The Summer Concert Guide


It’s summer, and while there are still serious symphonies and operas on cultural calendars everywhere, we like to spend the hotter months focused on the straight-up fun stuff, like festivals, one-off concerts, and full-on throwback tours.

Brandon Flowers at the Fox Theater

September 2 | 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland | 510.302.2250

Oakland's historic Fox Theater underwent a colossal renovation in 2009, and has since become a key element of downtown's revitalization. From the glitzy old-school sign to the Middle Eastern-themed interior, it's a gorgeous space to experience live music (and a surprisingly quick BART ride from downtown San Francisco). One highlight from their summer calendar is Brandon Flowers, the lead singer of The Killers, whose solo tour makes a stop here on Labor Day weekend. Photo: Librarygroover

Outside Lands

August 7-9 | Golden Gate Park

If you're into sampling lots of different styles of music, Outside Lands might just be this year's golden ticket–the headliners include everyone from St. Vincent, to The Black Keys, to Elton John, to Kendrick Lamar. They’ve also pulled together a lot of our favorites from elsewhere in this guide, like First Aid Kit, Leon Bridges, and Ryn Weaver. What's more, the event is drawing heavy hitters from San Francisco's food scene for their newly introduced GastroMagic stage, where you can check out cooking demos from local chefs for all three days of the festival.

Julian Casablancas and The Voidz at The Independent

September 11 | 628 Divisadero St. | 415.771.1421

The Voidz is a new project from The Strokes' frontman Julian Casablancas and they just released their first album last year. The sound is a little bit darker and more garage-feeling than you've heard from Casablancas in the past—for The Strokes fans, it's sort of been an intense love or hate reaction. Their show at the snug 500-seat Independent will be a good time to form your own opinion.

LL Cool J, Bell Biv Devoe, Salt-n-Pepa, & Naughty by Nature at Concord Pavillion

September 6 | 2000 Kirker Pass Rd. | 925.676.8742

LL Cool J, Bell Biv DeVoe, Salt-n-Peppa, Naughty by Nature: If this lineup reads a lot like your teenage CD collection, we suggest jumping on tickets for Hot Summer Night at Concord Pavilion, fast. Nostalgia does play a big part in the appeal, but these acts have legit staying power—LL alone is responsible for some of the sexiest R&B jams of all time.

Chemical Brothers at The Armory

July 30 | 1800 Mission St.

Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, a.k.a. The Chemical Brothers, have been going strong since the early '90s, when, along with The Prodigy and Massive Attack, they launched electronic music into the mainstream. The Armory, where they're performing a rare U.S. show, was designed to look like a Moorish Castle, which makes for a pretty rad—and fittingly trippy—concert space.