While many Bay Area venues take a step back into a summer slumber, there are still plenty of options to keep your days and nights festive with live music; including several free events. Here are some of the best Bay Area concerts in July.
Fifteen years after his tragic death, the spirit of Mac Dre remains a strong undercurrent in the Bay Area rap scene. An all-star cast is set to celebrate his birthday at Fox Theater headlined by Atlanta crunk kingpin Lil Jon. The list of local talent is stacked: Andre Nickatina, Lil B, Berner, San Quinn, Mistah Fab, Husalah, J. Stalin and many more.
The fellas at Burger Records celebrate 10 years of Burger Boogaloo with another two-day freakout hosted by cult luminary and self-proclaimed “filth elder” John Waters. The Jesus and Mary Chain headline a lineup that also includes Scientists, Dead Boys, King Tuff and local favorites Shannon and the Clams.
If you’re looking for a little dance music but don’t want to hit the club, this party is for you. The Midway is the epicenter for a five-stage block party headlined by producer, DJ, and Major Lazer mastermind Diplo. The party is organized by longtime Burning Man camp organizers and proceeds will help to fund some of their projects the Playa this year.
For all the well-deserved griping about how expensive San Francisco is, summertime is ripe with free entertainment. Fillmore Jazz Festival has made a 30-year tradition of free jazz on the streets of SF. Pop into the Boom Boom Room and grab their sangria special or head toward Eddy Street if you are looking for a little more action on your outing.
For those that are keeping score, this is the third consecutive appearance of Blues Lawyer on our best concerts list, BUT it’s their first time on our monthly list as headliners at a hometown gig. Check them out as they top the bill at one of the best rooms for rock music in the city.
Eduardo (bass) and Bardo (vocals/keys) of Chicano Batman are keeping busy with a short tour up the California coast that showcases their solo talents. While Bardo’s solo joints stick closer to the orbit of Chicano Batman’s Latino soul groove, Eduardo stretches out with his latest release La Fila de Tommy’s, two electro-cumbia tracks that pay homage to LA chili-cheeseburger joint Tommy’s Burgers.
Mitski made our best concerts list way back in November when her last tour stopped at the Warfield. This time, you get to check her out for free with Madeline Kenney at Stern Grove Festival’s one nod to indie rock.
Aside from bringing punk rock to the masses with annual tours, the Warped Tour doesn’t get the credit it deserves for helping to launch and incubate dozens of acts that grew and attracted much bigger audiences. Case in point: Eminem, Black Eyed Peas, and Blink 182 played the festival way back in 1999. Here’s your chance to indulge in a little summertime nostalgia with a two-day celebration of the festival’s 25 anniversary featuring NOFX, Bad Religion, OFF!, The Offspring, Ozomatli, Andrew W.K., and many more.
Stern Grove delivers another solid option with two performers that have earned comparisons to the late, great godfather of soul, James Brown. Ska originator Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals delivers a high-energy performance of often-covered ska classics that have influenced revivalists for decades. On the other side of the coin, Lee Fields harnesses a solid groove with piercing lyrics about love and loss. It’s Sunday afternoon music at its finest.
The Raconteurs’ first release in more than 10 years, Help Us Stranger, is one of those summer albums where you hit play on the opening track and just let it go. The guitars are loud, but not too heavy, and there are enough turns to keep you interested throughout the ride. No doubt, they’ll be bringing the heat to the second night of their two-night stand at Fox Theater, which will likely sell out before show time.
Find more July concerts on SF Station’s events calendar.