Spring is here again, tender age in bloom. And you know what that means? It’s time for the Cox Concert Series at the Walmart AMP and we’ve got an absolutely amazing slate of big shows coming to Northwest Arkansas this year! If you’ve lived in the area for a long time and remember what life was like before the AMP, it’s probably pretty surreal for you to think about so many shows of this caliber coming here all at once, but it’s really happening and we’re really excited!
Here’s a list of all the shows that have been announce the Walmart AMP in 2018 so far.
SAT 5/12 – Primus, Mastodon, and All Them Witches
WED 5/30 – Dave Matthews Band
SAT 6/2 – Jim Gaffigan
TUE 6/12 – Ray Lamontagne and Neko Case
MON 6/25 – Kesha and Macklemore
TUE 6/26 – Chicago, REO Speedwagon, and Michael Tolcher
THU 7/12 – Kenny Chesney
THU 7/19 – Modest Mouse
FRI 7/20 – Halsey
SAT 7/21 – Niall Horan and Maren Morris
SUN 7/22 – Kidz Bop
WED 7/25 – Pentatonix
SUN 7/29 – Weezer, Pixies, and Sleigh Bells
SAT 8/11 – G-Eazy, Lil Uzi Vert, Ty Dolla $ign and P-Lo
WED 8/15 – Keith Urban and Lindsay Ell
SUN 8/26 – Charlie Puth and Hailee Steinfeld
SAT 9/22 – Alan Jackson
THU 10/27 – NEEDTOBREATH with JOHNNYSWIM & The Rocketboys
We’ll absolutely be talking more over the next several months about all of these shows, but for now here’s a brief preview of a few of the shows we’re particularly excited to see! We’re a bit partial to the rock and roll, obviously, but rest assured we’ll be covering the great country and pop acts that are coming as well!
May 12 – Primus, Mastodon, and All Them Witches
Technically Primus has played the AMP before, though it was back when it was in the parking lot of the Northwest Arkansas Mall. They were here in 2011, but now they’re back with Mastodon, and holy cow is this show going to rule! Primus is touring in support of its most recent album, last year’s The Desaturating Seven, which, with the return of drummer Tim Alexander, saw the band’s classic lineup recording its first LP of original Primus material since 1995’s Tales From the Punchbowl.
Metal masters Mastodon are also touring hot on the heels of a new full length, following their 2017 release Emperor of Sand. This is a fantastic line up, especially if you dig on superb musicianship and complex arrangements, and it really sets the tone for all the magnificent heavy shows coming this summer.
July 19 – Modest Mouse
Another band that has previously performed here, actually twice, though it was much longer ago and under far more modest (pun intended and irresistible) circumstances. Modest Mouse did a show at Shulertown on Sept. 30, 2000, and Clunk Music Hall on Sept. 22, 2001, well before they burst into the mainstream with the release of Good News For People Who Love Bad News in 2004. Their last record came out in 2015, and, as of this writing, there has been no definitive announcement by the indie rock stalwarts of details about their new album — but, as always, rumors abound, and maybe they’re using this tour to road test some material. We’ll see.
July 29 – Weezer, Pixies, and Sleigh Bells
Wow. In a summer filled with spectacular nostalgia, this show might be the best for Gen X rock fans. Almost everyone who graduated high school in the mid-to-late ‘90s has owned a copy of Weezer’s self-titled debut (commonly known as the Blue Album) on CD at some point. Songs like “Buddy Holly,” Undone (The Sweater Song),” and “Say It Ain’t So” practically defined that decade. Since their heyday, Weezer remains positively prolific, releasing a wealth of music, including three more eponymous long players. They’re also known for their fun, high energy gigs, and it’s probably safe to assume that a large outdoor crowd is going to bring out the best in them.
Like so many of their contemporaries and successors, Weezer has always been very upfront about the tremendous artistic debt they owe to the Pixies. Under appreciated during their original run, the alternative icons reformed in 2004 and have toured consistently since. Not content to coast forever on their considerable legacy, the Pixies began releasing new music in the past several years. Their most recent effort is 2016’s Head Carrier, which was a bit of a return to form following the more experimental Indie Cindy in 2014. There’s been no word on a follow-up, but there are already enough masterpieces in their catalog already to fill many sets worth of stage time, so it will be just fine if they stick to the classics while they’re here.
However, Gen Xers don’t get to have all the fun on this one; millennials will surely remember Sleigh Bells blasting onto the music scene under the wing of MIA in 2010 with their debut Treats, featuring hits like “Tell’em” and “Infinity Guitars,” which were nigh escapable at the time of their release and remain ubiquitous today. Come on out to this show, bridge the generation gap, and have a wonderful time!
July 31 – Coheed and Cambria, Taking Back Sunday, and The Story So Far
Fun local trivia! Did you know that there’s actually a connection between Coheed and Cambria and Northwest Arkansas? Prior to their most recent record, 2015’s The Color Before The Sun, all of Coheed and Cambria front man Claudio Sanchez’s lyrics were based on The Amory Wars, a fictional universe created by Sanchez. Although the music of Coheed and Cambria was the primary medium through which the story of The Amory Wars was told, Sanchez has also written a large number of comic books telling the story in a much more straightforward and visual manner. The comic story of Coheed’s second LP, their commercial breakthrough In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, featured a great deal of artwork from current Marvel Comics superstar artist and Northwest Arkansas resident Aaron Kuder (he currently draws the “Guardians of the Galaxy,” maybe you’ve heard of them), who got his big break into the comic book industry by working with Sanchez.
It’s also been a few years since Taking Back Sunday has put out a new album and neither band has made any announcements about the imminent release of new material, so who knows what we can expect from their show here other an excellent than listening to two of the best and most important bands of post 2000 rock. If you missed the Vans Warped Tour in 2004, here’s your chance to partially make up for it.
August 13 – Slayer, Lamb of God, Anthrax, Testament, and Napalm Death
Holy cow! This one is truly remarkable for a bunch of reasons that should be obvious. If you’re a serious student of heavy metal, you absolutely do not want to miss the chance to see these five legends. Sadly, this will almost certainly be your last chance to see Slayer, who are in the midst of their farewell tour following the untimely passing of founding guitarist and metal god Jeff Hanneman in 2013 and the release of their final studio album Repentless in 2015.
Also, every single band on this bill is metal royalty! Lamb of God is easily one of the most important heavy bands of the last 20 years and they are fresh off a hiatus. Anthrax, one of the “Big Four” of thrash metal alongside Slayer, Metallica, and Megadeth, played a terrific show at George’s Majestic Lounge in 2016.
Testament is another exceedingly consequential band from the early days of thrash metal and are probably best known for their 1989 hit “Practice What You Preach” from their full-length of the same name.
Extreme pioneers Napalm Death, yet another tenured group, are probably the heaviest band on the bill somehow. They are arguably most notorious for their song “You Suffer,” which at one point was recognized by Guinness as the World’s Shortest Song and was widely influential on the then nascent genre grindcore. This show really is one for the heavy metal bucketlist.
What’s really cool is that this is not the final list and there’s no telling what other great shows will soon be announced! As always, you should watch Shindigmusic closely for all the latest news on shows coming to the Walmart AMP and every other venue in the region!