Summer, it always seems, is all about the oldies. You’ve got your Beach Boys at Bonnaroo (with Brian Wilson, no less). You got your Happy Together Tour at Riverbend (The Turtles, (some) Monkees, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, The Grass Roots and The Buckinghams). The list goes on.
But one group stands out as not an oldies band, but a still-vital trio not content to coast—if recent reviews are to be trusted. That band is the weathered-but-still-vibrant Crosby, Stills and Nash. There is no new album (or solo releases), yet the band is playing new songs, “Radio” (Crosby) and “Almost Gone” (Nash), along with their cherished catalog of standards and crowd-pleasers.
And if the harmonies are less lustrous, the playing a bit ragged on such classics as “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” the voices wavering here and there, one reviewer said of a recent show, “there were ample compensations in this diverse and sometimes even daring set list.”
A rare treat, it seems, is in store when CS&N come to the Memorial Auditorium on July 10. They may never pass this way again.
850 Market St.
Fridays through Sept. 7
7 to 10 p.m.
• An eclectic range of headlining acts begin at 8 p.m. with local opening acts starting at 7 p.m. Bring your kids, lawn chairs, pets and friends to enjoy great live music, food and an ice-cold beer.
Northwest Georgia Spring Fest
2035 Old Mineral
May 24-June 3
• In its first year, this 11-day festival mixes a variety of bands from Chattanooga and Northwest Georgia in a county fair environment. Such bands as Iron Diplomat, Surrender, and The Fat Old Guys will perform on the main stage.
Thunder On the Rock
5118 Brawley Road Monteagle, Tenn.
• Thunder on the Rock is a three-day bike rally and concert festival, full of bike games, a battle of the bands and live music, this year featuring Bad Company, Jimmie Van Zant Band and Confederate Railroad.
2035 Old Mineral Springs Road LaFayette, Ga.
• Amberland is the jam-band staple Perpetual Groove’s annual arts and music festival, located across 260 acres of farmland in LaFayette. In accordance with its “laid back, backyard party” atmosphere, it features several sets from P-Groove and friends of the band, including Moon Taxi, The Heavy Pets, Consider the Source and Under the Porch.
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
• This Southern Woodstock is a four-day, multi-stage festival held on a 700-acre farm in Manchester every June. Bonnaroo brings together some of the best performers in rock and roll, along with dozens of artists in complementary styles such as jazz, Americana, hip-hop, electronica, and just about any contemporary music you can think of.
Here’s our list of notable acts:
Thursday, June 7
Sometimes you just want to have your face rocked off of your skull and thrown into a musical whirlwind, and few bands accomplish this with as much gusto as White Denim. Though they stem from the blues-rock scene that’s now so prevalent in their native Austin, Texas, this four-piece blends influences from dub, soul, jazz and psychedelia to create a sound that not only hits you in the gut, but also gives you some substance once the head-banging subsides. Both Wilco and Jack White have brought them into the studio; maybe you should give them a shot too.
Friday, June 8
Don’t let the Grace Kelly-esque countenance fool you; Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) is a standalone musical talent, able to infuse simple, overdriven guitar melodies into complex song arrangements that both work in service of her lofty and ethereal voice. Her distinct combination of jazz, pop and baroque-style indie rock complements her thematic focus on the battle between happiness and melancholy; a combination that has lead her to work with such artists as Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie and Bon Iver.
Saturday, June 9
Gary Clark, Jr.
Acclaimed as the prodigal son of blues and roots music, Gary Clark Jr. is well-steeped in tradition while still carving out a sound all his own. His smooth fingerstyle playing mirrors his lightly weathered yet soulful voice, traversing familiar ground to bring back a sense of spirituality and honesty not often found in songwriting these days. He’s performed everywhere from Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival to the White House, and alongside hundreds of acts, from Alicia Keys to ZZ Top—along the way proving that he is one of those oh-so-rare artists who can combine technical guitar mastery with real, unbridled soul.
