Adele, Ziggy, The Roots: South Bay venues host summer's hottest acts.

Introduction | Concerts | Art | Stage | Movies | Sports | Festivals | Outdoors | Wineries

GOOD-ASS EMCEE: Already a star in his own right, Chance The Rapper has blown up since being featured on Kanye West’s latest album.

Over the past two years, the South Bay’s music scene has improved significantly. The rebirth of San Jose’s SoFA District has played a key role in revitalizing what had become a stagnant and predictable rotation of Top 40 DJs, pop superstars at the Shark Tank, with only the occasional off-beat show at one of downtown’s more alternative clubs.

But while the South of First Street arts corridor—The Ritz, BackBar SoFa, Cafe Stritch, Anno Domini, The Continental and Caffe Frascati—are a major part of the equation, there are other South Bay players, both large and small, who have been pulling in a diverse collection of buzzworthy acts.

Take the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, for instance. This year’s lineup includes performances by The Roots, Ziggy Marley and Explosions in the Sky, as well as appearances by Ira Glass and the new host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah. And then there is the Art Boutiki on Race Street and The Caravan Lounge, which hosts free punk, metal and indie shows most nights of the week.


44 Race St., San Jose

Ensemble Mik Nawooj | Jun 11
Covering a classic Wu Tang song is a precarious proposition. How can anyone expect to top the Shaolin rhymesayers—especially at the height of their 36-Chambers-era greatness? Well, if anyone has come close, it is Ensemble Mik Nawooj, a San Francisco-based collective which merges a chamber orchestra with two highly proficient emcees. Their cover of “C.R.E.A.M.,” and it’s stellar accompanying video, are cold as ice.

Bent Knee | Jun 17
A recent signee to Cuneiform Records, the Boston-based Bent Knee aren’t interested in fitting neatly into any kind of road-tested genre. They combine elements of heavy progressive rock—like dextrous guitar leads and hairpin turn rhythmic changes—jazzy keyboard chords and textures, and dreamy and nightmarish lyricism. Their sense for the theatrical helps everything cohere. RIYL beautifully schizo song structures, like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android.” Direct support comes from Edmonton jangle pop group The Velveteins and the South Bay’s very own Picture Atlantic.

Ratatet Sextet | May 27
Slime Girls, Astroskeleton, Omnibus, ShopboyBB | May 28
The Blondies (CD Release) | Jun 4
Donnie G (Opera) | Jul 23-24


400 S. First St., San Jose
The Struts | May 27
Reared in the U.K.—presumably on a diet of Mick Jagger’s swagger, The Darkness’ stadium-filling riffs, T. Rex’s wardrobe, and Sid Vicious’ trademark sneer—these Brits have since relocated across the pond to L.A. (Where else?) Riding a steady wave of blog and mainstream love, they make their glamourous San Jose debut this month. (NV)

The Mowgli’s | Jul 3
Sometimes described as a quintessentially Californian band, The Mowgli’s have anthemic indie pop down to a science. Their songs—like “San Francisco” and “The Great Divide”—are positively exultant odes to living life to the fullest and finding the beauty in everything from raindrops to the rocky Big Sur coast. (NV)

Eve 6 | Sep 8
These ’90s alternative hitmakers help close out the summer at The Ritz, with their smash single “Inside Out” and other charting songs, like “Here’s to the Night” and “Leech.” The band took a brief hiatus in the 2000s and reunited in 2008 with an updated disco-punk sound and some seriously catchy songs, like “Speaking in Code” and the ode to jealousy “Victoria.”

Pentagram | May 28
BFD Pre-Party: Finish Ticket, Joywave, Night Riots | Jun 3
Monophonics | Jun 4
Voivoid | Jun 7
Mac Sabbath | Jun 11
This Charming Band | Jun 17
The Aggrolites | Jun 18
The Electric Six | Jun 28
The Dickies | Jul 13
Nervosa | Aug 31


14831 Pierce Road, Saratoga

The Roots | Jun 30
If rap is food, then The Roots are vegetables. Questlove tip-taps the boom-baps and the effortlessly eloquent Black Thought unspools rhymes that balance story-telling with metaphorical wisdom and societal critiques. The neo-soul duo got their start busking on the streets of Philadelphia and now have been Jimmy Fallon’s house band for the last seven years. (JF)

