The Colorado summer season of concerts is right around the corner, and locals are already buying tickets and planning out their summer music schedules.
Fortunately, this will be a very active summer for concert promoters and local clubs. New concerts are getting announced daily, so expect even more shows to surface.
Here are the Colorado Daily’s top picks — and the must-avoids — for this summer’s very eclectic collection of concerts.
‘etown’ with Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, May 12 at the Boulder Theater: Nobody belts out rock and soul songs like Grace Potter. Check out the up-and-coming singer in a special “etown” concert/interview environment.
Drive-By Truckers, May 13 at the Boulder Theater: The Drive-By Truckers add just the right amount of country and rock edges to create their own brand of alternative music. The group’s touring behind its brand, spanking new CD, so expect to hear those tunes in concert.
Flyleaf, May 15 at the Ogden Theatre: Flyleaf specializes in fusing introspective lyrics into its melodic brand of hard-edged rock. It works, and this band packs Colorado venues every time it plays town. Better get your tickets early.
Henry Rollins, May 18 at the Boulder Theater: You never know what’s going to happen at a Henry Rollins spoken-word concert. Anything from politics to international travel is fair game, and it’s always interesting to see how far this performer will push the envelope.
30db, May 19 at the Fox Theatre: This supergroup of players features Jeff Austin from Yonder Mountain String Band, Brendan Bayliss from Umphrey’s McGee, Cody Dickinson from the North Mississippi Allstars and Nick Forster from Boulder’s “etown.” Check out what happens when these powerhouse musicians get together and show off their new tunes.
The Eagles, May 20 at the Pepsi Center: Here’s a great way to ruin your concert season — hear a bunch of whiny has-beens sing moldy oldies like “Take it Easy” for the zillionth time. The Daily takes a pass on this snore of a show.
3OH!3 and Cobra Starship, May 21 at the Fillmore Auditorium: This alternative music bill will be a very cool way to kick off the summer. Plus, locals will be the first to hear cuts off 3OH!3’s brand new CD, Streets of Gold.
Broomstock featuring OneRepublic, May 27 at the 1st Bank Center: Who calls an event Broomstock? Oh yeah, people that would go to the aforementioned Eagles concert. That said, OneRepublic is a Colorado band that’s gone international, and knows how to fuse just the right mix of rock and pop into its tunes.
The Disco Biscuits’ Bisco Inferno, May 29 at Red Rocks: The Biscuits are still one of the most innovative bands around and they’re going to hold court on the rocks. Plus, The Glitch Mob, The Crystal Method and other first-rate electro acts will open the party.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, June 1 and 3 at Red Rocks: These guys still know how to rock and put their all into the shows. Though, you might want to pass on opener Joe Cocker.
John Butler Trio, June 4 at Red Rocks: Aussie John Butler knows how to fuse multiple genres into his acoustic and rock songs, and his last show at the Fox proved this guy’s ready for Red Rocks. Plus, Medeski Martin & Wood and State Radio will be opening this versatile triple-bill.
7 Walkers, June 5 at the Fox Theatre: You have to admire Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann. This guy keeps going like the energizer bunny. Now the musician’s back with his new group featuring Papa Mali.
MGMT, June 11 at Red Rocks. OK, these guys perform with very odd and dazed expressions on their faces — did you see their “Saturday Night Live” appearance? That said, MGMT cranks out a very interesting blend of retro-sounding pop and rock.
Imogen Heap, June 11 at the Ogden Theatre: June 11 must’ve been dedicated as the quirky music night in Denver (see MGMT above). Imogen Heap is an unusual artist that half mumbles her lyrics, but she does create some very inventive pop tunes.
U2, June 12 at Invesco Field: U2 have become the godfathers of the modern rock generation, and these guys still know how to work the crowd and put on high energy shows. Lenny Kravitz opens the Denver concert.
Widespread Panic, June 25-27 at Red Rocks: Widespread Panic makes its semi-annual pilgrimage to Red Rocks to show off its new tunes and jams. The crowd’s gotten older, but the band still finds new ways to spark up its music.
Red Rocks & Blue Extravaganza, July 3 at Red Rocks: Bring in the July 4th holiday with a unique concert featuring the prog-rock sounds of Umphrey’s McGee and the funky New Orleans grooves of Galactic. You know Umphrey’s is going to bring its high-tech light show.
Modest Mouse, July 10 at the 1st Bank Center: Modest Mouse’s unique blend of indie rock sounds should prove to be very nice inside an air-conditioned venue. Yes, this is one of the hottest weeks of the year.
Barenaked Ladies, July 12 at Red Rocks: If you still think it’s the ’90s and you’re living in your mother’s basement watching “Friends” re-runs, then we’ve found your perfect summer concert.
Rihanna and Ke$ha, July 15 at the Comfort Dental Amphitheatre: Check out these two very strong female performers for their Denver show. They’re both unpredictable and edgy, and that usually makes for a good concert. Besides, if 3OH!3’s in town, you never know what kind of Ke$ha duets will take place.
O.A.R., July 15 at Red Rocks: O.A.R. can do it all. The band can jam, rock and write great songs. Plus, the poetic and bluesy Citizen Cope opens the show.
