The Salt Miners • Small's • 6/7
One of the coolest things about our remarkable local music scene is the creation of Detroit supergroups, as folks from bands you already know and love recombine themselves in unexpected ways. The Salt Miners is one such group, featuring members of Golden Torso, Trash Brats and Katie Grace. It's been a couple of years since we've heard the group's unique twist on country, but they're regrouping for this very special evening. Doors at 8 p.m., $7 cover.
The Dandy Warhols • Royal Oak Music Theatre • 6/8
As the Dandy Warhols approach Detroit, we asked multi-instrumentalist Zia McCabe if she had any good Detroit stories to share with us. "I do remember back when we were on tour with Echo and the Bunnymen, [Bunnymen guitarist] Will Sergeant made me my first proper cup of English tea in the little back room there at St. Andrew's," McCabe says. "I'm sorry, that's all I've got." That's more than good enough for us, and it also illustrates the Dandies' staying power. The indie psych-rock outfit has been around since the '90s, with its original lineup mostly intact. In their heyday (as chronicled in the celebrated documentary Dig!) the Dandies were the original indie hipsters, back before either of those terms were pop-culture buzzwords. "The other night there were a couple of kids right in front of [frontman] Courtney [Taylor-Taylor] at the show, singing every word to every song," McCabe says. "There's definitely some old dudes with gray hair and glasses too." Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $20.
Of Montreal • Crofoot Ballroom • 6/18
Far be it for us to bestow the crown of "Weirdest Band In Indie Rock" upon of Montreal, but there's no doubting this crew is definitely in the runners-up for that title. Driven by the often-turbulent mind of singer-songwriter Kevin Barnes, this band has shifted through genres describable as psychedelic, indie-pop, glam rock and more in its decade-plus on the scene. Most recently, you could add classical music to that list of genres; the band's latest, Paralytic Stalks, features disturbing, fractured string and horn arrangements. Barnes is dropping his flamboyant stage alter ego, Georgie Fruit, as he tours with the more personal, confessional material on the new record. The tour also promises some of the band's most eye-popping gigs yet, introducing a new onstage visual display featuring lights, animations and projections coordinated with the tunes. Soak up the psych and get weird. Doors at 7:30 p.m., tickets are $25.
Nadia Ali • and Starkillers Elektricity • 6/22
Think outside the DJ box as you make your party plans, and check out the remarkable live vocal stylings of Nadia Ali and her partner in crime Starkillers. Pakistani-American artist Ali made a name for herself in the early 2000s as one-half of the dance music duo iiO, and from there she's gone on to lend her haunting, gorgeous voice to several solo projects and many other artists' tunes as a guest vocalist. Her debut solo album, Embers, arrived in 2009. Following it up with the aptly titled Queen of Clubs trilogy of remix albums, Ali is on the verge of releasing her sophomore solo effort, Phoenix. Ali will be appearing with Starkillers, a.k.a. producer Nick Terranova, with whom she's collaborated on club-rockers like "Pressure" and "Keep It Coming." Tickets are $15, doors at 9 p.m.
Insane Clown Posse • Emerald Theatre • 6/23
We know it's old news now, but we're sorry; we still just can't get over Insane Clown Posse working with Jack White on that song about ass-licking. We'll get serious though. Who would have guessed that one of Detroit's biggest contemporary success stories would be a couple of crazy rapping clowns? Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope have created a long-lasting national sensation with their dirty, provocative, grease-painted rap-rock, and it's certainly paid off for them. The "evil" duo now preside over an empire of their own, including several protegés on their own record label and a nationwide army of devoted "Juggaloes." Of course, those who can't wait for the next Gathering can check out the smaller-scale Juggalo mayhem at the Emerald Theatre. Not too bad for a couple of clowns. Doors at 7 p.m., tickets are $25.
