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The 20 Hottest Summer Music Tours of 2014

on May 12, 2014, 1:00pm
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Artwork by Steven Fiche

Go out and smell the air for a second. Recognize that pungent odor? The sweaty body odor scent of Spring is here, which means it’s time to box up the sweaters, slip on the Sperrys, and get ready for grillin’, swimmin’, and boozy afternoons over the grill with Thin Lizzy. But wait, it’s also the time of blockbuster summer concerts, and if you’re an unholy scrooge and refuse to attend the wonderful assortment of music festivals across the world, preferring instead to hit up an air-conditioned venue or a breezy amphitheater, then you’ll want to keep your eyes on all of the concerts going down. So, grab your day planner, text your spouse, and plan to catch one or two or all 20 of these hot summer music tours. Then, swallow your pride and take in a music festival, why don’t you?

Note: This article was published to Morissey’s latest tour cancelation. Thus, here are the 19 Hottest Summer Tours.

Future Islands

Samuel T. Herring is not a meme. It’s finally time for critics and fans alike to stop referencing the Letterman performance as the band’s apical live moment. Every night Future Islands, no matter the circumstances, manage to give the performance of their lives, one that is equal parts raw emotion and dance punk excitement. And you’ll only learn what that’s like by being in the pit. –Dean Essner

Tour Dates || Official Site

Dave Matthews Band

Dave Matthews Band violinist Boyd Tinsley is suffering from arthritis, an issue that was apparent during the collective’s recent Australian dates, but that isn’t going to slow down Dave. The summer of 2014 brings “A Very Special Evening with Dave Matthews Band”; a night that will see Matthews and co. pushing the live audience to their emotional core with an acoustic set followed by an electric set. Longtime collaborator Tim Reynolds will be on hand for a few duets throughout the night. With more than 20 years spent crisscrossing the US, the group is due for a break soon; don’t let this opportunity to relive those coed highlights slip by. –Derek Staples

Tour Dates || Official Site

Phish

Be you a fan of the jam or not, at least one summer Phish performance should be on your lifetime agenda. For 2014, the troubadours have decided on numerous extended runs in some of their favorite cities, including Saratoga Springs, Chicago, New York City, Philly, and Denver (Commerce City). Not only does each set promise a unique experience (including some new Wingsuit cuts), but so do the tailgaiting festivites. Show up early, grab a beer, maybe a balloon, a new wire wrap even, and prepare to debate for 20 minutes about the opening song. –Derek Staples

Tour Dates || Official Site

Nine Inch Nails/Soundgarden

It’s hard to believe it, but both The Downward Spiral and Superunknown are turning 20. This co-headling tour of ’90s titans isn’t exactly a birthday celebration for both of their most iconic records – for instance, you won’t hear “Black Hole Sun” into “Spoonman” into “Limo Wreck” just because Soundgarden teased it last year. Instead, it’s an opportunity to catch two powerful live bands sharing a stage. And of course, there’s no denying the nostalgic appeal. –Dean Essner

Tour Dates || Official Site

Beck

It’s common knowledge that Beck’s discography is highly diverse, pogoing from sample-heavy hip-hop to psychedelic rock to electro and, of course, gorgeous, stripped-down folk music. His latest, Morning Phase, occupies that last category, mirroring 2002’s critical masterpiece, Sea Change. But even if you found Morning Phase too meandering, it’s still worth seeing him on tour this year. Lord only knows he’s got ample stylings and albums to choose from, and chances are, amidst the career-spanning collage, you’ll find something from your favorite era. –Dean Essner

Tour Dates || Official Site

Morrissey

Controversy aside, actually getting a Morrissey tour sans any cancellations has been a rarity in recent years. Whether he’s sick or being true to his curmudgeonly self, Mr. Humbug doesn’t make it easy to be a diehard fan, which is why you should catch him now before he locks himself away in his bungalow. To his credit, he has been playing 20-song sets, ranging from deep Smiths cuts to solo favorites to even new material off his forthcoming album, World Peace Is None of Your Business. Who knows, he’s the type of guy that could just pack up shop and issue a statement along the lines of, “Grapes tasted sour last night. So does this industry. Good night.” Not that we’re giving him any ideas or anything. –Michael Roffman

