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Seven Weeks of Summer

17 concerts to sweeten any music fan’s summer

Peso Pluma, the Mexican singer who's had a breakout year, comes to the Leader Bank Pavilion on Aug. 27.John Locher/AP/file

Summer is concert season on steroids, with stadium-filling shows headlined by the likes of Beyoncé, P!nk, Bruce Springsteen, and Luke Combs, and a plethora of festivals across the region. But the weeks ahead also feature the arrival of artists on the verge of bigger things, rare local appearances by some veteran performers, and an exciting array of talent across all genres at all kinds of venues. Here, six Globe music contributors recommend some standout shows.

Brandee Younger

The shorthand on jazz harpist Brandee Younger is: Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane by way of J Dilla and Pete Rock. That is, a classically trained musician channeling pioneering Black women jazz harpists along with contemporary hip-hop and R&B. Younger rarely gigs in Boston. This free show comes via the summer “New Standards” exhibition and concert series presented by Berklee’s Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice in conjunction with Emerson College. July 20. Free. Red Room at Café 939, 939 Boylston St. 617-747-2261, (JG)

Dominic Fike


Five years ago, this Florida singer-songwriter broke through SoundCloud’s static with “3 Nights,” a reggae-tinged cut that veers from a chilled-out “u up?” text into wee-hours despondency. A bidding war ensued, and Fike is now a bona fide Gen Z star (complete with a role on HBO’s buzzy “Euphoria”). He released his second album, “Sunburn,” earlier this month; it brings slacker psychedelia and power pop into Fike’s heady, emotional mix. July 20. $71 and up. Leader Bank Pavilion, 290 Northern Ave. 617-728-1600, (MJ)

Willi Carlisle

Carlisle is a lot of things: guitarist, banjo player, accordionist, folk singer, and, perhaps foremost, storyteller, with songs full of vivid characters and riveting emotions. He’s lively onstage, where he’s funny and heartfelt on a wide-ranging repertoire of his own music, and on old tunes he sometimes learned firsthand from the people who wrote them. July 20. $20-$25. Bombyx Center for Arts & Equity, 130 Pine St., Florence. (ED)


Bette Smith

Is it soul-drenched rock ‘n’ roll or rocking soul? No matter which way you look at it, what you’ll hear from singer Bette Smith at this kickoff to the MFA’s outdoor summer concert series is ferocious, take-no-prisoners music, delivered with a growling voice that evokes comparisons to Tina Turner. July 20. $30. Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. 617-267-9300, (SM)

Afrobeats star Rema plays House of Blues July 21.Torben Christensen/Associated Press


Nigerian Afrobeats star Rema is riding high on the smash remix of “Calm Down” with Selena Gomez, which propelled his “Rave & Roses” LP to become the first African album to be streamed a billion times on Spotify. The 23-year-old’s music could be described by his own lyrics: “Sweet like Fanta.” The show is sold out, but resale and secondary market tickets are widely available. July 21. House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St. (NS)

Cliff Westfall

This under-the-radar artist makes his home in New York City, but in spite of that relative proximity, he doesn’t make his way to these parts very often. So if you’re partial to genuine electric honky-tonk music, circle the date. July 30. $20. The Burren, 247 Elm St., Somerville. 617-776-6896, (SM)

U.S. Girls

A pop experimentalist with a restless streak, mastermind Meg Remy covers a lot of ground on “Bless This Mess,” U.S. Girls’ latest. There’s funk and R&B, loud guitars and layered synthesizers, and no shortage of irresistible grooves. Remy ties it all together with her voice and creative vision, both of which are expansive. Aug. 3. $20-$25. The Drake, 44 N. Pleasant St., Amherst. (ED)


Julia Jacklin

Jacklin’s music creeps up on you, until you find yourself humming the melodies from her smart, catchy, and often subtly witty indie-pop songs. The Australian singer in 2022 released her third album, “Pre Pleasure,” which means she’ll have plenty of songs to choose from in her only Massachusetts gig scheduled this year. Aug. 5. $22. Race Street Live, 114 Race St., Holyoke. (ED)

