Artwork by Steven Fiche
Go out and smell the air for a second. Recognize that pungent odor? The sweaty body odor scent of Spring is here, which means it’s time to box up the sweaters, slip on the Sperrys, and get ready for grillin’, swimmin’, and boozy afternoons over the grill with Thin Lizzy. But wait, it’s also the time of blockbuster summer concerts, and if you’re an unholy scrooge and refuse to attend the wonderful assortment of music festivals across the world, preferring instead to hit up an air-conditioned venue or a breezy amphitheater, then you’ll want to keep your eyes on all of the concerts going down. So, grab your day planner, text your spouse, and plan to catch one or two or all 20 of these hot summer music tours. Then, swallow your pride and take in a music festival, why don’t you?
Note: This article was published to Morissey’s latest tour cancelation. Thus, here are the 19 Hottest Summer Tours.
Samuel T. Herring is not a meme. It’s finally time for critics and fans alike to stop referencing the Letterman performance as the band’s apical live moment. Every night Future Islands, no matter the circumstances, manage to give the performance of their lives, one that is equal parts raw emotion and dance punk excitement. And you’ll only learn what that’s like by being in the pit. –Dean Essner
Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band violinist Boyd Tinsley is suffering from arthritis, an issue that was apparent during the collective’s recent Australian dates, but that isn’t going to slow down Dave. The summer of 2014 brings “A Very Special Evening with Dave Matthews Band”; a night that will see Matthews and co. pushing the live audience to their emotional core with an acoustic set followed by an electric set. Longtime collaborator Tim Reynolds will be on hand for a few duets throughout the night. With more than 20 years spent crisscrossing the US, the group is due for a break soon; don’t let this opportunity to relive those coed highlights slip by. –Derek Staples
Be you a fan of the jam or not, at least one summer Phish performance should be on your lifetime agenda. For 2014, the troubadours have decided on numerous extended runs in some of their favorite cities, including Saratoga Springs, Chicago, New York City, Philly, and Denver (Commerce City). Not only does each set promise a unique experience (including some new Wingsuit cuts), but so do the tailgaiting festivites. Show up early, grab a beer, maybe a balloon, a new wire wrap even, and prepare to debate for 20 minutes about the opening song. –Derek Staples
Nine Inch Nails/Soundgarden
It’s hard to believe it, but both The Downward Spiral and Superunknown are turning 20. This co-headling tour of ’90s titans isn’t exactly a birthday celebration for both of their most iconic records – for instance, you won’t hear “Black Hole Sun” into “Spoonman” into “Limo Wreck” just because Soundgarden teased it last year. Instead, it’s an opportunity to catch two powerful live bands sharing a stage. And of course, there’s no denying the nostalgic appeal. –Dean Essner
It’s common knowledge that Beck’s discography is highly diverse, pogoing from sample-heavy hip-hop to psychedelic rock to electro and, of course, gorgeous, stripped-down folk music. His latest, Morning Phase, occupies that last category, mirroring 2002’s critical masterpiece, Sea Change. But even if you found Morning Phase too meandering, it’s still worth seeing him on tour this year. Lord only knows he’s got ample stylings and albums to choose from, and chances are, amidst the career-spanning collage, you’ll find something from your favorite era. –Dean Essner
Controversy aside, actually getting a Morrissey tour sans any cancellations has been a rarity in recent years. Whether he’s sick or being true to his curmudgeonly self, Mr. Humbug doesn’t make it easy to be a diehard fan, which is why you should catch him now before he locks himself away in his bungalow. To his credit, he has been playing 20-song sets, ranging from deep Smiths cuts to solo favorites to even new material off his forthcoming album, World Peace Is None of Your Business. Who knows, he’s the type of guy that could just pack up shop and issue a statement along the lines of, “Grapes tasted sour last night. So does this industry. Good night.” Not that we’re giving him any ideas or anything. –Michael Roffman
Following a performance at Governor’s Ball in New York, Damon Albarn will be promoting his recent solo offering Everyday Robots with a short sting of US dates across the Eastern seaboard leading up to his appearance at Bonnaroo. Tickets somehow remain on sale, so if you want to see who Albarn might bring on stage (ahem, Del?), or which Gorillaz and Blur tracks he’ll dust off, secure some tickets soon. –Derek Staples
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Come June, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds will set out on a new North American tour in support of last year’s Top Rated gem, Push the Sky Away. If that wasn’t enough, they’ve also recruited an eclectic group of acts to open various dates of the jaunt, including Warpaint, Kurt Vile, comedian Reggie Watts, Devendra Banhart, and Mark Lanegan. Take a stroll down Jubilee Street once again this summer, or maybe again if you caught him last year. –Michael Roffman
Six months removed from their fourth LP, the Aussie four-piece have spent the first half of 2014 touring the globe. The distance traveled might run some bands down, but it has only made the group more comfortable and dynamic with their indie-dance coalescence. Cut Copy will lose your mind in summertime revelry with their soulful melodies to help you collect the pieces at the end of the night. With bodies gyrating to “Hearts on Fire”, fans across the globe are continuing to make new connections. One of the important marks of a successful summer. –Derek Staples