Southcentral summer preview: Festivals, bands, comedians to look forward to

Matt Sullivan

With winter in the rearview mirror, festival season is set to descend over much of the country. That means a lot more bands on tour and more artists putting Alaska on their itineraries. This summer will see hip-hop, country, indie-rock and rock artists, as well as comedians, trekking north for Alaska shows. Here's a look at what's slated for the months ahead.

Pam Tillis

Coming from a family embedded in Nashville's country music history (she's the daughter of Country Music Hall of Fame member Mel Tillis), Pam Tillis was inescapable on country radio in the '90s. "Maybe It Was Memphis" and "Shake the Sugar Tree" are now part of the country music canon, indicative of the pop influences that took hold in that decade. Tillis will perform a stripped-down acoustic set this time around. May 16, Egan Center, $40.

Gabriel Iglesias

With a successful stand-up comedy career that's made him a regular on Comedy Central, Gabriel Iglesias initially saw his star rise with a comedy special on that network called "I'm not Fat ... I'm Fluffy." He also hosted and produced Comedy Central's "Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand-Up Revolution," a showcase for emerging stand-up comedians. May 17, Dena'ina Center, $30-$65.


The former House of Pain emcee made you "Jump Around" before going it alone and scoring a massive hit in 1998 with "What It's Like." Since then, he's forged a solo career that melds hip-hop with acoustic folk-rock, and last year he released his seventh full-length, the Wes Anderson-referencing "The Life Acoustic." May 23 and 24, Koot's, $25.

Trapper Creek Bluegrass Festival

A staple of Alaska's summer music festival circuit, the Trapper Creek Bluegrass Festival isn't confined strictly to its namesake. The festival/campout features a slew of local talent of all stripes from across the state and beyond, including Orion Donicht, The Goat Rodeo, PJ Franco and the Burnouts, Daniel Firmin and Animal Eyes from Portland, Oregon, plus many more. May 23-25, Boot's Bison Ranch, Trapper Creek, $75.

People Under The Stairs

The P are well into their second decade of feel-good DIY hip-hop. The West Coast duo of producers/emcees Thes One and Double K are longtime champions of independent hip-hop of the traditional variety, which includes dedicated crate-digging, a carefree attitude and tunes constructed specifically for party amplification. May 24, Koot's, $25.


This one carries "show of the summer" possibilities. In a time when left-field fluke hits are becoming fewer and further between, MGMT's "Kids" caught nearly everyone off guard. Couple that with songs like "Time to Pretend," and "Oracular Spectacular" became one of the defining alt-rock albums of the last decade. Since then, MGMT have fought against their surprising success and doubled down on proving that "Kids" isn't all that indicative of the rest of their stuff, like the wonderfully psychedelic follow-up "Congratulations" and last year's divisive self-titled album. May 29, Moose's Tooth, $48.50,

Capital Cities

Humpy's is celebrating 20 years this summer with the Big Spawn concert series. Headlining it is Los Angeles-based synth-pop group Capital Cities, who've been making waves as of late with the song "Safe and Sound." They'll be coming to Anchorage during a break in their gig as the openers on Katy Perry's Prismatic World Tour. With guest Youngblood Hawke. June 6, Humpy's, $45.

Slightly Stoopid

Blending reggae, hip-hop and rock, Slightly Stoopid follows in the footsteps of fellow Southern Californians Sublime, and that band's late frontman, Bradley Nowell, even signed the Stoopids to his own record label back in the day. These days, they're playing shows like the Moose's Tooth Solstice Party. June 21, Moose's Tooth, $40.

Road to Warped Tour

The annual Warped Tour kicks off June 13 in Houston, but the fest is making its first Alaska stop in its 20-year existence with the pre-tour Road to Warped festival. There will be three stages, including an acoustic stage and one for local bands, while the main event features 3OH!3, All Time Low, Falling in Reverse, Less Than Jake, The Devil Wears Prada and Yellowcard. June 11, Northway Mall, $40-50.

Country Backyard Barbecue

This is the second year for the summer country music event. Craig Morgan, Jerrod Niemann and Josh Thompson will headline, and Anna Blair, Ken Peltier and Nashville singer-songwriters Kendell Marvel and Phill O'Donnell fill out the lineup. 21 and over. Starts at 4:30 p.m., goes past 9 p.m. behind Eddie's Sports Bar. Wednesday, June 25. Tickets $38.50-$75,


Since its inception in 2011, Salmonstock has positioned itself as a contender for Alaska's most noteworthy summer fest. And the organizers have attracted some big names again this year -- the 2014 festival will be headlined by Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams. Keller Williams, Hard Working Americans, Elephant Revival, Hot Buttered Rum, Poor Man's Whiskey, Tony Furtado, Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men and Tim Easton have also been announced for this year's installment, with plenty more artists to be announced later to fill out the three-day schedule. Aug. 1-3, Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds, Ninilchik, $55-124.

Alaska State Fair

Last year, fair organizers gave us a pleasant surprise with the booking of rapper Kendrick Lamar -- not the sort of artist one usually associates with a state fair. A little more than half of this year's lineup has been announced, with maybe the biggest wild card so far being "Duck Dynasty," if for no reason other than we don't entirely know what to expect. Billed as "An Evening with the Robertsons," it looks like it's intended as a sort of storyteller session with the reality TV family. And given the attention family patriarch Phil Robertson's comments about homosexuality garnered last year, this one has the potential of becoming something of a lightning rod. The rest of the lineup includes Seether, Tesla, Thompson Square, Brett Eldredge, Three Days Grace and Pentatonix. Aug. 21-Sept. 1, Alaska State Fair grounds, Palmer, $25-$70 (not including fair admission).

Brand New

Brand New made a name for themselves in the early Aughts as an emo/pop-punk band, and like a lot of their peers, the group started pulling from indie rock's other corners for influence on later records. It's been four years since the last album, but the band has teased that a new album is in the works for the past couple of years. Sept. 4, Bear Tooth, $38.

Lyle Lovett

Though he was initially branded a country artist, Lyle Lovett has generally skirted the edges of the country music establishment, sharing more in common with eclectic '70s songwriters like Randy Newman or Kris Kristofferson. Over the course of nearly 30 years, he's dabbled in Western swing, jazz, blues, soul and pop. Sept. 20, Atwood Concert Hall.


By Matt Sullivan
Daily News correspondent