The summer is the time for beaches and barbecues throughout New Jersey and most other states, but with everyone’s favorite season comes some of the Garden State’s best concert events of the year. Even 7 months removed from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, while classic venues like Starland Ballroom remain closed, other popular haunts will continue to bring some of the northeast’s best rock shows of the year. Here is a venue by venue guide to some shows that shouldn’t be missed in the next 3 months, along with some liner notes.
Asbury Park, NJ: The Stone Pony
Thursday, June 6th The Olms: Rock singer-songwriter/New Jersey native Pete Yorn and JD King’s new side project, The Olms will play their first show at the legendary Asbury Park venue in support of their eponymous album. That afternoon at 1pm, skip the beach and head to one of central New Jersey’s best record stores, Vintage Vinyl, for a special in-store performance and signing by the band prior to heading down the Garden State Parkway that evening.
Saturday, June 8th Frank Turner: Britain’s folk/punk revisionist plays in support of one of his new album, one of the most nostalgically titled LP’s of the year, “Tape Deck Heart.”
Thursday, June 13th Ra Ra Riot: Syracuse’s favorite indie outfit will play behind their third album “Beta Love.”
Friday, June 14th Deer Tick with Nicole Atkins: This is a great opportunity to catch the Providence rockers as well as New Jersey’s own Atkins who will open the show.
Friday, June 21st moe. (on the Stone Pony Summer Stage): The popular jam band will take the outdoor stage at the Stone Pony.
Saturday, June 22nd Social Distortion (on the Stone Pony Summer Stage): Mike Ness and co. will return to NJ and take the outdoor stage the next night.
Friday, June 28th Courtney Love (on the Stone Pony Summer Stage): The former lead singer of Hole will make a rare solo appearance in Asbury Park. Good or bad, this will probably be one show that will have everyone talking.
Saturday, June 29th Keller Williams: The one man jam band has a new benefit album consisting solely of Grateful Dead covers played on piano, so he may play some of this material along with his usual musical virtuosity.
Wednesday, July 3rd Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes with Dave Mason (on the Stone Pony Summer Stage): It wouldn’t be summer (or any other season for that matter) in Asbury Park without their favorite band not from E Street. As an added bonus, former Traffic guitarist and solo artist in his own right, Dave Mason will open the show.
Saturday, July 13th Sublime with Rome (on the Stone Pony Summer Stage): The ska-punk Long Beach California group will hit the Summer Stage which is a better value than their show the next night at the much larger Jones Beach in Wantagh, NY.
Sunday, July 28th Citizen Cope: Clarence Greenwood will bring his blues/soul/funk/folk fusion to the Pony with his full band while most of his other dates this summer are billed as solo acoustic shows including extended residencies in New York at City Winery in July and August.
Friday, August 2nd “Under the Sun 2013” Tour with Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, Vertical Horizon, and Fastball (on the Stone Pony Summer Stage): If you want to party like it’s 1999 this summer at the Jersey Shore, you can see the abundance of qualified cover bands at boardwalk bars or you can see the genuine article rattle off the songs that made them famous in the new retro decade.
Thursday, August 8th They Might Be Giants: These Brooklyn natives always bring a show unlike any other, and with an album of new material out, they shouldn’t disappoint.
Tuesday, August 13th Donavon Frankenreiter: The surfer-songwriter returns to the Stone Pony this summer where in past years he’s been known to surf Asbury Park’s beach the day of his show.
Wednesday, August 14th Scott Weiland: The on-again, off-again Stone Temple Pilots front man will play songs from STP’s seminal albums “Core” and “Purple” with his backing band The Wildabouts.
Sunday, August 25th Dropkick Murphys (on the Stone Pony Summer Stage): Boston’s Celtic punk rockers will take the Summer Stage. The band just released a charity EP for victims of the bombings in Boston, and one track featured guest vocals by their friend Bruce Springsteen. Asbury Park’s favorite native will have completed his summer European tour with the E Street Band by the end of July, so it wouldn’t be impossible for him to join the Murphys onstage to close out the summer at a revitalized Jersey Shore.
