Groove: May concert calendar

Top performers coming to San Diego this month include Joey Bada$$, Franz Ferdinand, Kendrick Lamar and Pink.

5.2: John Doe & Exene 

The one-time couple and founders of L.A. punk legends X were last here in December with Meat Puppets and Mike Watt. They switch things up, as well as slow things down, for this special performance.

@ Belly Up,

John Doe & Exene

John Doe & Exene.

(Courtesy photo)

5.3: Kinky 

Originally part of the Monterrey, Mexico Avanzada Regia musical movement, this long-running electro-rock quintet celebrates their 20th anniversary this year. The band’s sixth studio album, Nada Vale Más Que Tú, was released in 2017. 

@ House of Blues, 



(Courtesy photo)

5.3: Joey Bada$$ 

Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$ (aka Jo-Vaughn Scott) released his sophomore studio album, ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$, last year. Led by platinum single Devastated, the album debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200. Scott will also reprise his role of Leon on the upcoming new season of USA’s show Mr. Robot.


@ SOMA, 

Joey Bada$$

Joey Bada$$.

(Gari Askew II)

5.4: Khrunagbin 

The Houston-born (mostly) instrumental trio takes inspiration from the global funk and psychedelic rock of multiple eras. Their sophomore album, Con Todo El Mundo, was released in January. Local twin-sibling, jazz powerhouse The Mattson 2 open this long sold-out show.     

@ Belly Up, 



(Mary Kang)

5.4: Luis Miguel 

The Puerto Rico-born Mexican superstar has sold over 100 million records and is the youngest male Grammy-winner in history. His current México Por Siempre tour celebrates the release of his 2017 double-platinum-selling 20th studio album of the same name.

@ Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, 

Luis Miguel

Luis Miguel.

(Picasa / )

5.5: Of Montreal  

Songwriter and front man Kevin Barnes keeps his Athens, Ga., psych-rock outfit going strong with the release of their 15th studio album, White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood, in March.


Of Montreal

Of Montreal.

(Ebru Yildiz / Ebru Yildiz )

5.5: Bishop Briggs 

After a pair of successful EPs, London-born, L.A.-based singer and musician Bishop Briggs (aka Sarah McLaughlin) released her studio debut album, Church of Scars, last month.  

@ Observatory North Park, 

Bishop Briggs

Bishop Briggs.

(Jabari Jacobs)

5.6: Desert Daze Caravan 

On the heels of announcing the lineup for October’s 3-day Desert Daze Festival in Lake Perris, the touring contingency of the brand heads to San Diego featuring performances from Ariel Pink, DIIV, Suuns, Nick Hakim and JJUUJJUU.

@ House of Blues,


5.8: K.Flay 

K.Flay loves the Observatory! The Chicago-based hip-hopper and multi-instrumentalist was last at the venue in January supporting her Grammy-nominated second album and major-label debut, Every Where Is Some Where. Now she’s back for an encore. 

@ Observatory North Park, 



(Courtesy photo)

5.8: Erika Wennerstrom 

After fronting Cincinnati-born, Austin-based garage rockers Heartless Bastards for the last 15 years, the gravelly-voiced Wennerstrom tries things on her own. Wennerstrom’s solo debut, Sweet Unknown, was released last month.

@ Casbah,

Erika Wennerstrom

Erika Wennerstrom.

(Briana Purser)

5.9 Built To Spill + Afghan Whigs 

Two indie rock stalwarts unite for a super-sized double bill. While BTS haven’t released an album in three years, the Greg Dulli-led Afghan Whigs dropped their eighth album, In Spades, last May on Sub Pop Records. 

@ Observatory North Park,

Afghan Whigs

The Afghan Whigs.

(Chris Cuffaro / )

5.9 Taimane Gardner 

The virtuoso ukulele player and composer was discovered by Don Ho and has shared the stage with Earth Wind and Fire, Chris Isaak and more. In addition to a handful of self-produced albums, Gardner also released the 2015 instructional guide, Ukulele Songbook With Taimane.

