to be a sort of victory lap for the MC as he brings his tour back home.

Breaking Benjamin – August 17 at PNC Music Pavilion 

Hard rock band Breaking Benjamin is making music again after a four-year hiatus. They just released their sixth album, Ember, last year, and are hitting the road to promote the effort. Fans can pay extra for a VIP experience where they sit on stage with the band throughout the show. The band is also reportedly working on an album of acoustic renditions of their past songs.

The Raconteurs – August 18 at The Fillmore

One of Jack White’s several musical projects, The Raconteurs, is back after a long hiatus. Coinciding with their first album in 11 years, the garage rock band is hitting the road to play songs by one of White’s most beloved bands.

The Smashing Pumpkins & Noah Gallagher – August 20 at PNC Music Pavilion 

Catch two of indie-rock’s strongest personalities will be on the same stage August 20: The Smashing Pumpkins and Noah Gallagher. The Pumpkins, most well known for their 1995 magnum opus Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, are teaming up with Gallagher, previously of Oasis, to tour stadiums across the U.S. AFI will be opening the show, making it a night of high-profile names in modern rock.

Gary Clark Jr. – August 20 at Uptown Amphitheatre

Gary Clark Jr. is one of the most versatile musicians out there right now. Blending rock, blues, soul, and hip-hop, the singer and guitarist has seamlessly collaborated with artists such as Alicia Keys, The-Dream, The Foo Fighters, and Childish Gambino. Clark will be coming to town in support of his third album, This Land.

Queen + Adam Lambert – August 23 at Spectrum Center 

With the release of commercial blockbuster Bohemian Rhapsody last year, there is a renewed interest in classic rockers Queen. Despite eccentric frontman Freddie Mercury’s passing in 1991, the band has continued on with different frontmen attempting to fill the late musician’s shoes. Paul Rodgers of Bad Company initially filled the role, but now American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert is performing the massive hits alongside members of the original band.

Beck and Cage The Elephant – August 25 at PNC Music Pavilion 

Album of the Year artist Beck is visiting the Queen City, coinciding with the release of his upcoming album, Hyperspace. The alternative rock/pop musician is bringing along Cage The Elephant, with whom he recently collaborated on the song “Night Running,” which appeared on Cage The Elephant’s recent album Social Cues.

Peter Frampton – August 30 at PNC Music Pavilion 

Talk box pioneer Peter Frampton is touring one last time, due to his diagnosis of the autoimmune disease Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM). The guitarist is most known for a live album, Frampton Comes Alive!, which is a testament to his mastery of live performances. He released a new album of covers, All Blues, this year.

Hootie & The Blowfish – September 5 at PNC Music Pavilion 

It’s been a while since Hootie’s been on the road. The band went on a hiatus in 2008, as frontman Darius Rucker focused on his solo career. The roots rock band reformed in 2018, and is now playing shows with anticipation of new music coming out in the near future.

Flying Lotus – September 6 at The Fillmore *Giveaway

Producer, DJ, and musician Flying Lotus just released the superb Flamagra and is coming to the Queen City to showcase tunes from it. His signature genre-bending mix of jazz, funk, and hip-hop has shaped the tone of many artists’ works, including Earl Sweatshirt, Mac Miller, and Kendrick Lamar. FlyLo creates music that is all about texture and vibes, and will be sure to create a magical night for audiences to get lost in the music.

Lizzo – September 15 at Uptown Amphitheatre

Cuz I Love You, the third album by rapper, singer, and flutist Lizzo, has been a total game changer. Her first album to chart debuted at number six, and features hit singles “Juice” and “Tempo.” She has been celebrated as an advocate for body positivity and self-love, as she powers through a diverse array of songs that switch between pop, R&B, hip-hop, and neo soul.

Kacey Musgraves – September 19 at Uptown Amphitheatre

Country artist Kacey Musgraves found tremendous success and crossover appeal, including winning Album of the Year, with 2018’s Golden Hour. The album shows Musgraves perfectly blending her country roots with pop aesthetics, as she creates soundscapes as beautiful and lush as the titular hour. She is taking old, worn elements and packing them together in ways that make them feel new and fresh. The talented young musician is at the top of her game, and this is definitely the time to see her.

Rhiannon Giddens – September 23 at McGlohon Theater

Carolina Chocolate Drops founder and lead singer Rhiannon Giddens is bringing her solo show to the McGlohon Theater. Armed with her banjo and violin, Giddens creates old-timey songs that blend folk, blues, bluegrass, Americana, and more. A native of Greensboro, she recently collaborated with Italian jazz musician Francesco Turrisi on the album There Is No Other, which incorporates opera, bluegrass, and traditional Italian music. Turrisi will join her in this performance to play songs from this release.

Caamp – September 24 at Neighborhood Theatre

Caamp, an up-and-coming trio from Ohio, is a group of high school friends that have found a heartfelt sound together. The folk musicians are preparing to release their third album, By and By, later this year. Having toured frequently with Boone band Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Caamp has an exciting live show that you don’t want to miss.

Guns N’ Roses – September 25 at Spectrum Center 

The iconic ’80s rock band finally comes to Charlotte on September 25. Their debut album, Appetite for Destruction in 1987, reached number one a year after its release with the hit singles “Paradise City,” “Welcome to the Jungle,” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” The album has sold over 30 million copies worldwide, making it the bestselling debut album and eleventh-bestselling album in US history.

Don’t forget to follow our CLTure Summer 2019 playlist on Spotify!

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