Live Music

Summer’s Best

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The Set List

By Brian Washburn

It might just be me, but I truly feel like this summer is flying by faster than Paul Walker’s acting career. The heat is dehydrating us, the sun is shining brightly on our faces and there is still plenty of music and shows to be seen throughout Northwest Arkansas for the rest of the 2010 summer.

The biggest name to be hitting Fayetteville in July has to be Kris Allen, the Conway native who swooped in and took the “American Idol” competition. The pop-rock singer, who will stop at George’s Majestic Lounge on Monday, has already hit it big on pop radio with the song “Live Like We’re Dying.” Although his sound is pretty generic with the male pop-rock, singer-songwriter genre still streaming through pop radio, this show will sell out and will make for an upbeat and joyful hometown show for an Arkansas musician who has made it really big.

Kris Allen is not the only big name to play the Ozarks this summer. On Friday, the Motor City Madman himself, Ted Nugent, will bring hellfire and ass-kicking to the Arkansas Music Pavilion. Terrible Ted might not have had a plethora of classic hits in his hey-day (aside from the mega-smash “Cat Scratch Fever”), but his personality and show alone will be worth the admission.

Other artists stopping through Fayetteville in July include cover-band specialists Lez Zeppelin on July 10 at George’s — can you guess which band they cover? — hard rockers Saving Abel on July 27 at George’s and many others who have found their way an hour and a half up the road to the Downstream Casino near Joplin, Mo.

While national artists playing Fayetteville is a special occurrence, having your hometown golden boy release a new album is even better. Hometown rocker Benjamin Del Shreve will hold a CD release party July 17 at George’s. Shreve has been an enormous staple of the local music scene for several years now, but it has been a bit since he released a brand new album. Though Shreve has already made quite the name for himself in the NWA music scene, time will tell if this latest effort will finally be the one to put him on the national map and on rock radio’s radar.

It might be hot, you might be sweaty and dehydrated and you might be miserable but wouldn’t it be much better to be hot, sweaty and dehydrated while enjoying the rest of summer in front of a stage watching great music and being in an environment where there’s no one who’s clean, dry or cool? It takes real music fans to enter these concerts in the heat, but Fayetteville has those music fans.

Final thought: Though there is much more music to be enjoyed and discussed in the upcoming final weeks of summer, unfortunately I will be going on hiatus until the middle of August. So just remember Northwest Arkansas, keep your ears open, your fists pumping and your head banging, and the rest will take care of itself.

Brian Washburn is doing an internship in Washington, D.C. His column will return in August.

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