@ Belly Up, 

Taimane Gardner

Taimane Gardner.

(Courtesy photo)

5.10: George Ezra 

The English singer-songwriter’s 2014 debut, Wanted on Voyage, has already been certified four times platinum in his home country, and once claimed the top spot on Billboard’s U.S. Folk Chart, as well as the U.K. Albums Chart. The 24-year-old’s highly anticipated follow-up, Staying at Tamara’s, was released in March.

@ Observatory North Park, 

George Ezra

George Ezra. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for CBS Radio)

(Jesse Grant / Getty Images for CBS Radio)

5.10: Slayer 

Metal’s most dangerous band is hanging it up after 37 years of incessant head-banging and mosh pits. This farewell world tour also features performances from Anthrax, Lamb of God, Testament and Behemoth.  

@ Valley View Casino Center, 



(Martin Jausller)

5.11: Hot Snakes 

After taking over the Casbah two months ago, San Diego rock godfather Swami John Reis and longtime collaborator Rick Froberg bring their long-running band to a much larger venue. The first Hot Snakes studio album in 14 years, Jericho Sirens, was released in March.

@ Observatory North Park,

Hot Snakes

Hot Snakes.

(Courtesy photo)

5.11: Tech N9ne 

Tech N9ne, aka Kansas City rapper Aaron Dontez Yates, returns to San Diego in support of his 18th studio album, Planet. Released in March, the 19-song collection features collaborations with one-time San Diegan Snow Tha Product, Machine Gun Kelly, King Iso and more.

@ House of Blues, 

Tech N9ne

Tech N9ne.

(Courtesy photo)

5.11: Channel 933 Kickoff 

After headlining the Valley View Casino Center one year ago by themselves, the Chainsmokers’ Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall grab some friends to join them at this star-studded summer kick-off show. Also scheduled to perform are Ne-Yo, Miguel, Meghan Trainor, Troye Sivan, Iggy Azalea, Lauv and In Real Life.   

@ Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, 

The Chainsmokers

The Chainsmokers.

(Courtesy photo)

5.12: Dirty Projectors 

Still fronted by founder David Longstreth, the long-running, Brooklyn-based indie rockers return to San Diego. The band’s self-titled seventh studio album was released last year.

@ Music Box, 

(Jason Frank Rothenberg / )

5.12-13, 15-16: Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite 

Damn, dudes! Four sold-out nights?! You guys go on with your bad selves. After winning a Grammy for their 2013 collaborative debut album, Get Up!, Harper and harmonica legend Musselwhite followed it up with last month’s No Mercy In This Land

@ Belly Up, 

Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite

Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite.

(Courtesy photo)

5.13: Franz Ferdinand 

Although founding guitarist Nick McCarthy left the band, the Scottish rockers returned with their fifth studio album, Always Ascending, in February. It was produced with help from Cassius’ Phillippe Zdar.

@ Observatory North Park,

Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand.

(Cara Robbins / )

5.13: Kendrick Lamar 

This show is technically billed as Top Dawg Entertainment: The Championship Tour, but everyone knows it’s really all about K-Dot. The rapper, winner of multiple Grammys and, recently, a Pulitzer Prize, will be joined by label mates SZA, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and SiR and Lance Skiiiwalker.

@ Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, 

Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar.

(yuri hasegawa / )

5.17: Tricky 

Trip-hop pioneer Tricky, aka Bristol-born musician and producer Adrian Thaws, returns to San Diego on the heels of releasing his 13th studio album, Ununiform, last year. In additional to a long list of guest contributors, it reunites Thaws with longtime collaborator and former partner Martina Topley-Bird.    

