The bees are buzzing, the birds are chirping — that must mean spring is here and summer is just around the proverbial corner.
None of the big arena tours are coming to Northeast Ohio during the summer while the recently (and terribly) re-branded Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse gets a facelift, and last year’s intriguingly eclectic InCuya Music Festival has decided to skip this year. But there will still be plenty of live music to witness.
Besides the much-heralded and long-awaited reunion of Hootie & The Blowfish (July 26, Blossom Music Center), there’s singer/guitarist Peter Frampton waving goodbye on his “Finale: The Farewell Tour” (Aug. 8, Blossom); clean-shaven, expensive-mussed-hair-having boy band Why Don’t We (Aug. 28, Jacobs Pavilion); jam band Phish (June 19, Blossom); and R&B/pop icons Patti LaBelle (June 23, MGM Northfield Park) and Dionne Warwick (June 22, Cain Park).
Blossom Music Center is literally built for warm-weather concerts, whether you're sitting out on the lawn socializing or under the pavilion enjoying a seat, able to see the performers’ pupils. It's the place to see big country stars of current and recent vintage. Nelson Ledges Quarry Park (NLQP.com) will play host to its usual caravan and commune of jam and cover bands on its bucolic campgrounds.
Here is a sampling of the many concerts coming our way this season:
• Wu Tang 25th Anniversary Tour — June 2, Agora Ballroom
The legendary New York rap collective’s debut “Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers” turns a quarter-century old and the loose-knit, sometimes quarreling group has gathered 10 core members (R.I.P. Ol' Dirty Bastard) for a victory lap that celebrates an album that changed the rap game.
• Dierks Bentley: 2019 Burning Man — July 25, Blossom
One of country’s hot stars with more than 15 No. 1 singles, including the recent ode to his wife, "Woman, Amen," brings his latest tour to town, featuring singer-songwriters Jon Pardi and Tenille Townes as openers.
• Blink-182 & Lil Wayne — July 16, Blossom
Hey kids, remember the late '90s and early aughts? Sure you do, and you likely remember the proliferation of pop punk co-led by the trio of snide goofballs in Blink-182, and the New Orleans emcee Lil Wayne’s improbable rise to rap and pop superstardom. They’ve teamed up for a co-headlining tour designed to tickle the nostalgic bone in your eardrums.
• The Who: Moving On! — Sept. 10, Blossom Music Center
Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey hit the road again as The Who and will be performing expected classics with an orchestra. But the duo isn’t just reveling in past sonic triumphs; they'll be promoting a new album due out this summer.
• LaureLive 2019 — June 8-9, Laurel School’s Butler Campus
It’s the fourth year for the locally produced music, arts and culinary festival that takes place on the grounds of the private girls school in Russell and Chester townships. The 2019 edition includes area bands such as The Shootouts and Youngstown's The Vindys, and a varied lineup of national acts including hip and heavy acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Trombone Shorty and headliner Sheryl Crow.
• WZAK Stone Soul Festival — June 21, Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica
Hey kids, remember the ... wait, did we do that already? Never mind. Here’s another past music blast featuring Atlanta's '90s R&B princess Monica (“Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days))” along with R&B boy groups Jagged Edge (“Let’s Get Married”) and Dru Hill (“How Deep Is Your Love”). If you were looking for an excuse to break out that multicolored 8-ball jacket that's been in the back of your closet since 1999, here's an environment where it will be appreciated.
• Kidz Bop World Tour 2019 — Aug. 4, Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica
The wildly popular compilation series (“Kidz Bop 39” was released in January) comes to the outdoor stage. They’re cute, bubbly tweens singing sanitized, age-appropriate versions of recent and current hit pop songs while dancing for your children's amusement, and it'll be August on the water, so let's hope the Boppin' Kidz are properly hydrated and wearing plenty of bug spray.
• PorchRokr Music and Art Festival — Aug. 17, Highland Square, Akron
It started off as a modest way for Highland Square and surrounding neighborhoods to get to know each other and maybe hear some cool local music. Now it's grown into a pretty big deal with literally thousands of folks walking the streets and checking out the porches of Highland Square residents. PorchRokr has become a desirable destination festival for hundreds of bands from Northeast Ohio and even surrounding states, who willingly make the trek to West Akron for the day.
• Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival — Aug. 23-25, downtown Akron
Another little community festival that could continues to do so in its fourth year. No lineups have been announced, but if you’re a fan of quality music, go ahead and save the dates.
• The Black Keys: Let’s Rock Tour 2019 — Sept. 30, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
Akron’s homegrown stars have returned to active duty with an upcoming album, “Let’s Rock,” and a new tour with beloved indie rockers Modest Mouse and openers repeat repeat.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3758. Like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml, and follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.