Summer Guide: Don't Take Brad Paisley to the Airport Strip Club

The country star likes six strings, not G-strings. Plus, summer music picks

Eddie Vedder
June 21–22
There’s nary a bellow to be heard on Ukulele Songs, the straightforwardly titled new solo album by Eddie Vedder: Singing fresh tunes of his own as well as standards like “More Than You Know” and “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” the Pearl Jam frontman accompanies himself on the four-stringed Hawaiian instrument; it’s an even sparer, sweeter sound than the rustic folk settings Vedder employed on his 2007 soundtrack for Into the Wild. At the Beacon, you can expect a catalog-spanning set list stretching back to PJ’s Ten, which this summer turns 20. Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway, beacontheatre.com

Def Leppard + Heart
July 12 (Nikon at Jones Beach Theater)
July 13 (PNC Bank Arts Center)
Got a hankering to hear “Foolin’ ” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me” with added crowd noise? This summer, you’ve got two options: Schlep to Secaucus to pick up Def Leppard’s new Wal-Mart-exclusive live disc or hit one of the long-running hair-metal band’s two local dates. I recommend the later, if only because you’ll also see Heart, whose excellent 2010 disc, Red Velvet Car, served as a vital object lesson in how to grow up without growing boring. Bang your head to “Barracuda” and “Magic Man,” but save some fist-pumps for “WTF” and “Queen City,” as well. Jones Beach, jonesbeach.com; PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, New Jersey, livenation.com

tUnE-YarDs
July 14
You don’t need me to tell you how great the new tUnE-YarDs album is: Citing raves by Robert Christgau at MSN and Mike Powell here at the Voice, Metacritic accurately refers to w h o k i l l’s critical reception as “universal acclaim.” What you might not know, though, is that Merrill Garbus’s current live band (which includes a pair of sax players) pushes her bracingly polyglot pop into brainy-funky dance-party territory. If you couldn’t afford to see Paul Simon at the Beacon earlier this month—or even if you could—this free show is not to be missed. Pier 54, Hudson River Park, riverrocksnyc.com

Zoot Woman
August 10
England’s Zoot Woman are probably best known in the United States (if they’re known at all) for the membership of Stuart Price, who in addition to his solo work under the names Les Rythmes Digitales and Jacques Lu Cont has recently carved out a healthy production career with the likes of Scissor Sisters and the Killers. Yet each of Zoot Woman’s three studio albums—start with Living in a Magazine, from 2001—is a small wonder of sleek, ’80s-inspired electro-pop. Fans of Phoenix are strongly advised to take advantage of this rare American appearance. (le) poisson rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, lepoissonrouge.com.

Sonic Youth + Wild Flag
August 12
It’s never a bad idea to check in on Sonic Youth, especially in an outdoor venue where those silver-rocket guitars can spiral skyward free of restriction. But what makes this date a must-see is the noise-rock veterans’ choice of opening act: Wild Flag, the buzzy new psych-garage outfit featuring ex-Helium frontwoman Mary Timony with Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss, both formerly of Sleater-Kinney. Earlier this year in a warm-up slot at Radio City, the ladies threatened to steal the show from Bright Eyes. Thurston, Kim, Lee, and Steve? Consider yourselves warned. Williamsburg Waterfront, 93 Kent Avenue, ticketmaster.com

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