Five Can’t-Miss Shows of the Summer

Don’t just focus on Outside Lands!

My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine

8 p.m., Thursday and Friday, July 19-20, at the Fox Theater. $49.50; thefoxoakland.com

The legendary shoegaze band led by guitar guru Kevin Shields returns to the Bay Area for its first show since their 2013 tour. Shrouded under a veil of mystery in their three decades of existence, My Bloody Valentine’s 1991 masterful sophomore album Loveless is considered by critics and musicians alike to be one of the greatest albums of the 1990s and a defining work in shoegaze, and now the band is back in support of mbv, its most recent album and a project that took 22 years to complete. Whether or not Shields holds true to his promise that the band’s new EP will see its release this year remains to be seen, but fans can expect to be partially deafened by the end of My Bloody Valentine’s infamously loud live performances. 

Bicep

9 p.m., Thursday and Friday, July 19-20, at The Independent. $30; theindependentsf.com

Just like the muscle, they’re named after, dance duo Bicep is capable of delivering hard-hitting live house and techno that actually packs a punch. Hailing from Belfast, the duo formed in 2009 after posting reworked edits of obscure 1970s and ’80s disco, house, and techno tracks, quickly making a name for themselves and earning gigs at clubs around the world. Their long-awaited self-titled debut album finally saw its release last year, with Mixmag referring to it as “simultaneously classic and undeniably contemporary.”

Hop Along

8 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 8, at Great American Music Hall. $18; slimspresents.com

It may seem like a bit of an exaggeration to say Hop Along’s leader Frances Quinlan has the best voice of any new rock band, but it is hard to think of any rock singer in recent memory that comes close to her powerful, confident delivery. Hop Along was originally the solo project for Quinlan’s earlier acoustic work, but it’s since grown into a full band with four studio albums — including their excellent Bark Your Head Off, Dog, released this past April. Similar to the late Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries, Quinlan’s voice has real emotion behind every word she sings.

David Byrne

7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Bill Graham Civic Center. $65; billgrahamcivic.com

Anyone who’s seen Stop Making Sense, the 1984 Talking Heads concert film that Jonathan Demme directed should not need further convincing to see David Byrne. Since Talking Heads’ breakup in 1991, he’s created a prolific discography of solo albums that stand on their own terms. Released earlier this year, the experimental American Utopia won critical acclaim and led to collaborations with Oneohtrix Point Never and Sampha. If Byrne’s recent Coachella performance is any indication of what to expect in his August show at Bill Graham Civic Center, fans should expect to visually stunned and slightly amused. Be prepared to sing along to some classic Talking Heads songs, too.

Phoenix and Cut Copy

7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 8, at The Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley. $49.50; thegreekberkeley.com

A match made in heaven for indie pop fans, this impressive bill at The Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley boasts two of some the most consistently powerful live bands. The always-exciting Phoenix headlines the night, touring under its excellent new album Ti Amo, which was disappointingly overlooked last year. Australian dance-rockers Cut Copy also join the party, on the road promoting their latest album Haiku From Zero, which is another welcome addition to the group’s already impressive discography.

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