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Music makers 

Who's coming to town? Who isn't coming to town?

As the kids make their way back to school and the summer heat recedes, fall in Atlanta is shaping up to host an eclectic string of concerts that start the school year off right. From a handful of has-beens enjoying one more go-'round, to young bucks kicking up dust, to impressive showings from respected contemporaries, autumn's schedule is jam-packed with big sellers. It's a season of old standbys doing what they do best: no-nonsense, crowd-pleasing concerts that are sure to sell out almost every night. From the Arena at Gwinnett Center to Variety Playhouse, there's something for everyone.

AUGUST: Alice Cooper was born again but that doesn't mean he can't still rock like the devil, just ask Cheap Trick when it opens up for him at Chastain Park Amphitheatre on the 26th. ... Also on the 26th, local psychedelic rockers A Fir-Ju Well return for an increasingly rare Atlanta show at the Earl, accompanied by Nashville's De Novo Dahl. ... Dope-smoking '90s jockos unite for 311 at HiFi Buys Amphitheatre on the 27th. The space cowboy -- or the gangster of love, depending on your opinion -- Steve Miller plays Chastain on the 29th. ... Closing out the month, the Pernice Brothers perform angelic chamber pop (think Brian Wilson) at the Variety Playhouse on the 31st.

SEPTEMBER: Rob Zombie has hinted that he may abandon creepy industrial rock for low-brow horror films, so if you don't catch him at Roxy Theatre on the 1st, it may be awhile. Local metal heroes Mastodon open for him. ... Icelandic avant-garde pop group Sigur Rós plays icy, minimal tones and textures at Atlanta Symphony Hall on the 6th. ... MTV's alt-rock staple Foo Fighters hit HiFi Buys on the 8th, bringing Weezer along for its third visit to Atlanta since spring. ... Decatur's favorite daughters, the Indigo Girls, now working without the safety net of a major label, play Chastain on the 10th.

The 16th features something for everyone: Obituary waves the death metal flag at the Roxy. Four Tet meshes organic and mechanical post-rock electronica at the Earl, and Journey brings classic rock to Chastain. ... Also on the 16th, Mötley Crüe pretends to rock like the days of yore at Philips. On the 20th, Sir Paul McCartney performs solo in front of thousands at Philips Arena, because he can. ... Former Follow for Now frontman David Ryan Harris appears at the Loft on the 22nd.

Before Sonic Youth and Nirvana, there was Bob Mould. Come see the original alternative-rock mover-and-shaker run through a career-spanning set with songs from his previous groups Hüsker Dü and Sugar at Variety Playhouse on the 23rd. ... The next night, Variety hosts alt-country pillar Son Volt (aka the other band Jeff Tweedy was in).

Then Britain invades our Southern city for a few days when visceral new-wave act Bloc Party hits the Tabernacle on the 26th. ... That's followed by Beatles-wannabes Oasis at HiFi Buys on the 27th, and hype-ridden Coldplay at Philips on the 28th. ... Now a bluesman with a couple of other dudes touring on his name, Atlanta's John Mayer returns to the Tabernacle on the 28th as the John Mayer Trio.

Latin rockers Jaguares make good on a postponed summer date at EarthLink Live on the 29th. ... Twinkling and precious pop five-piece the Decemberists plays the Tabernacle on the 29th, while New York garage-rock revivalists the Fleshtones and locals the Forty-Fives kick out the jams at the Earl. ... Dwelling in country rock melancholy, Magnolia Electric Co. hangs a dark cloud over the Earl on the 30th, while Americans-who-sound-like-Brits Black Rebel Motorcycle Club overruns the Loft. ... The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra kicks off another season at Symphony Hall on the 15th unveiling a mammoth presentation of Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony.

OCTOBER: Sir Elton John tickles the ivories like only a pop icon can at Philips on the 1st. ... Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band play HiFi Buys on the same day, which, let's face it, is the South's version of God and Jesus coming to dinner. ... In the '60s, the Rolling Stones were called the "world's greatest rock and roll band." Now they are the world's oldest rock and roll band, and you can see how they cheat death at Philips on the 15th. ... Jethro Tull finds the mystical place in '70s rock where knights and kings fight dragons with a magic flute at Chastain on the 15th.

Japanese psych-rock monster Acid Mothers Temple plays the Earl on the 16th. ... The New Pornographers -- made up of talented folks like A.C. Newman and Neko Case -- won't show you their naughty parts despite their name, but their infectiously catchy power pop will tickle you on the 17th at the Variety. ... Seminal Motor City garage-rock band Detroit Cobras and Memphis soul punks the Reigning Sound play the Earl on the 19th. ... The jazz singer himself, Neil Diamond, sings the songs at Philips on the 26th. Nine Inch Nails returns to town for the second time this year, now at Philips on the 27th. ... More excitement, however, seems to surround openers Queens of the Stone Age and Death From Above 1979.

NOVEMBER: Avant-garde pop/classical performance artist Laurie Anderson indulges her wintry whims at the Ferst Center on the 11th. ... A local boy named Angie Aparo plays EarthLink Live on the 5th. ... Pop fashionista Gwen Stefani stomps into the Arena at Gwinnett Center on the 8th with the ubiquitous Black-Eyed Peas, which raises the all-important question: Will Fergie pee in her pants again? ... British ambient/electro-pop darlings Broadcast illuminate the Earl on the 14th. ... Mega-pop monolith U2 graces Atlanta with not one, but two shows at Philips on the 18th and 19th. What beautiful days, indeed.

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