$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
$36 - George Clinton, July 10
Constantly bending genres and pushing limits, the P-Funk mothership lands in Chene Park this summer and the always fun Clinton should still be primed to tear the roof off that sucker. Don't go if that funkin' 's kinda hard on you, as Clinton's most recent work (a three-and-a-half hour studio album with Funkadelic) is only meant for those within whom the funk resides. Can you get to that?
Show starts at 8 p.m.; Chene Park, 2600 Atwater St., Detroit; 313-393-7128; cheneparkdetroit.com
$40 - Brian Wilson, July 5
The Beach Boys' genius Brian Wilson will perform at the Fox Theatre on his "No Pier Pressure" tour. Along with his classics, he will be performing songs off the new album, which may be his last; there are also reports that this might be his last ever tour, so if you're hesitating, take that into consideration. Rodriguez, the Detroit folk legend and star of Searching for Sugarman, will open up.
Starts at 8:30 p.m.; Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 855-305-4873; detroittheater.org
$42 - Charli XCX, Bleachers, Aug. 11
Billed provocatively as the "Charli and Jack Do America" tour, you know you're in for a good time with Charli XCX and Bleachers playing together in this intimate venue. Charlie XCX's surprise hit album from last year, the also provocatively titled Sucker, brims with bawdy fun and very fresh pop sounds. Another act who released its first music in 2014, Bleachers, opens up. This emo-pop act is equally influenced by pop songs from the 1980s and John Hughes flicks.
Doors at 6 p.m.; The Fillmore, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-5451; thefillmoredetroit.com
$42.50 - Foo Fighters, Aug. 24
Dad-rock giants the Foo Fighters are coming to the DTE Energy Music Theatre on their "Sonic Highways" North American tour. A first for the veteran Foo Fighters, HBO documented the creation of this album in a series of the same name. This included documenting the unorthodox recording method of album, where each song was recorded in a different city across the U.S. including Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Seattle, New York, Washington D.C., and Nashville. See these experienced rockers perform their 2000s radio hits and new material off of Sonic Highways.
Show starts at 7 p.m.; DTE Energy Music Theatre, 7774 Sashabaw Rd., Clarkston; 248-377-0100; palacenet.com
$45 - ZZ Top, Aug. 30
An opportunity to see ZZ Top is an open call to drop everything in your life (especially your worries) and just boogie. These guys destroy with their choogling; they've never stopped being an ace live act. Even ZZT's bad songs are better than the finest work of most any other bluesy rock band on the planet. Remember: No 1970s dino-rock act made the move to video/synthed-out stardom with as much flair as ZZ Top did in the 1980s, with "Eliminator." That's because their songs are awesome, and because their songs are not about anything other than how to have a good time and not be a dick in the process. As power trios go, you don't get much more powerful than the Top. We can't think of a better reason to visit Canada.
Starts at 8 p.m.; The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor, 377 Riverside Drive East, Windsor, ON; caesars.com/caesars-windsor/shows
$46 - The Roots, Aug. 9
The hardest-working band in America comes back to Detroit more famous than they've ever been, thanks to their high-profile late night gig. The Roots have honed their skills coming up in their native Philly and in hundreds, if not thousands, of shows around the world. The alt hip-hop elder statesmen are well-known and loved for their spontaneous and engaging live shows, mixing socially conscious lyrics with impeccable musicianship and a strong desire to experiment beyond the traditional boundaries of hip-hop. Though they've been playing music for close to three decades now, the Roots still seem like a group hungry to keep topping their previous highs.
Show starts at 8 pm; Chene Park, 2600 Atwater St., Detroit; 313-393-7128; cheneparkdetroit.com
$46 - Erykah Badu, Nas, Aug. 15
The game ain't the same since these two hit the scene in the '90s, but that doesn't mean Badu and Nas aren't still must-sees for any R&B or lyrical hip-hop diehards. Badu's neo soul will never go out of style, and she remains one of the coolest and most dynamic artists in the world, with a transfixing voice that'll flow sweetly all the way out to the lawn seats. Neither Badu nor Nas is promoting a new album, so it's safe to expect some dips into the classics. Most who know Nas will want to hear plenty from Illmatic, because even if he's delivered plenty of strong work since then, both commercial and conscious, his career-defining 1994 debut is still one of the greatest rap albums of all-time.
Show starts at 8 pm; Chene Park, 2600 Atwater St., Detroit; 313-393-7128; cheneparkdetroit.com
$46 - Aretha Franklin, Aug. 22
Franklin is a tough artist to talk about in the present tense without resorting to clichés like "living legend" or "queen of soul," but suffice it to say that you could go to every single concert in America for this entire summer, and you will not see anyone else like her. Despite some past health scares, the 73-year-old Franklin is back with a busy run of shows throughout the country this summer. The set lists will surely be tough to predict, as Franklin obviously has a deep vault of songs she can pull from — a vault that's even richer with the recent release of Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, which featured covers of "Rolling in the Deep" and "Nothing Compares 2 U" on top of some old standards. And, of course, there's her legendary voice, no doubt worth the price of admission even if she sings the phonebook. No matter what, Franklin's still one of the best Detroit's ever had.
Show starts at 8 pm; Chene Park, 2600 Atwater St., Detroit; 313-393-7128; cheneparkdetroit.com.
$39 - American Idol Live, Aug. 7
When a cultural phenomenon begins to fade a bit, one clear advantage if you are a fan of that thing is that now you and the other die-hards can get way more up close and personal in interacting with it. If you want to yell "Dust of the Wind!" at the top of your lungs at a Kansas show these days, you can communicate far more clearly directly with the band when they play a smaller venue. Ditto for American Idol, which used to fill stadiums with their tours, and now is playing at the much nicer Motor City Casino venue. Everyone can get a great sight line when their favorite karaoke-style TV pop singer gets up there and belts it out like there's no tomorrow.
Starts at 8 p.m.; Motor City Casino, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 866-752-9622.
$60 - AC/DC, Sept. 8
Ageless Australian riff-rock growlers AC/DC will perform at Ford Field. Based on footage from their recent tour in Spain, there will likely be a humongous, flaming, devil-horned stage prop that at one point or another will shoot off enough fireworks to engulf all of downtown in smoke. These explosive theatrics will be contrasted with the no-nonsense classic rock growl which makes AC/DC a consistent hot-button artist for arenas.
Show starts at 7:30 p.m.; Ford Field, 2000 Brush St., Detroit; 313-262-2012
$65 - D'Angelo, June 27
Do you really need us to tell you why you should go to this show? Listen to last December's Black Messiah and give us one reason why you wouldn't see D'Angelo in such a great venue like Royal Oak. The record, like all of D'Angelo's work, is a visionary piece of neo-soul and funk complexity that rewards with listen after listen. We've pretty much all agreed that the man is a genius — even if it takes him 15 years to record an album — so the only thing left to do is confirm it by seeing him perform live. And with all GA tickets, you could even get there early and be close enough to touch transcendent greatness. (Note: Please don't touch D'Angelo.)
Doors open at 7:30 pm; Royal Oak Music Theatre; 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak, 248-399-2980; royaloakmusictheatre.com.
$75 - Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, July 27
Welp, whatever chemistry these two singers had when they first recorded an album of covers last year (they won a Grammy for best traditional pop vocal album for their record Cheek to Cheek), that spark looks to have ignited a serious fire, as here they are, touring together in an effort to unite generations of vocal music fans.
Starts at 8 p.m.; Meadow Brook Music Festival, 3554 Walton Blvd., Rochester Hills; 248-377-0100
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at [email protected].
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.