Hot concerts for summer

Third Eye Blind to perform July 6 at Fair St. Louis.

By Daniel Durchholz, Special to the Jewish Light

Unlike last year, when U2’s 360º Tour dominated the summer concert landscape, 2012 lacks for a singular, must-see show. But that can be a good thing, too. Without having to take out a second mortgage for prime seats to a “can’t miss” concert, other opportunities open up. And once again this year, the summer months will be filled with great music emanating from indoor and outdoor venues alike, at various festivals and, more than likely, from the bar around the corner. Here’s our look at some of the season’s most notable shows, starting with a few favorites.

Miranda Lambert, June 16 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater: One of the hottest singers in country music right now, Miranda Lambert scored two major hit albums last year with her own “Four the Record” and, as a member of Pistol Annies, “Hell on Heels.  Lambert will perform as a solo act and with her side group at this show, which also features Chris Young and Jerrod Niemann.

fun., June 9 at the Pageant: Led by charismatic frontman Nate Ruess, the New York band took the charts by storm this year with the single “We Are Young” from its album “Some Nights.” If you have kids, the song is probably playing in your house right now. But if you (or they) have designs on seeing the band, good luck: the show sold out instantly.  

 • Dukes of September, June 20 at the Fox Theatre: You may not recognize the band’s name, but the Dukes of September consists of Steely Dan keyboardist/vocalist Donald Fagan, acclaimed singer Boz Scaggs, and St. Louis’ own Michael McDonald. Expect the unexpected as these three pull out some classic and obscure cover tunes and maybe a few originals.   

Flaming Lips, August 26 at Loufest: There are no words to describe the inspired, nonstop insanity of a Flaming Lips show. You’ve gotta see it for yourself.

Dr. John, September 2 at Big Muddy Blues Festival: Few artists represent the sound of New Orleans as well as the Night Tripper himself, Dr. John. As it turns out, the Big Muddy snagged him at the right time. The good Doctor just released one of the best albums of his career, “Locked Down.”


Summer is all about getting outside, and once again St. Louis has a great selection of music festivals. Back for its third edition is Loufest, held August 25-26 in Forest Park. In addition to the Flaming Lips (see above), the lineup includes innovative mashup/digital-sampling artist Girl Talk; a host of alternative-rock acts, including Dinosaur Jr., Dr. Dog, Cults, Dawes, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, St. Louis’ own alternative-country pioneer Son Volt; and local up-and-comers such as Sleepy Kitty and the Pernikoff Brothers.

The Big Muddy Blues Festival, meanwhile, features a terrific lineup of national and local blues acts on three stages spread throughout Laclede’s Landing on September 1-2. Mainstage acts include Dr. John (see above), Joe Louis Walker, Ana Popovic, the Royal Southern Brotherhood (featuring Devon Allman, Mike Zito and Cyril Neville), plus tributes to Etta James and Chuck Berry. Other notables include Marquise Knox, Eric “Guitar” Davis & the Troublemakers, the Soulard Blues Band and the Funky Butt Brass Band.

This year’s Fair St. Louis, held under the Gateway Arch, includes musical headliners Heart (July 4); Third Eye Blind (July 6); and Dierks Bentley (July 7). Celebrate St. Louis is also sponsoring a quartet of free concerts at Soldiers Memorial Park. The lineup includes Neon Trees (July 13); Michael Franti and Spearhead (July 14); The Offspring (July 20); and St. Louis’ own Nelly (July 21).

Pridefest, held June 23-24 in Tower Grove Park, has an excellent musical lineup, spotlighting alt-country chanteuse Shelby Lynne. Other headliners include Kristine W, Frenchie Davis, Deborah Cox and Pandora Boxx, plus local bands as well. 

It’s not held outdoors, but Twangfest, held June 6-9 at the Schlafly Tap Room and Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room, never fails to bring in top talent in the alternative country (and sometimes rock) genres. This year’s lineup include John Doe (of the pioneering punk-rock band X); Springfield’s Ha Ha Tonka; versatile vocalist Kelly Hogan; and a St. Louis act fast garnering an international reputation for its “old-timey” roots music, Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three. Other acts include Kevin Gordon, Wussy, Langhorne Slim, and homegrown bands Rough Shop and Prairie Rehab.


Arena shows, at least in terms of those announced so far, are few and far between this summer. Scottrade Center’s sole concert is American Idols Live on July 11.

The Family Arena features country music legend Merle Haggard with Marty Stuart on June 24 and metal extravaganza Dethklok, Lamb of God, and Gojira on August 15. 

Chaifetz Arena, meanwhile, has rock veterans Def Leppard, Poison, and Lita Ford on August 25 and jam band favorite Phish on August 28.


