"Live Nation held a VIP party to unveil the 19th concert season at Verizon Wireless Music Center and The Lawn at White River. The lineup has a few surprises, including a step back to the disco era with the Village People, the Indianapolis Symphony performing the music of Led Zeppelin and performances by Bob Dylan, OK Go and more. Here are some of the highlights.
Verizon Wireless Music Center
Radio NOW presents Gwen Stefani, Akon and Lady Sovereign
Saturday, June 2, $39.50-$69.50
Harajuku girls and boys unite. Gwen Stefani will bring her post-No Doubt style of happy pop and notoriously glamorous stage presence to Indy. The pop princess hasn’t graced Indianapolis since 2004, and this is the first time she has performed here as a solo artist.
Joining her is hip-hop sensation Akon, known the world over for his Grammy Award-nominated single “Smack That.” The track, which features Eminem, boasted the largest jump in Billboard’s Hot 100 history, from No. 95 to No. 7 in October.
Akon hasn’t just been getting noticed in his own releases, though. He recently produced and was featured on the second single of Stefani’s new album, The Sweet Escape, which is not only the name of the album and track, but also the name of this tour. His voice can be heard on Bone Thugs ’N Harmony’s new album and has a guest appearance on Three 6 Mafia’s upcoming album. Akon has publicly commented on his work on Whitney Houston’s next album, and rumors are afloat that he’ll be working with Michael Jackson and Elton John.
Lady Sovereign’s pop-frenzied, grimy hip-hop has quickly grown on America, making her one of the best new hip-hop acts in recent years. She’s also the first non-American female to make it on the Def Jam label. Love her or hate her, she’ll be headlining her own stadium tours in no time.
John Mayer, Ben Folds, Brett Dennen
Saturday, June 30, $29.50-$53.50
John Mayer went from the coffeehouse circuit through high school and his short stint in college to performing at South by Southwest, changing his life forever. Mayer’s blues-infused acoustic rock has made him one of today’s most praised singer-songwriters and has inspired many to follow his role.
This tour is in support of Mayer’s latest album, Continuum, which has earned rave reviews from music critics and earned him a Grammy for the song “Waiting on the World to Change.” His voice will appear on the upcoming Kanye West album, Graduation, as well as the next Alicia Keys album.
Def Leppard, Styx, REO Speedwagon
Friday, July 6, $21.50-$69
Live Nation introduced this summer’s lineup with a catch phrase: “Rock ’n’ Roll Never Dies,” and it couldn’t be truer. Not only is rock more a concept than a living being who can die (it’s impossible to get rid of a concept … see “war on terror”), but one concert in particular may prove the point: Def Leppard, Styx and REO Speedwagon — all together under one roof.
The Track presents Dance Party with the Village People, Thelma Houston, Peaches & Herb, A Taste of Honey, France Joli, Anita Ward
Friday, Aug. 3, $10.79-$39.50
The disco days may be long in the past, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to shake your groove thing. Bell-bottoms will come out of the closet this August for Dance Party. The event features many stars of not-quite yesteryear, including the Village People, Thelma Houston and Peaches & Herb, making this event a major blast from the past.
Vans Warped Tour with Bleed the Dream, Coheed & Cambria, My American Heart, The Unseen
Tuesday, Aug. 7, $29.75
It’s almost that time of year when thousands of punk and pop-punk fans, friends and family endure the heat and come out for their yearly sanctuary: Van’s Warped Tour. The headliners are Bleed the Dream, Coheed & Cambria, My American Heart and the Unseen. However, I suggest checking out punk veterans Bad Religion and Flogging Molly; both bands always put on a great show. Better yet, check out every band you’ve never heard of.
Dave Matthews Band, Umphrey’s McGee
Friday, Aug. 17-Saturday, Aug. 18, $40-$65
Per their usual style, Dave Matthews and Umphrey’s McGee will perform two consecutive days in Indianapolis. Matthews is a man that needs no introduction, having performed here every year over the past decade and continuously sold out the Verizon Wireless Music Center.
South Bend’s Umphrey’s McGee first came to the spotlight long after its Greatest Hits: III was released, when it played at the first Bonnaroo in 2002. Its style mixes that of jam bands and progressive rock, always offering an improvisational show. Its latest album, The Bottom Half, released last month, is now available nationwide through SCI Fidelity, the label managed by the band the String Cheese Incident.
The Lawn at White River
The Fray with OK GO & Mae
Tuesday, June 19, $35.50 general admission
The Fray is a Denver piano-rock band that formed five years ago and has earned major success in the short time since its 2005 release, How to Save a Life (which was recorded at Bloomington’s Echo Park Studios). Joining The Fray is pop rock genius OK Go, known for its geek style and low-budget music videos, and Virginian band Mae.
Sunday, July 15, $35 general admission
Dylan’s touring in support of his August 2006 release, Modern Times, which made him the oldest living person to achieve a No. 1 album, but in all reality, he’s been on a never-ending tour since the ’80s.
Friday, Aug. 3, $29.50 general admission
Scottish-Irish indie/alternative rock band Snow Patrol had the No. 1 album in the U.K. in 2006, but you wouldn’t guess that by checking out U.S. charts. Of course, the U.S. also hasn’t completely grasped Lady Sovereign yet either … but we will. Of note: Indianapolis DJ Topher Jones produced a remix of Snow Patrol’s song “Chasing Cars” with Chicago DJ Blake Jarell that has received play internationally, including by world famous trance DJ Tiesto."