Oh, yes. Nothing says "summer" more than gathering with friends, sipping a few barley pops and most important listening to music you love. And whether you're a pierced punk or a PTA parent (or both; more power to you), you'll find your groove this summer in St. Louis. To make your concert-planning easy, we've taken the liberty of arranging a few mini music tours. Bon voyage!
The Rockin' Throwback Tour
Dude, remember that summer when we loaded up the Nova and drove south for the Skynyrd show? Cool, neither do we. But we're looking to approximate the experience on Tuesday, June 27, at the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert at UMB Bank Pavilion (14141 Riverport Drive, Maryland Heights; 314-298-9944 or www.umbbankpavilion.com). Few things scream summer louder than a good Southern-fried rock show, and Skynyrd's been bringing it for four decades. Tickets are $20 to $65. Give your ears a few weeks to recover from the raucous funk of "Saturday Night Special," then head back to the Pavilion for a special Saturday night (July 22) with Sammy Hagar and the Wabos. Show your love for the Red Rocker, once described in these very pages as the man who "exceeded 55 onstage long before speed limits were officially on the rise nationwide," for just $10 to $40. That's cheaper than a fifth of Sammy's Cabo Wabo tequila, and you won't wind up doing body shots off a waitress (probably).
And if you want to study the Hag's musical trajectory (sorry, that sounded way too educational for summertime), check out Montrose earlier in the summer at the Rib America Festival. Hagar's old band hits the stage Saturday, May 27. Take your bad motor scooter down to Soldiers Memorial (1315 Chestnut Street; 314-622-4550 or www.ribamerica.com) for the four-day bacchanal of tunes 'n' barbecue. Fellow classic rockers Head East jump onstage Sunday, May 28; the legendary Peter Frampton plays Friday, May 26; and Eddie Money ("take ribs hooome tonight!") puts the finishing touch on the long weekend with his Monday, May 29, performance. Admission is free all day Monday and before 4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday ($3 after).
But if you think "spandex and AquaNet" when you hear "throwback rock," you'll want to throw on that sparkly man-vest and head to the UMB Bank Pavilion on Friday, June 16, for Poison and Cinderella. "Unskinny Bop" and "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" on the same night? Best plop down your $18.50 (uh, and up) and get ready to throw some (metaphorical, please) panties onstage.
The Big! Fun! Summer! Tour
Ninety percent humidity aside, there really is no better season than summer. And in St. Louis, we do it right: Practically every restaurant has a patio, cute sundresses go on sale in March, and there's at least one cookout per weekend. Some bands are tailor-made for summer, so get out and take advantage. Just as you don't wear a sweater and drink Irish coffee in August, you don't go see the Dave Matthews Band in January. Instead, you see them Tuesday, May 30, at the UMB Bank Pavilion. Sure, DMB have been touring since you were a sophomore in high school (OK, since we were a sophomore in high school, peh) but that doesn't mean that they don't still put on a heckuva show. Pony up $39 for lawn tickets, and get ready for a long night of happy jamming.
While noodling can certainly last a while, we'd be surprised if it lasted all the way to Saturday, June 3, when Yonder Mountain String Band arrive at the Pageant (6161 Delmar Boulevard; 314-726-6161 or www.thepageant.com). This local-ish jam band (its roots go back to Urbana, Illinois) always brings a righteous time; snap up the good vibes for just $20. Not enough folksy roots-rock for you? Supplement your fix with Rusted Root at Mississippi Nights (914 North First Street; 314-421-3853) on Wednesday, July 5, or with O.A.R. at the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1111 or www .fabulousfox.com) on Saturday, July 16.
Continue the summer fun with the Black Crowes (and the Drive-By Truckers) at the UMB Bank Pavilion on Friday, June 23. The Southern-accented show will set you back $19.50 to $29.50. And trust us, it'll be worth every hard-won penny in fact, we'd buy a ticket based on the Truckers' kick-ass outtake, "Great Car Dealer War," alone (and big ups to KDHX [88.l FM]'s Nico for introducing us to the stellar tune).
If the Black Crowes' "She Talks to Angels" doesn't push your nostalgia-meter to eleven, get your reminisce on at the Counting Crows show at UMB on Friday, July 7. Adam Duritz and his attendant 'Crows take the stage with fellow late-'90s mainstays the Goo Goo Dolls for $15 to $67.50. Sure, the Counting Crows don't dominate the airwaves like they used to, but with a catalogue that includes such folk-pop gems as "Raining in Baltimore" and "A Murder of One," can you hold it against them? The Goo Goo Dolls will likely please with the burbling pop of "Name" and "Black Balloon." And no, we're totally not tearing up during that song from City of Angels; it's just the pollen. As if.
The Tour Your Mother Warned You About
Moms issue warnings about a lot of things. Turn that music down. Don't hang out with those kids. If you keep wearing all black, you won't find a cute date to prom. Well, St. Louisans, look at us when we're talking to you: It's time to exercise your independence by attending a few concerts that Mom would rather not know about.
Start out with the Unholy Alliance Tour at Pop's (1403 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, Illinois; 618-274-8454 or www.popsrocks.com). Slayer headlines the tour, and they're joined by fellow dark lords Lamb of God, Children of Bodom and Mastodon. While not all of these musicians are particularly serious about their Satan-hailing (Slayer frontman Tom Araya cites a faith in God, in fact), there should be enough shrieking, guitar-mutilating and devil-horn-raising to make you feel just a wee bit rebellious. And you know you can't take songs like "Raining Blood," "In the Absence of the Sacred" or "Trampled Under Hoof" home to Ma. Tickets go for the very grown-up price of $39.50 in advance, $45 at the door.
Cross the river once more on Thursday, July 6, to see Ministry at Pop's. Spend $30 for a punishing (in a good way) evening with Al Jourgensen and the guys, and come away a little more deaf and a lot more pumped. Get sweaty to Ministry's inimitable, proto-industrial songs like "Jesus Built My Hotrod" and "N.W.O.," then get thinky to the band's newer, more political songs (uh, hint: they're not too pleased with the current administration). Revolting Cocks and Pitbull Daycare are also on the bill.
While Ozzy Osbourne lives in baffled comfort these days, his namesake tour continues to tear across the nation, serving up scorching rock and metal sets. This year's Ozzfest hits the UMB Bank Pavilion on Saturday, July 15, and your ticket ($39.50 lawn, $59.50 and $75 reserved) gets you a day with System of a Down, Lacuna Coil, Strapping Young Lad and Atreyu among many others. Go check out the mayhem; Mom thinks you're at the library.
Not Enough for You?
Then perhaps you'd be interested in Cracker at the Pageant on Sunday, June 11 ... The Fray at the Pageant on Saturday, June 17 ... Mason Jennings at Mississippi Nights on Wednesday, June 21 ... Melissa Etheridge at the Fox Theatre on Wednesday, July 12 ... Panic! At the Disco (with the Dresden Dolls and the Hush Sound) at the Pageant on Thursday, July 20 ... the Warped Tour (featuring AFI, Saves the Day and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts among many, many others) at the UMB Bank Pavilion on Tuesday, July 25 ... Dashboard Confessional at the Pageant on Thursday, August 3 ... or Of Montreal at Mississippi Nights on Monday, August 14. And, as always, check the RFT music section on a weekly basis for the latest concert announcements. Happy summer, St. Louis!