Tour Dates || Official Site

Damon Albarn

Following a performance at Governor’s Ball in New York, Damon Albarn will be promoting his recent solo offering Everyday Robots with a short sting of US dates across the Eastern seaboard leading up to his appearance at Bonnaroo. Tickets somehow remain on sale, so if you want to see who Albarn might bring on stage (ahem, Del?), or which Gorillaz and Blur tracks he’ll dust off, secure some tickets soon. –Derek Staples

Tour Dates || Official Site

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Come June, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds will set out on a new North American tour in support of last year’s Top Rated gem, Push the Sky Away. If that wasn’t enough, they’ve also recruited an eclectic group of acts to open various dates of the jaunt, including WarpaintKurt Vile, comedian Reggie WattsDevendra Banhart, and Mark Lanegan. Take a stroll down Jubilee Street once again this summer, or maybe again if you caught him last year. –Michael Roffman

Tour Dates || Official Site

Cut Copy

Six months removed from their fourth LP, the Aussie four-piece have spent the first half of 2014 touring the globe. The distance traveled might run some bands down, but it has only made the group more comfortable and dynamic with their indie-dance coalescence. Cut Copy will lose your mind in summertime revelry with their soulful melodies to help you collect the pieces at the end of the night. With bodies gyrating to “Hearts on Fire”, fans across the globe are continuing to make new connections. One of the important marks of a successful summer. –Derek Staples

Tour Dates || Official Site

Echo and the Bunnymen

Everything off their new album, Meteorites, has sounded positive thus far. “Market Town”, “Lovers on the Run”, and “Holy Moses” aren’t exactly “The Cutter”, “Lips Like Sugar”, or “The Killing Moon”, but they indicate that Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant are still a match made in purgatory. Granted, Echo and the Bunnymen don’t realy scream “SUMMER FLARE,” but everyone needs a little doom and gloom once in a while. The UK outfit will hit up around 15 dates in the US come August, a shy two months after the album hits. Will you be ready? –Michael Roffman

Tour Dates || Official Site

Robyn and Röyksopp

Isn’t summer supposed to be about quality R&R? Outside of the one-off festival stop, the thematic stage presence of Norway’s Röyksopp has been absent from the live scene for the last several years, which is reason enough to at least attempt the trek to one of the trio’s eight North American tour dates. Dubbed the “Do It Again” tour, the collective are doing just that. Over the last half decade, the Norwegian producers have worked and performed with Sweden’s Robyn a number of times — all leading to body-drenching dance floor madness. This one’s a worthy “reunion.” –Derek Staples

Tour Dates || Official Site

Panda Bear

Avey Tare recently had his solo fill with Slasher Flicks, and now his Animal Collective partner Noah Lennox aka Panda Bear is heading out on tour in anticipation of a new release. But whether or not an album does come out anytime soon, all that matters is the prospect of hearing “Take Pills” or “Surfer’s Hymn” under a hazy, setting sun at the end of a gorgeous summer day. –Dean Essner

Tour Dates || Official Site

Kate Bush

More residency than tour, Kate Bush’s first run of Hammersmith Apollo “Before the Dawn” performances sold out in less than 15 minutes — more than five months ahead of their actual August show dates. In return, Bush added seven more nights to her stay at the legendary venue. Having avoided the stage for the last 35 years due to worries about the translation from the record to the physical form, expectation runs high for these performances. Still, fans should expect copious amounts of music, dance, poetry, mime, burlesque, and magic. –Derek Staples

