News Column

The Top 20 Summer Concerts Guide; We let you know who to see, and why you should see them.

June 7, 2013


Here are our staff's picks for the top 20 don't miss concerts ofthe summer season:

1. Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, Cassadee Pope: Saturday, CruzanAmphitheatre, West Palm Beach.

In 2012, Flatts played for a more than a million fans. Now they'rebringing their brand new tour to town. The "Changed Tour" yieldedway in March to the Live and Loud Tour, which begins May 31. Flattsremains one of the best-selling bands in country music history, andthere are tons of fans -- us included -- who anxiously await theirarrival each summer. (See interview with Pope, page 20.)

2. The Plain White T's: Saturday, Mizner Park Amphitheatre, BocaRaton.

The Plain White T's are a creative acoustic oasis in a sea ofelectronic, sampling and vague dance pop. Known for "Hey ThereDelilah," "1-2-3-4" and "Rhythm of Love," the five-guy Chicago bornband are known to be a good time, live. Also interesting for thethree of you that watched NBC's "Ready For Love" is guitarist TimLopez, who seems too cute for that. (See story, page 21)

3. Dwight Yoakam, June 12, Hard Rock Live, Seminole Hard Rock Hoteland Casino, Hollywood

His most recent album, Three Pears, was critically praised and madedozens of 'top albums of 2012' lists. You won't find anypasteurized pretty-boys at this show. You will find a cowboy hatslung low over his eyes, and some sequins on his jacket. This ishonky-tonk music from the Honky Tonk Man himself. His distinctivevocals seem to drip with heartache -- and sometimes sarcasm. Andhere's a bit of trivia: Yoakam is the most frequent musical gueston The Tonight Show.

4. Heart, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, June 17, CruzanAmphitheatre, West Palm Beach

Heart, just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, should betaking a victory lap on this summer tour. Ann Wilson has kept hersoaring instrument in shape and can still hit the high notes. NancyWilson's Zeppelin guitar riffs still thunder. And speaking ofZeppelin, Heart and Bonham (a Boca Raton resident and a true son ofZeppelin) are gonna thresh on 30 minutes of Zep classics at the endof the show. Whole lotta love!

5. Brad Paisley, Chris Young, June 21, Cruzan Amphitheatre, WestPalm Beach

Brad Paisley has had to prove how thick his skin is over the pastfew months. Since his album, "Wheelhouse," was released with a duetwith L.L. Cool J called "Accidental Racist," Paisley's been widelycriticized for it. Even if "Wheelhouse" doesn't seem to have muchmeat on the bone, and the song was a swing and a miss, Paisleystill delivers fireworks from his guitars.

6. Jerrod Niemann, June 25, CityPlace, West Palm Beach.

The country vocalist kicks off the shopping plaza's free SummerConcert series. And he's such a good pick because he made one ofthe best albums of 2012, "Free The Music." He's not only anexcellent singer, but a first-rate songwriter, too, and has a quickwit that should go over well with the crowd.

7. Bob Dylan, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, June 26, CruzanAmphitheatre, West Palm Beach

It's an Americana roots summit. Dylan, the godfather, hosts hisproteges for what could be the best concert this summer. It's alsoa chance to see what Wilco's been up to lately. And getting to hearJim James' glorious, spacey croon in person as the leader of MMJ?We're so there.

8. Big Time Rush, Victoria Justice, July 5, Cruzan Amphitheatre,West Palm Beach

Resistance is futile: If you have kids of a certain Nickelodeonage, they're already making you go. Plus, you get to cheer for thehometown girl: Justice is from Hollywood in Broward County. And,finally, BTR does break out some Beatles and Beach Boys songs, soparents can be somewhat pacified.

9. Beyonce, July 9, BB&T Center, Sunrise/July 10, AmericanAirlinesArena, Miami

Beyonce's one of the biggest stars out there, and she's been on topso long that it might be easy to forget why she's earned it. She'sgot incomparable vocal chops, impressive dance skills, gorgeouslooks and a presence that's immeasurable. Haters gonna hate. Fanshave got to go.