Old Blind Dogs

Despite battling brain cancer, WGBH host Brian O’Donovan is continuing his invaluable concert series in the Burren’s backroom. One of the summer highlights is Scotland’s Old Blind Dogs. While they’ve had myriad lineup changes over their 33 years, the quartet remains one of the best and most energetic traditional combos. Aug. 9. $28-$32. The Burren, 247 Elm St., Somerville. (NS)

Billy Mintz Quartet with Tony Malaby

The esteemed veteran New York drummer Billy Mintz makes a rare Boston appearance, playing with one of his longtime bandmates, saxophonist and Berklee prof Tony Malaby. Together with pianist Roberta Piket and bassist Don Falzone they tweak commanding straight-ahead swing with more open forms. Aug. 15. $20. Lilypad, 1353 Cambridge St., Cambridge. (JG)

Danielle Ponder plays a show at Mass MoCA Aug. 18.Amy Harris/Amy Harris/Invision/AP

Danielle Ponder

Before she performs at House of Blues this fall in support of the Teskey Brothers, the Rochester, N.Y., powerhouse shares her 2022 debut, “Some of Us Are Brave,” in Western Massachusetts, commanding a towering range of soul and R&B that’s as majestic as the Berkshires themselves. Aug. 18. $25-$55. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, 1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams. 413-662-2111, (VW)


William Tyler & The Impossible Truth

You hardly need another reason to go see what William Tyler can do with a guitar, but here’s one: For the first time, he is performing as a band, with an ampersand and the title of his 2013 record appended to his name to indicate that arrangement. Where will that lead? You’ll have to go to New Hampshire to find out. Aug. 23. $15. The Press Room, 77 Daniel St., Portsmouth, N.H. 603-431-5186,; Aug. 25. $20. Nova Arts/Brewbakers Cafe, 48 Emerald St., Keene, N.H. (SM)

Claudia Lennear

Before she was an Ikette, in Joe Cocker’s “Mad Dogs & Englishmen” tour, the inspiration for “Brown Sugar,” and a first-call backup vocalist featured in the documentary “20 Feet From Stardom,” Lennear was a young singer from Providence. This rare area appearance is billed as a Tina Turner tribute with Duke Robillard’s trio. Aug. 25. $35-$40. Chan’s Fine Oriental Dining, 267 Main St., Woonsocket, R.I. 401-765-1900, (NS)

Peso Pluma

This 24-year-old singer and MC has brought Regional Mexican music to the US pop charts in a big way — ”Ella Baila Sola,” his swooning collaboration with the California band Eslabón Armado, became the first song classified under that umbrella genre to hit the Hot 100′s Top 10 earlier this year. On his latest album, “Génesis,” his raspy, soulful croon pairs well with the forceful strumming and crisp brass that characterize corridos tumbados, which blend elements of modern hip-hop with traditional Mexican balladry. Aug. 27. $73 and up. Leader Bank Pavilion, 290 Northern Ave. 617-728-1600, (MJ)


little image

Don’t let the name mislead you — the Dallas trio crafted a massive vision for modern pop-rock on their May record “SELF TITLED.” Bigger stages than Sonia await little image; consider this a chance to catch the band in an intimate setting before their synth-studded songwriting breaks out of the club scene. Aug. 29. $18-$20. Sonia, 10 Brookline St., Cambridge. (VW)

Tuba Skinny comes to Rockport for two shows Aug. 30.Sarrah Danziger

Tuba Skinny

The New Orleans fresher-than-fresh trad-jazz band Tuba Skinny started out busking on Royal Street in 2009 and has since become a favorite in the city’s clubs as well as expanding to the international festival scene, including Newport in 2022, but this is one of only a couple of southern New England shows this year. Last year’s Rockport date sold out, so don’t sit on this. Aug. 30 (5 p.m. and 8 p.m.). $26-$32. Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport. 978-546-7391, (JG)

Beck and Phoenix

A 2018 surprise appearance from Beck at Phoenix’s Los Angeles residency has sparked a co-headlining tour between the alt-rock giants, who just dropped the glitzy pop collaboration “Odyssey.” Anticipate cuts from Phoenix’s 2022 record “Alpha Zulu” and a grab bag of Beck’s prolific catalog, from recent acoustic single “Thinking About You” to classic cuts from “Mellow Gold.” Sept. 5. $82-$245. MGM Music Hall at Fenway, 2 Lansdowne St. 617-488-7540, (VW)