From local bands to national names, here are 30 sunset shows you can’t miss.
By Lauren Cohen and Kaitlyn Pacheco | Photography by Will Cocks

Arts & Culture

Summer Concert Guide

From local bands to national names, here are 30 sunset shows you can’t miss.

Nothing beats the energy of a summer concert. Whether you’re sprawled out across the lush lawn at an outdoor venue, or standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other die-hards in a packed club, there’s something about live music on a warm evening that keeps us dancing all season long.

Throughout the next few months, tons of diverse performers will be taking stages all over Charm City. So no matter what type of music lover you are, there are plenty of opportunities to crack open a beer, listen to a sunset soundtrack, and take a break from reality—even if only for a few hours. Here, we round up 30 can’t-miss concerts in the area.

Live and Local

6/21-23: The Bridge

This funk and blues collective might have skipped its annual Thanksgiving Eve reunion show last fall, but the band is making up for it with a three-night summer residency at The 8x10. To celebrate their love for the venue, the guys—including original members Cris Jacobs and Kenny Liner—are recreating three iconic shows from their long run of performances at the Federal Hill club from 2004-2011. Snag tickets to see special guests Grand Ole Ditch on night one, Jordan August on night two, and Tim Nodar in the final show. The 8x10, 10 E. Cross St. 8 p.m. $30

6/24: J Pope and The HearNow

Backed by a horn-heavy band, vibrant vocalist J Pope takes the stage at the recurring Friends of Patterson Park concert series on Pagoda Hill. Jam out to upbeat hits like “Confusion” and “Spaz Out” while swaying to the poetic lyrics of “Soul Searching” and “Still Here.” 27 S. Patterson Park Ave. 6:30 p.m. Free.

6/30: Adam Wakefield

Though originally from New Hampshire, The Voice runner-up Adam Wakefield cut his musical chops in Charm City, collaborating with local greats and and playing shows with his nine-piece funk and blues band Old Man Brown. Wakefield returns to Baltimore this summer to bless The 8x10 with his soulful sound. Here’s hoping he throws his cover of “Tennessee Whiskey” into the set. The 8x10, 10 E. Cross St. 7 p.m. $20

7/7: Andy Bopp

Since January 2017, An Die Musik, one of the city’s most beloved classical and jazz venues, has hosted Folkal Point, a monthly singer-songwriter series to showcase local folk-music talent. On the heels of his WTMD First Thursday performance on July 5, hear this Baltimore-based power-pop performer rock the crowd with songs from his forthcoming album, Wherewithal, in his first-ever show for the series. An Die Musik, 409 N. Charles St. $10-15.

7/11: Bombino with Super City

From The Songster Series to Cajun and Zydeco dance parties, the Creative Alliance is known for bringing a true medley of musical talent to its Highlandtown arts space. This month, one of Africa’s best young guitarists, Bombino, will share a bill with local indie-pop band Super City for a guitar-centric show on the Patterson Theater stage. Catch these two up-and-coming acts and revel in the chance to see them on the brink of becoming stars. Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., $15-18.

7/12: Snail Mail

It’s an exciting time for Ellicott City’s own teenage indie superstar Lindsay Jordan, who has recently been lauded by the likes of The New York Times and Pitchfork in anticipation of her debut full-length album,Lush, on Matador Records. To celebrate, Jordan, known by the moniker Snail Mail, is taking the stage at The Parkway Theatre this July. Enjoy opening sets by Romantic States and Bonny Doon before rocking out to the band’s scrappy guitar shreds and lo-fi sound, as heard in songs like “Pristine” and “Thinning.” The SNF Parkway Theatre, 5 W. North Ave. 7 p.m. $15-17

7/28: Jazz Odyssey: Lafayette Gilchrist Quartet

Jack Whitten, whose revelatory works are now on display in an exhibit at The Baltimore Museum of Art, had a deep appreciation for jazz music and is the inspiration for this year’s summer concert series at the museum. At the end of the month, hear acclaimed jazz pianist and composer Lafayette Gilchrist perform in the BMA’s Sculpture Garden, and enjoy evening access to the widely regarded exhibition during its final weekend. Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive. $35-50

7/28: Dan Deacon

Since moving to Baltimore in 2004, this electronic artist, heralded by many as the founder of the city’s DIY music scene, has released seven celebrated albums, toured the country with indie-rock band Arcade Fire, and performed his signature sound at an NPR Tiny Desk concert. Make the quick trip to Frederick to hear this experimental musician take over Flying Dog Brewery’s monthly outdoor concert series. Flying Dog Brewery, 4706 Wedgewood Blvd., Frederick. $22.60-27.75.

