Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats, June 2 at Artpark
Remember when heavy R&B and dirty blues were scary, volatile, exciting and even a little bit transgressive? No? Rateliff and band will be happy to remind you.
Kendrick Lamar - Top Dawg Entertainment: The Championship Tour, June 3 at Darien Lake Amphitheater
Lamar and his colleagues from Top Dawg Entertainment – the company run by Anthony Tiffith, who signed a then-15-year-old Lamar to his first deal – is truly the heavyweight hip-hop bout of the season.
Jack White, June 8 at Artpark
Whirte's adventurous new album, "Boarding House Reach," has urged some fans and pundits to suggest that the former White Stripe has finally jumped the shark. I beg to differ. Buffalo's own Neal Evans is manning the keyboards for this tour.
Dead and Co., June 19 at Darien Lake Ampitheater
The long, strange trip continues, with the help of John Mayer and Oteil Burbridge, both of whom have helped to make Dead & Co. one of the finest Dead-related bands of the post-Jerry Garcia era. "Nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile," folks.
Arrested Development, July 12 at Canalside
A timely return of a collective that is surely one of the progenitors of conscious rap – that strain given to reflecting on social, cultural and political realities – is a highlight not just of the Canalside lineup, but of the broader season as well. We need a show like this, now more than ever.
Father John Misty, July 26 at Canalside
This is a coup for the Canalside lineup. Misty, aka Josh Tillman, is one of the most fascinating, mercurial and talented artists of his indie-rock generation.
Slayer with Lamb of God, Anthrax, Testament and Napalm Death, Aug. 3 at Darien Lake Ampitheater
The kings of thrash have decreed that this summer's run will be their final go-round. They've earned the right to a proper send-off.
Jeff Beck with Ann Wilson, Aug. 7 at Artpark
Of all the guitarists from that fertile late-'60s era that gave us the likes of Hendrix, Clapton, Page, Gilmour and others, Beck remains the king. He's as vital in 2018 as he was in 1978.
Voodoo Threauxdown featuring Trombone Shorty, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, New Breed Brass Band, Glactic, Cyril Neville, Wolfman Washington and Kermit Riffins, Aug. 14 at Artpark
Couldn’t make it to New Orleans for Jazz Fest this year? No problem. Some of that city's finest musicians are eager to bring New Orleans to you.
Chick Corea Akoustic Band, Aug. 27 at the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts
One of the greatest living jazz pianists and composers joined by two indisputable masters of their instruments – bassist John Patitucci and drummer Dave Weckl. For jazz fans, it gets no better than this.
5 must-see club concerts
The Dickies with the Queers, June 10 at Mohawk Place
Rhiannon Giddens, June 27, Asbury Hall at Babeville
The Magpie Salute, July 10 at the Tralf Music Hall
Descendants with A Wilhelm Scream, Pavers, Aug. 3 at Buffalo Riverworks
Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Aug. 8 at Asbury Hall @ Babeville