15 can’t-miss concerts in Boston this August

From Jimmy Buffett to Pusha T, Billy Joel to Anita Baker.

Billy Joel performs his 100th show at Madison Square Garden in New York on July 18, 2018.

A free concert featuring some of of indie rock’s finest and the return of the Piano Man to Boston’s beloved ballpark are just two of the music events coming to town in August.

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Local songwriter Justine Bowe has worn many hats in the local music community in recent years, but her solo project, Photocomfort, has been buzzing around Boston as of late. With a signature indie electropop sound, Bowe will celebrate the release of her new record, “Understudy,” at Great Scott, along with Allston rockers Mint Green and New York-based artist Billy Dean Thomas. (Thursday, Aug. 16 at 9 p.m.; Great Scott, Boston; $12; 18+; with Mint Green, Billy Dean Thomas; tickets available here)  


’90s buzz rockers Belly, led by Boston indie rock legend Tanya Donelly, reformed in 2016 after calling it quits 20 years before. Gigging behind the release of a new record and a new EP in 2018, the band will play a packed hometown show at Royale. (Thursday, Aug. 23 at 8 p.m.; Royale, Boston; $32-$35; 18+; tickets available here)

Aubrey Haddard
Local music blog Sound of Boston will curate a night of sounds from the neighborhood featuring Cambridge indie-soul songwriter Aubrey Haddard, Boston rapper and producer Latrell James, and R&B solo project Floyd Fuji. (Friday, Aug. 24 at 8 p.m.; Brighton Music Hall, Boston; $12; all ages; with Latrell James, Floyd Fuji; tickets available here)

Local post-hardcore quintet Actor|Observer will release its second record, “Pareidolia,” at the end of August, and will celebrate with a release show at Great Scott. The band will be joined by New Jersey rockers Gatherers and Boston three-piece Long Time. (Friday, Aug. 24 at 10:15 p.m.; Great Scott, Boston; $10-$12; 21+; with Gatherers, Long Time; tickets available here)

Cliff Notez
Multitalented everything man Cliff Notez has made a mark on Boston through his work in film, writing, production, and, most recently, his debut album, “When the Sidewalk Ends.” The songwriter and frequent collaborator will headline a Great Scott show with support from local lyricist Brandie Blaze and electropop duo Citrusphere. (Sunday, Aug. 26 at 9:15 p.m.; Great Scott, Boston; $8-$10; 18+; with Brandie Blaze, Citrusphere; tickets available here)

Hip-hop heavy hitters


Wiz Khalifa and Rae Sremmurd
Two generations of hip-hop join forces for the Dazed & Blazed Tour. Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa recently released his sixth album, “Rolling Papers 2,” and Mississippi brother duo Rae Sremmurd is touring behind the release of their third album, “SR3MM.” They’ll co-headline at Xfinity Center, along with Pennsylvania cloud rapper Lil Skies and Long Beach mixtape master O.T. Genasis. (Tuesday, Aug. 7 at 6 p.m.; Xfinity Center, Mansfield; $20-$102; all ages; with Lil Skies, O.T. Genasis; tickets available here)

Playboi Carti
Last summer, Atlanta rapper Playboi Carti’s single “Magnolia” had kids across the country Milly Rocking. One year later, he’s released his debut album, “Die Lit,” and will headline his first show at House of Blues. (Saturday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m.; House of Blues, Boston; $35; all ages; tickets available here)

Playboi Carti performs at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival on June 8, 2018, in Manchester, Tennessee. —Amy Harris/Invision/AP

Pusha T
Virginia Beach hip-hop vet, former Clipse lyricist, and current president of GOOD Music, Pusha T, recently put out his finest and most popular solo record to date — the Kanye-produced “Daytona.” Hitting Boston for the first time since the album’s release, the rapper will play House of Blues, along with Harlem rhymer Sheck Wes and Chicago labelmate Valee. (Sunday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m.; House of Blues, Boston; $35-$55; all ages; with Sheck Wes, Valee; tickets available here)

Rapper Pusha T performs during the debut of his residency at Drai’s Beach Club – Nightclub at The Cromwell Las Vegas on June 16, 2018. —Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Rock royalty

Jimmy Buffett
The president of Parrotheads, guitar picker Jimmy Buffett typically makes the trek from Margaritaville to Boston once a summer. This year, the songwriter will bring the party back to Fenway Park as part of his Son of a Son of a Sailor Tour, along with local legend Peter Wolf. (Thursday, Aug. 9 at 7 p.m.; Fenway Park, Boston; $46-$146; all ages; with Peter Wolf; tickets available here)


Billy Joel
The Piano Man returns to Fenway for his fifth consecutive year, bringing 33 Top 40 hits’, six Grammy Awards’, and 13 albums’ worth of material. Joel may be synonymous with New York City, but he has given Boston’s favorite ballpark plenty to remember over the years. (Friday, Aug. 10 at 7:30 p.m.; Fenway Park, Boston; $159.50; all ages; tickets available here)

Smooth R&B

Anita Baker
Eight-time Grammy winner Anita Baker has had an illustrious career, putting out seven records over three decades, five of which went platinum. One of the great balladeers whose soulful voice soundtracked the ’80s and ’90s, she’ll play Boston one final time at the Wang Theatre as part of her Farewell Tour. (Thursday, Aug. 16 at 8 p.m.; Boch Center Wang Theatre, Boston; $99-$199; all ages; tickets available here)

US singer-songwriter Anita Baker accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award onstage during the BET Awards at Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on June 24, 2018. —Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

Smooth-voiced LA songwriter Miguel will kick off his The Ascension Tour in Boston with a show at Bank of America Pavilion. The tour will continue to showcase his 2017 release, “War & Leisure,” and will feature Canadian R&B duo DVSN as support. (Thursday, Aug. 23 at 7:30 p.m.; Bank of America Pavilion, Boston; $25-$75; all ages; with DVSN; tickets available here)

Indie rock all-stars

Free Cake for Every Creature
Philly-based indie low-fi outfit Free Cake for Every Creature is touring behind its upcoming record, “The Bluest Star,” and will play a stacked bill at Great Scott, along with Boston newcomer Tuft and local shoegaze rockers Horse Jumper of Love. (Monday, Aug. 6 at 9 p.m.; Great Scott, Boston; $10-$12; all ages; with Tuft, Horse Jumper of Love; tickets available here)

Cake and Ben Folds
It’s been many years since West Coast feel-good rockers Cake have played Boston, but they’re teaming up with Carolina piano man Ben Folds for a hit-filled summer tour. The two bands have had careers a dating back to the early ’90s, and will co-headline a show at Bank of America Pavilion. (Monday, Aug. 13 at 7 p.m.; Bank of America Pavilion, Boston; $45-$75; all ages; tickets available here)

Local college radio station WERS is throwing a free party, and the soundtrack will be a good one. New York indie poppers Bleachers will headline the station’s Wicked Good Festival on Boston Common. It’s free and will also feature sets by Boston rockers Buffalo Tom, local rocker Juliana Hatfield, indie folkateers Air Traffic Controller, and WBUR’s Tiny Desk Contest winner Anjimile. (Saturday, Aug. 18 at 12 p.m.; Boston Common, Boston; free, all ages; with Buffalo Tom, Juliana Hatfield, Air Traffic Controller, Anjimile; more information here)

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September 17, 2019 | 12:20 PM