@ Music Box, 



(Sebastian Pielles)

5.18: Chase Bryant 

Grandpa Jimmy Bryant played with Roy Orbison and Waylon Jennings, while uncles Jeff and Junior founded country band Ricochet. Now it’s 24-year-old Chase’s turn. Bryant’s debut single, Take It On Back, spent nearly four months on the CMT Hot 20 Countdown in 2014. He hasn’t released any music in 2018, but Bryant did drop a new single, as well as appear on one from Blind Sparrow, last year.

@ Moonshine Beach,

Chase Bryant

Chase Bryant. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

(Jason Kempin / Getty Images)

5.19: MGMT 

The electro-rock duo of Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden released their fourth album, Little Dark Age, in February. It is the pair’s first album of new material in over five years.

@ Civic Theatre, 


MGMT. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Sony Hall)

(Noam Galai / Getty Images for Sony Hall)

5.22: Godspeed You! Black Emperor 

While they took a hiatus between 2003 and 2010, this Canadian experimental collective released their sixth studio album, Luciferian Towers, last September.

@ Observatory North Park,  

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

(Courtesy photo)

5.22: The Head and the Heart 

The Seattle-based folk-pop sextet released their third album, Signs of Light, last September. After releasing two albums with Sup Pop Records, the band’s recent 13-song collection was released by Warner Bros.

@ Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre, 

The Head and the Heart

The Head and the Heart.

(Courtesy photo)

5.23: James Hunter Six 

English soul singer James Hunter has released a slew of records on his own, and also with Howlin’ Wilf & The Vee-Jays. He’s performed as the James Hunter Six for more than five years now and just released the band’s third album, Whatever It Takes, on Daptone Records in February.

@ Belly Up, 

James Hunter Six

James Hunter Six.

(Courtesy photo)

5.24: Rufus Wainwright 

The erudite composer and piano man hasn’t released an album since 2016’s Take All My Loves – 9 Shakespeare Sonnets, but he did drop a perfectly droll cover of Stevie Wonder’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered last year.

@ Belly Up, 

Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright.

(Courtesy photo)

5.24: Phantogram / Tycho 

New York dream-pop duo Phantogram joins forces with NorCal chillwave composer Tycho for a bi-coastal double dip of electro goodness.   

@ Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre, 

Phantogram / Tycho

Phantogram / Tycho.

(Courtesy photo)

5.24: Billy Idol 

It’s weird to think that Bill Gates, Bill Nye and Billy Idol are all the same age. But the blondest and most rock and roll of that triple Bill continues to fist-pump, snarl and cry for “More, more, more!” night after night. How? He stays in shape with all that dancing by himself.   

@ Harrah’s, 

Billy Idol

Billy Idol. 

(Mike Windle / Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

5.25: George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic 

The captain of Parliament Funkadelic’s spaceship was just here in March for a solo excursion. It went so well that he’s returning just two months later with the pioneering Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted collective that he founded and has led since 1968.  

@ Music Box,

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic.

(William Thoren / )

5.26: Kimbra & Son Lux 

The Grammy-winning New Zealand siren released her third studio album, Primal Heart, last month. She joins forces with New York post-rock trio Son Lux, who released their fifth studio album, Brighter Wounds, in February.

@ Belly Up, 

Kimbra & Son Lux

Kimbra & Son Lux.

(Micaiah Carter)

5.27: Sofi Tukker 

Riding the success of their song Best Friend, which was featured in Apple’s iPhoneX commercials last September, the New York-based EDM duo hits San Diego after releasing their debut studio album, Treehouse, last month. 

@ Observatory North Park, 

Sofi Tukker

Sofi Tukker.

(Courtesy photo)

5.28: Pink 

One of last year’s KAABOO headliners, Pink (aka Alecia Moore) returns to America’s Finest City on her Beautiful Trauma World Tour. The 40-date run is named after the singer’s seventh studio album released last October.

@ Valley View Casino Center, 


Pink. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

(Kevin Winter / Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

5.31: Lord Huron 

The L.A.-based indie folk quartet released their third studio album, Vide Noir, last month.

@ House of Blues,

Lord Huron

Lord Huron.

(Ian Holliday)


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