The Dead Weather, July 17 at the Ogden Theatre: Jack White is one busy guy. His main band The White Stripes just released a first-rate CD/DVD, and now he’s back on the road with his other project, The Dead Weather. This band’s gritty blend of blues and rock will be worth the price of admission.
Kings of Leon, July 20 at the Comfort Dental Amphitheatre: We all wish this show was at Red Rocks, but at least Denver will get a summer date with the Kings of Leon. This band of brothers always knows how to mix up its alt/garage rock and songwriting ingredients into memorable shows. Plus, Built to Spill opens.
311, The Offspring and Pepper, July 20 at Red Rocks: This is the show that should’ve been at the Comfort Dental Amphitheatre on July 20, but the noise levels would probably kill the neighbors in the Tech Center. That said, 311, Pepper and The Offspring will be rocking Red Rocks with their very loyal fans.
The String Cheese Incident, July 23-25 at Red Rocks: Colorado’s String Cheese sold out these shows — the band’s first in several years — very quickly, so your best hope is to try and score bootlegs. You can bet that all three shows will be different and will show off the multi-faceted talents of this local band.
Lady Gaga, July 28 at the Pepsi Center: Hands down — barring a Lady G tour meltdown — this will be the show of the summer. If you like edgy pop tunes, over-the-top choreography and outrageous costumes, then you don’t want to miss Lady Gaga’s Denver stop.
Michael Franti & Spearhead, July 31 at Red Rocks: This is also one of the must-see shows of the summer. Michael Franti’s political hype, dynamic songs and on-stage charisma have to be seen in person. Plus, opener Brett Dennen’s astute talents as a singer/songwriter will just add to this magical night.
Limp Bizkit, Aug. 5 at the Comfort Dental Amphitheatre: You have to check out this in-your-face metal, rap and alt music act that’s been resurrected. This show is so new that tix don’t even go on sale until May 12.
Pretty Lights, Aug. 7 at Red Rocks: Pretty Lights is one of Colorado’s hottest electro outfits and now the group’s going international. The act’s coordinated light and media show should be off the hook on the rocks.
Vans Warped Tour, Aug. 8 at Invesco Field: The Denver date is soft on top-name headliners, but this is still one of the best places to check out new national and local indie bands.
Primus and Gogol Bordello, Aug. 12 at Red Rocks: What happens when you put two of the quirkiest and original bands on the road together? You have a Primus and Gogol Bordello concert. This show is guaranteed to rock and keep you entertained.
Mile High Music Festival, Aug. 14-15 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park: Thank goodness the two-day fest got moved from the sweltering July heat, but we all wish the lineup had been a little fresher this year. The usual cast of musicians that sell out Colorado shows will be featured at this year’s fest. However, there are some nice additions with Phoenix, Weezer, the reunited Samples, My Morning Jacket and Drive-By Truckers.
The Neville Brothers, Aug. 16 at Chautauqua Auditorium: Chautauqua took a mellower music route this concert season, but this show will shake the rafters at the aged auditorium. The Nevilles know how to bring it when it comes to cranking out New Orleans’ style funk, blues and rock.
Rodrigo y Gabriela, Aug. 20 at Red Rocks: Rod and Gab’s astounding guitar feats should sound even better amplified by the parks’ red rocks. This is another must-see show of the summer.
Toad the Wet Sprocket, Aug. 21 at Chautauqua Auditorium: While band leader Glen Phillips’ pens emotive solo albums, you’ll probably have to listen to cheesy Toad tunes like “All I Want” at this show.
Yonder Mountain String Band, Aug. 27 at Red Rocks: Tix to String Cheese are long gone, but you can still score tickets to Colorado faves Yonder Mountain. The band’s smooth mix of rock and bluegrass sounds should sound great under the stars.
Green Day, Aug. 28 at the Comfort Dental Amphitheatre: Green Day is the hottest American alternative rock commodity on the road. Hopefully, the amphitheater won’t dull the sounds of this band’s edgy guitar licks, great rock hooks and insightful lyrics.
David Gray and Ray LaMontagne, Aug. 30 at Red Rocks: Sometimes you need to hear a really good night of introspective songs. David Gray and Ray LaMontagne are two of best poet-musicians on the road, and this should be a special night under the stars at Red Rocks.
John Mayer, Sept. 1 at Red Rocks: As long as John Mayer refrains from making any stupid comments and sticks to his songbook, this should be a very cool night of blues, rock and acoustic tunes on the rocks.
Gov’t Mule and The Avett Brothers, Sept. 4 at Red Rocks: Take the hard-rocking edge of Warren Haynes’ Gov’t Mule and the countrified rock sounds of The Avett Brothers, and you have a great concert to close out the summer season. The Avetts just sold out two shows in Boulder and proved they’re ready to handle Red Rocks.
Sound Tribe Sector 9, Sept. 10-11 at Red Rocks: These guys helped pioneer the national electro music scene and STS9 always comes up with exciting outdoor shows. Lucky fans scored a three-day pass, which includes a Sept. 9 show at the Boulder Theater.
Paramore with Tegan and Sara, Sept. 13 at Red Rocks: This is one of the best girl-band tours of the summer. Fans get to rock out to Paramore’s edgy tunes, and hear Tegan and Sara’s catchy, alt-pop songs.