DJ Heavygrinder • Bleu • 6/30
DJ Heavygrinder is also known by the more innocuous name DJ Barbie, and with her blonde hair and doll-like features, it's easy to see why. The origin of her better-known professional name, though, is a bit edgier; it's inspired by George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, of Heavygrinder's favorite metal band, Cannibal Corpse. And although the Barbie looks and the modeling gigs on her resume might lead you to believe otherwise, edginess is much more Heavygrinder's kind of thing. Having spent much of her childhood in Japan, Heavygrinder started honing her DJ skills when she relocated to the U.S. If you check out her set at Bleu, you'll find a cutting-edge set of funky house and electro. Personally, we'd like to see her spin a Cannibal Corpse track; Corpsegrinder would be proud. Doors at 6 p.m., tickets are $10.
Fiona Apple • The Fillmore • 7/7
Fiona Apple created a critical sensation, and a pop-culture milestone, when she released her classic album Tidal back in 1996. But the sassy singer-songwriter has been in and out of the spotlight since then—her 2005 release Extraordinary Machine was delayed at length until fans petitioned for its release. Now Apple's back with another reportedly long-delayed record, whose twenty-three-word title we'll shorten to The Idler Wheel... for brevity's sake. Not only are Apple albums few and far between, but we also haven't seen her onstage in a while. So her upcoming appearance at the Fillmore is quite an event all on its own—as well as a big '90s reunion party of sorts. Longtime Apple fans can come relive the Clinton years and sing along to the favorites—and Apple newbies, you're in for a remarkable show. Doors at 7 p.m., tickets are $29.50-$69.50.
Nicki Minaj • Fox Theatre • 7/17
It's easy to dismiss Nicki Minaj as a simple provocateur, but the girl also has some serious talent. From the irresistible hooks of tunes like "Super Bass" to her surefooted stage show to her reported meticulousness in the studio, Minaj clearly has a thorough grasp of her pop-music craft. And on the provocateur side, her sexualized performance and schizophrenic deployment of her alter egos also run the gamut from sensual to scary. What's more, Minaj has recently joined forces with her pop-princess predecessor, Madonna, for guest spots on both a single and the Super Bowl halftime show. We'd say this girl's pretty much got all the bases covered. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $39.75-$69.75.
Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas • Magic Bag • 7/20
Jessica Hernandez is slowly becoming one of our greatest local success stories on the national level. Having just signed to the legendary Blue Note label, Hernandez is poised for some pretty remarkable achievements. The powerhouse vocalist initially cut her teeth as an acoustic solo act, but with horns, guitar and a fine rhythm section backing up Hernandez's killer vocals, the Deltas produce a genre hybrid they describe as "soul pop." We'd say that's a pretty apt description, but it certainly mixes in touches of jazz and rock as well for a unique, bombastic sound. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $10.
Pitbull • DTE Energy Music Theatre • 7/28
Maybe it's just us, but the first thing we think when we think "Pitbull" right now is the Cuban-American rapper's theme song for the entertaining new Men In Black film. Of course, that's only the most recent achievement in this superstar's career. Pitbull came up in the early '00s, helped along by appearances on Lil Jon tunes. He's gone on to release seven albums of his own and co-found the Bad Boy Latino record label along with Sean Combs. As he embarks on his latest tour, he's also warming audiences up for his latest release, Global Warming, which will reportedly drop this summer. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $25-$85.
Coldplay • Palace of Auburn Hills • 8/1
It's true that Coldplay's latest, Mylo Xyloto, didn't quite match the smash sensation of the band's last record, Viva la Vida. But a record as big as Viva la Vida is pretty hard to top under any circumstances. Regardless of sales and single play, we recommend Mylo for a great listen (just don't ask us how to pronounce the title) and Coldplay's upcoming Palace gig for a truly memorable evening. The band has repeatedly been touted as the successors to U2's throne, and it's easy to see why: uplifting, anthemic lyrics; gorgeous instrumental parts; and the soaring voice and great showmanship of frontman Chris Martin. And if you've only heard the music and never seen the show, you definitely haven't gotten the full Coldplay experience yet; the band is known for its visually spectacular live performances. Doors at 7 p.m., tickets are $26.50-$96.50.
