Everyone comes of age inside a particular decade. Many of us take the experiences inside a time period to form the foundation that other life highlights are piled upon. Others peak within a 10-year period, then ride those mulleted, Mustang-driving glory days for the rest of their lives.
In either case, the music of our formative years affects us the most. It dug deeper into us than any other music could because, as we grew up, the songs came with us. So when it comes to summer concerts, it’s understandable that you would look for some hit-makers from your heyday to fill your calendar. With this noted, please allow the following five-decade breakdown to assist in your decision-making.
Richard Nixon resigned as president after, among other things, trying to have John Lennon deported. A rebellious comedic ensemble debuted on an NBC show called “Saturday Night Live.” And on stages across the world, guitar gods appeared with regularity. It was a beautiful decade for those who now pledge allegiance solely to classic rock radio, and this summer, bands of that era will make plenty of stops here.
Peter Frampton and Cheap Trick, 6:30 p.m. June 23 at Artpark.
Rolling Stones, 7 p.m. July 11 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Deep Purple, 6:30 p.m. July 14 at Artpark.
Lynyrd Skynyrd, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 18 at Artpark.
J. Geils Band, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at Artpark.
Attend if you like: Smoky garage riffs, songs fed through Frampton’s TalkBox or dancing with Peter Wolf through “Whammer Jammer.”
Stay away if you hate: Southern rock, surrendering to multinecked guitars or septuagenarians with “Sticky Fingers.”
President Ronald Reagan announced “Morning in America” before misinterpreting Bruce Springsteen lyrics. A television station called MTV debuted, intent on featuring music videos and feathered-haired vee-jays. Videos featured music more diverse than the Fender-focused rock of the previous decade, but still broke plenty of bands devout to dealing in hot licks. Thankfully, many of these acts are still going strong, able to satiate those raised by Adam Curry and Martha Quinn.
Blondie and Melissa Etheridge, 6:30 p.m. July 7 at Artpark.
Def Leppard, Styx and Tesla, 7 p.m. July 12 at Darien Lake.
Psychedelic Furs and the Church, 7 p.m. Aug. 8 at Town Ballroom.
Social Distortion, 7 p.m. Aug. 18 at Town Ballroom.
Van Halen, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at Darien Lake.
Attend if you like: CBGB legends, Molly Ringwald films or playing air guitar on “Running with the Devil.”
Stay away if you hate: David Lee Roth leg kicks, Johnny Cash covers or being surrounded by a drunken mob screaming for someone to pour some sugar on them.
Eventual President Bill Clinton played his saxophone on “The Arsenio Hall Show.” A band named Nirvana amplified the strides of genre forebears the Pixies to develop something called grunge, but the decade that surrounded them accommodated eclectic offerings inside pop, R&B, rap, punk, ska and traditional guitar rock. It was a big tent in the glorious, frayed and flannel-clad ’90s, and those who bought CDs throughout the decade will have lots of live options through September.
Widespread Panic, 6:30 p.m. June 16 at Artpark.
Everclear, 6 p.m. June 18 at Canalside.
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, 6 p.m. July 9 at Canalside.
En Vogue, 6 p.m. Aug. 20 at Canalside.
Counting Crows, 7 p.m. Sept. 2 at Artpark.
Attend if you like: Tie-dyed jam sessions, grown men in plaid suits or Oregon rockers singing about “Santa Monica.”
Stay away if you hate: MTV divas, Boston-born ska chords or sad songs about Adam Duritz’s friends and lovers.
President George W. Bush uncorked the greatest ceremonial first pitch in World Series history (at Yankee Stadium), then inspired the Radiohead album, “Hail to the Thief.” A British music producer, Paula Abdul and a former session bassist for Journey became pop music tastemakers as inventive rock and hip-hop, alt country and electronic dance music (EDM) started to fill new MP3-filled Walkmans called iPods. It’s a decade not far gone, so those still living it will feel comfortable through many summer shows.
Spoon, 6 p.m. June 25 at Canalside.
O.A.R., 6:30 p.m. July 15 at Artpark.
Kelly Clarkson, 7:30 p.m. July 21 at Darien Lake.
My Morning Jacket, 6:30 p.m. July 22 at Artpark.
Tedeschi Trucks Band, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, 5:30 p.m. Aug. 4 at Artpark.
Attend if you like: American Idols, Austin-imagined tales of “The Underdog” or rolling soul revues off Niagara Gorge.
Stay away if you hate: Incendiary guitar solos, Massachusetts-born blues vocalists or crazy games of poker.
President Obama threw one of the worst ceremonial first pitches in baseball history (at Nationals Park), but then made up for it by hanging out with Bob Dylan, Wilco and the Roots. New country rules the radio; Macs have become acceptable instruments (for some); and rock festivals like Coachella have become less of a seminal experience – and more of an opportunity for Instagram. Still, festivals continue to announce rising talent, just as this summer will introduce new favorites to Buffalo audiences.
Real Estate, 8p.m. June 20 at Tralf Music Hall.
Kerfuffle, 1:30 p.m. July 25 at Canalside.
Father John Misty, 7 p.m. Aug. 1 at Town Ballroom.
Zac Brown Band, 7 p.m. Aug. 6 at Darien Lake.
Alabama Shakes, 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at Artpark.
Attend if you like: “Atlas”-armed Pitchfork heroes, riverfront alt-rock festivals or bearded, Jimmy Buffett-inspired country.
Stay away if you hate: Harry Nilsson-esque troubadours, eclectic Alabama blues or bearded, Jimmy Buffett-inspired country.