Best Local Live Music this Summer

By Meghan Sullivan

Meghan Sullivan
Meghan Sullivan

Before I fully embraced my geek loves, there was music. There has always been music. I’ve been a music nerd for as long as I can remember. It’s why as amazing as the recent Game of Thrones season finale was, I was most enthralled with the score. It was truly magnificent. And it’s why I always love sharing the music I’m listening to and looking forward to hearing or seeing performed live.

I will fully admit that while I have varied tastes, I tend to prefer alternative, indie, and rock (and typically avoid country). So with that, here’s the live music I’m looking forward to this summer.

There’s nothing quite like seeing an amazing live performance. And we are extremely fortunate to have several great venues in town (and even more not that far afield). Here are just a few great shows coming up:


Ace of Spades has become a powerhouse venue pulling in some really great acts and this summer doesn’t see that trend abating. They’ve got Bear Hands and Atlas Genius on Aug 6, Matisyahu on August 16, and Fitz and the Tantrums on August 18. I’ve never seen Fitz and the Tantrums live before and I hear they put on a really high energy performance. Plus, their song Hand Clap is my summer anthem, so much so that my niece, who is not even two-years-old, has begun to associate the song with me. Every time she hears it, she call my name whether I’m around or not. You can guarantee I’ll be at Ace dancing and clapping when Fitz plays it live!

In addition to these great shows, a bit later this year, a trio of throwbacks to my days of Warped Tours and studded belts and the like will be making stops at Ace of Spades:

  • Coheed and Cambria (September 16)
  • Simple Plan (October 6)
  • Yellowcard (October 23)



The California State Fair recently opened and every year has a series of concerts on the Golden 1 Stage. I don’t know about you, but I think seeing Dwight Yoakam (July 17) or The Pointer Sisters (July 20) would be a lot of fun.



Thunder Valley is another often overlooked venue with great events. And they have some great acts booked too.

  • Boston (July 17)
  • Papa Roach and Oleander (July 30)
  • Culture Club (Aug 19)
  • Gavin Degraw and Andy Grammar (Sept 17)

If you’re willing to travel slightly further afield you can catch Keith Urban, Lionel Richie, or Stevie Wonder at Harvey’s Summer Concert Series in South Lake Tahoe. And at Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada you can see Silversun Pickups (Aug 21) or Santana (Sept. 3).



Then of course there is the holy grail of amazing venues in the Bay Area. There was a time when I was headed to shows in San Francisco so often that the bartenders knew who I was.

The Greek Theatre in Berkeley has some really amazing shows coming up (but good luck getting tickets as most of them are sold out). Twenty One Pilots and Alabama Shakes both have two nights of performances at the theatre and Brand New and Modest Mouse will be there (as will I!) on July 28 for their co-headlining tour.

The Warfield will see 98 Degrees (August 29), Descendents (September 29), and the Temper Trap (October 19) among others.

Slim’s has Nothing But Thieves on September 22. And the Fillmore has Wilco for several shows in early September.


With all that great music locally and in the Bay, there really is no excuse not to take in at least one live show before the summer ends. What shows are you planning on catching?

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