Time is of the Essence

Summer doesn’t last long enough. It doesn’t matter where you live, it just doesn’t. Luckily, there’s plenty to look forward to in the brief, shining moments of great weather, including new albums and highly anticipated concerts. Here’s my summer to do, to see and to buy list.


X Ambassadors, originally from Ithaca NY but now based in Brooklyn, have two previous albums under their belts, but it’s this glorious little ditty that’s getting them attention and love. The new album, VHS, comes out on June 30. The song’s been circulating on alt radio stations and in a new Jeep commercial (for their Renegade vehicle, aptly), and it’s catchy as hell. Great rhythm, great lyrics, great voices. The band’s currently on tour opening for Milky Chance, at least in some locations. If the rest of the new album is anything like this song, this is just the beginning of great things from a very talented quartet.


Next month, I’m attempting something new for me: Three concerts in three days, two of them outdoors.

Buffalo might have a reputation for being cursed when it comes to sports and snow (but things are changing! Look at the NHL draft last weekend! Big happy things are on their way!) but it’s incredibly fortunate for music fans in the summer. There are dozens of outdoor concerts in a variety of venues, and many of them are free. The relatively new Canalside venue on the Lake Erie waterfront hosts a great series on Thursday nights, with Matt and Kim, Arkells and Spoon already making their way through. On July 9, WNYers will welcome back one of their favorites:


Boston’s Mighty Mighty Bosstones have a love affair with Buffalo, and it’s mutual. One of the few bands with a designated dancer, to say nothing of their unstoppable energy, will return and, weather permitting, the massive crowd will be bouncing and singing the night away under a brilliant blue sky filled with stars. Having never seen the band in their 90s heyday, this could be a highlight of the summer.


The next night, something completely different:


The Headstones will be playing at the Rapids Theater in Niagara Falls, NY. Long a favorite of mine, many Headstones fans thought we might not get the chance to see the boys bring their particular brand of loud, high-octane, foul-mouthed fun when they split in 2003, but it was a short-lived hiatus. Only a few shows are on the schedule for this summer– July 9 in Waterloo, ONT., July 10 in Niagara Falls and July 17 in Edmonton — and there’s nowhere I’d rather be than shoulder to shoulder in a sweaty room listening to Hugh Dillon and crew swearing their motherfarmin’ faces off. Yes, please.

Rounding out the trifecta:


As part of the festivities surrounding the Pan Am Games in downtown Toronto, USS is one of many bands performing free shows. It’ll be a nightmare getting in and out of the city, finding parking, fighting the crowd to get anywhere near the concert, but it’s a trip that will be made with an uncle whose musical tastes influenced and inspired mine and a cousin who’s just starting to find her own adventures and paths in life. Provided I don’t pass out from sunstroke (the combination of Irish and Polish heritage means the sun really isn’t my friend for very long) it should be an epic day.


A few days later, Highly Suspect will release what appears to be their first full-length studio album on July 17, also known as the first week when music releases will start coming out on Friday instead of the now-standard Tuesday. I don’t know much about this band yet, but the first single, Lydia, is solid. The singer’s got a great growl but doesn’t let that overpower or cover the lyrics. No word on a North American tour as of yet, but the band’s Wikipedia page says they were prolific in their first few years, playing more than 700 shows in the five years after forming in 2009, most recently opening for Chevelle.

Any good concerts in other parts of the G&B Universe? What’s on your playlist? Tell us in the comments.

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