Kenny Rogers | Jun 29
This pop-country crossover superstar has sold over 120 million records worldwide. In his final world tour, the icon will play chart-topping tunes like “Lady,” “Through the Years” and “Islands in the Steam.” But his favorite and far-away most successful hit is “The Gambler,” which got parodying in Geico ad and tells the story of a late-night poker game with a crusty fogey who has some widely applicable advice about holding and folding. (JF)

Boston | Jul 8-9
After getting his masters from MIT, Tom Schultz formed a rock band. Schultz’s production cultivated a distinctive sound that layered violin-esque guitar harmonies underneath Brad Delp’s wide-ranging, scratchy vocals. Record label disputes mired their career after their humongous, self-titled debut album, but in their 40th year of performing they’ve become a staple on classic rock stations with mega-singles like “Foreplay/Long Time” and “More Than a Feeling.” (JF)

Ziggy Marley | Jul 31
Son of the legendary reggae superstar Bob Marley, Ziggy has been surrounded by the rhythms of world music from birth. He’s recorded 12 studio albums with his former band, The Melody Makers and has released five LPs as a solo artist. He plans to release his sixth full-length solo album this spring. (NV)

Ira Glass | Aug 6
As the longtime host of This American Life, Ira Glass has helped to usher in a new era in audio journalism and storytelling. His show has produced many offshoots, including the wildly successful Serial and Invisibilia, and has been an inspiration to other pioneering programs, like Radiolab. (NV)

Explosions in the Sky | Aug 29
This long-running post-rock group enjoy both hipster cred and mainstream appeal. Formed in 1999, the Austin quartet have released seven full-length records—many of them to critical acclaim. Their latest, The Wilderness, dropped earlier year. Even many who have never explicitly heard of Explosions in the Sky are familiar with the group’s music; the band provided the sonic backdrop for the hit high school football drama, Friday Night Lights. (NV)

The B-52s | May 20
Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience | May 21
Lynyrd Skynyrd | May 22
WAR & Los Lonely Boys | May 29
Jeff Dunham: Perfectly Unbalanced | Jun 3
THE CULT | Jun 5
George Lopez | Jun 18
Maxwell | Jun 21
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band | Jun 22
Chicago | Jun 23-24
Neko Case, K.D. Lang & Laura Veirs | Jun 25
Foreigner | Jul 3
Lyle Lovett | Jul 5
Brit Floyd | Jul 6-7
Goo Goo Dolls | Jul 12-13
Brian Regan | Jul 15
Gabriel Iglesias | Jul 17
Barenaked Ladies | Jul 19
Phillip Phillips & Matt Nathanson | Jul 20
Jill Scott | Jul 22
Creedence Clearwater Revisited | Jul 23
Hollywood Vampires | Jul 24
UB40 | Jul 26
The Piano Guys | Jul 27
ABBA: The Concert | Jul 28
Boz Scaggs & Michael McDonald | Jul 29
Chris Botti | Jul 30
Earth, Wind & Fire | Aug 2-3
Huey Lewis & The News | Aug 7
Indigo Girls | Aug 9
Lindsey Stirling | Aug 12
Grace Potter | Aug 13
Jeff Beck & Buddy Guy | Aug 14
Culture Club | Aug 15
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals | Aug 16
Trevor Noah | Aug 19
Michael Franti & Spearhead | Aug 21
The Go-Go’s | Aug 22
The Gipsy Kings | Aug 23
Pat Benatar, Neil Giraldo & Melissa Etheridge | Aug 24
98 Degrees | Aug 28
Gov’t Mule | Aug 30
YES | Aug 31


135 W. San Carlos St., San Jose

Jackson Browne | Aug 16
Jackson Browne originally broke out writing songs for other artists—a practice he would continue throughout his career, penning countless hits. On the songs he sang, like “Running on Empty,” “Somebody’s Baby” and “The Pretender” he radiated amid his sumptuous melodies with a persistent sympathy. Outside of music, he’s a prolific activist speaking out against nuclear energy, plastic bottles and Wall Street’s greed.

Fanime Con | May 27-29
Following in the footsteps of the broader-focused Comicon, Fanime con narrows in on the enthusiasts of the originally Japanese style who want to cosplay, dance and interact with their favorite artists. The convention will host a formal dance, hundreds of vendors and special guests like Lisle Wilkerson who voices some of the most popular female Virtual Fighter characters as well as Batz Maru from Hello Kitty.

