Los Angeles is just as defined by its music scene as it is the film industry. As a result, prolific bands and solo artists gravitate to our City of Angels, either to reside and create or simply to perform at one of our many notable venues. This summer, L.A. will play host to a multitude of diverse musical talents, and Frontiers has provided a calendar of the best and most gay-friendly acts you’ll see pass through town.
BJÖRK, June 2, 5, 8, 11
Björk is nothing if not unique. Her upcoming live performances at the Hollywood Bowl, which will showcase works from her most recent album, Biophilia, are set to feature a gamelesta and a celesta/gamelan hybrid built specifically for her single “Crystalline.” Other instruments for her live show harness lightning to create sound, guaranteeing a one-of-a-kind musical event.
PAT BENATAR/CHEAP TRICK, June 8
Let Pat Bentar hit you with her best shot as she joins up with Cheap Trick to play the East Side’s Greek Theatre this summer. You’ll no doubt hear some of her biggest hits—including “Love is a Battlefield,” “Shadows of the Night” and “We Belong”—songs that are just as unforgettable now as they were when they premiered on MTV in the ‘80s.
RUFUS WAINWRIGHT, June 8
The openly gay singer—playing the Valley Performance Arts Center in Northridge—credits his political activism to his partner Jörn Weisbrod, saying in one interview, “I wasn't a huge gay marriage supporter before I met Jörn, because I love the whole old-school promiscuous Oscar Wilde freak show of what ‘being gay’ once was. But since meeting Jörn, that all changed.”
CYNDI LAUPER, June 13
The ‘80s pop princess is all grown up, spending the last several decades developing herself as an artist, garnering Grammys and myriad other accolades and evolving into a commendable LGBT activist. This June, be sure to hit up The Greek Theatre and see Cyndi belt out classics like “True Colors,” “Time After Time” and “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.”
DANDY WARHOLS, June 14
The Dandy Warhols gained prominence in the ‘90s when David LaChapelle directed the music video for debut hit “Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth,” gifting MTV with a darkly comic Price Is Right satire. Since then, the alt-rock band has released eight records, including their most recent, This Machine, which will feature prominently in the band’s L.A. appearance this June at The Wiltern.
BEYONCÉ, June 28, July 1
Her January release was as much a dedication to the familial bliss she’s created with hubby Jay-Z and infant Blue Ivy as it is a compilation of her romance-themed music. But, if you're fiending for new material, hold your breath until her fifth album drops later this year. Until then, grab your single ladies and hit up Staples Center for a heavy dose of Sasha Fierce.
FLEETWOOD MAC, July 3
WeHo gays can empathize with the backstabbing, alcoholism and romantic betrayal that fueled Rumours, The Mac's most transcendent album. With a dozen members contributing to numerous incarnations over a 40-year span, the Rumours line up is the band’s best. Fortunately, four of the five members of that era will be at Staples Center this summer, performing greats like “Gold Dust Woman” and “Go Your Own Way.”
QUEEN LATIFAH, July 10
Queens, it looks like you'll be in good company this summer. Queen Latifah will be headlining at the Hollywood Bowl, showcasing her diverse musical abilities, which range from hip-hop and rap to jazz. Be sure to hit up the Bowl and pay your respects, from one queen to another.
ADAM ANT, July 20
Once upon a time, when MTV still aired music videos , the then-nascent cable channel voted Adam Ant “Sexiest Man of the Year.” A lot has happened since the ‘80s. After a decade or two out of the limelight, Mr. “Goody Two Shoes” has a new album, Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter. This July, expect new material juxtaposed with ‘80s nostalgia at his Club Nokia show.
KENNY CHESNEY, July 27
The Oil Can Harry's crowd has good reason to hoot and holler this summer. Country star Kenny Chesney's “No Shoes” national tour hits L.A. neighbor Anaheim to promote his 2013 album Life on a Rock, featuring debut single “Pirate Flag.” Cheseny will be joined by special guests the Eli Young Band and Kacey Musgraves.
