LA’s Summer Concert Outlook

LA’s Summer Concert Outlook
Mark Your Calendar!


Maybe it is global warming, maybe the Big Guy Upstairs flipped the switch, but the recent escalation of the mercury confirms that summer is fast approaching.  And that means it is time to survey the LA music scene for the next several months. 

Here are the hot tips across a range of styles and venues, listed roughly chronologically.


Kraftwerk at Coachella

COACHELLA (April 25-27) – These three days in the desert bring out summer-like heat, both in terms of ambient temperature and big name acts. The recent announcement of Prince adds a nice luster to several big name acts like Roger Waters and Kraftwerk.  But as always, it will be the scrappy upstart bands vying for attention in the desert sun that will turn in the head-popping performances.

STAGECOACH (May 2-4) – Leveraging the existing infrastructure from the prior weekend, this more laidback and family-friendly festival lets kids in for free, and encourages folding chairs. Originally set for only two days, the recent addition of the Eagles to the lineup warranted a third day.  With the likes of John Fogerty, Trisha Yearwood and Dwight Yoakam (the only artist appearing on both weekends), Stagecoach is fast becoming an oasis of eclectic music.

ELVIS COSTELLO + POLICE (May 27-28, Hollywood Bowl) – This week at the Bowl is chock a block full of artists from the heyday of KROQ’s playlist.  (REM and The Cure play on separate nights as well).  But the clever paring of Costello and the Police justify the two-night booking.  The eclectic (or is he just random?) former computer programmer now known as Costello will tear through a bounty of his very heavy songbook, peppered no doubt with obscurios and new tracks to keep furrowed brows among his diehard fans. Sting on the other hand will bravely rework several of the band’s hits but hew closely to the reggae-tinged arrangements that made the band famous. &


Billy Bragg

BILLY BRAGG (June 10, El Rey) – The prolific Bard from Barking has been somewhat quiet the last half dozen years, but his new album (Mr. Love & Justice on Anti) is a sterling return to form. The lead track (“I Keep Faith”) is as strong a song has he has done in eons.  The rest of the album presents a more personal and less political vibe, but his wit remains consistent.

ALLISON KRAUSS + ROBERT PLANT (June 23-24, Greek) – showing a tasteful eclecticism that often eluded him after Zeppelin, Plant has eschewed a bazillion dollars for a reunion tour in favor of a more homespun continuation of his exploration of bluegrass and acoustic music with Krauss.  She charmed the Greek last year, and devotees of Zeppelin’s bucolic third album should enjoy the pair’s shows this year. &

CHRIS ISAAK (July 11-12, Hollywood Bowl) – One of the most consistently engaging performers of the last few decades is this self-deprecating surfer from California’s central valley. His between-song patter is nearly priceless, and his crooning causes swooning in the aisles.  Billed as a romantic night at the Bowl (“Some Enchanted Evening”), budding Casanovas will practically get a guarantee they’ll get lucky with their dates afterwards.

RINGO STARR (August 2, Greek) – A pretty strong album a few months ago confirms that his former aspirations of running hair salons can be put on the back burner.  Starr gathers many of his blokes for a barnstorming tour through summer sheds.  His fellow travelers love the gig, and Beatlemaniacs of all ages sing along to the underwater classics “Yellow Submarine” and “Octopus’s Garden.”

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.