Summer may be nearly over, but don't think for one minute that means the slew of killer live shows is coming to a close. This fall, everyone from Kanye West to Jay Z, Pearl Jam to Atoms for Peace, and Queens of the Stone Age to Nine Inch Nails are headed on the road. Of course, that's just a small helping of what's in store in the months to come (other stars like Drake, Keith Urban and Phoenix are also burning rubber this fall). Read on for this season's live highlights.
Neko Case (9/6-11/1)
Neko Case albums are highly personal affairs – her latest, The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You, draws heavily from her own recent struggles. Which makes the singer-songwriter’s live show ever the intimate outing. If this past weekend's gig at Chicago's Hideout Block Party is any indication, Neko’s set lists promise to be littered with new material, as well as older fare including Blacklisted's "I Wish I Was the Moon" and Middle Cyclone's "This Tornado Loves You."
The Weeknd (9/10-10/20)
Two years into his career, Canadian crooner Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd) remains a quiet, almost mythical presence: he only granted interviews for the first time this past summer. He has however slowly refined his initially spotty live show. Armed with three mixtapes – dutifully packaged last year as The Trilogy – as well as Kiss Land, his brand-new LP of slow-burning R&B, the singer embarks on a North American run through late October.
Queens of the Stone Age (9/10 – 10/11)
QOTSA spent the summer pummeling festival crowds both in Europe and Stateside: check the Josh Homme-led crew’s killer sets at Lollapalooza and Made in America. And, much as they did on their exceptional new album, …Like Clockwork, the desert-bred psych-rockers keep their foot on the gas, heading out on a North American arena run this fall which includes a stop at Austin City Limits.
Keith Urban (9/12- 2/1)
Fresh off a promotional Music City pub crawl – featuring unexpected, rowdy duets with Steven Tyler and Eric Church, the country star hits amphitheaters and arenas this fall in support of his latest album Fuse. His massive seventy-city "Light the Fuse" outing features opening support from Little Big Town and runs until early 2014. Urban is also a judge on the reeling American Idol; something tells us there are lots of chartered flights from arenas to auditions in his future.
Sheryl Crow (9/13-12/5)
Crow is further embracing her recent country kicks this fall: the iconic singer-songwriter hits the road for a select run of dates in support of her new album, Feels Like Home. Country crooner Gary Allan joins her here, so undoubtedly set lists will be heavy on new country burners like "Waterproof Mascara" and "Shotgun. But Crow is nothing if not a versatile artist: harder-hitting rock classics like "My Favorite Mistake" and "A Change Would Do You Good" are sure to make welcome appearances.
Arctic Monkeys (9/15-10/13)
They've performed at the opening ceremony of the Olympics, joined the Black Keys at US arenas and rocked festival stages the world over. But the Arctic Monkeys, who hit the road this fall in support of their upbeat new LP, AM, are best taken in small, maniacally rowdy rooms. Over a short run that goes through early-October, Alex Turner and the Monkeys hit prime Stateside spots, including LA's Wiltern and Chicago's Riviera Theatre.
Vampire Weekend (9/19-10/13)
The Brooklyn indie-rock outfit has been on the road more or less nonstop since releasing May's Modern Vampires of the City: VW hit Europe this summer before returning Stateside for Lollapalooza and then bringing down the house at Outside Lands. This fall, the fun continues as Ezra Koenig and his versatile bandmates, now with three albums in tow and a depth of material for a wide-ranging live show – from new, more-elaborate executions ("Ya Hey") to name-making early hits ("A-Punk") – hit auditoriums and theaters until early October.
As they displayed with a career-spanning set at last month's Lollapalooza, Phoenix have dutifully earned their right as one of the world's biggest bands. After a summer spent on the European festival circuit, including a headlong stint at Glastonbury, the Parisian rockers cross the Atlantic for a handful of US gigs in support of their latest LP, Bankrupt!, hitting Brooklyn's new music mecca Barclays before trekking south for Austin City Limits.
Atoms for Peace (9/24-10/17)
Digging Amok, the moody, glitchy debut release from Thom Yorke's Flea-featuring supergroup, Atoms for Peace? Bummed they've only played a few live shows in the US? Perk up: the Radiohead singer and bandmates including producer/bandmate Nigel Godrich Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco touch down at arenas (Barclays Center, UIC Pavilion) and iconic outdoor amphitheaters (Hollywood Bowl, Santa Barbara Bowl) for a short fall run that stretches from late September to mid-October.