10. The Dave Matthews Band, July 19, Cruzan Amphitheatre, West PalmBeach

A DMB show is an event -- a beloved band that can jam comfortablybecause they anticipate each other's moves in a laid- back andbeautiful way, joined by the fans who plan their summers aroundtheir shows. You'll hear songs you love, and maybe your nextfavorite.

11. Unity Tour with 311, Cypress Hill, G Love, July 21, CruzanAmphitheatre, West Palm Beach

Every band is not a live band -- or at least they shouldn't be.These three? Made for live music. G Love's jam styles are classic.311's reggae rock smoothness makes you move whether you want to ornot, and Cypress Hill's hip-hop grooves are inescapable. Are youinsane in the membrane? If you don't go.

12. Vans Warped Tour, July 27, Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach

Each year, the Vans Warped Tour covers the world -- literally -- with rock, punk, hip-hop and more, with bands you love and thoseyou'll be happy to meet. It's an all-day tribute to music, youth,community and discovery. The bands for this specific show haven'tbeen announced yet, but nationally, the treats include Never ShoutNever, Wallpaper, Hey Ocean, Relient K, Craig Owens and more.Besides, there's interesting booths, tents and free stuff!

13. The Monkees, July 27, Mizner Park, Boca Raton

Those songs were catchy when we were kids, and they're still catchyfor our kids and -- gulp! -- grandkids. Of course, with Davy Jones'death, expect some tears and a salute to the daydream believer. ButMichael Nesmith's return could give a sharper edge to the band'ssongs.

14. Black Sabbath, July 31, Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach

Bats beware -- Ozzy and company are back and seem to be in the moodto kick some butt musically. Their new album, "13," was produced bythe legendary Rick Rubin, who made Johnny Cash and Neil Diamondcurrent again. It's gonna be crazy, screaming, piercing and loud.You'll like it.

15. Jonas Brothers, Aug. 2, Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach

Back in 2006, they were cute, wholesome kids with a chart- readyimage and faces that literally belonged on a bedroom wall. Now, allthree J-Bros have distinguished themselves in solo projects, TVshows and have overcome being just cute boys. Talk about boys tomen!

16. The Killers, Aug. 17, AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami

About a decade ago, a band out of Las Vegas, led by a suit- wearingMormon guy named Brandon Flowers, busted out with tales ofobsessive love, having soul while not being a soldier andboyfriends who look like a girlfriend that you had in February oflast year. What's it about? Heck if we know! It's all about howgood it sounds, and how it makes you feel. And that's good.

17. Slightly Stoopid, Aug. 24, Sunset Cove Amphitheatre, Boca Raton

By late August, school's almost back in session, and you need to dosomething Slightly Stoopid. Their punk-pop-reggae energy madebelievers out of May's SunFest crowd. And did we mention that thisis your last fun concert before school starts again? Enjoy!

18. Backstreet Boys, Aug. 25, Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach

Critics wrote them off in the '90s. But they kept having hits. EvenRolling Stone had to give props to "I Want It That Way" as thekiller, catchy pop masterpiece that it is. Now they're older, wiserand still dancing in unison like the Temptations, if theTemptations had been on TRL. I'm going. You going?

19. Bruno Mars, Aug. 30, AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami

Why do I get the feeling that Bruno Mars is one day going to bementioned in the same breath as James Brown, Stevie Wonder, DonnyHathaway and other greats? Oh wait ... he already is. At 28. And heshows no signs of stopping. Get in on the ground floor.

20. Blake Shelton, Easton Corbin and Jana Kramer, Aug. 31, CruzanAmphitheatre, West Palm Beach

Blake Shelton is easily one of the best known country artists,thanks to his spiffy chair on "The Voice" on NBC. He's sung duetswith the biggest names in pop music (Christina Aguilara), adultcontemporary (Michael Buble) and now Latin pop (Shakira on a LadyAntebellum hit), and he's proved his got the vocal chops in anygenre or language.

By staff writers Leslie Gray Streeter, Janis Fontaine and LarryAydlette


An interactive timeline of summer concerts

Videos of critics Leslie Gray Streeter and Janis Fontainediscussing the top summer shows.

Photos and archives of past reviews and interviews

And more:

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