Sunday, June 10
Imagine if Bobby McFerrin went insane and decided he would only write songs based on YouTube videos. As bizarre as that sounds, that is exactly what you can expect out of Reggie Watts. Using only his voice and a couple of loop pedals, he constructs intricate, bombastic, stream-of-consciousness musical explorations that may or may not make sense upon first listen, and almost definitely won’t be suitable for all audiences (his most popular song is titled “Fuck Shit Stack.”) Though he is featured in the comedy tent, Reggie Watts seeks to delve into the heart of what it means to make noise, and may very well be one of the best natural musical performers at the festival.
Pulse music critic Ernie Paik chooses his must-see Bonnaroo acts:
Bad Brains: Legendary and ferocious practically genre-defining D.C. hardcore band. Thursday, June 7.
Orgone: Crate-digging, authentic-sounding ’70s funk/soul band. Thursday, June 7.
Battles: Math + science rock and electronics. Saturday, June 9.
The Roots: Saturday, June 9.
Chattanooga June 8-16
• The Riverbend Festival is an internationally award-winning nine-day festival that takes place on the 21st Century Waterfront along the Tennessee River, and boasts six stages with more than 100 bands featuring world-class entertainment ranging from classic rock, jam bands, country, urban and bluegrass.
Friday, June 8: Futurebirds, 6:15 p.m. Bud Light Stage.
Saturday, June 9: Machines Are People Too, 5 p.m. Bud Light Stage. Two Man Gentleman Band, 10 p.m. TVFCU Stage.
Sunday, June 10: Gov’t Mule, 6:45 p.m. Bud Light Stage.
Thursday, June 14: Junior Brown, 9:30 p.m. UNUM Stage.
Friday, June 15: The Features, 7:45 p.m. TVFCU Stage.
Pulse music critic Ernie Paik chooses his must-see Riverbend acts:
Kaki King: Solo guitarist with incredible chops, unusual techniques and an arsenal of strange guitars. TVFCU Stage, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 9.
Rebirth Brass Band: UNUM Stage, 9:30 p.m. Sunday, June 10.
Flo & Eddie: These members of Frank Zappa’s The Mothers of Invention have been known to unleash a killer rendition of Zappa’s “Peaches en Regalia” in recent years—worth checking out just for that! Part of the Happy Together Tour. 9:30 p.m. Coke Stage, Sunday, June 10.
Aug. 4-Sept. 15 21st Century Waterfront
• Riverfront Nights kicks off Saturday, Aug. 4, and runs weekly through mid-September, only taking off one night (Aug. 25) when they turn the dance floor over to the Southern Brewers Festival. Seven straight nights of fun and music on the city’s front porch. Bands include:
Aug. 4: Papa Grows Funk, The Kymera Project
Aug. 8: Grant Farm, Spoonful James
Aug. 18: Yellow
Sept. 1: Sister
Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Rick Bowers Band
Sept. 1: Fishbone, Opposite Box
Sept. 15: Joe Robinson, Strung Like a Horse
Southern Brewers Festival
Chattanooga Aug. 25
The Southern Brewers Festival takes place along the Riverfront in downtown Chattanooga, and serves as a showcase for both bands and regional beer-crafters. Former headliners include Los Lobos and Railroad Earth.
Atlanta Music Festivals
4th Annual ARTLANTIS Arts and Music Festival
Druid Hills Baptist Church, 1085 Ponce De Leon Ave N.E.
• ARTLANTIS focuses on exhibiting up and coming local musicians and artists in this all-day event.
Red Stripe Midsummer Music and Food Festival
• RSMF is two days of well-known bands performing live music, flanked by food trucks distributing all types of culinary delights.
ONE Music Festival
Piedmont Park 1215 Piedmont Ave.
• ONE Music Festival looks to unify Atlanta’s communities through a mutual love for music, with acts ranging from hip-hop to alternative rock.
Nashville Music Festivals
112 Bridgeview Wartrace, Tenn.
• The Wartrace Music Festival features some of Nashville’s best homegrown bands, with a focus on bluegrass the first night and blues the second night.
CMA Music Festival
• This is country music’s annual Music City get-together, taking place across multiple venues in downtown Nashville.
11th Annual Music City Brewer’s Festival
121 4th Ave. South
• This festival features local blues and rock bands and more than 30 local and regional breweries are there to let people sample their wares.
Alabama Music Festivals
BamaJam Farms Enterprise, AL
Three-day multi-genre music festival featuring Tim McGraw, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow and others.