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…And All That Jazz: A Fargo Summer Music Guide

Photos Courtesy Of Jade Presents/Vijat Mohindra

Summer is not only a great time to get out and stay active, but it also offers up a North Dakota rarity, outdoor concerts. Here are some national acts you need to check out, both inside and outside.


Kottonmouth Kings with Smile Empty Soul, Flaw, September Mourning, Boondox, and more TBA
June 9 at 8 p.m.
Sanctuary Events Center


Vince Neil at Happy Harry’s Ribfest
June 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Fargodome (outdoors)

When you think of the 1980s, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Chances are, whatever memory or recollection you have from that decade is narrated by the vocals of Vince Neil. Formerly the lead man in hair metal giant Mötley Crüe, Neil is still one of the most recognizable voices and personas around today. He will descend upon the first day of Happy Harry’s Ribfest to play his solo work and possibly some new songs too. Oh, did we mention he’ll be belting out his Crüe classics, as well? Best bring leather.

Firehouse and KIX at Happy Harry’s Ribfest
June 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Fargodome (outdoors)

Two more staples in the 80s glam metal era are Firehouse and KIX. Firehouse has been around since the late 1980s, gaining popularity along with others in the genre like Guns N’ Roses. Their 1990 song “Don’t Treat Me Bad” was not only a monster hit, but it invented a sound that would later be adopted by several 90s era groups. KIX catapulted to the top of the charts in 1989 with the still successful power ballad “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” Expect to hear that with a more up-tempo brand of rock on the final day of Happy Harry’s Ribfest.

Built To Spill at Fargo Brewing Company
June 25 at 7 p.m.
Fargo Brewing Company

Band Of Horses at Fargo Brewing Company
July 28 at 7 p.m.
Fargo Brewing Company

Hairball with Jesse Blaze and The Bandoliers
July 10 at 8 p.m.
Red River Valley Fair

Theory of a Deadman with Fuel
July 12 at 8 p.m.
Red River Valley Fair

Incubus and Red Sun Rising
August 3 at 7 p.m.
Bluestem Amphitheater

Admit it, you have sung the chorus to Incubus’ mega-hit “Drive” at least once in your lifetime. If you haven’t heard yourself sing “Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there. With open arms and open eyes,” there is a chance you’re culturally irrelevant. That’s okay, you can still redeem yourself by seeing the alternative juggernaut at Bluestem on August 3. While they are often defined by “Drive” in the mainstream, Incubus has carved out their place in rock history with a unique blend of alternative, rock, funk and even hip-hop influences in their music. Their discography is worth perusing simply based on their ability to make one record wholly different from the next.

Twins Of Evil: Rob Zombie & Marilyn Manson ‘Hell Never Dies Tour’
August 9 at 7 p.m.

Calling Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson’s dual tour ‘Twins of Evil’ might be the understatement of the century. Two of the biggest names in heavy metal, both are equally controversial. Manson is perhaps one of the most polarizing and vexed figures in modern popular culture, not only for his aesthetic, which is often seen as androgynous and borderline sadist to some, but also, his lyrics, which are as cutting and striking as his aura. Zombie grew out of his wildly successful band White Zombie in the late 90s to become one of heavy metal’s most regarded solo figures. From smash hits to “Dragula” to directing several horror films of his own creation, Zombie has become a virtuoso of all things appalling. Hence, why he (and Manson) will forever be regarded as two of the best to ever do it in the genre of shock and awe.

Reverend Horton Heat with Delta Boomers
August 12 at 8 p.m.
The Hall at FBC


Russell Dickerson at Happy Harry’s Ribfest
June 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Fargodome (outdoors)

Sawyer Brown at Happy Harry’s Ribfest
June 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Fargodome (outdoors)

The Cactus Blossoms at Harold’s Fest
June 14 at 6 p.m.
Harold’s On Main

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Jason Pritchett
July 9 at 8 p.m.
Red River Valley Fair

The annual Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo will start with one of the most notable names of the last five decades. Since forming in 1966, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has cemented itself as one of the major players in the merging of country and rock music. While their sound has a certain country twang to it, their biggest hit “Fishin’ In The Dark” forced even the biggest rockers to learn to two-step. With over 30 studio albums recorded, there will be no shortage of hits to dance to at the Red River Valley Fairground this year.