Heading back to the great outdoors, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater offers a wide variety of sounds this summer, including the latest edition of Super Jam, featuring Young Jeezy, Wale, Miguel, Diggy Simmons, Elle Vanrner, Travis Porder, and OMG Girlz (June 9); perennial St. Louis favorites REO Speedwagon and Styx, plus cultural critic — ahem — Ted Nugent (June 22); country acts Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, Thompson Square (June 29); the Vans Warped Tour, featuring Taking Back Sunday, All Time Low, the Used, New Found Glory, Streetlight Manifesto, Yellowcard, Pierce the Veil, and more (July 5); Teen heartthrobs Big Time Rush with Cody Simpson (July 7); 311, Slightly Stoopid (July 10); Dave Matthews Band (July 11); local Pink Floyd tribute act El Monstero (July 14);  Maze featuring Frankie Beverly (July 15); the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival with Slipknot, Slayer, Motorhead, Anthrax, The Devil Wears Prada, As I Lay Dying, Asking Alexandra, etc. (July 20); Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town, Edens Edge with Eli Young Band (July 27); Zac Brown Band with Sonia Leigh (August 1); Sublime with Rome (August 16); KISS and Motley Crue August 27); the KSHE Pig Roast featuring Boston, Kansas, April Wine, and Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights (August 31); and Toby Keith (September 1).

Six Flags’ Old Glory Amphitheater has only one show on the books so far — Cobra Starship on June 29 — but more will reportedly be announced soon.


Starting at the Fabulous Fox, this summer’s theater shows include Sting (June 5); The Jacksons (July 11); O.A.R. (July 19); James Taylor (July 20); Mindless Behavior (July 22); Seal (July 31); and Crosby, Stills & Nash (August 2).

At the Peabody Opera House, you’ll find Idina Menzel (June 17); Gavin De Graw with Colbie Caillet (June 24); Fiona Apple (July 24); Train (July 29); Nicki Minaj (July 31); My Morning Jacket with Band of Horses (August 8); Il Volo (August 14); Il Divo (August 15); and Lyle Lovett (August 25).

Powell Hall sports a selection of summer shows including Bond & Beyond: 50 Years of 007 (June 2); Sounds of New Orleans: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong (June 9); Wynonna Judd (June 15); and Classical Mystery Tour: A Tribute to the Beatles (June 22). 

Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center has the Ambassadors of Harmony (June 23), while the Sheldon Concert Hall features Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit (June 29); and bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley (July 26). At the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville, you’ll find Effic (June 1-2); Confederate Railroad (June 21); C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band (June 30); and Al Stewart (August 24).


This summer brings in an abundance of club shows (Visit the various venue websites for complete listings). Once again The Pageant proves why it is continually ranked as one of the top clubs in the world with a selection of concerts that includes the Shins (June 4, sold out); the Queen Extravaganza (June 5); Childish Gambino (June 7); Flogging Molly (June 8); Santigold (June 12); Flux Pavilion (June 15); Alice Cooper (June 16); Afrojack (June 24); Porter Robinson (July 10); Beach House (July 11); Reel Big Fish (July 12); Ledisi with Eric Benet (July 13); Ingrid Michaelson (July 16); Dirty Projectors with Wye Oak (July 17); Old Crow Medicine Show (July 20); Tenacious D (July 23, sold out); and The Chris Robinson Brotherhood (Aug. 18).

The Old Rock House features Elizabeth Cook with Tim Carroll (June 1); Balkan Beat Box (June 3); Shannon McNally (June 7); the Steeldrivers (June 8); Greg Laswell (June 11); Lukas Nelson (yep, Willie’s son) & Promise of the Real (June 12); Walter Trout (June 14); Unknown Hinson (June 22); Nada Surf (June 25); Victor Wooten (July 5); Sam Bush (July 7); Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks (July 11); BoDeans (July 21); Carbon Leaf (July 25); and the Black Angels (Aug. 2).

The club is also hosting two special events, which will play both inside and outside the venue. The electronic music-oriented Pulse Festival is held June 8, featuring Above & Beyond, Morgan Page, Mat Zo, Crizzly, Secret Panda Society, Basscrooks, and Heezy, with more acts to be announced.

In quite a different direction, the Del Yeah! bluegrass festival is featured on Sept. 1, sporting the Del McCoury Band, Emmitt-Nershi Band, the Infamous Stringdusters, Mountain Sprout, the Hatrick, Cumberland Gap, and Elemental Shakedown.

Among the offerings at Off Broadway, you’ll find Joseph Arthur (June 1); the Split Livers (June 12); Dale Watson (June 14); guitar great Richard Lloyd (late of the band Television) (June 16); Slaid Cleaves (June 19); Wayne “the Train” Hancock (June 22); Scott H. Biram with Lydia Loveless (June 23); the Derailers (June 28); Alberta Cross/Everest (July 17); and Webb Wilder (July 20). 

Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room has Graffiti6 (June 13); Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers (June 19); Joe Purdy (June 26); K. Flay (June 30); and G. Love and Special Sauce (July 6).

The Luminary Center for the Performing Arts, features Moonface with Siinai (June 24); and Lower Dens with No Joy and Alan Resnic (July 12).

Finally, Plush has Yelawolf (June 4); David Dondero (June 5); Anberlin — Acoustic Tour (June 12); Los Campesinos! (June 16); The Walkmen (June 28); Lucero (June 29); Nappy Roots (June 30); Tycho (July 3) Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band (July 21); and Murder by Death (Aug. 20).

Happy listening!