The calendar says summer doesn’t start until June 20, but the concert calendars say otherwise.
Colorado gets treated to a stellar selection of summer concerts for one reason: Red Rocks Amphitheatre. It’s one of the most spectacular venues in the country and that makes it a must-play for bands. In fact, the majority of this summer’s most exciting shows will happen inside those beautiful rock walls.
Denver’s big theaters will play host to some great bands, and even Larimer Lounge is getting in on the action with a special show from Thurston Moore.
Here in Boulder, the summer concert season will be a little different as the Fox Theatre closes its doors for repairs in June and July. But the Boulder Theater plans to step up and fill the void by booking various shows to fill the void.
Here’s what’s in store.
Best Coast, Saturday at the Fox Theatre
The California-loving duo is back out on tour in the wake of their sophomore album, The Only Place. The new music is more complex than the last album, and touches a lot on lead singer Bethany Cosentino’s struggle to deal with unexpected fame and the difficulties of touring. But the show won’t be a downer — Best Coast will still playing some older, sunnier stuff, too.
Bon Iver, May 31 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Red Rocks is a perfect setting for Bon Iver’s delicate, written-in-the-wilderness music. As the act has gotten bigger, so have the shows, but Justin Vernon is still his understated self. For all the folksy charm, though, a Bon Iver show is no snooze-fest.
Santigold, May 29 at the Ogden Theatre
After four long years, Santigold finally released her second album, Master of My Make-Believe. The new material sounds a lot like the old, but that’s in no way a bad thing. She’s going heavy on the island beats and still has tons of attitude behind her laid-back vocals.
Childish Gambino, June 5 at the Ogden Theatre
Donald Glover’s rapping started out as something fun for him to do and it took a while for critics to start taking him seriously. There are still those who aren’t into his style, but he’s earned a lot of respect for his ability to create beats and smart wordplay. Live, as in his music, he performs around the line between serious and funny.
Wilco, June 22 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Be thankful that a band like Wilco keeps touring when it doesn’t have to. Whole Love came out months ago. Jeff Tweedy and company don’t need to promote anything, but they’re out making fans happy anyway. The last album found them experimenting more than ever with electronics, but it also produced more of the beautiful folk gems they made on Hotel Yankee Foxtrot.
Thurston Moore, June 27 at the Boulder Theater and June 29 at Larimer Lounge
The first chance to see Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore’s solo show will be at the Boulder Theater. That’s a great opportunity, but the more exciting show will happen two days later at Larimer Lounge. Moore will surely have the house packed for the intimate set. It’s not often you see someone this big in a room this small.
Beach Boys, July 9 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
The Beach Boys reunion tour is still going, and that’s all you need to know.
Big K.R.I.T., July 18 at the Ogden Theatre and July 19 at the Boulder Theater
Always grab the chance to enjoy top-notch hip hop in Boulder. The opportunities are rare, and this particular show will be a good one. K.R.I.T. has been on fire lately, with some of his music making it out of the underground while he maintains that underground sound.
Florence + the Machine, July 25 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Oh, Flo. Her outfits are witchy and her voice is stunning. She sounds just as good live as she does on the albums, plus her hair will match the setting perfectly.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse, August 5-6 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Other than a headlining slot at San Francisco’s Outland Festival, these two nights at Red Rocks are the only summer shows for Neil Young & Crazy Horse. He’s giving Colorado two nights. Be there and be honored.
Jack White, August 8 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
It’s what everyone has been waiting for: a Jack White solo album and tour. He’s a powerful force on stage and his backing bands (he’s switching back and forth between all-female and all-male ensembles) are more than equipped to keep up. Bonus: he recently vowed to use every show to try to break the Guinness World Record for most metaphors in a single concert.
Skrillex, August 9 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Already into dubstep? Then this show is exciting news. Not into it? This is the time to give it a second shot. Skrillex plays best live where you can act on the overwhelming urge to dance like a fool.