Whether your idea of a killer concert is a night spent slow-dancing under a starlit sky, stalking your favorite American Idol loser, or upchucking into a dumpster behind Mongolian Barbeque, we've got the show for you. Three of 'em, in fact.
Recommended if you like . . . Massive Crowds
Nickelback's sandpaper melodies set the standard for contemporary radio rock. And nobody knows this better than beloved American Idol reject Chris Daughtry, who took copious notes on the Canadian rockers when putting together his self-titled band. Besides, won't it be nice to hear a live version of Staind's "Outside" without Fred Durst telling you he's "feeling" those lighters?
Tue., July 10, 7 p.m., $26.50-$60, Blossom Music Center, 216-241-5555, www.livenation.com.
Once the little brothers of the rap-rock movement, Projekt headliner Linkin Park returns as its last band standing. And since Crazy Town wasn't available, the Linkin lads are running with an emo pack that includes My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday, and Saosin. Other performers include Placebo, Mindless Self Indulgence, and the Bled. Skate-rock sensations HIM round out the year's most diverse festival bill.
Fri., Aug. 17, 1 p.m., $24.50-$70, Blossom Music Center, 216-241-5555, ww.livenation.com. Bow Wow/Crime Mob/ Huey/Sammie/Jibbs
A whole squadron of hot urban acts helps 107.9 WENZ celebrate its eighth Birthday Bash. With hooks borrowed from an ice-cream truck, Jibbs' "Chain Hang Low" was the summer jam of record for 2006, and it'll sound just as good in '07.
Mon., Aug. 27, 6 p.m., $38.50-$41.50, Plain Dealer Pavilion, 216-241-5555, www.livenation.com.
RIYL . . . The Great Outdoors
Dave Matthews Band/ Pete Yorn
So maybe you've never been a fan of Dave Matthews' meek and mellow folk-rock jams. But if you can't enjoy them during a night in Blossom's woodland amphitheater, check your pulse.
Mon., Aug. 20, 7 p.m., $40-$65, Blossom Music Center, 216-241-5555, www.livenation.com.
Brooks & Dunn/ Sugarland/Sara Evans/ Pat Green
Brooks & Dunn are the country music equivalent of Hardy Boyz: They're always on top, they usually win, and they never go away for long -- see their slew of Country Music Association Vocal Duo awards. This all-day show will be the honky-tonk equivalent of WrestleMania. Bring your suntan lotion.
Sat., July 14, 2 p.m., $49.50-$96.50, Cleveland Browns Stadium, 216-241-5555, www.ticketmaster.com.
Two giants from arena rock's biggest decades join forces. Even if Leppard rocked a little -- OK, a lot -- harder in its early days, 1987's Hysteria didn't sell 12 million copies because it (totally) sucks. And Styx -- well, with Dennis DeYoung gone, it'll probably be more "Come Sail Away" than "Mr. Roboto." Domo arigato for that.
Fri., July 13, 7 p.m., $25-$75, Blossom Music Center, 216-241-5555, www.ticketmaster.com.
RIYL . . . Headbanger's Whiplash
This unlikely bill pairs the kings of thrash metal with the godfather of nu metal. But keep this in mind: Even if Manson's one of the guys who made nu metal possible, it's not his fault the legions who imitated him did it poorly. Expect full sets from both the man who wrote "Antichrist Superstar" and the band that wrote "The Antichrist."
Tue., July 31, time and price TBA, Time Warner Cable Amphitheater at Tower City, 216-241-5555, www.livenation.com. Sounds of the Underground
The Underground road show boasts all the dirt and decay once associated with Ozzfest. Melodic thrash revivalists Shadows Fall headline, with supporting sets by goo-metalers Gwar, Cleveland's Chimaira, metalcore standouts Every Time I Die, hardcore rapper Necro, shredders Darkest Hour, and Viking-metal raiding party Amon Amarth. Mushroomhead wraps up the madness.
Sat., July 21, noon, $28.50, Time Warner Cable Amphitheater at Tower City, 216-241-5555, www.livenation.com.
For the third year in a row, Ozzfest skips Cleveland for Columbus, but the two-hour drive is worth it. Why? 1) All tickets are free. (No, really -- visit Ozzfest.com for details.) And 2) You'd spend that long sitting in traffic anyway. Headliners include Ozzy, Lamb of God, and Hatebreed; supporting acts run the gamut from Lordi and Behemoth to Mondo Generator and Nile.
Wed., Aug. 8, noon, Germain Amphitheater, 2200 Polaris Parkway, Columbus, 216-241-5555, www.livenation.com.
RIYL . . . Hot Summer Lovin'
Fellas: Taking your lass to a night of Grey's Anatomy-endorsed piano rock is the perfect way to show her what a sensitive keeper you are. Ladies: Making your man sit through a night of Grey's Anatomy-endorsed piano rock is the perfect way to tell whether he's a sensitive keeper.
Mon., June 18, 7 p.m., $36, Time Warner Cable Amphitheater at Tower City, 216-241-5555, www.livenation.com.
Tim McGraw/Faith Hill
Some argue that Tim and Faith are the greatest country couple since Johnny and June. And so long as their Soul 2 Soul tour is selling out arenas with heartfelt duets like "It's Your Love," who's to argue otherwise?
