Buffalo News Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers selects the 10 shows he's most excited for this summer, independent of venue and in no particular order.
Tears for Fears
June 14 at Artpark
The intelligent, melodic alternative-pop of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith has aged incredibly well. The duo's songbook – spanning from early gems like "The Hurting" through the lush, Beatle-esque sprawl of "Sowing the Seeds of Love" and "Everybody Loves a Happy Ending" – will make for a tough-to-top setlist.
Gary Clark, Jr.
June 15 at Canalside
Canalside Live! kicks off its summer season with Clark's addictive blend of deep-south blues, R&B and soul. At times, Clark's music suggests what it might sound like if Curtis Mayfield was fronting the Black Keys. His penchant for gorgeously fuzz-drenched, heavy blues-based guitar playing and smooth-as-silk vocal delivery bring a soulful authenticity to modern blues.
June 17 at Canalside
It didn’t take long for 107.7 Alternative Buffalo's Kerfuffle Festival to become one of the most highly anticipated events of the summer concert season. Variety among the artists performing has been the key to Kerfuffle's success.
This year's lineup – Dashboard Confessional, Franz Ferdinand, Bob Moses, Grouplove, Missio, the Mowgli's, OK Go and Sir Sly – is poised to continue that tradition.
The Tea Party
July 6 at Canalside
It's about time. Canada's progressive, cross-cultural hard rock maestro has been a favorite of Buffalo audiences for decades, but this show marks the band's Canalside debut.
If recent twin sold-out shows at the Town Ballroom offer anything to judge by, we are in for an evening of some seriously dynamic manipulations of musical light and shade.
July 13 at Canalside
Canalside Live's sole hip-hop show is a strong one, with Wu-Tang Clan legend Ghostface Killah joined by a direct conduit to Bronx-born hip-hop's roots, in the form of English-born, New York City-raised opening act Slick Rick.
Last year, Public Enemy brought some serious old-school stylings to Canalside. Expect more of the same from this bill.
July 15-16 in the Cobblestone District
Buffalo Iron Works and Lockhouse Distillery have teamed to present the inaugural Cobblestone Live Festival, and they've enlisted 35 of the hottest regional and national jam bands to perform.
One stage will be outdoors on Illinois Street adjacent to Iron Works, which also will have an inside stage. Lockhouse Distillery will house the third stage. Acts include Moon Taxi, Real Estate, Aqueous, Moon Hooch, The Hip Abduction, Solidisco, Wild Child, The Dig, Delicate Steve and Funktional Flow.
Blondie and Garbage
July 25 at Artpark
Two of the most compelling frontwomen in rock history teamed at Artpark? Seems like a no-brainer. Blondie has an excellent new album out in the form of "Pollinator," and if you've never witnessed Shirley Manson of Garbage in person – well, you're in for a treat.
Earth Wind & Fire with Chic
Aug. 11 at KeyBank Center
A celebration of all things funky, '70s style. Earth Wind & Fire made some of the finest soul-funk-R&B of that decade. Even with the death of founder Maurice White in 2016, the collective is still cooking with fire.
Nile Rodgers, honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, has assembled a new version of Chic. Even without founding member partners Bernard Edwards and Tony Thompson, Rodgers is a formidable presence.
Guns N' Roses
Aug. 16 at New Era Field
Do they still have it? Can they keep it together? Are Slash and Axl Rose getting along? Reports from the road – coupled by Rose's stellar run subbing for Brian Johnson with AC/DC, including a strong Buffalo show – suggest that all of these questions can be answered in the affirmative. A reformed Live opens the New Era Field show.
Sept. 5 at New Era Field
A major score for our season, and perhaps, a sign of good things to come in terms of New Era Field being employed for major summer concerts in the future. U2 has been earning raves for its “Joshua Tree 30” tour. The album remains the band’s crowning achievement, and has lost none of its relevance over the years.
Expect to hear “The Joshua Tree” in its entirety, but the rest of the oeuvre will not be ignored – songs from every period of U2’s career will be represented.
*Check out the rest of The Buffalo News' concert guide:
- Jeff Miers' column on this year's lineup
- Hot country options for this summer
- Guide to tween- and teen-friendly concerts
- Free jazz festivals in Buffalo