Neon Trees • Majestic Theatre • 8/14
It's easy to see why the Killers took Neon Trees under their wing as openers on their 2008 tour. With punk- and New Wave-influenced pop hooks, Neon Trees' wordplay and irresistible melodies make a fine complement to those of Brandon Flowers and Co. And while the Killers may have given Neon Trees their original push to public visibility, the band is now striking out pretty damn well on its own. They've gone on to open for My Chemical Romance and Duran Duran, and most recently dropped their sophomore album, Picture Show, in April. Although the new release still sports the band's trademark magnetic hooks, it also showcases the band stretching out a bit beyond the basic limitations of pop. Check the band out in a headlining set at the Majestic. Doors at 7 p.m., tickets are $20.
Nas • Chene Park • 6/9
It's been over 15 years since Nas dropped his classic breakout album Illmatic, and the rapper remains one of the most respected names in hip-hop. (Unless, of course, you agree with the proclamation that "Hip-hop is dead." If you're undecided, just ask Nas. He kinda made an album about it.) Known for his angry, literate, political and occasionally controversial lyrics, his tracks have covered everything from ghetto life to the evils of Fox News. Show at 8 p.m., tickets are $27-$57.
Mike Jones • Emerald Theatre • 6/14
You could definitely say strip clubs are a pretty big thing for Mike Jones. Not only are strippers the focus of many of the Southern rappper's songs (reportedly on the advice of his grandmother), but he also got his big break on Swishahouse Records after meeting a Swishahouse rep in a strip club. Since then, it's been a straight upwards shot for Jones, starting his own label and rocking the Billboard charts. Doors at 7 p.m., tickets are $15.
Kristin Chenoweth • Detroit Opera House • 6/15
Broadway and mainstream culture can tend to be pretty insulated from one another; there aren't a lot of stage stars who are also household names. Kristin Chenoweth, though, is one of those few who has crossed over in a big way, well-known for her roles in Broadway's Wicked and TV's The West Wing, among others. Chenoweth will lend her remarkable voice and sparkling personality to the gorgeous space of the Detroit Opera House. Show at 8 p.m., tickets are $35-$125.
Bass Drum of Death • Magic Stick • 6/18
Bass Drum of Death likes to keep things simple. From the straightforward name—which pretty aptly describes this band's energetic garage-y attack—to a spare two-person lineup, there are no frills here. The Mississippi guitar-and-drums duo's raw, primal energy actually reminds us of the Black Keys in a way, back before those guys turned into superstars. Frontman John Barrett used to work for Fat Possum Records before the label signed the band, and it's easy to see why he got the promotion. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $10.
Hey! Rosetta • Magic Stick Lounge • 6/22
If you prefer your indie rock with a nice helping of classical instrumentation, we've got a band for you. Canada's Hey! Rosetta combines guitar-based melodies with violin and cello to create a richly textured sound. And lest you think the addition of strings turns this into some kind of stodgy symphony-orchestra performance, we can assure you the melodies are energetic and exuberant, and the band has a stage show to match. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $10.
Banned From E.A.R.T.H. • Freddy's • 6/22
Can't make it to Lollapalooza to catch Black Sabbath's majestic reunion set? Then do Satan a favor and check out the next best thing: Detroit's own killer Sabbath tribute band, Banned From E.A.R.T.H. In fact, they may even be better than the real thing since they're younger and less drug-addled than their real-life role models. These guys bring the authentic look, the onstage energy and the metal might to do their heroes proud.
Nada Surf • Blind Pig • 6/22
Nada Surf has been doing exuberant and life-affirming indie rock since the early '90s; it's refreshing, in a way, that the band hasn't soured a bit with the years. Nada Surf's latest release, The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy, has the same joyful noise we've come to expect from the band (and we love the bit of humbling cosmic philosophy in the title). And in the intimate space of the Blind Pig, you can get happy with the band up close and personal. Doors at 9 p.m., tickets are $16.