Tour Dates || Official Site

Mastodon

Sometimes, life just needs an elbow to the face to shake things loose. Nothing intentional, but the type of thing that is bound to happen while thrashing around to the riffs of Mastodon’s Brent Hinds and guttural screams of frontman Troy Sanders. Touring in support of their forthcoming LP, One More ‘Round the Sun, the Atlanta four-piece will come truckin’ by with extra brutality in the tank for this new material. –Derek Staples

Tour Dates || Official Site

Slint

Spiderland is a quintessential fall album, a soundtrack to the languid transition away from the warmth of summer to cold, brown autumn. However, Slint’s sparse touring history means that we won’t always have that choice. Slowcore may sound best when all of nature is dying outside your window, but, as mentioned before, the band only has a few dates penciled in on their calendar at the moment. So… you should mosey over to their website, languidly, in slowcore rocker fashion, taking your time, and buy a ticket to see them, Captain. –Dean Essner

Tour Dates || Official Site

OutKast

Judging from their second Coachella set and their recent 24-song set at CounterPoint Music Festival, Andre 3000 and Big Boi are truly re-discovering their shared OutKast groove. Their festival reunion trek has its positives and negatives. There won’t be any intimate experiences, but in the festival setting, the likes of Killer Mike, Janelle Monáe, and any other rapper on the respective festival bill could just show up to spit a few verses. Plus, you’ll finally get to scream along to “B.O.B.”… alongside Dre, that is. –Derek Staples

Tour Dates || Official Site

Arcade Fire

Following last year’s grandiose LP, Reflektor, Arcade Fire’s live show has transitioned significantly into something more groove-heavy and, yes, comedic. Reflektor, above all, was an album about inauthenticity, the idea that modern art is all hollow inspiration without any true, creative expression. Playing off this philosophical message, the band has grown quite fond of onstage pranks, such as covering pop songs in giant papier mâché heads. But still, no matter how weird or surreal things get, you know you’ll be able to hear “Wake Up” by the end of the night. –Dean Essner

Tour Dates || Official Site

Beyoncé/Jay Z

America’s original hip-hop parents — sorry, Kimye — Jay Z and Beyoncé will spend the summer on the road with a co-headlining stadium tour. Dubbed “On the Run”, the 16-city outing stretches from late June through early August, including stops at massive venues such as MetLife Stadium in E. Rutherford, NJ, Soldier Field in Chicago, and Rose Bowl in Los Angeles. Yes, Jigga will still be repping last year’s miserable Magna Carta Holy Grail, but as we witnessed last summer with his jaunt alongside Timberlake, he’s prone to focus on the hits. And then, you know, there’s Bey to obsess over, too. –Michael Roffman

Tour Dates || Official Site

Paul McCartney

Veteran with a capital V, the former Beatle will never disappoint live, whether it’s to a sold-out baseball diamond, thousands in the desert, or within the balmy confines of a forest. This summer, he’s supporting last year’s helluva comeback record, New, and if he’s bold enough, he’ll focus on the LP and less on the classics. Don’t let that scare you off; there’s no way Macca won’t revisit just about every Beatles classic and Wings FM radio staple. It’ll just be nice to hear something that hasn’t lived on vinyl for over three decades. As per recent tradition, his choice of venues is pretty noteworthy, as he’s hitting up some rare markets he either hasn’t performed at or visited in ages. Our advice? Make it a summer vacay to San Francisco and see him close down Candlestick Park. Live and let die, man. –Michael Roffman

Tour Dates || Official Site

Jack White

Already, Jack White has announced the first batch of tour dates in support of his forthcoming sophomore solo album, Lazaretto, due out June 10th via Third Man Records/Columbia. The extensive jaunt begins May 29th in Tulsa, OK, and runs through early August for Montreal’s Osheaga Music Festival. Along the way, he’ll make stops at BonnarooGlastonbury, and Forecastle Festival, but several lucky markets get to see him indoors. If you’re in one of these towns, odds are the tickets have come and gone, though where there’s a will there’s a way. Sometimes. C’mon, doesn’t this setlist make you envious? That wasn’t even a full gig! –Michael Roffman

Tour Dates || Official Site

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