Newark, NJ: The Prudential Center
Thursday, August 8th The Killers: Arenas are mostly ghost towns for summer concerts, but the Las Vegas rock group will come to Newark in August after playing the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Madison Square Garden earlier in the year on the first leg of their US tour.
Holmdel, NJ: PNC Bank Arts Center
Thursday, June 6th Dave Matthews Band: One of the biggest touring bands today will come to Holmdel for the first time this summer on June 6th. The band usually bypasses Holmdel for Jones Beach in New York and the Susquehanna Bank Arts Center in Camden, so this rare area appearance shouldn’t be missed.
Saturday, June 29th Kid Rock: The Detroit rocker is offering tickets to all of his shows this summer for $20 which will draw large crowds.
Tuesday, July 9th “Unity Tour 2013” with 311, Cypress Hill, and G Love & Special Sauce: This triple bill will likely be drawing plenty of clouds, whether it be that of July rain or smoke, given the headliners.
Wednesday, July 10th Phish: The legendary jam band will hit Holmdel the next night for its usual dose of extensive solos, left of center covers and surprises.
Friday, July 12th Further featuring Phil Lesh & Bob Weir: Anyone left over from the Unity Tour and Phish shows, as well as a throng of Deadheads will descend upon central NJ to hear Phil Lesh and Bob Weir play a string of the Grateful Dead’s best along with other eclectic jams.
Sunday, August 4th Black Sabbath: In support of their first album with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978, the heavy metal gods will make plenty of headbangers wish they took Monday morning off.
Friday, August 9th The Black Crowes & Tedeschi Trucks Band: Continuing a tradition of guitar jam rock started by their heroes/collaborators The Allman Brothers Band and The Grateful Dead, the newly reunited Crowes and husband/wife combo Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks will be one of the great tours of the summer.
Saturday, August 17th “Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival” with Alice In Chains, Jane’s Addiction, Coheed & Cambria, Walking Papers, and others: This rock show will feature recently reunited 90’s rock legends Alice In Chains and Jane’s Addiction, but an added feature will be Walking Papers, former Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver bassist Duff McKagan’s new band.
Wednesday, August 21st John Mayer: After several years of vocal chord issues have sidelined John Mayer from touring, he is finally hitting the road behind his 2012 album “Born & Raised.” Mayer is already working on his next album, but his return to the stage after several years is sure to draw large crowds who have yet to hear his latest material live. Mayer’s other NJ show this summer at the smaller venue in Atlantic City at the Borgata has already sold out, so his PNC date will be the easier show to get into.
Montclair, NJ: The Wellmont Theatre
Thursday, June 20th MGMT: The Brooklyn duo has been working on their third album and have been playing some of this material live recently.
Red Bank, NJ: The Count Basie Theater
Tuesday, June 4th Gov’t Mule: Warren Haynes and friends will kick out the extended guitar jams in Red Bank and Atlantic City this summer, their only 2 NY/NJ/PA dates.
Monday, June 24th Counting Crows & The Wallflowers: These 90’s rock groups are touring together this summer, both having recent albums they released last year.
New Brunswick, NJ: The State Theatre
Tuesday, July 2nd Jackson Browne: The legendary southern California singer-songwriter is on an acoustic tour that stops in New Brunswick and Atlantic City this summer.
Atlantic City, NJ
Saturday, June 1st Gov’t Mule (at House of Blues)
Sunday, June 9th Of Monsters And Men (at Revel): The breakout folk/rock group will be at Revel for their only non-festival area appearance other than a stop at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia the night before.
Friday, June 14th/Saturday, June 15th Sting (at Borgata): The former Police frontman’s “Back to Bass” tour will be at Borgata for 2 nights, and these are his only area appearances along with a stop at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.
Friday, July 5th/Saturday, July 6th Jackson Browne (at Borgata)
Friday, August 30th Depeche Mode (at Revel): Touring behind their new album “Delta Machine” the British rock group will make their only NJ appearance in Atlantic City this summer, with other area dates at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Jones Beach in Wantagh, NY.
Friday, August 30th Imagine Dragons (at Borgata): The biggest group to come out of Las Vegas since The Killers will play a number of festival dates this summer and Jones Beach, but this is their only NJ appearance.
Sunday, September 1st John Mayer (at Borgata)