Collective Soul • Saint Andrew's Hall • 6/24
Collective Soul's hooky yet heavy alt-rock made it a major post-grunge success in the mid-'90s. Making it big on the smash success of the single "Shine," the band signed to Atlantic Records and went on to record six #1 mainstream rock singles and tuck multiple platinum records under its belt. And the Georgia natives are still going strong on the touring circuit; although they haven't released a proper album since '09, this show will do for the time being. Doors at 7 p.m., tickets are $25.
JEFF The Brotherhood • Small's • 6/24
Although these dirty Southern rockers may hail from Tennessee, they arrive in the Motor City with a pretty big local stamp of approval: Jack White took them under his wing to release their live album on his Third Man label. Even if not for the White nod, we'd still dig this duo's penchant for raw, occasionally psych-influenced garage rock. Also, they played on that ICP/Jack White ass-licking thing. It just keeps coming up. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $10.
Death Cab For Cutie • Meadow Brook • 7/4
It's pretty amazing to see Death Cab For Cutie, a band repeatedly described as "indie" over the course of its career, playing a major venue like Meadow Brook for 93.9 The River's Riverfest. But such is the nature of the music industry—and the popularity of Ben Gibbard and company. Gibbard's melancholy, melodic songwriting have both broken and won many a heart. And, in the case of Death Cab's latest release, Codes and Keys, it's garnered the band another Grammy nomination. Doors at 7 p.m., tickets are $25-$39.50
The Tragically Hip • Caesars Windsor • 7/5
One of the longest-lived and most critically-acclaimed bands in Canadian history, the Tragically Hip will be hitting the stage in their homeland...and lucky for us, it'll be right across the bridge. In action since the '90s, the Tragically Hip's intelligent indie rock has brought them repeated recognition at the Juno Awards (that's kinda like the Canadian Grammys, for those of you who don't speak Canuck) and among fans. Check them out on their home turf. Show at 9 p.m., tickets are $65.76-$116.61 CA.
Tenacious D •The Fillmore • 7/6
If you think Jack Black can get outrageous in his movies, you haven't seen anything till you catch Black in action with Tenacious D. Black's cheese-metal band, featured onscreen in Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny, goes for all-out hard-rock cheese factor. As the D hits the road in support of new album Rize of the Fenix, expect a balls-out evening of fun, intentionally over-the-top rawk celebrating the all-important themes of weed and sexual prowess. Doors at 7 p.m., tickets are $25-$49.50.
Foxy Shazam • The Machine Shop • 7/11
That's the biggest black ass we've ever seen, and we like it, we like it! Don't mind us—no black asses to be seen at the moment. We're just jamming to Foxy Shazam's killer new album, The Church of Rock and Roll. Foxy's '80s-style hard rock mixes in plenty of winking cheesiness—not quite on the parody level of a Steel Panther or Spinal Tap, but enough to make their dramatic, sexed-up tunes a hell of a lot of fun. Tickets are $10.
Beach House • Crofoot Ballroom • 7/18
As dream-pop street cred goes, you don't get much better than chalking up your technical difficulties to MDMA. Although Beach House can indeed place that achievement on its resume, we're pretty sure the duo has learned its lesson (from a 2010 incident at Glastonbury), so its Detroit appearance should go off without a hitch. Let the group's moody melodic haze wash over you as they tour behind the critically acclaimed new release Bloom. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $12.
Van Halen • Joe Louis Arena • 7/19
You might think that it's a little difficult for a band that's been around as long as Van Halen to mark any major new milestones. But these heroes of hard rock made quite a splash simply by releasing their latest record, A Different Kind of Truth, as it marks their first album in almost a decade and a half. They'll also be joined by legendary vocalist David Lee Roth, whose voice may have suffered a bit with age, but who still boasts the wild frontman energy fans love him for. And let's not forget the man who gives the band its name—first-rate shredder and grinner Eddie Van Halen, who still truly lives up to the hyperbolic title of "guitar god" (as well as the wide-eyed admiration of 16-year-old aspiring guitar whizzes everywhere). Expect mega hits like "Hot For Teacher," rockin' new tunes like "Tattoo," and a truly wild night of rock 'n' roll. Doors at 7:30 p.m., tickets are $29.50-$125.
Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival • DTE Energy Music Theatre • 7/22
Slipknot, Slayer, Mötörhead and Anthrax? Yeah, we'd definitely say "Mayhem" is an appropriate word to describe this throwdown. Rockstar's festival tour returns with such a vast slate of top-rate metal acts that you'll definitely need several cans of the festival's namesake beverage to keep up with the madness. Also check out sets from As I Lay Dying and The Devil Wears Prada. Starts at 1:30 p.m., tickets are $28-$94.
Dirty Talk • Bleu • 7/27
This female DJ duo comes together from two very different worlds: Monica Farr from the tropical climes of South America, and Lucy Luxe (a.k.a. Jordan Osten) from the much chillier world of Minneapolis. Despite their disparate origins, these two can make some serious magic on the dancefloor, spinning everything from dubstep to moombahton. Their skills have won them a deal with Play Me Too Records, which released their new EP last fall. Show at 10 p.m., tickets are $10.
Florence and the Machine • Fox Theatre • 7/31
At one point Florence and the Machine seemed like they might be a flash in the pan, but this indie act gone mainstream has proven itself beyond initial hit "Dog Days Are Over" (and the Twilight soundtrack). The group is currently touring behind its new album Ceremonials, released last fall. Thrill to Florence's throaty vocals and majestic stage presence, and let the Machine take you over. Doors at 7 p.m., tickets are $30-$65.
Twin Shadow • Pike Room • 8/1
And that's Mr. Twin Shadow to you, because rather than a band name, the moniker is actually the stage name of singer-songwriter-guitarist George Lewis, Jr. But Lewis will have his band in tow for this show spotlighting his dark, dancey, synth-laden tunes. Enjoy the contemporary throwback to classic '80s New Wave and synthpop (and also enjoy Lewis' remarkable pompadour, an impressive creation in its own right). Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $15.
K.D. Lang • MotorCity Casino Hotel Sound Board • 8/9
k.d. lang got her start in a Patsy Cline tribute act back in the mid-'80s, and acclaim in her native Canada propelled her to major chart success with both country tunes and more pop-oriented hits like "Constant Craving." In recent years, she's branched out into diverse side projects including a jazz record with Tony Bennett and a Canadian cover songs album. Show at 8 p.m., tickets are $45-$61.
My Morning Jacket • Meadow Brook • 8/14
My Morning Jacket might best be described as some sort of indie variation on folk rock, but the band's also branched out into hard rock, psychedelic and funk sounds over its adventurous career. However, you want to describe it, the music is melodically gorgeous, held together by the soaring, athletic vocals of Jim James. And based on the band's Meadow Brook show last summer, we can testify there's nothing better than pulling up some grass to soak up this sonic treat. Doors at 7 p.m., tickets are $26-$47.50.
Hal Sparks • Magic Bag • 8/17
Although Hal Sparks may have gotten his greatest exposure on the big screen as Zoltan in Dude, Where's My Car? or as the guy in the elevator with Spidey in Spider-Man 2, he's a prolific performer in his own right. A frequent contributor to VH1's I Love the... series and one of the latter-day hosts of Talk Soup, he's also a talented standup comedian, often working progressive politics into his act. Catch the standup side of Hal at the Magic Bag. Shows at 7 and 10 p.m., tickets are $20.
Gabriel & Dresden • Elektricity • 8/24
Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden both have quite the legacy in the world of EDM. Both cut their teeth as DJs throughout the '80s and '90s before combining their formidable club-rocking powers as the duo Gabriel & Dresden in 2001. Although they temporarily parted ways in 2008, they came back together for a reunion tour last year and will be bringing their mix of progressive house and trance to Elektricity's dancefloor. Doors at 9 p.m., tickets are $10.