Your ultimate guide to concerts in Atlanta: Summer 2018

Janelle Monáe, Phish, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Nine Inch Nails, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Keith Urban, Weezer, and more

Whether they’re the hottest new group on the charts or someone who’s had fans singing along for decades, artists and bands from all genres and styles are making our city to place to be this summer. If the fully-booked calendars at every venue have you overwhelmed, don’t worry—we’ve got your ultimate concert guide right here, organized (loosely) by genre.

Def Leppard tour Atlanta
Def Leppard

Photograph by David Becker/Getty Images for Def Leppard

Throwback shows worth cutting up your t-shirts for
Def Leppard and Journey
When: July 1
Where: SunTrust Park
Tickets: $34-$174+
Why you can’t miss it: Easily two of the most popular bands of the 1980s, these massive rock powerhouses will co-headline in 50 cities and take turns closing out shows all throughout the summer. Expect all of your favorite hits from both bands: “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” “Lights,” “Photograph,” “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Faithfully.”

Violent Femmes
When: July 18
Where: State Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park
Tickets: $35-$55
Why you can’t miss it: Relive your teen angst with the quintessential cult band of the ‘80s. Don’t just expect the jittery “Blister in the Sun” and “Kiss Off;” the slightly-calmer We Can Do Anything was released just two years ago. (Plus: opening act Echo & the Bunnymen)

Smashing Pumpkins
When: July 22
Where: Infinite Energy Arena
Tickets: $33-$129
Why you can’t miss it: Founding members Billy Corgan, James Iha, and Jimmy Chamberlin debuted their first recorded single together in 18 years, “Solara,” just last week, so it’s safe to assume you’ll get something new mixed in with old favorites “1979,” “Cherub Rock,” and “Landslide.” (Plus: special guest Metric)

YES
When
: July 28
Where: Atlanta Symphony Hall
Tickets: $39-$100
Why you can’t miss it: Throw it back five decades with the pioneers of progressive rock during the final show of YES’s #YES50: Celebrating 50 Years of YES Tour. Founding member Tony Kaye retired in the ‘90s, but he’s coming back for the Golden Anniversary. Fans of prog legends Jethro Tull, Rush, and Gentle Giant owe it to these guys (and King Crimson, of course) for giving the genre its start, so don’t sit this one out!

Phish
When
: Aug 3-5
Where: Verizon Amphitheatre
Tickets: $80+
Why you can’t miss it: If you couldn’t make it to see Dead & Company in early June, this is your last chance to hang out with Deadheads and Phans in the city this summer. Trey Anastasio and friends will take care of all your psychedelica needs over three jam-packed nights—remember to bring your glow sticks.

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr.
When: Sept 1
Where: Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood
Tickets: $85+
Why you can’t miss it: Lynyrd Skynyrd says this will be the very last show of their 40-year career! The southern rock legends are wrapping up their Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour right here in Atlanta. Hank Williams Jr. is one of several special guests performing with them along the way, and he’ll be joining them for their final send-off.

Deep Purple and Judas Priest
When: Sept 14
Where: Verizon Amphitheatre
Tickets: $30-$142+
Why you can’t miss it: It’s another chance to see two icons of their genres co-headline what’s sure to be a show to remember. Deep Purple produced their 20th hard rock album, Infinite, last year, and heavy metal legends Judas Priest dropped their 18th just a month later. Firepower became their most-acclaimed of all time when it hit number five on the Billboard 200.

Sam Smith tour Atlanta
Sam Smith

Photograph by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Artists your teenager probably loves
Sam Smith
When: July 10
Where: Infinite Energy Arena
Tickets: $35-$125
Why you can’t miss it: Sam Smith, the English singer-songwriter behind 2014 tearjerker “Stay With Me,” returned to the spotlight in North America this May with his single, “PRAY,” featuring Logic (who also performed in ATL this summer). Smith’s new album, The Thrill Of It All, will drop later this year.

Niall Horan
When: September 20
Where: Verizon Amphitheatre
Tickets: $29-$107+
Why you can’t miss it: If you spoke to a teenage girl at any point between 2010 and 2015, you’ve probably heard of One Direction, the boy band whose music swept through middle and high schools across the country for years. When 1D broke up a few years ago, Horan launched a solo career with several singles and his 2017 album Flicker. (ICYMI: Harry Styles, another 1Der, played the Infinite Energy Arena on June 11.)

Aly & AJ
When: June 24
Where: Buckhead Theatre
Tickets: $22-$56+
Why you can’t miss it: While today’s teens might not remember Alyson & Amanda Joy Michalka, for many millennials, the former Disney Channel sisters will spark plenty of teenage nostalgia. The duo are on the road again after disappearing for a decade, re-establishing themselves last year with a new sound in their single “Take Me,” a cheeky pop beat more reminiscent of Tegan & Sara than the child stars behind former defining track “Potential Breakup Song.”

Unknown Mortal Orchestra tour Atlanta
Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Photograph by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Coachella

“Feels Like Summer” – shows that will heat up the alt/indie scene
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
When: July 8
Where: Variety Playhouse
Tickets: $20
Why you can’t miss it: The New Zealand band famous for the lo-fi, psychedelic vibes of songs like “So Good at Being in Trouble” are touring the world this summer after their fourth album, Sex & Food, dropped in April. The most popular tracks from this record so far have been “Hunnybee” and the single “Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays.”

