Can’t-miss summer shows coming to Birmingham and Tuscaloosa

Francie Johnson

I’m a live music lover year-round, but without fail, most of the concerts I attend take place in the summer and early fall. There’s just something so serene about attending a show without piles and piles of homework looming over my head. Here’s a few upcoming shows in the Birmingham area that I’m particularly excited about:

Ray Lamontagne

Saturday, July 19, at BJCC Concert Hall

Honesty time: I have yet to listen to Ray Lamontagne’s newest album, “Supernova.” So far, I’m a fan of the one song I have heard: the title track. That being said, I still don’t think anything could ever compete with songs like “Trouble” or “Jolene.”

Lamontagne, a New Hampshire-based singer-songwriter, has been on my must-see-live list for years, and I’d be ecstatic just to hear those two songs. However, according to critics from Rolling Stone, USA Today and more, I’m in for a great surprise when it comes to the new stuff. July 19th can’t come fast enough.

Kings of Leon

Wednesday, September 10, at Oak Mountain Amphitheater

If you think for just one second that I didn’t set my alarm clock to wake up early and continually click “refresh” on my internet browser so I could buy Kings of Leon tickets the instant they went on sale, then you, my friend, are dead wrong. Yes, I’m that excited.

This will technically be my second Kings of Leon concert; I say “technically” because my first Kings of Leon concert ended about halfway through after lead singer Caleb Followill became too drunk to perform and the band sent everyone home. Even that half-a-show was incredible, though, so my expectations for this one are pretty high. Not to mention, the show will feature opening acts Kongos and Young the Giant, two bands I’ve been wanting to see for a while.

Milk Carton Kids

Sunday, September 14, at the Bama Theatre

I was first introduced to the Milk Carton Kids at my internship at a music magazine in Nashville last summer. Every so often, bands would visit our office to perform live, acoustic sessions for the magazine’s website. I asked my boss what her all-time favorite session was, and she replied with the Milk Carton Kids. One listen to “Michigan” off of their 2011 album “Prologue,” and I could see why.

This L.A.-based indie folk duo has been recognized by NPR and American Songwriter Magazine, and they’ve toured with Old Crow Medicine Show, the Lumineers and the Punch Brothers. Around this time last year, I remember listening to “Michigan” on repeat for almost an hour. Past me would kick present-day me right in the shin if I didn’t attend this concert. Luckily for both of us, though, I plan on being there.

Twenty One Pilots

Friday, September 19, at Iron City

Nothing is funnier to me than seeing the look on people’s faces when I attempt to describe what Ohio-based Twenty One Pilots sounds like. “It’s like a mix of rap, pop, folk and angry rock… but it’s awesome, I promise!”

Not only does this band know how to seamlessly combine an eclectic list of musical genres; they know how to put on an amazing show. They were my favorite set at Beale Street Music Fest this year, beating bands like Alabama Shakes, 311 and Foster the People. I don’t always jump around like a maniac at shows, but when I do, Twenty One Pilots are on stage.

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