8/25: Beach House

Our own dream pop duo has been killing the game since the early aughts, and their new album, 7, is a dynamic continuation of the band’s magical vibe. Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand headline at The Anthem in D.C. this August, performing old favorites (“Used to Be”) and new hits like “Dark Spring” and “Lemon Glow.” We can’t think of a better way to wind down the summer. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW, Washington, D.C., 6:30 p.m. $38

9/15: Kix

This Hagerstown-hailing hard rock trio has been rocking since the early ’80s, headlining local clubs (they were known to frequent the original Hammerjacks) and playing festivals across the country. Catch the guys at Ram’s Head Live for this hometown show featuring concert favorites like “Midnite Dynamite” and “Yeah Yeah Yeah.” Ram’s Head Live, 24 Market Place, 9 p.m. $24.50

9/28: Future Islands

Squeeze your way to the front of the crowd for this sure-to-be sensational performance by local legends Future Islands. The synthpop trio, one of Baltimore’s biggest success stories yet, takes The Anthem stage to perform a catalogue of hits from its 12-year run. Listen out for oldies-but-goodies like “In the Fall” and “Seasons.” The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW, Washington, D.C., 6:30 p.m. $41-76

Stadium Shows

6/16: Def Leppard and Journey

Two of the world’s greatest rock bands make a stop in Baltimore on this co-headlining summer tour. Throw on a vintage t-shirt and belt aloud to familiar favorites like “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Lights,” before partaking in what we’re sure will be the greatest “Don’t Stop Believin” singalong Charm City has ever seen. Royal Farms Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St. 7 p.m. $49.50

6/18: U2

After more than 40 years together, Bono and the boys have still got it. Catch the Irish rockers on their latest tour to hear recognizable songs like “With or Without You,” “Beautiful Day,” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” as well as new tracks off of their 2017 album Songs of Experience. Capital One Arena, 601 F. St N.W., Washington, D.C., 8 p.m. $41-325

7/27-28: Beyonce & Jay-Z

It’s been four years since the first On The Run tour, in which Queen B and Jay-Z graced more than 50,000 fans at M&T Bank Stadium with their presence. (We remember it fondly.) This summer, the royal duo returns to town for the second iteration of their iconic collaborative tour. Dress to impress and watch Bey and Jay perform hits like “Drunk in Love” and “‘03 Bonnie and Clyde” together, as well as a selection of their individual tracks. Keep your fingers crossed for throwbacks like “Izzo,” “99 Problems,” and Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” and “Crazy in Love.” FedEx Field, 1600 Fedex Way, Hyattsville, 6:30 p.m. $102-350

9/12-13: Drake and Migos

Drake’s latest anthems “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What” have already become serious song-of-the-summer contenders. Hear them live as the King of The Six stops in D.C. to perform his classic chart-toppers, as well as tracks off of his highly-anticipated fifth studio album Scorpion, which is expected to drop next month. Get on your feet early with an opening set by hip-hop trio Migos. Capital One Arena, 601 F. St NW, Washington, D.C., 8 p.m. $59-199

9/14: Paul Simon

This musical legend started touring in the early ’60s. And now—fifty years, 13 studio albums, and 16 Grammy awards later—the hall of famer is crisscrossing the country one final time. Music lovers of all ages will pack into Capital One Arena to catch a glimpse of Simon on his farewell tour, which will feature a mix of iconic tunes (think “Graceland,” “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” and “You Can Call Me Al”) from his decades-long repertoire. We can only hope he’ll throw in a few from his Simon & Garfunkel days, too. Capital One Arena, 601 F. St N.W., Washington, D.C., 8 p.m. $50-175

9/19 : Childish Gambino

On the heels of releasing the politically charged music video for his song “This is America,” Donald Glover’s acclaimed rap persona is hitting the road for a national tour named after the track. Experience Childish Gambino’s powerful beats and powerful lyrics, as showcased in favorites like “Redbone,” “What Kind of Love” and “Sweatpants.” Capital One Arena, 601 F. St N.W., Washington, D.C., 7:30 p.m. $71-129

9/21-22: Elton John

It’s the end of an era for Sir Elton John, who kicks off his international farewell tour with a two-night performance at Capital One Arena. Rock out to “Benny and the Jets” while getting lost in emotional renditions of “Rocket Man,” “Your Song,” and “Tiny Dancer” for the final time live. Capital One Arena, 601 F. St N.W., Washington, D.C., 7:30 p.m. $71-129

Open-Air Gigs

6/23: Paramore and Foster the People

Led by the electric vocals of Hayley Williams, Paramore has been dominating radio airwaves for more than a decade (“Misery Business,” anyone?). Throw on a pair of sunnies and rock out to the pop-punk band’s 13-year catalogue at this Merriweather show, which will feature an opening set by alt-rockers Foster the People. Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia, 5:30 p.m. $45-86