Fri., June 29, 8 p.m., $67.75-$91.75, Quicken Loans Arena, 216-241-5555, www.livenation.com.
Vans Warped Tour
It's a punk-rock festival that just happens to make for a wild date. What better test of a couple's fortitude than two months' worth of wooing and awkward lapses in conversation, crammed into 12 sunny hours? By day's end, you'll either be ready to pop the question or have accrued 347 bumper stickers (Bad Religion, Coheed and Cambria, the Toasters, Underoath, New Found Glory, etc.) during the time you spent hiding at the merch table.
Thu., Aug. 2, 11 a.m., $33.50-$35, Time Warner Cable Amphitheater at Tower City, 216-241-5555, www.livenation.com.
RIYL . . . Partying Till You Puke
If you slugged, slept, and snorted your way through the Sunset Strip glam-metal era, you know party music doesn't get any better than this. And while glowing cell phones have all but replaced lighters at concerts, "Way Cool Junior" still kicks.
Sat., June 23, 7 p.m., $14-$59.50, Blossom Music Center, www.livenation.com, 216-241-5555.
Ringworm/Not So Good Ol' Boys/Bloodwolf
Cleveland's heavyweight hardcore champeens headline 252 Tattoo's 10th-anniversary party. Expect everyone inked in Northeast Ohio to be hung over -- and badly bruised -- for weeks.
Sat., June 23, 9 p.m., price TBA, Jigsaw Saloon and Stage, 5324 State Road, Parma, 216-351-3869, http://myspace.com/jigsawsaloon.
Street Dogs/Tossers/ Brazen Rogues
There's drinking music, and then there's drinking music. This bill brings together -- perhaps unwisely -- three of the most Guinness-soaked bands this side of the Pogues: The Street Dogs, led by former Dropkick Murphys' singer Mike McColgan; Chicago's more traditional Celtic rockers, the Tossers; and Cleveland's underappreciated Oi! Warriors, the Brazen Rogues. Do not attend on an empty stomach.
Mon., July 9, 9 p.m., $10, Grog Shop, 216-321-5588, www.grogshop.gs.
RIYL . . . Organizing Your CDs Chronologically
Silky-smooth neo-soul from Cleveland's queen of the sexy jam. Doss' rare hometown club shows are always a mesmerizing experience.
Fri., June 8, 10 p.m., $15-$17.50, Beachland Ballroom, 216-383-1124, www.beachlandballroom.com.
This gang of Brits look like rejects from The Nightmare Before Christmas, but their scuzzy, gloomy garage rock grows on you -- like black mold or late-period Ramones.
Tue., June 12, 9 p.m., $10, Grog Shop, 216-321-5588, www.grogshop.gs.
An Evening With Pink Martini
This piano-laden, softly percussive, coed 12-person combo plays cool Cuban jazz without the 20-minute horn solos. Singer China Forbes' seductive voice will send you scrambling directly to the iTunes store. Groovy, man.
Wed., June 20, 7:30 p.m., $27.50-$45, House of Blues, 216-523-2583, www.hob.com.
RIYL . . . Babysitter Jams
If your kids are driving you nuts with episodes of The Wiggles, try turning 'em on to Ralph's World. Indie-rock singer Ralph Covert received a Grammy nomination for his rugrat-friendly rock tunes. And rock they do -- even when he throws in a mandolin, Dobro, or duck call. Listen up for songs about gorillas, trains, and colors.
Sat., June 9, 9 a.m., $15, House of Blues, 216-523-2583, www.hob.com.
They Might Be Giants
Just maybe, if you turn the little ones on to TMBG early, you can skip that 20-year period where they listen to music you can't stand. Even if Giants drives you up a wall, its accordion-driven alt-rock is surely preferable to Avril Lavigne and High School Musical, right?
Sat., July 21, 9 p.m., $23-$25, Beachland Ballroom, 216-383-1124, www.beachlandballroom.com. Hi-5
Teen-pop TV stars Hi-5 could be the shiniest, happiest people on the face of the planet. Check out the Discovery Channel's Emmy-nominated stars live in this sing-along, clap-along, dance-around extravaganza.
Tue., July 31, 5:30 p.m., $22.50-$35, Lakewood Civic Auditorium, 216-241-5555, www.livenation.com.
RIYL . . . The Almost-Real Thing
The Cured/Blasphemous Rumors
The Cure was once one of the most ecstatic, enjoyable bands on the planet. Then it started making really slow albums and putting on agonizingly dull shows. Tribute band the Cured just plays the good stuff you can dance to ("In Between Days," anyone?). The new-wave rave also stars Depeche Mode tribute Blashpehmous Rumors.
Sat., June 16, 8 p.m., $12.50, House of Blues, 216-523-2583, www.hob.com.
Bustle in Your Hedgerow
This mostly instrumental Led Zeppelin tribute features members of Ween, Rana, and the Benevento-Russo Duo. And "Stairway to Heaven," of course.
Thu., June 21, 9 p.m., $22-$25, Beachland Ballroom, 216-383-1124, www.beachlandballroom.com.
Wish You Were Here
Wish, Cleveland's best-drawing band, recreate Pink Floyd's 1975 Wish You Were Here tour, all the way down to Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety.
Sat., July 28, 8 p.m., $19.50-$30, Plain Dealer Pavilion at Nautica, 216-241-5555, www.livenation.com.