$0 - Sweet Willie Tea
If you live in Detroit then you've probably been to Eastern Market. However, the market has a few hidden gems you may not have discovered, including the musical stylings of Sweet Willie Tea, a one man blues band like nothing you've seen before. Witness Willie play the drums, banjo, harmonica, and a whole lot of other handmade instruments in front of Bert's Warehouse on Eastern Market Saturdays. Be sure to grab some of Bert's savory barbecue to sample while you're listening.
Starts at 11 a.m.; 2739 Russell Street, Detroit; 313-567-2030
$10 - Earphunk, Aug 20
So, who's this band, you might ask? Why, they're only New Orleans' premier (self-described) "prog-funk" act. If the highest levels of musicianship are what you demand in your white boy funk, then you need to check out these super rocking and (also funking) dudes when they rock the Populux. They've appeared at Bear Creek and Electric Forest, so you know they know how to provide a good time. This is the ideal band for people who have been to Burning Man for years, but are too sophisticated at this point to sleep in the sand anymore when they do.
Starts at 8:30 p.m.; Populux, 4120 Woodward Ave, Detroit; 313-961-4060
$13.62 - Huey Lewis & the News, Aug. 21
Many people forget that Huey Lewis & the News came out of San Francisco's live music scene in the late 1970s. And no matter what kind of music one plays, it was impossible to emerge from that incubator and not deliver a kickass live show. Like Robert Palmer, Huey Lewis might have gotten famous behind his new wave hits, but his band will surprise you with how solid a blues-based, tightly wound rock band they can be when they want to. You will hear all the hits you want to, but be prepared for them to have some edge, despite all the years since they were recorded. Fun facts: Original members of the News were the backing band for Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True LP, while Lewis himself produced Nick Lowe in the 1980s.
Starts at 7:30 p.m.; Freedom Hill, 14900 Metropolitan Pkwy., Sterling Heights; 888-929-7849
$15 - Esham, June 26
All hail the return of Detroit's own "acid rapper" Esham. "When I came out with my first album I was just a kid," Esham says in his press materials. "If you had asked me then I wouldn't have believed I would spark the creation of an entire sub-genre; I feel blessed to be considered one of the most influential artists in rap music and cursed to have never been accepted by my peers." Help the guy to not feel so cursed by showing up and showing him some love. "Woo woo woo woo!"
Doors at 8 p.m.; Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333
$16 - Black Tiger Sex Machine, July 31
While Deadmau5 is allegedly just one guy in a silly mask, and Daft Punk are of course two, here comes Black Tiger Sex Machine, innovating the EDM scene to give you three people in masks that look vaguely like robot cats. Their shows look to be very well-orchestrated and crowd response is off the hook, so this is a guaranteed good time that won't break your bank the way those other acts (who don't even have as many cool lit-up masks) might.
Starts at 9 p.m.; Elektricity, 15 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-599-2212
$20 - Glass Animals, July 29
Looking for an intoxicating British buzz band whose electronic indie-rock is going to get you out of your head and dancing around like a silly person? You could do far worse than Glass Animals.
Starts at 8 p.m.; Majestic Theatre, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; majesticdetroit.com
$20 - DJ Bliss, June 27
The ever popular "Volume Saturdays" events at V Nightclub deliver the hottest worldwide entertainers, and Bliss is no exception there. DJ Bliss has opened for Beyonce and Aerosmith, and even laid down the soundtrack to a party for the United Arab Emirates' royal family.His sound is solid gold plated, and goes down like the finest champagne.
Doors open at 10 p.m.; V Nightclub; 1777 Third St., Detroit; 313-465-1650; vnightclubtix.com
$25 - Van's Warped Tour, July 24
This ginormous fest of alternative rock acts is now celebrating its 20th year. That means there are probably kids who don't even know it's named for a brand of kicks that skaters wore back in the 1980s. Speaking of '80s, the majority of these performers were born in that decade, and their music bears many of the hallmarks of then-underground punk and alternative music. We could fill this entire page with a list of the performers, whose music veers from emo-punk to pop-punk, and from EDM to synth-pop. Oh, and Riff Raff is also playing. We're excited about Pup, August Burns Red, '68, and We Came As Romans. But there are dozens of musicians to choose from, all day.
Doors open at 11 a.m.; Palace of Auburn Hills, 3 Championship Dr., Auburn Hills; all ages
$25 - Nicki Minaj, July 31
Despite its generous 15,000-plus capacity, DTE still seems like it might be too small to contain Minaj. And not only is she bringing all her ferocious, manic energy, she's getting support from Meek Mill, Rae Sremmurd, Tinashe, and Detroit's own DeJ Loaf. Those additional four artists alone would account for a fantastic show, but throw in one of the most exciting and popular rappers in the game today and you have the ingredients for an unforgettable concert. Minaj has been a force to be reckoned with in hip-hop ever since she devoured her verse on Kanye West's "Monster" five years ago. But now she tours behind The Pinkprint, her first truly great album. Minaj is one of the few artists who could run through a full-length set of all killer, no filler.
Doors open at 5:30 pm; DTE Energy Music Theatre, 7774 Sashabaw Rd., Clarkston; 248-377-0100; palacenet.com
$30 - Run DMC, July 19
Veteran hip-hop group Run DMC, one of the first bands to break the music on the radio back in the early 1980s, are bringing an old-school extravaganza with them to DTE. Included on the bill is Naughty by Nature, the Sugarhill Gang, Whodini, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Grandmaster's Furious 5. This is most definitely a nostalgia show, but Whodini alone could bring the house down if he had half a mind to.
Show starts at 6 p.m.; DTE Energy Music Theatre, 7774 Sashabaw Rd., Clarkston
$32.50 - Waka Flocka Flame, July 13
Atlanta rapper Waka Flocka Flame is touring behind his new album, Flockaveli 2. The album boasts a whole lot of hip-hop greats, including Kanye West, Drake, Lil Wayne, Jay Z, and 50 Cent. This could be the album that finally puts Flame on the same level as his more famous contemporaries.
Show starts at 7 p.m.; St. Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; 313-961-8961
$35 - Ride, Oct. 1
Ride hasn't visited Detroit in over two decades and it's about goddamn time. The band always had a penchant for crafting lush shoegaze tunes with one of the tightest rhythm sections around. For the uninitiated, Ride came up around the early-'90s explosion of punk rock, when bands like My Bloody Valentine and the Swirlies made names for themselves. Their sound is huge and the catalog, front to back, is memorable. Yeah, it's a reunion of sorts (boo! hsss!), but who cares? This show will be one to remember.
Doors open at 7 p.m.; St. Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; 313-961-8961; standrewsdetroit.com
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