7/5: Lake Street Dive

On the first Thursday of the month from May through September, locals have made a tradition of heading to Canton Waterfront Park for WTMD's annual summer concert series. In July, indie-soul quartet Lake Street Dive headlines the lineup along with local power-pop performer Andy Bopp, Houston's eight-piece ensemble The Suffers, and Bay Area band The Mother Hips. Mark your calendars for the end-of-summer installments in August and September, featuring acts like Bettye LaVette, Lo Moon, The Family Crest, and Jackie Greene. Canton Waterfront Park, 3001 Boston St. 5:30-10 p.m. Free

7/6: Foo Fighters

Though they’ve been touring for 20 years, Dave Grohl and his crew are taking the Merriweather Post Pavilion stage for the first time ever this July. Rock out to an opening set by The Struts before jamming to Foo Fighters classics (think “Everlong” and “The Pretender”) mixed with new songs off of the band’s latest album Concrete and Gold. Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia

7/27: Nelly

We have this artist to thank for some of the hottest dance hits of the early aughts. (Clubs still erupt at the opening notes of “Ride Wit Me” and “Hot in Herre.”) Grab a group and head to Power Plant Live to hear the rapper perform them live this July. Power Plant Live, 34 Market Place, 6 p.m., $15-20.

7/28: David Byrne

Talking Heads fans will be happy to hear that former frontman David Byrne—who grew up in Baltimore County—is bringing his distinctive vocals and genre-defying beats to Columbia this summer as part of his 80-date world tour promoting the new album American Utopia. After dynamic sets at Coachella and Lollapalooza earlier this season, Byrne returns to his hometown to perform tracks including “I Dance Like This” and “Everybody’s Coming to My House.” Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia, 6:30 p.m., $60-130.

8/2: Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker

There’s nothing like live country music on a hot summer night. As the sun sets over the Merriweather amphitheater, belt aloud to familiar Lady Antebellum chart-toppers like “Need You Now” and “Just a Kiss,” and get in on a legendary “Wagon Wheel” singalong with Darius Rucker. Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia, 5:30 p.m., $56-345.

8/4-5: Summer Spirit Fest

Now in its 13th year, this soul festival returns with a two-day lineup featuring icons Erykah Badu, The Roots, Nas, Method Man & Redman, Anderson. Paak and The Nationals, Masego, Lizzo, DJ Quicksilva, and more. Spread out on the lush lawn, peruse handmade crafts in the artist marketplace, and enjoy the live sets while basking in the summer sun. Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia, 1 p.m., $60-250.

9/21: Portugal The Man

This Portland-based band has been around for years, but skyrocketed to star status last summer when it's hit “Feel It Still” blew up radio airwaves. Now, they’re making rounds on the festival circuit and headlining gigs all over the world. Crack open a beer and toast the end of summer with songs like “Modern Jesus” and new single “Live in the Moment.” Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia, 6 p.m., $45-75.

Club Concerts

6/17: Cold War Kids

Experience the catchy lyrics and post-punk grit of these alternative heroes, whose latest album LA Divine is meant to be a love letter to Los Angeles and all of its “strange glory.” The band takes the Ram’s Head Live stage this June to perform classics like “First” and “Hang Me Up to Dry,” along with new songs like “Love is Mystical.” Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place, 8 p.m., $26.50.

6/20: Bishop Briggs

This British girl boss has blown up the indie scene with her fiery vocals and blues-rock sound, as showcased in songs like “White Flag” and “River.” Head to her Ram’s Head show to experience the electric vibes up close and personal. Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place, 8 p.m., $25.

6/20: Ray Lamontagne

Chances are you’ve heard Ray Lamontagne’s recognizable voice, whether it’s the backing track in a TV commercial, or he sneaks in to your Spotify shuffle. Settle in for a sure-to-be spectacular show from the veteran singer-songwriter, who will share The Anthem stage with special guest Neko Case. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW, Washington D.C., 6:30 p.m. $55-199

7/20: Janelle Monáe

Fusing her own signature style with moves influenced by the likes of Michael Jackson and James Brown, this R&B queen has certainly made a name for herself throughout the past decade. She brings her energy to The Anthem stage this summer to perform upbeat anthems like “Tightrope,” “Cold War,” and her current single “Make Me Feel.” The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW, Washington D.C., 6:30 p.m. $55-199

7/24: Courtney Barnett

The Aussie goddess returns to share her unapologetic storytelling and deadpan lyrics this summer. Sing along to favorites—including the Kurt Vile duet “Over Everything”—along with new tracks off of Barnett’s 2018 album Tell Me How You Really Feel. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW, Washington D.C., 8 p.m. $40-60

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