Summer in Rhode Island is unlike any other with great weather, fantastic beaches and chilling with good friends are ideal ways to spend these summer days. Another reason why Rhode Island’s summers are so unique is because of the live music that invades the state, captivating audiences and energizing crowds to no end. Rhode Island has become a hot spot for concerts and here are some that’ll be hitting the area before the leaves change color.
5KRS-One at The Met, July 8: KRS-One is considered a philosopher in the hip-hop community, being one of the most influential artists involved in the genre since his rise to prominence as part of the legendary hip-hop group Boogie Down Productions in the mid-1980’s. KRS has collaborated with other rap groups like Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, artists like LL Cool J, Immortal Technique, Talib Kweli and even co-wrote the single “Radio Song” with Alt-rockers R.E.M. He’ll be performing at The Met, one of the best new venues in Rhode Island, located in the Hope Artiste Village on 1005 North Main St. in Pawtucket. For any true fan of hip-hop, this is a concert you don’t want to miss.
Reel Big Fish & Streetlight Manifesto at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, July 26: Since the late 1990s, Reel Big Fish has stood tall as one of the best ska bands around. Playing sold out shows all over the world, writing kickass songs and always making sure their fans are having a blast at their concerts. The band that once served as the house band for the Milwaukee Beers in the film “BASEketball” promises to provide a smashing time whenever you see them live. Joining them at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on 79 Washington St. in Providence is another awesome ska band, New Jersey’s own Streetlight Manifesto. Rising from the first breakup of another great ska band from the same area, Catch 22, Streetlight has had one of the best sounds heard from a ska band in a very long time. Guaranteed to blow your mind and make you skank your way to oblivion in the pit, checking out Reel Big Fish and Streetlight Manifesto will surely be a treat for your ears.
Soundgarden and Coheed & Cambria at the Comcast Center, July 10: This concert is going to rock New England to its very core. When two bands like these share a stage for one night, who knows what could happen. Unpredictability, pure music bliss, a melted face and an electrified brain is what you’ll get when two rock giants like Soundgarden and Coheed & Cambria invade the Comcast Center in Mansfield, Mass. Since reforming on New Year’s Day 2010, Soundgarden has been back with a vengeance, including a performance at Lollapalooza in Chicago later that year that has been regarded as one of the best moments in music in 2010. As if seeing one of the best bands in the last 30 years wasn’t enough, opening for Soundgarden will be Coheed & Cambria. Lead by lead guitarist, singer and songwriter Claudio Sanchez, the amazingly talented progressive rock/hardore/metal band has risen to prominence as one of the most popular bands for the current generation of music fans worldwide. On July 10, pick up a ticket and drive up I-95 to check out one of the best concerts you’ll ever see.
AS220 Foo Fest, August 13: Over the past few years, one of the best cultural events the city of Providence has to offer has been Foo Fest, AS220’s annual block party that takes place every August on Empire Street for an entire day. If you don’t know what AS220 is, it’s a non-profit community art space that caters to local musicians and artists. The lineup for Foo Fest looks stellar, featuring local bands The Silks, The Rice Cakes, Tallahassee, Olneyville Sound System, Triangle Forest, Volcano Kings and White Load. The icing on the cake is the headliner, none other than Andrew W.K., who you might know from his smash hit “Party Hard.” Foo Fest is always fun and you never know which local Providence celebrities will show up, last year RISD grad and internationally acclaimed street artist Shepard Fairey schmoozed with the festival attendees and actually donated a piece of art to AS220. It should be a fun time, so make sure you check it out.
Newport Folk Festival at Fort Adams State Park, July 30-31: Being the site of Bob Dylan’s “electric” transformation in the summer of 1965, the Newport Folk Festival has been a legendary spot for musical pioneers and prodigies to share the stage during a beautiful weekend by the water. This year’s festival promises to be one of the best yet, with a lineup consisting of Elvis Costello, The Secret Sisters, Pokey LaFarge and The South City Three, Gogol Bordello, The Decemberists, The Felice Brothers, Wanda Jackson, Mavis Staples, The Cave Singers, M. Ward, Amos Lee, local acts Brown Bird and What Cheer? Brigade, Justin Townes Earle and Middle Brother featuring Deer Tick’s John McCauley. Rumor has it that superstar Jack White might be making an appearance due to his current touring with Jackson and the fact that along with Jackson, LaFarge and The Secret Sisters are on White’s label, Third Man Records. There will also be a Third Man Records Rolling Record Store on the festival grounds for people to check out as well. With the amazing history and a great lineup, there is no wonder why The Newport Folk Festival should be the first priority on any Rhode Islander’s concert list.
So there you have it, my top 5. There are many other great shows going on in the area, which made it so difficult to narrow it down to just a handful. If you can, do yourself a favor and check out the concerts I just mentioned above, it’ll make your summer one that you’ll always remember.