Josh Turner with Lexi Wyman
July 11 at 8 p.m.
Red River Valley Fair

Kip Moore with Jake Rose
July 13 at 8 p.m.
Red River Valley Fair

An Evening With Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder
August 9 at 8 p.m.
The Fargo Theatre

Little Big Town at Sister Cities Smokeout
August 30 at 8:45 p.m.
Bluestem Amphitheater

Little Big Town is summer quantified into sound. Every North Dakotan, Minnesotan or lake rat has their summer hit “Pontoon” on repeat as the weather warms. If you don’t, you’re actually not doing summer correct and you may not be a citizen of North Dakota or Minnesota, it’s scientifically proven. At the first ever Sister Cities Smokeout at Bluestem Amphitheater, Little Big Town will be closing down the entire get together. Along with their music, look for good barbecue and beer too.


Taj Mahal Quartet
June 18 at 8 p.m.
The Fargo Theatre

Taj Mahal is long regarded as one of the most influential blues figures in history. With the ability to play guitar, piano, harmonica, banjo and many other instruments, the Taj Mahal Quartet is musicianship personified. The group often incorporated world music sounds, relying on a Caribbean sound to differentiate themselves from other artists.


Ani DiFranco with special guest Diane Patterson
June 9 at 8 p.m.
Fargo Theatre

Songs & Stories: An Evening with Art Alexakis of Everclear, Chris Collingwood of Fountains of Wayne, Max Collins of Eve 6, John Wozniak of Marcy Playground
June 11 at 8 p.m.
The Fargo Theatre

You look at the artists featured within this performance and you could be saying many things to yourself. One could be “Oh, hell yeah, the guy from Marcy Playground is going to play ‘Sex and Candy,’ that was my jam in 1997.” Or you could be saying “No way, the guy from Fountains of Wayne is going to be there. Is the chick from the ‘Stacey’s Mom’ music video going to be there too?” Both might be misguided assumptions. This collective of songwriters is using this tour and performance to showcase their ability to write lyrics. While it will feel like a rock show, “Stacey’s Mom” may not be on the setlist.

Har Mar Superstar at Harold’s Fest
June 15 at 6 p.m.
Harold’s On Main

Rodrigo y Gabriela
July 10 at 8 p.m.
The Fargo Theatre

Matisyahu & Tribal Seeds at Fargo Brewing Company
July 17 at 7 p.m.
Fargo Brewing Company

Matisyahu is as existential an artist as they come. While his sound ranges from reggae to rock to hip hop to alternative, his lyrics have a constant theme: peace and positivity. Two of the artist’s biggest hits “One Day” and “King Without A Crown” bring to you images of a world free of violence and full of positive energy. However, with his infectious sound, Matisyahu offers the listener a repeatable song while also giving them a larger issue to ponder.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats at Sister Cities Smokeout
August 29 at 8:45 p.m.
Bluestem Amphitheater


Pentatonix with special guest Rachel Platten
June 26 at 7 p.m.

Pentatonix have become one of the world’s biggest pop groups with one exception, they don’t rely on instruments. The acapella group uses their vocals to captivate audiences around the globe. With a mixture of classic cover songs and their own originals, the Pentatonix have truly carved out their place in popular music.

Bluestem: 50th Anniversary of Peace & Music
August 16 and 17
Bluestem Amphitheater

Woodstock. We’ve all heard of it, but very few have lived it. With this 50th anniversary performance at Bluestem Amphitheater, local acts will pay homage to those original artists that played on that New York stage in 1969. Artists to be covered include Jimi Hendrix, Santana, The Grateful Dead, Crosby, Stills, and Nash as well as The Who and many more.

Happy Together Tour 2019 featuring The Turtles, Chuck Negron, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, The Buckinghams, The Classic IV & The Cowsills
August 22 at 7 p.m.
Bluestem Amphitheater

Written by Brady Drake

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