Music News & Reviews

PHISH, Keith Urban head lineup for summer season at casino venues

Keith Urban performs two nights at the Lake Tahoe Summer Outdoor Concert Series at Harveys.
Keith Urban performs two nights at the Lake Tahoe Summer Outdoor Concert Series at Harveys. AP

It is never too early to plan for summer concerts. The tickets sell fast once the word gets out and most major touring artists are on the road for the busy season. There are two major outdoor venues in the Tahoe-Northern California casino market, the Summer Concert Series at Thunder Valley and the Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series at Harveys Outdoor Arena. They are both beginning to announce their seasons. Plenty of acts to come, but here is what is on offer now:

Harveys has booked “An Evening with PHISH” for two nights, July 17 and 18. If prior experience is to be kept in mind, score tickets as soon as possible. PHISH fans are legion and many like to follow the band through its stops ($80).

Harveys goes country on July 21 and 22 with Keith Urban, joined by Kelsea Ballerini ($59.50-$139.50). Then the relative youngsters take over on Aug. 18 with singer Charlie Puth (“How Long”) and actress-singer Hailee Steinfeld ($39.50-$69.50). A reliable warhorse, the Dave Matthews Band, will fill the arena on Sept. 7 ($95). (All tickets are at Ticketmaster or

Thunder Valley has scheduled “The Price Is Right” for two nights, so “come on down” on June 1 and 2 ($49.95-$69.95). V101’s annual Summer Jam is set for June 8, this year with TLC, Nelly, and Tony! Toni! Tone! (($49.95-$179.95). Comedian Dane Cook is set for June 15 ($52.95-$99.95) and Gabriel Iglesias will appear June 29 ($52.95-$99.95). (Tickets at

Pepper is on the menu at Thunder Valley tonight. Pepper, besides being a spice, is also the Hawaiian word for family, and by extension for togetherness. The rock-reggae-Hawaiian band Pepper formed in 1996, but caught on in 2001 when they were included in the Warped Tour.

The three pieces of Pepper are guitarist Kaleo Wassman, bassist Bret Bollinger, and drummer Yesod Williams. They have over the past ten years played along with 311, Slightly Stoopid, and the Wailers and released several albums, including “Kona Town,” “In with the Old,” and the wonderfully-titled “Pink Crustaceans and Good Vibrations.” (7:30 p.m.; $33.95;

Staying power is rare in show business, but the group America has it in abundance. Not only have Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell stayed together since they joined forces in 1970, but “A Horse with No Name” has stuck around as one of the biggest earworm hits of rock. There were other hits with staying power, like “Ventura Highway,” “Tin Man,” “Sister Golden Hair” and even “Muskrat Love.”

America originally was a trio, but founding member Dan Peek left in 1977 and went solo with Pat Boone’s Christian label Lions and Lambs. (He passed away in 2011.) Peek was an essential part of the band’s sound but Beckley and Bunnell adjusted and made it as a duet. Notably, they were one of the first rock groups to perform in casino showrooms, back in the 1970s when such venues were shunned as too oriented toward popular music and featuring unhip audiences. It worked for them, and others followed, the doors finally busting open with Alice Cooper and Jefferson Airplane. America plays Cache Creek on Saturday, Feb. 3. (8 p.m.; $49-$75;

Comedian Bill Burr comes into the Reno Ballroom across from the Silver Legacy on Friday night, Feb. 2. ($63-$91; Ticketmaster)