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Uh-oh, those summer nights

With looming finals dampening everyone’s spirits, it seems to be the perfect time to look ahead to a sunnier, more melodic season. This summer, big name bands and those just getting off the ground will come to Charlottesville to perform for anxiously awaiting crowds — and if you are staying in town, I would highly recommend you check them out. There is no better way to spend a beautiful summer evening than rocking out to a great live band.

Immediately following the last final exam on May 10, Eli Cook Band and Sun Dried Opossum will be playing at The Southern. Eli Cook Band’s blues music will rock your socks off, and the acoustic songs promise to be top notch — especially when contrasted with the electric sets featuring Rob Richmond on bass and Wade Warfield on thunder-kit. The band already has five self-produced albums and has performed with big names like BB King, Johnny Winter, Robert Cray and Gary Clark Jr.

Sun Dried Opossum has released three albums of material since 1999, however the band dates back to 1992. It will be interesting to see if the group can keep up with the fresh Eli Cook Band’s energy, but they promise to provide an interesting show regardless. If you aren’t already at Beach Week, tickets are $8 and the doors open at 8 p.m. Check it out!

Without a doubt, the one show I most wish I was going to be in town to see is country music star Sara Evans’ concert. I have loved mulling over a bad breakup with some heartfelt Sara Evans lyrics — she is well known for her latest hit “A Little Bit Stronger” — and to see her in person would be out-of-this-world. After a six-year hiatus between ‘Stronger’ and her previous album, Evans is ready to show her chops once more and will be performing at Paramount Theater May 15. With such an emotionally diverse album, listeners might be unsure what to expect from a live performance, but in an interview with Paramount Theater she assures, “I really separate my personal life from my artistic life and my professional life. I could be going through a horrible, horrible day, but I could still go and write a happy song.” Tickets can be found at varying prices on Paramount Theater’s website and the show’s doors open at 8 p.m.

But don’t stop at just music, go for the full performance! Live Arts will be performing the hit musical “Legally Blonde” this summer July 19 – Aug. 10. Elle Woods is back and better than ever, and this volunteer theater will almost certainly do her justice. This musical became well-known in and out of the Broadway world after MTV showed it on television one Thanksgiving. While there is no Reese Witherspoon — she might still be arguing with the cops about her drunk husband — I am sure that whoever is playing the perky blonde sorority girl turned Harvard Law student will sing her way to stardom.

These aren’t the only newsworthy performances this summer. Here are some highlights that are sure to be top-quality and worthy of your summer nights:

Ryan Bingham, Jefferson Theater, May 11

George Jones, John Paul Jones Arena, May 17

Frankie Valli and Christophe Rousset, Paramount Theater, May 18

Colt Ford, Jefferson Theater, May 31

Primus, Charlottesville Pavilion, June 5

Cut Copy, Jefferson Theater, June 6

James McCartney, The Southern, June 7

The Vaccines, Jefferson Theater, June 12

Japandroids, Jefferson Theater, June 20

Gary Allen, Charlottesville Pavilion, June 27

Kurt Vile, Jefferson Theater, July 19

Yes, Charlottesville Pavilion, July 23