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Your Guide to Local Concerts in July

From Beast Coast to the Pacific Symphony, and everything in between, here’s where and what to hear this month.

Sundays (7/7, 7/14, 7/21, 7/28, 8/4 & 8/11)

City of Irvine’s Sizzlin’ Summer Concerts

Happening on six consecutive Sunday evenings, the Sizzlin’ Summer Concerts combine live music and gourmet food trucks (or the opportunity to picnic) to create a free, family-friendly entertainment experience at Mike Ward Community Park. On July 7, the cleverly-named Pop Gun Rerun pay tribute to all that’s good about 1980s pop music, with the all-girl Suffragettes performing era-straddling Top 40 hits the following week. The Trip arrives on July 21, with its energized ’60s-’90s cover tunes, while country cover band the Country Club will also offer a little rock, pop, jazz and swing on the 28th. The Pacific Symphony brings it popular “Symphony in the Cities” to the park on Aug. 4 (see below), while O.C.’s Tijuana Dogs provide high-octane party rock for the series’ final show on Aug. 11.

Mike Ward Community Park – Woodridge, Irvine

Thursdays: 7/11, 7/18, 7/25 & 8/1

OC Parks Summer Concert Series

With food trucks, a beer and wine garden, and free admission, there’s little not to like about OC Parks’ Summer Concert Series. On July 11 at Mason Regional Park, Aliso Viejo ‘90s cover band SEGA Genecide throws back to listening to Alanis, Eminem and Smash Mouth on cassettes and CDs. Costa Mesa’s veteran Irish folk/rock band play the same venue on July 18, bringing the blend of trad Emerald Isle tunes and old-school rock ‘n’ roll that’s had them headlining theaters for nearly 30 years. On July 25, Irvine Regional Park welcomes ska/new wave stalwarts the English Beat, who enjoyed a string of household-name hits in the 1980s. But this series saves the best for last, with the evocative alt-country of The White Buffalo, who’s wonderfully weathered voice was frequently heard on TV’s Sons of Anarchy, at Irvine Regional Park on Aug. 1.

Mason Regional Park & Irvine Regional Park

Sat. 7/13

Hammer’s House Party: M.C. Hammer, 2 Live Crew, Biz Markie, Sir Mix-A-Lot

With its rotating bill of early ’90s hit machines, always topped by ol’ parachute-pants himself, MC Hammer’s “House Party” tour is an ultimate celebration of retro R&B and hip-hop. Billed as Hammer’s first major tour since 1991, its Irvine stop also features Florida’s controversial 2 Live Crew (“Me So Horny”, “Banned in the U.S.A.,” etc.), the juvenile humor of “Just a Friend” rapper Biz Markie, and Seattle’s Sir Mix-A-Lot who, despite being overwhelmingly best-known for 1992 mega-hit “Baby Got Back”, has retained a cult following for his bouncy, bass-heavy style. But at the end of the day (or night) “Hammer’s House Party” is all about the iconic MC Hammer, whose ability to laugh at himself has kept him in the public eye through TV commercials, reality shows, and movie cameos long after the hits dried up.

FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine

Beck (Peter Hapak)

Wed. 7/17

Beck, Cage the Elephant

A quarter-century since his breakout album Mellow Gold, Beck Hansen remains rock royalty, the critical drooling over his multi-genre musical mosaics consistent even as his commercial fortunes have fluctuated. Angeleno through and through, his wide-eyed collage of folk, psychedelia, hip-hop, noise, jazz and more reflects the myriad cultures and social undercurrents of his home city. It seems safe to assume that at least one Grammy has already been set aside for Beck’s imminent 14th studio, Hyperspace. This co-headlining bill continues a relationship begun when Beck featured on (and co-wrote) “Night Running” on Cage the Elephant’s latest album, Social Cues. One of those bands you can seemingly find on radio anywhere in America at any time, CtE’s savvy revisiting of funky, bluesy classic rock shows little sign of losing momentum.

FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine

Sat. 7/20

Rockstar Energy Disrupt Festival: The Used, Thrice, Circa Survive and More 

While the inaugural Disrupt Festival features solid, mostly post-hardcore lineups throughout — at its FivePoint Amphitheatre stop including Circa Survive, Sleeping With Sirens, and pop-punk bill misfits Sum 41 — the big draw for Irvinites may be a rare hometown appearance by Thrice, plus Huntington Beach’s similarly seasoned Atreyu. Initially helping to define before ultimately far transcending screamo, Thrice have earned that rarest of rock accolades as truly a genre of one. Their original lineup constant and intact, last year’s 10th album, the wonderfully organic-sounding Palms, continues to classify Thrice as unclassifiable. Once metalcore personified, Atreyu have increasingly incorporated ’80s and Gothenburg-scene metal into brave recent releases, with last year’s In Our Wake further indulging arena-friendly melodies and epic ambitions.

FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine

Shinedown (Atlantic Records)

Sun. 7/21

Shinedown

Perhaps epitomizing the kind of robust, melodic mainstream rock beloved of faux-hawked and half-sleeved fans worldwide, Shinedown — while hardly a household name — have built the kind of career rock bands seldom enjoy anymore: slowly evolving and gathering commercial momentum over six albums and relentless touring since forming in 2000. At once almost the solo vehicle of lead vocalist Brent Smith (the band’s sole constant, alongside drummer Barry Kerch), and borderline rock-by-committee (with Atlantic Records heavily involved from the band’s inception), Shinedown has artfully ridden trends including nu-metal, alt-rock and post-grunge, while never overly committing to any one style. The sole constant has been arena-ready, slightly Southern-tinted songwriting, performance and production, which was once again delivered on 2018’s Attention Attention.

FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine

Zac Brown Band (Courtesy of Atlantic Records)

Thu. 7/25 & Fri. 7/26

Zac Brown Band

It says much about Zac Brown’s devotion to the craft of country music that over the first dozen years of his eponymous band he gradually swelled its ranks to its current octet — happy to shoulder a seven-strong payroll in order to fully realize his embroidered, harmony-heavy sonic vision. And embroidery is central the ZBB sound, which takes simple, bluegrass- and Caribbean-tinted country — songs that could easily translate on just an acoustic guitar and voice — and lovingly embellishes it through up to four-part vocal harmonies and instruments (including banjo, mandolin, ukulele, and Hammond organ) that both fill-out and flit in and out of Brown’s blue-collar narratives. The result is a challenge to traditional country that flirts with jam band habits and world music influences — and an annual estimated band income of a decidedly white-collar $32 million.

FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine

Symphony in the Cities violinist Strauss Shi (Courtesy Pacific Symphony)

Sat. 7/27, Sun. 7/28, Sat. 8/3 & Sun. 8/4

Pacific Symphony’s Symphony in the Cities

An enduring O.C. tradition, the Pacific Symphony’s “Symphony in the Cities” is a free, family-friendly evening of music and fun in local parks. Led by music director Carl St. Clair and emceed by Classical KUSC radio host Alan Chapman, its program features both lightweight orchestral classics and sing-alongs with patriotic favorites. The series contests the notion that classical music and kids can’t coexist, with interactive activities for children including a drum circle, instrument making, an instrument petting zoo, and even the chance to learn how to conduct with Maestro St. Clair and then help lead the orchestra in its performance of Sousa’s “Hands Across the Sea.”

Oso Viejo Community Park on the Village Green and Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, Mission Viejo, July 27

Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall (indoors), Costa Mesa, July 28

Aitken Arts Plaza at Musco Center for the Arts at Chapman University, Orange, Aug. 3

Mike Ward Community Park – Woodridge, Irvine, Aug. 4

Beast Coast (Courtesy of the artist)

Tue. 7/30

Beast Coast

While the “Beast Coast” idea been bandied about for years — certainly since 2013’s Joey Bada$$-headlined Beast Coast Tour — only now does the collective have a defined membership, potent debut album (Escape From New York, released in May), and now an eponymous national tour. Consisting of Flatbush Zombies, The Underachievers and members of Pro Era (including Bada$$), the 10-strong Beast Coast deliver satiating beats and, as expected from such an A-list lineup, hypnotic flows from the likes of Meechy Darko, Kirk Knight and CJ Fly on Escape. The tour format wasn’t announced at the time of writing, but it appears that Bada$$ will headline, with Flatbush Zombies and The Underachievers also performing portions of the show, plus Beast Coast songs being delivered by the entire crew.

FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine