July has John Mayer with the Grateful Dead, Ryan Adams with Noel Gallagher, Culture Club at Heinz Hall, and the Biebs at Consol—all on the same day.
Macy Gray, Billy Joel, Modest Mouse, Dave Matthews Band, and Guns N’ Roses will perform before the month is even halfway over.
Did we mention Ja Rule? What about Weezer?
Let’s dive right into one of the busiest months in recent memory:
July kicks off with a pair of huge stadium shows, Billy Joel at PNC Park July 1, and Kenny Chesney next door at Heinz Field July 2. Billy Joel is already sold out, so to rub a little salt in the wound, his most recent gig, last week at Madison Square Garden, ran 23 songs long, including a six-song encore with performances of “Big Shot,” “Uptown Girl,” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Kenny Chesney will be joined by Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt, Old Dominion, and about fifty thousand drunken tailgaters. If stadium shows aren’t your thing, local indie rockers Chet Vincent and the Big Bend host their album release show at the Allegheny Elks Lodge on the North Side July 1.
Speaking of sold-out shows, there’s a pair of big ones at Stage AE: XFEST, July 3, with Weezer and a pair of 2015 Thrival alums, Panic! At the Disco and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, and on July 5, Modest Mouse and Brand New. Weezer has been playing the same, career-spanning set at every one of their shows this tour, so unless they suddenly decide to switch it up you’ll hear “Hash Pipe” and “Buddy Holly” as well as a handful of new jams off of their new LP, The White Album. As for the other gig, neither band is playing any new material, but who cares when it’s Brand New and Modest Mouse, the former of which will headline the Pittsburgh gig.
Things slow down around the Fourth of July, but indie rock mainstays Guided By Voices are at Mr. Smalls July 6, with support from Pet Clinic. And speaking of bands down to one original member, The Yardbirds are at Jergel’s that same evening. Also, July 7, AWOLNATION headline Stage AE. This will be your only chance to see them in Pittsburgh since the 8/31 Prophets of Rage show they were set to open has been canceled.
The big summer festivals continue in earnest July 8 when Def Leppard, Tesla and REO Speedwagon visit First Niagara Pavilion. This is Def Leppard’s first visit since 2014 when they visited Burgettstown with Kiss. The band actually released a new album last year, not that anyone really pays to hear Def Leppard play the new stuff. Then, July 9, Dave Matthews Band makes their annual stop into town for another two-set show that will touch upon maybe 3% of their discography.
The real highlight of that weekend happens on the Northside when 180 local bands and musicians play the fourth annual Deutschtown Music Festival, July 8-9. Things start relatively slowly Friday night and really ramp up Saturday, with well over a dozen venues including three stages at both Penn Brewery and James Street Gastropub. All the performances are free and the majority are all-ages. And on July 10, a very special Live Retrospective with horror director John Carpenter, featuring a live band and “spectacular stage production.”
Assuming Axl, Slash, and Duff McKagan haven’t all quit the band by this point, Guns N’ Roses will make their triumphant return to Pittsburgh July 12 at Heinz Field, their first stop in town since 1992. No word on the opener yet, but support acts in other cities include Lenny Kravitz, Alice in Chains and Skrillex, so your guess is as good as mine.
Then things really start to heat up.
On July 13, take your pick. Do you catch John Mayer jam with Bob Weir and Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann with Dead and Company out at First Niagara? Maybe you’d rather watch Boy George and the original Culture Club lineup at Heinz Hall, or join the Beliebers over at Consol Energy Center. Finally, at Stage AE outdoors, an excellent indie rock double bill with Ryan Adams and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Far and away Adams’ most popular song on Spotify is his acoustic cover of “Wonderwall,” but there’s a better chance Taylor Swift is airlifted in to perform all of 1989 with Adams than there is of Noel dueting on an Oasis song.
The action continues July 14, this time for an outdoor show at Stage AE with indie pop band Fitz and the Tantrums, who just released their self-titled third studio album. Even better, Macy Gray is at the Carnegie Library of Homestead Music Hall. The R&B singer is only performing in six US cities this summer, and Pittsburgh (or I guess Munhall) is one of them. And Downtown, at Heinz Hall, A Night Of Symphonic Hip Hop Featuring Nelly With The Pittsburgh Symphony. If anyone knows what to expect with that one, shoot me an email.
If you prefer your rap without orchestral accompaniment (you heathen), Chuck Inglish, best known as one-half of The Cool Kids, performs at BOOM Concepts July 15. That’s the same day Warped Tour visits First Niagara, with all of your pop-punk favorites including Good Charlotte, Less Than Jake, Falling in Reverse, New Found Glory and dozens more. Ladyfest also begins July 15, a three-day, genre-spanning festival of 40 mostly local female-centered bands and solo artists. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. Also that day, Texas blues-folk singer Shakey Graves will be at Mr. Smalls, and raucous Atlanta garage punks The Black Lips perform at Spirit, with support from Chain and the Gang and local garage rockers, Nox Boys.