Shannon & the Clams
When: July 20
Where: Terminal West
Tickets: $18-$20
Why you can’t miss it: You might be familiar with this increasingly popular indie band’s “Rip Van Winkle” and “Ozma,” but now they’re on tour following the release of their eighth album, Onion. Frontwoman and bassist Shannon Shaw draws inspiration from the folk, rock, pop, and punk of previous musical eras to create a vintage sound with a modern flavor. (Plus: opener Paint Fumes)

Weezer/Pixies/Sleigh Bells
When: July 27
Where: Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood
Tickets: $17-$515+
Why you can’t miss it: Weezer recently covered “Africa” by Toto in June after a Twitter user asked them to, and it became their highest-charting hit in nearly a decade. Along for the ride on their North American tour are fellow alt-rockers Pixies (“Where Is My Mind?”) and noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells.

Neko Case
When: September 13
Where: Variety Playhouse
Tickets: $56-$132
Why you can’t miss it: Case is back as a folk-rock solo act after re-joining the Canadian band that helped launch her to fame, The New Pornographers, last year. Since finishing up the band’s most recent record, Whiteout Conditions, she’s released Hell-On, her first solo album since 2013(Plus: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down)

Janelle Monáe tour Atlanta
Janelle Monáe

Photograph by Rich Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Shows all the cool kids are going to
Janelle Monáe
When: August 4-5
Where: Tabernacle
Tickets: $39.50-$59.50
Why you can’t miss it: We’ve fallen in love with the Atlanta native not only for her work in music and film, but also for the movements she champions: female empowerment, LGBTQ acceptance, and minority representation in film and pop culture. Her third album, Dirty Computer, dropped just last month to wide critical acclaim.

Kesha & Macklemore
When: August 6
Where: Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood
Tickets: $23-$200+
Why you can’t miss it: Kesha’s transformed since the gold glitter of the early aughts. The 2018’s Rainbow was celebrated for reflective feminist anthems like “Praying” and “Woman” signaled her reemergence into music after a lengthy and high-profile legal battle with her former producer over accusations of sexual assault and emotional abuse. She partners with Seattle rapper Macklemore for this tour, so expect to hear their joint single, “Good Old Days.” His latest album, Gemini, dropped last September.

Taylor Swift
When: August 10-11
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Tickets: $101-$4,000+
Why you can’t miss it: It’s Taylor Swift. In Atlanta. Need we say more? Well, we will anyway: Camila Cabello (“Havana”) and Charli XCX (“Girls,” “Boys,” and “5 in the Morning”) are the supporting acts, so this female-focused show is not one to miss.

Beyoncé & Jay-Z
When: August 25
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Tickets: $90-$320+
Why you can’t miss it: The power couple just dropped a surprise joint album, Everything is Love, on June 16 after kicking off their On The Road II world tour. The nine-track record is already exploding across streaming services. The Carters also released the groundbreaking music video for their song “Apeshit,” which amassed almost 12 million hits in less than 48 hours.

Childish Gambino
When:
September 6
Where: Infinite Energy Arena
Tickets: $141-$499+
Why you can’t miss it: Donald Glover once again dons his Childish Gambino persona after a break spent working on Atlanta, Solo, and the new Lion King. He kicks off his one-month tour here at home with Rae Sremmurd (“No Type”).

Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails

Photo Courtesy of Corinne Schiavone

Nine Inch Nails
When: Sept 26-27
Where: Fox Theatre
Tickets: $45+
Why you can’t miss it: What better way to wind down the summer? NIN’s new album, Bad Witch, debuts June 22 as the third installment of their EP trilogy, preceded by Add Violence and Not the Actual Events. (Plus: supporting act The Jesus and Mary Chain)

Country classics for your summer in the South
Zac Brown Band and OneRepublic
When
: June 30
Where: SunTrust Park
Tickets: $29-$1005
Why you can’t miss it: Atlanta is OneRepublic’s last stop on the Down The Rabbit Hole Tour, but homegrown Zac Brown Band can’t stay away—they’ll be back in Fayetteville in October in case you miss them this time around. (Also: the first of three shows featuring Nahko & Medicine for the People)

Jason Aldean
Jason Aldean

Photograph by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Jason Aldean
When: July 21
Where: SunTrust Park
Tickets: $90-$1,131
Why you can’t miss it: There’s a lot of Georgia-grown talent in this 34-city tour: the Macon native is bringing Rossville’s Lauren Alaina, American Idol season 10 runner-up, as support for his High Noon Neon Tour, named for a single that will appear on Aldean’s upcoming record. (Plus: Nashville singer-songwriter Luke Combs)

Keith Urban
When: July 26
Where: Verizon Amphitheatre
Tickets: $77-$5,000+
Why you can’t miss it: What’s better than two country shows in one week? Australian artist Keith Urban is back in Atlanta for the first time since 2007 following his tenth album, GRAFFITI U, which dropped April 27. He’ll be supported by emerging country-pop singer Kelsea Ballerini.

Because it’s festival season
ONE MusicFest
When: 
September 8-9
Where: 
Central Park
Tickets:
$110-$750+
Why you can’t miss it: 
This “urban progressive” music festival has been expanded to cover 2 full days in 2018, and it’s in a new, larger location. This year’s lineup boasts headliners Nas, Cardi B, and Miguel, as well as Big Sean and Atlanta originals T.I., Ying Yang Twins, and St. Beauty. 2 days, 2 stages, and all kinds of live music from rap, trap, and hip-hop to EDM and house—what’s not to love?

Music Midtown 2018 lineup
Kendrick Lamar

Photograph by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS

Music Midtown
When: 
September 15-16
Where: 
Piedmont Park
Tickets: 
$145+
Why you can’t miss it: 
No matter what types of music you like, there’s sure to be something at Music Midtown for you with headliners Kendrick Lamar, Post Malone, Imagine Dragons, and Fall Out Boy and other performers such as Gucci Mane, Khalid, First Aid Kit, Twin Shadow, Robert DeLong, and Kacey Musgraves. It’s also a chance to see Janelle Monáe if you miss her in August! Not familiar with all the artists on this year’s lineup? Give them a listen here.

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