ALTERNATIVE: Young the Giant
Young the Giant, a modern-rock quintet based in Irving, California, is a collection of young musicians with familial roots all over the world. Formed in 2004, the group first toured and released an EP as The Jakes. This early incarnation of the band experienced some success with performances at the South by Southwest Festival. Line-up changes and a deal with Roadrunner Records led the band to change names in December 2009. Since then, Young the Giant has gone on to tour with bands such as Neon Trees and Incubus. Its sound is polite and poppy, with just enough fuzz to be filed under “alternative.” Despite some, let’s say, unenthusiastic reviews of its eponymously titled debut album, the band’s appearance on the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards propelled the act to a meteoric level of commercial success. Nashville’s, The Apache Relay, whose sound is an interesting mix of distortion, well-structured melodies, and, yes, a fiddle, will open the Party in the Park on Thursday.
Young the Giant plays Thursday, July 12 at 5 p.m. at Riverside Festival Site, Court Street & Exchange Boulevard. $2. rochesterevents.com. — BY DAVID YOCKEL, JR.
POP/ROCK: Purity Ring
The list of talented musicians that have passed through Rochester, lending their talents to the stage of the Bug Jar on the upswing of impressive careers, is vast and well told. The trick is catching those bands before they move past the intimate confines of our beloved local bar, and on to venues larger and more conventional. Purity Ring is the latest in that long line of artists, a band whose debut album has yet to be released, but which has already attained a level of notoriety for its catchy brand of glitchy synth-pop. Whether you are into the band’s clipped beats, ethereal vocals, and indelible samples, or are just the type to say you knew about them first, Rochester’s own anointer of the future will prove, yet again, that it is the place to be. Admirers, High Drags, and Jack Toft & the Vegetables round out the bill.
Purity Ring plays Wednesday, July 18 at 9 p.m. at Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Ave. $10-$12. bugjar.com. — BY DAVE LABARGE
JAZZ: Paul Smoker
It’s always an exciting occasion when Rochester’s world-class trumpeter Paul Smoker plays a concert. DownBeat Magazine has said, “He carries a history of the music in his horn.” That’s true, but it’s important to note that he carries the future of the music in there, too. Smoker has played and recorded with top artists like Anthony Braxton, Art Pepper, Lee Konitz, and many others. When he takes the stage in a Bop Shop concert at Lovin’ Cup, he’ll be playing tunes from his new album with the latest incarnation of his Notet, featuring three superb players: guitarist Steve Salerno, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer Phil Haynes.
Paul Smoker plays Sunday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Lovin’ Cup, 300 Park Point Drive. $12-$15. lovincup.com. — BY RON NETSKY
Pop/Rock: Vans Warped Tour
Feeling old yet? The annual rock circus, Vans Warped Tour, now in its 18th year, hits Darien Lake again this summer, bringing its unique and eclectic mix of music, covering the tunes that the kids are listening to nowadays and everything near, far, and in-between. This year’s line-up brings back some older stewards of the tour: New Found Glory, Yellowcard, and Taking Back Sunday will all be gracing the stage. Other highlights include Welsh rockers Lostprophets, ska specialists Streetlight Manifesto, and Rochester natives Polar Bear Club. See you all out in the pit.
Vans Warped Tour 2012 takes place Tuesday, July 17, noon, at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Darien Center. $32-$42. vanswarpedtour.com. — BY WILLIE CLARK
R&B: Robin Thicke
Though his father, Alan, is best known for his acting, Robin Thicke has made a considerable name for himself in the music world, with multiple albums reaching the Top 10 of the Billboard charts. Most recently, Thicke’s album “Love After War” puts his penchant for updated, romantic soul on display. The album has spawned three separate radio singles, and features contributions from Lil Wayne. Thicke is in town as part of the Rochester SummerFest, for the final evening of the three-day festival. Monica, Elle Varner, Melanie Fiona, and Bobby V all open the show.
Robin Thicke performs Saturday, July 14, 7 p.m. at Blue Cross Arena, 1 Memorial Square. $20-$50. rochestersummerfest.com. — BY ANDY KLINGENBERGER
New Wave: The B-52s
Take away the oddball party anthems “Love Shack” and “Rock Lobster” and The B-52s’ legacy as alternative trailblazers stands as firmly as ever. The band’s discography of post-punk, New Wave, genre-be-damned music has woven itself into the fabric of music’s past and present, leaving behind a neon streak. Only guitarist Ricky Wilson, who died in 1985 due to complications from AIDS, is missing from the original line-up. So rest assured, a B-52’s concert in 2012 features the same loveable camp and sing-along vocals that Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland, and Cindy Wilson pioneered in an Athens, Georgia, basement circa 1976. Squeeze also plays as part of the Summer Dance Party bill.
The B-52s perform Saturday, July 14, 8 p.m. at CMAC, 3355 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua. $20-$75. cmacevents.com. — BY JARED BENNETT
BLUES: Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds
This year’s Big Rib BBQ & Blues Fest — running July 12-15 — will feature another titillating bill of fare, including some delectable dietary supplements from some of the country’s most accomplished rib masters, paired with a musical menu that will be just as soulful as the food. Among the acts that will grace the main stage during the four day festival is the Brooklyn-based blues powerhouse Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. Arleigh (lead vocals) and Jackson Kincheloe (harmonica) grew up in the Catskills, where they were raised by a country-singing mother and percussionist father. The two siblings moved to New York City in 2008 and began performing as a duo. Brother and sister quickly realized that the sound called for a full backing band. After recruiting another family member, cousin Bram Kincheloe, they added one talented and versatile musician after another until they became the blazing nine-piece outfit they are today. With a knack for blending ardent blues, “new-school” funk, and some down home rock and roll, this filthy flock has put a new spin on the classic soul sound. Funky Blu Roots, JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, Ana Popovic, Carolyn Wonderland, and Kelley Hunt are just a few of the other bands filling out the four-day bluesy bill.
Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds play Thursday, July 12, 6 p.m. at the Highland Park Festival Site (Corner of Highland and South Ave.). $5 (one-day admission)/$25 (four-day pass). rochesterevents.com. — BY DAVID YOCKEL, JR.
CLASSICAL: Eastman Summer Sing
What a brilliant idea: open the air-conditioned Kilbourn Hall and let the public have a chance to heat it up with choral masterworks under the baton of William Weinert. Weinert, professor of conducting and ensembles at Eastman School of Music, leads the Summer Sings every Tuesday night in July. For many who participate, it’s an annual tradition. The line-up for this summer includes Handel’s “Messiah” (July 17) and Bach’s “Magnificat” (July 24). Another opportunity to join in with the intimate, a cappella group Musica Spei occurs on Wednesday nights through August 8 at St. Anne’s Church (Rochester); see City’s Summer Guide or the Musica Spei website for details.
Eastman Summer Sing takes place Tuesday, July 17, 7:30 p.m. at Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St. $5 suggested donation. 274-1100, esm.rochester.edu. — BY PALOMA A. CAPANNA