BRUNO MARS, July 27-28
In 2011, Bruno Mars merited the title “best-selling digital artist in the world.” Two years later, the Hawaiian-born musician is rocking harder than ever with his latest album, Unorthodox Jukebox. Fans of his reggae/motown hybrid sound won’t want to miss his Staples Center show, where he’s sure to croon “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Just the Way You Are” and “Grenade” live.
JAY Z & JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, July 28
This team up seems like a natural result of their collaboration on “Suit & Tie,” the lead track off Timberlake's recent 20/20 Experience album. This Rose Bowl Stadium show is a must-see for any Jay Z fans eager to hear possible new material from the Beyoncé consort's highly anticipated upcoming album.
PERSHING SQUARE, July - August
Located in the heart of DTLA, Pershing Square hosts a free summer concert series on its Downtown Stage, operated by the L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks, from July through August, Thursday through Sunday. You’ll find a variety of music depending on when you head down, from local, national and even international artists. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets and kick back under the stars and twinking lights of Downtown.
DIANA ROSS, Aug. 3
In a very special performance, American icon Diana Ross returns to the Hollywood Bowl to celebrate an unparalleled career that spans more than 40 years, singing her most memorable hits, including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “I’m Coming Out” and “Endless Love.”
PHISH, Aug. 5
Embrace some college-era nostalgia as Trey Anastasio and crew puff-puff-passes through Hollywood. Be sure to hit up your favorite dispensary and stock up on edibles and sativas to put you in the proper psychedelic mood to experience such classic jams as “Fee,” “Fluff Head” and “Golgi Apparatus” live at the Hollywood Bowl.
JONAS BROTHERS, Aug. 16
The Disney Channel's premiere pop-rock family trio are once again reunited and taking Universal City’s Gibson Amphitheatre by storm for this one-night-only performance. Fingers crossed, Joe and his brothers will play new material from their upcoming album, like the recently released “Pom Pom” shuffled in with signature hits like “A Little Bit Longer” and “Burnin' Up.”
TAYLOR SWIFT, Aug. 19-20, 23
Forbes magazine recently estimated that this country music sweetheart is worth $65 million. Before you get all ‘1%’ on this down-home princess, it’s worth mentioning that she's an active philanthropist in general, and a proponent of the same-sex marriage debate specifically. Good to know we have at least one fruit fly in the Red State demographic.
HEART, Aug. 22-23
The ladies of Heart—sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson—never lost their ability to light up a stage, and Ann Wilson’s voice today is just as powerful and gut-wrenching as it was in the ‘70s. They’ve often been called “the female Led Zeppelin,” and their live show at The Greek Theatre is guaranteed to show you why. Don’t miss rocking hits of the ‘70s and ‘80s, including “Barracuda,” “Magic Man,” “Alone” and “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You.”
FUN., Sept. 4
Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost and Jack Antanoff bring their NYC indie-pop sound to Los Feliz this September with a show at The Greek Theatre. The Grammy Award winners will undoubtably play their biggest hits—”We Are Young,” “Carry On” and “Some Nights”—hopefully along with some less-played songs in their catalogue, like “Why Am I The One?,” the video for which debuted in late February.
DAVE MATTHEWS BAND, Sept. 7
DMB is famous for its annual summer-long tours in the United States and Europe, featuring lengthy improvisational renditions of their songs, accompanied by an elaborate video and light show. This summer proves to be no different, so march your ants down to Irvine’s Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre and let your inner frat boy out for this high-profile jam session.
CARLY RAE JEPSEN, Sept. 15
Unless you spent the summer of 2012 in a catatonic state, you should already be familiar with Carley Rae's infectious “Call Me Maybe.” Believe it or not, the Bieber muse/fellow Canuck not only has other songs but another album that dates all the way back to 2008. Join Jepsen at The Greek Theatre this September to appreciate the pop pixie's full oeuvre.
DEPECHE MODE, Sept. 28, 29
Q magazine once refered to Depeche Mode as “the most popular electronic band the world has ever known,” and for good reason. The group’s sound has influenced bands ranging from Pet Shop Boys and Deftones to The Killers and Franz Ferdinand. Angelenos have an opportunity to catch Dave Gahan and company for themselves at the Staples Center. If you can’t make it in September, an Oct. 2 show was also just announced.