Summer concerts

Summer is here, and so are the shows. The free Herndon Festival kicked off last night and runs through Sunday. Budget cuts mean no big headliner on Sunday, but tonight is the shimmering piano pop of Lenka and tomorrow is a conflict between the pop-rock of Glen Burtnik (ex-Styx and ELO2) and the psychedlic-folk of Gandalf Murphy and The Slambovian Circus of Dreams. That’s not as big a conflict for me since the latter will be at FRFF, but there’s another struggle for me tomorrow as the M3 Rock Festival takes place at Merriweather Post Pavilion with lots of ’80s and ’90s metal acts, and I try not to miss Extreme when they come to town.

Sunday is the first of eight Wolf Trap shows for us (and seven of those are free, from three different sources – contests can be fun) with Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, and Shawn Colvin with Buddy Miller switching off. We saw the tour that Patty Griffin and Shawn Colvin were on a couple years ago with Mary Chapin Carpenter and Dar Williams – this should be a good show on a summer evening. Next weekend is Celebrate Fairfax, which starts next Friday with Blues Traveler and continues on Saturday with The Fixx in the afternoon, plus emmet swimming is playing in the parking lot of a bar in Arlington later that day.

Tuesday, June 9th the tour with the coolest name comes to Merriweather Post Pavilion as NIN and Jane’s Addiction form NIN/JA (makes me think of Voltron). I probably will not make that, as shows on weeknights in Maryland are reserved for special occasions that are worth the pain of getting there. On Thursday, June 11th we’ll be at Wolf Trap as Elvis Costello pulls a Plant/Krauss move by releasing a country influenced album produced by T-Bone Burnett, then touring with him and his hand picked musicians. Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood will be in town at the Verizon Center Saturday, June 13th, but we’ll likely skip that in favor of local boy Todd Wright for another free show at Acoustic on the Green in Leesburg. No Doubt’s playing the next night over at Nissan Pavilion, not sure if we’ll try and go to that.

The Alexandria Waterfront Festival is June 20th and 21st, and the good music lineup is on the 20th with Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers and Pat McGee Band. If that’s going on too late for us (we’ve got other stuff that starts early that day), there’s a free show at Music Under The Stars in Herndon with Livingston Taylor. The 21st has Aerosmith at Nissan Pavilion but with ZZ Top (WTF?).

On Wednesday, June 24th, we will definitely be at Wolf Trap for the Regeneration Tour, short sets with a bunch of ’80s pop acts. We had a lot of fun at last year’s show, and this year ABC returns bringing with them Berlin, Wang Chung and Cutting Crew. Friday, June 26th gives us two choices of free shows, The Pietasters in DC at the Carter Barron Amphitheater or Love Seed Mama Jump walking distance at Friday Night Live!.

Saturday, June 27th brings something truly different as we’ll go to Annapolis to see Jake Armerding (often joins efo on stage) perform at a house concert on a boat – of course there’s only one song going through my mind when I hear “three hour boat ride”… Both that day and the next is the Northern Virginia Summer BrewFest, Lloyd Dobler Effect will be playing on Sunday.

Wilco plays Wolf Trap for the second time on Wednesday, June 8th, bringing along Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) – I’m definitely going to that. Saturday July 11th Billy Joel and Elton John play the first concert at Nationals Park, but I’ve seen them before, may go see Luke Brindley for free at Acoustic on the Green or The Sketches at Iota that night. Go-Go king Chuck Brown headlines the Reston Festival the next night, another free show.

Robbie Schaefer of efo plays a free show at Royal Lake Park on Friday, July 17th, then we’re off to New York and our seventh Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Unfortunately efo will not be there this year, but lots of other acts we love like Ellis Paul and Girlyman, plus our friends at Camp Edhead/Shantytowne (with more electricity this year).

Green Day is playing Verizon Center on Wednesday, July 29th, but that’s both a weekday and right after we get back from vacation, so doubtful. Gov’t Mule plays the new Sunset Concerts at National Harbor on Thursday, July 30th, but that’s also doubtful (make it across the Wilson Bridge during rush hour?) – alternately Tool plays the Patriot Center that night.

Dream Theater and Queensryche headline the Prgressive Nation tour at Merriweather on Saturday, August 1st, but we’ll skip that for Tori Amos at Constitution Hall (I never miss her if I can help it). We’ll see Dave Matthews Band for the first time this year (second at ACL) when they stop by Nissan on Saturday, August 8th, then I’ll see an older generation of hippies at Hippiefest at Wolf Trap on Tuesday, August 11th. Thursday, August 13th we keep the vibe going with a tribute to Woodstock’s 40th anniversary at Strathmore featuring Jon Carroll and efo. I finish off the week in the grandest of styles by taking in Phish at Merriweather on Saturday the 15th.

Next we get the blues with Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal on Sunday, August 16th, then get the classic rock out at the Steve Miller Band on Thursday, August 20th, and finally bring on the kitchen party with Great Big Sea on Friday August 21st, all three shows at Wolf Trap. A tough choice awaits me on Saturday, August 22nd – I’ve never seen Mötley Crüe (performing Dr. Feelgood in its entirety) or Whitesnake, and one’s at Nissan and the other’s at Merriweather.

Last year’s broadcast with live music of the first The Lord of the Rings was great fun, they’re doing the second August 28th and 29th at Wolf Trap. Also rumored for that weekend is the Virgin Festival with Weezer and Blink-182. We finish off the summer seeing Pat McGee solo for the first time at Rams Head Tavern.