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Summer music 2014: The best South Florida concerts

Business has been good so far in 2014 for concert promoters in South Florida, continuing last year’s theme that saw North American attendance up 23 percent and gross receipts up 26 percent, according to Billboard data.

The trend locally seems unlimited by genre, arena or geography.

Two mainstream BB&T Center performances rank among the top 20 highest-grossing 2014 shows in the country, according to TourIntel: “Michael Jackson: The Immortal Tour by Cirque do Soleil” and Cher and Cyndi Lauper.

The Zac Brown Band had to add a second show last month at the Cruzan Amphitheatre and the Enrique Iglesias-Pitbull tour just did the same, with an Oct. 26 AmericanAirlines Arena show tacked on to a sold-out Oct. 25 date at Hard Rock Live.

And beginning with a pre-breakout performance by the DJ duo Disclosure in January, the eclectically minded Fillmore Miami Beach has sold out 17 shows, with concerts by St. Vincent and Belle and Sebastian soon expected to join them.

“We are definitely off to one of our strongest starts,” says Sharisse Pessar, a senior promoter with Live Nation Florida, who books the Fillmore Miami Beach, along with Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale and clubs in Orlando and Tampa.

“South Florida audiences are becoming more sophisticated and diverse in their musical tastes,” says Pessar, acknowledging that she has made an extra effort to book the Fillmore with “acts that are on the cutting edge of both artistry and popularity.”

With the summer concert season upon us, here is a survey of 16 South Florida shows worth considering for the potential rewards they offer you or someone you care about, from the summer solstice at 6:51 a.m. Saturday to the fall equinox at 10:20 p.m. Sept. 22.

1. BEYONCE AND JAY Z
A recent cover story for T, the New York Times’ style magazine, put Beyoncé on the front in a $5,320 Louis Vuitton dress and in a special place in history: “Black women have always been dominant figures in American popular music, but no one, not even Aretha Franklin, has reached the plateau that Beyoncé occupies: pop star colossus, adored bombshell, America’s sweetheart.” Jay Z also dabbles in music. Wednesday at Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens. Tickets: Ticketmaster.com.

2. KATY PERRY
The other pop colossus. Who else could hit No. 1 on the Billboard pop singles chart with a song (“Dark Horse”) that references the unusual dietary requirements of a famous mass murderer: “She’s a beast, I call her Karma/She eats your heart out, like Jeffrey Dahmer.” July 2, BB&T Center, Sunrise; July 3, AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami. Tickets: Ticketmaster.com.

3. TIM McGRAW
Just when you decided to write off McGraw as a cautionary tale, there he is on the July/August cover of Men’s Health magazine looking ripped and ready for anything. But it was a close call. In talking to the magazine about how he kicked booze and repaired his frayed marriage to Faith Hill, McGraw referenced the sad fate of influential country singer Keith Whitley, who died of alcohol poisoning in 1989: “Keith Whitley taught me how demons can overtake you if you let 'em. And I was headed down that path.” Kip Moore and Cassadee Pope open. July 11, Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach. Tickets: LiveNation.com.

4. RAY LaMONTAGNE
The polish given to the former shoe-factory worker’s new album, “Supernova,” has challenged fans of the spare Americana heard on LaMontagne’s breakout, “God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise.” But the jangly psychedelic shimmer of new songs such as “Lavender” and “Pick Up a Gun” is hard to resist. Give in. LaMontagne’s opening act, former Rilo Kelly firebrand Jenny Lewis, is getting good preview buzz for her imminent album, “The Voyager.” July 12, Fillmore Miami Beach. Tickets: FillmoreMB.com.

5. DAVE MATTHEWS BAND
The perennial South Florida favorite plays two nights in a setting that he has conquered before. Bassist Stefan Lessard tells Rolling Stone that the band is dividing its shows into acoustic and electric sets, taking them far beyond “Ants Marching.”  Recent set lists have included Paul Simon’s “Slip Slidin’ Away,” Rodriguez’s “Sugar Man,” Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” and Lefty Frizzell’s “Long Black Veil.” July 18-19, Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach. Tickets: LiveNation.com.