Weird Al Yankovic | Jul 24
In the world of musical parody, it’s Weird Al, than a million miles, then everyone else. The flamboyant curly-headed flipper of the most infectious pop tunes will be touring for his Grammy-winning album, Mandatory Fun, the first ever comedy album to top the Billboard charts. In the fourth decade of his singular career, Al spoofed “Happy,” “Fancy” and “Royals” as deftly as he reimagined Michael Jackson, Madonna and Chamillionaire on “Eat It,” “Like a Surgeon” and “White and Nerdy.”

Jim Jefferies | Jul 28
For whatever reason, Americans like to hear the criticisms of their sacred cows from blokes with foreign accents. The brash Australian will perform his newest tour, Freedumb, which comes on the heels of his FX show Legit and the massively successful Netflix-special Bare, where he delivered an insta-classic bit on gun control where he savaged the lunatic attachment of Americans to their firearms. And his elaborate metaphor for God being an abrasive drunk at a party is an all-timer.

Sesame Street Live Make a New Friend | May 21-22
Truong Giang Live Show | Jun 5
Valy U.S. Tour 2016 | Jul 10
Maks & Val Live On Tour: Our Way | Aug 14
Thomas Anders & Modern Talking Band | Aug 20


Steely Dan and Steve Winwood | Jun 16
Before they won Grammys, Steely Dan were Leather Canary, a Bard College band with Chevy Chase playing the drums. Since, they’ve pioneered a perfectionist style of funky jazz that blends stunning musicianship with tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Their live shows are characterized by smashes like “Reelin in the Years” and mind-bending solo after mind-bending solo.

Weezer, Panic! At The Disco | Jun 31
The dweeby-looking, but hard-rocking Rivers Cuomo fronts Weezer, perhaps the quintessential alt-rock 90’s band with their slacker morals, sweeping grooves and layered self-awareness. Their hits like “Buddy Holly,” “Say it Ain’t So” and “Islands in the Sun” balance infectious pop and respectable hard rock.

The Cure | May 26
Zac Brown Band | Jun 3
Live 105’s BFD | Jun 4
Flight of the Conchords | Jun 28
Rascal Flatts & Kelsea Ballerini | Jul 11
Endless Summer Tour: G-Eazy, Logic, YG | Jul 8
Dixie Chicks | Jul 12
Darius Rucker, Dan and Shay, Michael Ray | Jul 15
Brantley Gilbert, Justin Moore, Colt Ford | Jul 22
Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge, Maren Morris | Jul 28
Dead & Company | Jul 30
Vans Warped Tour | Aug 6
Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett & A Thousand Horses | Aug 19
Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Cheap Trick | Aug 24


Santa Clara St, San Jose

Andrea Bocelli | Jun 4
Possessing perhaps the greatest voice that has ever existed on this planet, Andrea Bocelli is an absolute force of nature. The sightless Italian imbues his operatic pop with pregnant emotion and perhaps his most famous work, “Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro)” showcases his supernatural range and was covered by Will Ferrell for the conclusion to “Step Brothers.”

Adele | Jun 30 – 31
For most artists, releasing your album only in CD form would be commercial suicide. But Adele isn’t like any other artist working today. This year, she cemented her stardom with the universally beloved “Hello,” which begins with the declaration “it’s me.” And you know you’ve made it when that’s all you need to say to announce your return.

Sting & Peter Gabriel (Rock Paper Scissors Tour) | Jul 14
Julion Alvarez | Jul 15
Old School Legends Live | Jul 22
Nicky Jam | Jul 24
Adele | Jul 30-31
Demi Lovato w/ Nick Jonas | Aug 18
Carrie Underwood | Sep 10
Mana: Latin Power Tour | Sep 17


Montalvo Rd, Saratoga
A favorite South Bay spot for summer arts series, Montalvo Arts’ summer concerts are back with their signature blend of music and comedy. Appealing to a wide range of tastes, expect performances from classic rockers and HBO-vetted comedians, all of which come with a fine-dining option and a natural backdrop that’s almost as good as the acts. (Almost.)

Wanda Sykes June 23 | 8pm
Rick Springfield July 12 | 7pm
Brian McKnight July 29 | 8pm
Gladys Knight July 31 | 8pm
Dave Koz & David Sanborn August 12 | 7:30pm
Sebastian Maniscalco August 14 | 8pm
Kathy Griffin August 26 | 8pm
Toto September 8 | 7pm


Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz
When it’s too hot in the valley, the cool sea air of Santa Cruz is just a hop skip and a ride through the redwoods away. The Catalyst, though always of good taste, has an uncommonly sharp lineup this summer with lots of buzz bands and old favorites passing through. Plan a getaway around indie darlings like Thao Nguyen, Kurt Vile, and Savages, or put together a punk-rock weekend with Bad Religion or X.

