William Munoz

(Missoula Current) The summer concerts in Missoula are going to be busy and epic, filled with shows from across multiple genres. From July through September, there are over 40 major concerts, including three shows in Washington Grizzly Stadium.

Live music is something we all seem to desire. If it's a favorite band, fans will go to great lengths to attend their concerts. Kyle Hollinsworth of the String Cheese Incident, who is scheduled to play two shows at the Kettlehouse Amphitheater on June 29 and 30, described the fandom as tribal.

"There's something about music that's deeper than just hearing your favorite song on the radio," he said during a phone interview. "Maybe it's a tribal thing of bringing the community together, then beyond. It's a collection of going with your favorite people and building memories of that time and you want to relive it every time you go and see music.”

One of the more remarkable stretches begins on July 5 when there will be 16 concerts over 18 days. Starting the marathon is a blues festival organized by Slash, the lead guitarist of Guns N'Roses. He just released a new blues album, “Orgy of the Dammed,” which features some well-known vocals including Chris Stapleon, Gary Clark, Jr., and Chris Robinson.

To raise awareness of the blues he has organized a tour featuring the Warren Hayes Band, Smantha Fish and Eric Gales, whose guitar playing is reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. Fish talking about the tour and the lineup told me, “I think it's really cool what Slash is doing with this lineup because it shows how broad the blues is, all of the artists are incredibly different. It's about the human condition and will open a lot of people's minds in a great way”.

The next few nights will see Louisiana singer and songwriter Lucinda Williams and the reunion of Nickle Creek who, after a few years pursuing other interests, is back on the road together. There's also the sold-out Noah Cyrus at the Wilma Theatre. The Avett Brothers are returning after needing to cancel the previous two years, and Melissa Ethridge and Jewel are together.

Not to be out done by July, the last two weeks of August offers three shows in Washington Grizzly Stadium including Pearl Jam, Tyler Childers and Nathaniel Rateliff, and Pink – all quickly followed by the first Grizzly football game on August 31 against Missouri State.

There are also a few big country bands including Laney Wilson, Sturgill Simpson and Colter Wall – all performing in September. Live music is vibrant in the Missoula area. The large touring bands have the major venues, but there are smaller venues where local as well as lesser-known bands are performing.

The Top Hat, Monks, Union Club and the eclectic Longstaff House all provide bands with outlets to play their music live. Local bands such as Transcendental Express, Shakewell, and Mudslide Charley can be seen periodically. Sometimes a regional band will rise quickly as Big Richard did in the course of a year.

The annual Out to Lunch on Wednesdays is also in full swing featuring a different band each week. Live music in Missoula is bringing the community together and creating memories that transcend the immediate experience. It makes Missoula a special place to live.