Sure, there are plenty of music happenings in the Pacific Northwest all year long, but summer sounds just hit differently. It’s a time when we want to be taking in our concerts under the stars, blaring new tunes on the car stereo with the windows rolled down, or enjoying some time away from the parents with our sonic compadres at a musical camp. It’s time to get loud.
Upcoming Events at the Gorge Amphitheater
Having the best outdoor music venue on the planet a mere two-hour drive from Spokane is a blessing not to be overlooked. Attending a show at the Gorge Amphitheater should be a bucket list item for any Inland Northwesterner even if you don’t care for the musical acts on stage. Thankfully, there’s plenty of variety when it comes to the Gorge’s offerings.
To be frank, the Gorge has largely morphed into an electronic dance music oasis over the past decade. This summer features not one, not two, but three EDM fests: BEYOND WONDERLAND (June 18-19), ABOVE AND BEYOND GROUP THERAPY WEEKENDER (July 22-24), and BASS CANYON (Aug. 18-21).
The only thing more of a Gorge staple than ravers is DAVE MATTHEWS BAND, which returns for its annual Labor Day residency (Sept. 2-4). The country music party that is WATERSHED FESTIVAL rounds out the venue’s multiday gatherings (July 29-31).
If you’re looking for a one-night outing, the Gorge is hosting the stomp-folk of the LUMINEERS (July 16), the pop country of the CHICKS (Aug. 13), and Mexican music legends LOS BUKIS (Aug. 26). Get tickets at The Gorge Amphitheater Website.
Upcoming Shows at the Spokane Pavilion
Nobody is stoked about how sparse the Spokane Pavilion concert offerings are in its second year as an active venue. Only three shows announced so far? C’mon, AEG Presents. All we can do is take what we get, I guess.
At least one of those shows is PHOEBE BRIDGERS (Aug. 18). The singer-songwriter queen of bummed-out millennial poetry went from under-the-radar favorite to festival headlining star with the release of 2020’s Punisher, and her live shows now serve as a beautiful collective angst valve for our pent up anxieties.
ZACH BRYAN kicks off the Pavilion season on July 13, after recently making history when his latest album, American Heartbreak, debuted at No. 1 on the Country and Rock and Folk/Americana charts in early June. Rounding out the current slate is a co-headlining date from reggae rockers IRATION and rapper ATMOSPHERE (Aug 13). Get tickets at spokanepavilion.com.
New Releases This Summer
Finding a perfect new album to be the soundtrack to your summer is always a winning proposition, and there are plenty of notable releases in the coming months that could be just the tuneage you’re seeking.
On the pop spectrum, Lizzo looks to follow up her smash breakout album, Cuz I Love You, with Special (July 15). The emotive songwriter end of the pop dial is also well-represented via Maggie Rogers’ Surrender (July 29) and Conan Gray’s Superache (June 24).
There’s also more than enough upcoming indie rock goodness to make it Indie Girl Summer, be it queer indie pop earworms on Muna’s self-titled LP (June 24), the sunny buzzy rock of Beach Bunny’s Emotional Creature (July 22) or the more melancholy songwriting on Soccer Mommy’s Sometimes Forever (June 24).
For the dads who enjoy rocking out while flipping burgers on the grill, the summer isn’t lacking big guitar attacks either; whether it’s the radio-ready rock of Imagine Dragons’ Mercury - Act 1 (July 21), the bluesy riffs on Jack White’s Entering Heaven Alive (July 22) or the arena rock grandeur of Muse’s Will of the People (Aug. 26).
Those looking to vibe out to some EDM will be happy that Western Washington’s own ODESZA finally returns with a new album The Last Goodbye (July 22). And while hip-hop artists tend to be less album-focused these days, the next couple weeks see new releases from Lupe Fiasco (Drill Music in Zion, June 24), Kevin Gates (Khaza, June 17), Joey Bada$$ (2000, June 17) and The Game (Drillmatic, June 17).
Music and Gambling in Spokane
A casino might not be your first choice when it comes to concert going, but you can’t deny the talent that Northern Quest Casino is bringing to its outdoor stage once the weather heats up.
Northern Quest kicks off the season this week with a barrage of classic rock from JOHN FOGERTY (June 17), ’90s rock from BARENAKED LADIES, GIN BLOSSOMS, and TOAD THE WET SPROCKET (June 18), and comedy rock via TENACIOUS D (June 20). But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The summer slate — which is over a dozen shows deep — ranges from country superstars BRAD PAISLEY (June 26) and DWIGHT YOAKAM (Aug. 5) to hip-hop acts like FLO RIDA and T.I. (June 23) to rockers ranging from GOO GOO DOLLS (July 22) to PAPA ROACH (Aug. 20).