This summer, you can catch a new act practically every night. And of course, two massive music festivals go head-to-head on the same June weekend (so very Atlanta). Here's a wrap-up of the best and brightest performances to hit our fair city this summer.
Autechre (pronounced AWE-tek-er) has manhandled electronic music's cold facade since the early '90s. Layering beats upon abstract beats, the duo behind the digital dementia, Sean Booth and Rob Brown, has put Autechre among the genre's most formidable creatures. Everything from Indian ragas, hip-hop, post-rock and IDM are at the core of each composition. On stage, the duo's presence is a minimalist nightmare as both members bob heads and twiddle knobs, shrouded in darkness. For Booth and Brown, the audience is an afterthought. But for onlookers, Autechre's performances are called religious experiences.
Fri., May 27. $15. 9 p.m. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com.
Bright Eyes, the Faint
Co-headlining two shows in Atlanta, Bright Eyes and the Faint arrive as two of Saddle Creek Records' flagships passing in the night. Electro-fashionistas the Faint unleash a deluge of sultry, post-gothic rock under a veil of projections amid strutting and posing. On the flip side of the coin, Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst is often labeled a young Bob Dylan, but don't expect an evening of acoustic strumming and political barking. Complementing the Faint's electro dirge, Bright Eyes follows suit by playing cuts from the 2004 electro album Digital Ash in a Digital Urn. Here, the Omaha, Neb.-based songsmith sheds the troubadour bit and gives an ambient makeover to his songs of loss and heartache.
Mon.-Tues., May 30-31. $25. 8 p.m. EarthLink Live, 1374 W. Peachtree St. 404-885-1365. www.earthlinklive.com.
Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen
In the annals of freak-rock history, Commander Cody is a legend. Since the late '60s, the group has cranked out a kaleidoscope of Cajun, redneck rock, jazz, swing and party anthems. Nearly 40 years down the road, Cody is still going strong. The legend continues on.
Sat., June 4. $10. 9:30 p.m. Blind Willie's, 828 N. Highland Ave. 404-873-2583. www.blindwilliesblues.com.
Now in its 12th year, the lineup for the three-day event features a vast roster of acts, including Interpol, Lou Reed, the White Stripes, Alan Jackson, Black Eyed Peas, Bloc Party, the Pixies, Common, Devo, Public Enemy, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and dozens of other artists. Join the masses that throng to this annual sweatfest.
Fri.-Sun., June 10-12. $75. Piedmont Avenue and Ralph McGill Boulevard. 404-249-6400. www.musicmidtown.com.
VIBE magazine kicks off the first VIBE MusicFest, bringing an all-star cast of R&B, hip-hop, world music and gospel performers to Atlanta. The two-day mega-event features performances from a bevy of artists, including Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, John Legend, Doug E. Fresh, Ludacris, Big Boi, Faith Evans, T.I., Keyshia Cole and many others. Main stage performances take place at the Georgia Dome, while the Georgia World Congress Center hosts seminars, a food fair, fashion makeovers and music showcases.
Fri.-Sat., June 10-11. $36-$122. 6 p.m. Georgia Dome, 1 Georgia Dome Drive. Georgia World Congress Center, 285 Andrew Young International Blvd. www.vibe.com/musicfest.
The last time Lou Barlow and J. Mascis played together as Dinosaur Jr., the performance ended with Mascis attacking Barlow on stage with his guitar. The scrap resulted in a 16-year feud that finally has come to an end. Tonight's show marks the second stop for the group's reunion tour, with all three original Dinosaur Jr. members - Mascis (guitar), Barlow (bass) and Patrick "Murph" Murphy (drums) - together again. Throughout the '80s, Dinosaur Jr. played a crucial role in bridging the gap between seminal American hardcore and classic rock influences, giving rise to one giant step for independent music's evolutionary ladder.
Fri., July 8. $28.50. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com.
Since 1977, Elvis Costello has dabbled in everything from punk and new wave to reggae and traditional rock and roll, carving a path as an innovator who never fails to change with the times. Billed as an Elvis Costello solo performance, tonight's show will touch on all aspects of his nearly 40-year career.
Sun., July 17. $33.50-$68.50. 8 p.m. Chastain Park Amphitheatre, 4469 Stella Drive. 404-249-6400. www.atlantaconcerts.com/chastain.html.
Anger Management Tour
What better way to end the summer than with a battle royale of the young and the restless. When the Anger Management Tour hits Atlanta, a laundry list of hip-hop heavyweights brings the sweltering heat of July to a close. 50 Cent, D12, G-Unit, Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz, Eminem, Obie Trice, Stat Quo and a seething grip of other acts are on the bill.
Sun., July 31. $58.50-$83.50. HiFi Buys Amphitheatre, 2002 Lakewood Way. 404-249-6400. www.hob.com/venues/concerts/hifibuys.
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