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Rockin’s Not A Luxury: Fun Cheap Summer Music Tours Uncovered

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Paying $50-100 to attend a rock concert allows one the dubious opportunity to piss in a communal trough with 30 other guys. We endure this for the rock music, right?

What bands could compel us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow man and shake our fist in the air? The Jonas Brothers? Asia? Coldplay? No, I’m talking about some real rocking shows that cost about the same as a couple bottles of overpriced Aquafina. In the case of the Warped Tour, you get to watch a ton of bands for a comparatively low price. Who are they? Let’s get to them.

The Datsuns

New Zealand hard rocker’s The Datsuns have been around since 2000. Featuring vocalist and bassist Dolf de Borst, guitarists Phil Buscke and Christian Livingstone and drummer Ben Cole, their newest album, Headstunts, was released late last year. The Datsuns may sound familiar to those deep into the garage rock revival. But they never reached the same recognition in America like The Strokes or The Hives.

Another reason they’re little known in the States is that they haven’t toured much here in the last few years. We’ve missed out on their 70’s style hard rock played at a ferocious pace. They’re revving up to plaster those neo-new wave bands on their windshield. If you’re in the crowd at one of these shows, you definitely shouldn’t be standing still. Ride along with the band at their few North American stops.

The Action Design

Formed from remnants of punk outfit Tsunami Bomb, San Francisco’s indie pop-rock The Action Design is comprised of vocalist, Emily Whitehurst, drummer Jake Krohn, guitarist Jaycen Mckissick, and bassist Matt Mckenzie.

They ditch the punk rhythm on their Never Say album, but retain a hard edge to the the music and lyrics. Emily’s emotional singing and wide vocal range run freer now than in her previous band.  Unlike before, some of their songs exude a more dance like feel. The album features keyboard playing, however the band’s sound remains guitar driven.  Live, expect to see Emily whip herself about the stage while pumping her fist with microphone in hand. Besides, their current tour, the band has two cover songs on the Endless Bummer movie soundtrack, a new video for the album track “Landmines,” and they’re starting to record tracks for another album.

The Bouncing Souls

The Bouncing Souls are a Pop-punk/hardcore band from New Jersey who formed in 1987. Consisting of vocalist Greg Attonito, guitarist Pete Steinkoph, bassist Bryan Kienlen, and drummer Michael McDermott, the group has gotten slightly poppier over the years.

But they still manage to create wisecracking and optimistic anthems as well as a few love songs.

For their 20th anniversary, they’ve been releasing one new song on the first Monday of each month. Rather than prattle on about the good ol’ days of punk over a bottle of St. Pauli Girl, they’re rolling out on tour. You can catch them first at this year’s Vans Warped Tour. Then they play New York City and Philadelphia. 

Next, they land in Europe where they’ll cause huge crowds to pogo up and down at the massive stages of The Leeds and Reading Festivals. Lastly, they join up with fellow punk grandpa’s Youth Brigade and stomp into Canada in early fall. Get yourself out to one of their playgrounds.

If you’re going to pay a moderate amount for a concert, a festival show allows you to catch a bunch of bands you’ve wanted to see in one afternoon. Or shockingly, you may discover new music.  At the Vans Warped Tour, don’t miss Bad Religion, Flogging Molly and, of course, The Bouncing Souls. Taking the stage at Lollapalooza 2009 will be bands like Jane’s Addiction, Vampire Weekend, and Crystal Castles. The set of electro-pop duo Crystal Castles will be the least boring. I promise. Their blinding light show is the closest thing to being inside a glitchy Nintendo game. 

Tour Information:

The Datsuns

7/13 – Café Du Nord  San Francisco, California
7/14 – Echo Los Angeles, California
7/17 – TT The Bears Boston, Massachussets
7/18 – Mercury Lounge New York, New York
7/19 – La Sala Rossa Montreal, Quebec
7/20 – The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern Toronto, Ontario
7/21 – Majestic Café Detroit, Michagan
7/22 – Empty Bottle Chicago, Illinois

About Kevin Gustafson