Drake With Future and Miguel (9/25-11/25)
Kicking off the day after he drops his much-anticipated new album Nothing Was The Same, Drake rolls into US cities this fall alongside syrupy rapper Future and equally emotive R&B crooner Miguel. It's all part of the Young Money MC's massive 41-date "Would You Like A Tour?" outing. It's a guaranteed winner for date night.
Nine Inch Nails (9/28-11/25)
As recent as last year it looked like NIN might never perform again. Now, after a festival-heavy summer, which included a recent headlining gig at Made in America Fest, Trent Reznor is taking only a short break this month before returning to the road for a gigantic fall tour that runs through late November at an arena near you. Of course you can expect to hear a heavy helping off the band's jarring new album, Hesitation Marks. But as recent setlists have shown, the always-unpredictable frontman is willing to trove the depths of his massive catalog, digging up early Pretty Hate Machine cuts including "Terrible Lie" and "Sanctified."
Sleigh Bells (10/4-11/22)
On Labor Day, Sleigh Bells fans were treated to quite the set of good news: not only is the noise-rock duo returning on October 8th with a new album, Bitter Rivals, but they're also heading out on a two-month tour this fall that begins in early October and wraps at New York's Terminal 5 on November 22. And if the brutal new LP's title track is any indication, this should be quite the heavy-hitting, speaker-assaulting affair. Keep those earplugs handy (that is, if you can't take the audible heat).
Brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, who perform as Disclosure, armed with their dance-pop treat of a debut album, Settle, took the US by storm this summer. Come early October they're back for more: the duo, who rocked Coachella, Lollapalooza and Hard LA, bring their UK swagger to smaller venues this go-round, including DC's 9:30 Club and San Diego's House of Blues, where you should fully expect them to get seriously amped up when performing "White Noise" and "When a Fire Starts to Burn."
Pearl Jam (10/11-12/6)
PJ broke out choice new numbers off their new LP, Lightning Bolt, at their July gigs in London and Chicago, including the soaring title track, the punkish "Mind Your Manners" and the acoustic slow-burner "Future Days." But when the Seattle rock legends take to the road this fall on a full-fledged tour, expect to hear the new album if not in full than, well, practically in its entirety. Then again, this is Pearl Jam, so nothing is guaranteed from night to night. Well, besides a head-spinning rock riot of a concert.
The perennial jam kings follow-up a typically epic summer tour – during which they busted out a nearly-40 minute "Tweezer", covered Willie Nelson and Peter Tosh for the first time, and occasionally even slipped into Japanese lyrics – by heading back on the road for more. Phish’s fall tour kicks off with a three-night stint at one of the Vermont crew's favorite spots, the Hampton Coliseum and wraps with a trio of shows in Atlantic City, including one of their legendary Halloween gigs, that (fingers crossed) may feature a Genesis cover set with none other than Peter Gabriel.
Despite the death of founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman this spring, Slayer are pushing on full-force. After announcing dates in New York, LA and at Austin' FunFunFun Fest the metal giants expanded their run into a 17-date North American tour. The band hasn't released a new album since 2009's World Painted Blood, but thirty years in, they've got enough pummeling hits for many sweaty hours of mayhem.
Kanye West (10/19-12/7)
Aside from a SNL gig in May, a spare, intimate performance of "Blood on the Leaves" at the VMAs, a much-criticized performance in Kazakhstan, and last night's performance of "Bound 2" on Fallon, West hasn't performed cuts off the boundary-pushing Yeezus much in the live setting. That changes this fall: the always-entertaining MC heads out on a seven-week North American tour , his first return to the road since 2011's Watch the Throne tour with Jay Z. If that wasn't reason to get amped: Kendrick Lamar is joining Yeezy for the majority of dates.
John Legend (10/20-12/1)
Over his decade-long career, John Legend has masterfully blended old-school soul with contemporary hip-hop flair. The G.O.O.D. Music crewmember's latest album, Love in the Future, was executive produced by none other than label boss, Kanye West. This fall Legend returns to the road for a 20-city-plus tour. And it's long overdue: last fall the crooner cancelled his tour to finish up the long-gestating LP.
Jay Z (11/30-1/31)
Never one to ease off the accelerator, Jay Z, only a few months removed from his epic co-headlining “Legends of Summer” tour with Justin Timberlake, is back on the road in late November to promote his new LP, Magna Carta Holy Grail. With no partner to rely on this go-round, one has to think Jay will bust out not only the classics but some deep cuts to boot. Our fingers are crossed for some Reasonable Doubt material.