6. JOHN LEGEND
The only true singer on the Billboard charts these days working without a net held by an overzealous producer (yes, you Sam Smith), Legend has performed in South Florida four times in the past calendar year. He’s always welcome. July 27, Mizner Park Amphitheater, Boca Raton. Tickets: Ticketmaster.com.

7. CROSBY, STILLS AND NASH
We like to think that David Crosby, a sailing man who has said he wrote the classic “Wooden Ships” in Fort Lauderdale, will get up for a show right on the New River. Aug. 6, Broward Center, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets: BrowardCenter.org.

8. PETER MURPHY
The goth chameleon and Bauhaus icon on June 3 released a new album, “Lion,” filled with contemporary vitality. Consequence of Sound approved, saying: “ ‘Lion’ is filled with elements old and new, but nothing here is simply regurgitated retro fancy. Murphy, along with producer Youth (the Killing Joke bassist who also helmed Echo and the Bunnymen’s latest, ‘Meteorites’), has delivered an uncompromising album … easily one of Murphy’s most solid solo releases.” Aug. 5 Grand Central, Miami. Tickets: GrandCentralMiami.com.

9. NINE INCH NAILS/SOUNDGARDEN
Pure, unapologetic, turn-of-the-century firepower. Not many bands can match the sustained assault of NIN’s “March of the Pigs,” “Wish,” “The Hand That Feeds” and “Head Like a Hole,” then add a newer song like “Came Back Haunted.” Sometimes, this is just what you need. Aug. 10, Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach. Tickets: LiveNation.com.

10. TORI AMOS
The singer released her long-awaited album “Unrepentant Geraldines” last month, an eclectic showcase for Amos’ deft piano work and one of the most familiar and unconventionally soulful voices in pop music. Aug. 24, Fillmore Miami Beach. Tickets: FillmoreMB.com.

11. DRAKE/LIL WAYNE
Two of rap’s biggest stars, at the top of their game, will work up a summer sweat with hits such as “Started From the Bottom,” “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and the latest, “Believe Me.” Sept. 3, Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach. Tickets: LiveNation.com.

12. KINGS OF LEON
The Followills this week are in Britain, where they are huge, playing the Isle of Wight Festival, among other locales. The concerts prompted the Irish Independent to proclaim: “Newly domesticated, and semi-detoxed, Kings of Leon are playing some of the best shows of their career.” Sept. 6, Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach. Tickets: LiveNation.com.

13.  ERASURE
Andy Bell and Vince Clarke were conjuring up digital, danceable pop music long before people like Calvin Harris, Avicii and Zedd had a laptop, plus they did their own vocals on hits such as “Chains of Love,” “A Little Respect” and “Oh L’Amour.” Sept. 12, Fillmore Miami Beach. Tickets: FillmoreMB.com.

14. CAETANO VELOSO
Amid our ongoing celebration of Brazil, it is worth noting the visit of Bahia-born Veloso, called “one of the greatest songwriters of the century” by the New York Times. Veloso recently released “Abraçaço,” the final album in a trilogy that prompted musician David Byrne to say: “Veloso has found a sparse, post-rock beauty in which strange yet simple rock instrumentation is juxtaposed with softly seething vocals.” Sept. 13, Fillmore Miami Beach. Tickets: FillmoreMB.com.

15. TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS
On his imminent album, “Hypnotic Eye,” Petty has stripped down and returned to the urgent post-new-wave rock of his early years. Not a bad place to be. Steve Winwood opens. Sept. 20, Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach. Tickets: LiveNation.com.

16. MOTORHEAD'S MOTORBOAT
This headbanging cruise sets sail on the Carnival Ecstacy with an impressive manifest of rock hellions including Motorhead, of course, Megadeth, Anthrax, Testament, Down, Zakk Wylde and, for grins, the Jim Breuer Band.  Sept. 22, Port of Miami. Tickets: MotorheadCruise.com.

Get daily updates on South Florida entertainment and things to do at SouthFlorida.com, on Twitter at @BenCrandell and Instagram /BenCrandell. Email: bcrandell@southflorida.com.

 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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