The summer vibes are strong at the Santa Barbara Bowl this July. The gorgeous outdoor venue will host a series of shows throughout the month that are perfectly calibrated to soundtrack a warm summer evening. There are also a few shows that will send you on a nostalgia trip to the summer nights of your youth. Here’s your look at what’s coming up in July at the SB Bowl; click the artist’s name to get your tickets to the show right here on AXS.com and check out our Spotify playlist at the bottom of the story to sample some of each artist’s best songs.
Blondie & Garbage w/ special guest John Doe & Exene - Fri., July 7
Though their creative peaks are separated by about 15 years, the pairing of new wave pioneers Blondie with ‘90s alt rock giants Garbage makes a ton of sense. Both bands feature a strong female frontwoman, neither group shied away from slick and polished production and their hits were among the defining songs of their respective eras. Openers John Doe & Exene are no slouches either, as they helped break the punk scene in America as part of the pioneering band X. Check out our exclusive video interview with Garbage by clicking here.
Dirty Heads & SOJA w/ special guests The Green and RDGLDGRN - Thurs., July 13
The sunkissed reggae rock of SoCal’s own Dirty Heads has earned them a massive following across the globe. Following the release of their self-titled album in 2016, the band just dropped their latest single “Vacation,” a quintessential summer jam. Though more of a traditional reggae band, co-headliner SOJA operates in a similar vein, and they too have a summer-ready new single with “Bad News,” which was released in May. Click here to watch our exclusive interview with Jared Watson of Dirty Heads.
Natalie Merchant - Sat., July 15
As the former frontwoman of college rock favorites 10,000 Maniacs, Natalie Merchant enjoyed a long run of underground success before leaving the band in 1994. Her solo debut Tigerlily was even more successful, selling 5 million albums in the U.S. and opening a lane for the outspoken, politically-minded female singer-songwriters that were a big part of the music scene in the late ‘90s. Merchant recently released a 10-album box set that includes the new string-quartet-assisted collection Butterfly and she remains a champion of various human rights and political causes.
Jack Johnson - Mon., July 17 & Tues., July 18
Live music in Southern California doesn’t get much better than two nights of Jack Johnson under the stars. Since breaking out with his 2001 debut Brushfire Fairytales, Johnson has built a loyal fanbase with his playful acoustic sound. A former pro surfer, Johnson is also a filmmaker and committed environmentalist and he recently contributed the new song “Fragments” to the documentary "The Smog of the Sea," which he also executive produced. ALO will open for him on July 17, with John Craigie in support the following night.
The laid back vibes continue with this performance from Slightly Stoopid, part of their aptly titled Sounds of the Summer tour. Like Dirty Heads, Slightly Stoopid lean heavily on reggae rhythms but as with their spiritual forebearers in Sublime, hip-hop also figures prominently into their sound. With supporting sets from Iration, J Boog and The Movement, be sure to arrive early for a night of positive and uplifting music. Read our recent Q&A with Micah Pueschel of Iration by clicking here.
Tears For Fears w/ special guest Dishwalla - Wed., July 26
To close out July, the SB Bowl will be hosting one of the greatest bands of the ‘80s and early ‘90s, Tears For Fears. A rare solo show in the midst of their summer tour with Daryl Hall & John Oates, Tears For Fears have been reminding audiences of their greatness since they reunited for a tour last year. “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” is one of the defining synth pop songs of the ‘80s but the group’s deep cuts on albums like Songs From The Big Chair and The Seeds of Love are just as strong. Santa Barbara’s own Dishwalla, best remembered for their 1996 hit “Counting Blue Cars,” will open.