Bad Religion June 3 | 9pm
Waka Flocka Flame June 17 | 9pm
Cherry Glazerr June 21 | 8:30pm
Thao and the Get Down Stay Down July 20 | 9pm
Savages July 27 | 9pm
Kurt Vile and the Violators August 11 | 9pm

FUNNY GUY: Jim Jefferies performs July 28 in San Jose.

The Fab Five

Fill up on great music with this quintet of local music festivals

BottleRock | May 27-29
Napa Expo
Though the festival’s lead promoter has said on record that the BottleRock does not book many “super-hipster indie bands, or hip hop, or electronic dance music,” it does bring some of the biggest names in popular music to the North Bay. Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Florence & the Machine and Death Cab For Cutie all pack into wine country over the three-day weekend, along with recent additions to the mainstream like Grouplove, The Lumineers, and Cold War Kids. For many, the most exciting group on the bill is the classic Brooklyn hip hop group The Pharcyde, whose “Passing Me By” is straight up one of the greatest songs of 20th century. The festival also boasts a Culinary Stage stacked with food stars like Gordon Ramsay, Cheech & Chong and Green Day’s Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool. The festival is already sold out. But that’s why there’s Craigslist. (MH)

Live 105’s BFD | Jun 4
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View
Since the mid-1980s, Live 105 has been an influential force in alternative rock radio. As an innovator in the field, the radio station was one of the first in the country to begin hosting the kind of large-scale music festivals, which now dominate popular music. BFD was launched in 1994—a high-water mark for alternative and grunge music. This year’s festival national features headliners The Offspring, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Silversun Pickups; plus Bad Religion, Wolfmother, DJ sets by Live 105 program director Aaron Axelsen, and local bands like A Yawn Worth Yelling, Rin Tin Tiger, Talkie and Belle Noire. (NV)

106.1 KMEL Summer Jam | Jun 12
Oracle Arena, Oakland
Hip-hop has been making some changes of late. The incorporation of EDM’s synthetic textures, the increased influence of synthetic drugs, a playful sense of absurdist humor and a return to gritty street-life storytelling have given birth to “trap.” Call it gangsta rap for the 21st century. Emcees like Fetty Wap, Rae Sremmurd, Yo Gotti and Kevin Gates (all of whom are playing at KMEL’s long-running Summer Jam) spin tracks that are simultaneously boastful and rueful. Stories of fast money, cars and women, are juxtaposed with cautionary tales about ceaseless violence, addiction and the kind of woe known only by those who have been truly swallowed up by the trap house. These tunes can also be downright exhilarating and ecstatic. Just try to keep still when listening to Gates’ infectious “Really Really” or Gotti’s paean to sexting, “DM.” (NV)

Outside Lands | Aug 5-7
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Back in the halcyon days of 2008 Outside Lands unleashed itself on San Francisco with a headliner called Radiohead. Now in its eighth year, Radiohead returns with a new album, A Moon Shaped Pool. It’s a diverse lineup, featuring everyone from Lionel Richie to Beach House; Grimes to Sufjan Stevens; Australian future-soul act Haitus Kaiyote, to up-and-coming Matador signees Haelos. But Radiohead isn’t the only group with a new record. Chance the Rapper, is fresh on the heels of his piping hot Coloring Book, which is destined to be his biggest release yet. (MH)

San Jose Jazz Summer Fest | Aug 12-14
Downtown San Jose
One of the biggest and best jazz festivals in the country is held in downtown San Jose every summer. San Jose Jazz’s annual Summer Fest returns this year for its 27th season with 120 performances on 12 stages by musicians from all over the world. This year features headliners Galactic, Bobby Caldwell, Funky Meters, Sergio Mendes & Brasil 2016 and many more.

continue to Art


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Giveaways

Win tickets to San Jose Earthquakes vs. Dallas on September 17. Drawing September 12, 2022.
Win a $50 gift certificate to Original Joe's in downtown San Jose. Drawing August 31, 2022.
Metro Silicon Valley E-edition Metro Silicon Valley E-edition