The soundtrack to your life this August
August is as busy as ever when it comes to live music. Whether you’re on vacation or stuck in the office with a free night to let loose, from pop to hip-hop, Latin to rock we’ve got you covered. Motley Crue’s final tour comes to Barclays on August 12 and Juanes descends upon Madison Square Garden on August 19 (both featured in the following pages.) Pop fans can check out One Direction with Icona Pop August 5 at Metlife Stadium and Fifth Harmony August 27 at the Beacon Theatre. R&B and hip-hop fans can throw their hands up for Miguel at Terminal 5 on August 2 and Chris Brown, Kid Ink, Teyana Taylor, Fetty Wap and Omarion at Jones Beach on August 30. Reminisce over your memories of the 90s with Counting Crows on August 18 at JBL Live at Pier 97 or at Matchbox 20 frontman Rob Thomas’ solo shows August 6 and 8 at the Beacon. Take it back to the 80s for AC/DC at MetLife Stadium on August 26, Van Halen on August 13 at Jones Beach and YES/TOTO August 11 at Barclays. The legends will be all around us as well – James Taylor plays Forest Hills Stadium on August 4, Santana shreds August 14 at Forest Hills Stadium, Earth Wind & Fire and Chicago groove August 16 at Jones Beach and Laid Back Festival sets the tone August 29 at Jones Beach with Greg Allman, Doobie Brothers, Bruce Hornsby and more. For the indie-seeking music lovers, Jamie xx stuns at Terminal 5 on August 8 and Southern rockers NeedToBreathe take the stage August 10 at Terminal 5 with Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman. The rest of the top shows hitting the concrete jungle this month are as follows:
Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Wiz Khalifa aside, the world has North Carolina’s J. Cole and Detroit’s Big Sean to thank for the new regime of young talent, giving a much-needed resurgence to rap. YG and Jeremih support the “Forest Hills Drive Tour,” named for J. Cole’s most recent album – his third consecutive to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200. On August 4, Madison Square Garden will be the center of all-things hip-hop when J. Cole gets real from early hit “Work Out” to “Power Trip” to his current song “Wet Dreamz.” The St. John’s University alum has collaborated in the past with Trey Songz, Missy Elliott, Kendrick Lamar and twice with Miguel so special guests are not out of the question on this tour. Big Sean’s third album “Dark Sky Paradise” earned him his first #1 album, whose hits include “Marvin & Chardonnay,” “Mercy” (with Kanye West) and “One Man Can Change The World” (with John Legend). You can bet on a version of “Don’t Tell ‘Em” by Jeremih and YG as well as Jeremih’s breakthrough “Birthday Sex.” Bas, Cozz & Omen offer additional tour support for a night promising many party anthems and seriously great lyricists.
Brandon Flowers has got soul…and he is a soldier…consistent in churning out hit songs. The Killers’ frontman recently embarked on his second solo trek, for “The Desired Effect Tour,” supporting the album of the same name which makes its way to Terminal 5 on August 4. He’s a Las Vegas-based American, but somehow the UK throws more love his way, driving both Flowers’ solo debut “Flamingo” and recent release “The Desired Effect” to #1 status, as well as all four of The Killers albums achieving #1s, with 22 million albums sold worldwide. Brandon Flowers’ solo material shifts perhaps more new wave and synth-pop than his group’s alt-rock/indie sound, with 80s influences everywhere on new tunes like the urgent “Can’t Deny My Love,” soulful call-and-response song “Still Want You,” synth-funk jam “Lonely Town” and the dance-pop track “I Can Change.” Earlier hits such as “Crossfire” and “Only The Young” would be welcome additions to the set. During previous shows, Flowers has been known to cover The Pretenders and New Order and during a Huey Lewis and the News concert at the Borgata in Atlantic City, Brandon joins the 80s hit-makers for “Do You Believe In Love,” so anything is possible in terms of covers. You can also bet on something from The Killers’ songbook, perhaps “Somebody Told Me,” “Mr. Brightside,” “Smile Like You Mean It,” “When You Were Young” or Human.” Flowers has also featuring Hollywood starlets Charlize Theron and Evan Rachel Wood in music videos so celebrity fans in the audience are also entirely possible.
Zac Brown Band is the rare hybrid country act that appeals to rock fans as well as country fans and everything in between. Their draw is so impressive that ZBB’s “Jekyll + Hyde Tour” appears at many major sports stadiums around the nation including Chicago’s Wrigley Field, Detroit’s Comerica Park, Denver’s Coors Field, Boston’s Fenway Park and here in New York at Citi Field, coming August 21. The now eight-piece Georgia-based band were 2010 Best New Artist Grammy winners’ last three albums including the current “Jekyll + Hyde” all hit #1 on the Billboard 200, with their 3x platinum debut “The Foundation” was #2. Things got started with debut single “Chicken Fried” which led a string of hits to follow like “Toes,” “Highway 20 Ride” and “Free.” The repertoire quickly grew with “As She’s Walking Away,” “Colder Weather,” “Knee Deep” and “Jump Right In.” Zac Brown Band’s current ditty, the catchy and timeless “Homegrown” was played on the band’s debut performance on Saturday Night Live earlier this year. With a new record deal on John Varvatos Records, expect the fashion designer to furnish the bands new designer duds. Having done collaborations with some of the music industry’s biggest players from Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett to Trombone Shorty to Chris Cornell, the guys have many influences and outstanding musicianship to pull off a variety of song arrangements and surprise covers, all with some of the best harmonies to boot.
Afropunk descends upon Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park for the 11th year with iconic headliners Lenny Kravitz and Lauryn Hill, taking the stage August 22 and 23 in addition to the talents of Grace Jones, Kelis, Danny Brown and many more. With 10 albums behind his stylish belt, New York native Lenny Kravitz’s career has ushered in a new appreciation for 70s funk and groovy anthems, from “Let Love Rule” and “It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over” to “Fly Away” to “Where Are We Runnin’?” From 1999-2002 Lenny Kravitz won four consecutive Grammys for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. With over 25 years in the music world, all the way up to his most recent album “Strut,” Kravitz throws one hell of a party, not to mention he has one of the most badass drummers in the business (Cindy Blackman, who is married to Carlos Santana). Lauryn Hill made a name for herself in the 90s as the female vocalist of the Fugees and went on to record one solo album that catapulted her to A-List musical genius, with hits like “Doo Wop (That Thing),” “Ex-Factor” and “Everything Is Everything.” Her outspoken, yet relatable lyrics earned her solo debut “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” five Grammys including Album of the Year as well as Best New Artist. Though the New Jersey rapper/singer mostly keeps to herself and has not recorded since her 2002 live album, she still tours and impresses live – audiences may even be surprised to hear some Fugees classics like “Killing Me Softly,” “Ready Or Not” and “No Woman No Cry.” Blues rock genius Gary Clark Jr. is set to perform as well as 80s fashion icon Grace Jones, neo soul singer Kelis, the always quirky rapper Danny Brown and emerging soul duo Lion Babe.