Summer is for rock ’n’ rollers. You can argue the limits of that statement all you want. But head up to the Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center (the name screams teen rebellion) on just about any night this summer, stand in that sweet spot equidistant from pavilion security and the Porta-Johns, take a deep whiff, and tell me I’m wrong. (Not too deep there, Long Tall Sally. Don’t you have a presentation to give tomorrow?)

The Well Done team rocks as hard as anyone. And to prove it, we’ve taken the pulse of the office when it comes to summer concerts around Indianapolis—from Ruoff to White River and all the beer halls in between. Here are the shows we’re most excited to see this summer, and why we’re looking forward to them. Hope to see you there, too. Peace out.

Young the Giant / Fitz & The Tantrums

June 16 – Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park

Jennifer Welch: “Fitz and The Tantrums is one of my favorite live shows to see (I’ve seen them four times already), and I think the Lawn is the best venue in Indy. In addition, I always try to head up to Conner Prairie for a few Symphony on the Prairie shows. This summer I’m looking forward to seeing Smokey Robinson (the real Smokey). This is another great venue because you can bring in your own food and alcohol, which makes the whole experience really fun and affordable!”

The National / Courtney Barnett

June 26 – Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park

Ken Honeywell: “I’ve seen The National and am most interested in seeing Courtney. Anything she wants to play is fine with me. I’m just hoping for a nice night for a bike ride.”

Dave Matthews Band

June 28 & 29 – Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center

Teresa Tatum: “The only concert I have planned so far for the summer is Dave Matthews Band on Friday, June 28. I look forward to DMB every summer, but this is the first time in years I’ll only be going to one of the two nights. I’ve given Dave and Ticketmaster too much of my money over the years, but I’m too sentimental to not go at all.

“I’ve seen them every time that they’ve stopped in Noblesville over the last 15ish years, plus I went to their Caravan festival during an off-year. I always hope to hear “Everyday.” They haven’t played it much in recent years, but a quick look at Setlist.fm tells me it’s making a comeback!”

The Beths / Girl Friday

July 11 – The Hi-Fi

Robin Beery: “I’m psyched to see The Beths, a New Zealand power-pop band, at the Hi-Fi in July. Their debut LP, Future Me Hates Me, was one of my favorite albums of 2018, and I really have to hand it to the Hi-Fi for consistently bringing great bands, from all over the world, to the club around the corner from where I work.

“I always appreciate that the crowd at the Hi-Fi seems to listen just as hard to the opening act as they do to the headliner. Girl Friday, I’m looking forward to getting to know you, too.”

Jennie DeVoe

July 12 – Nickel Plate District Amphitheater

Casey Cawthon: “Jennie DeVoe at the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater is my must. Jennie has powerhouse pipes. The concert is free to attend. Fishers Parks & Recreation typically has food trucks on site and wine by the glass, but anyone’s welcome to bring their own food, drinks, or frisbees. It’s honestly one of my favorite summer traditions. It makes for the perfect girls’ night out, and since parking is convenient, it’s easy to arrive late or leave early.

“I don’t know Jennie’s music like I should, but she’s got a folk and blues style that could entertain me for hours. She’s also super-personable and really puts on a true show, despite the large crowd.”

Brad Paisley / Chris Lane / Riley Green

July 20 – Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center

Melissa Sunsdahl: “My sister and I are going to see Brad Paisley at Ruoff Home Mortgage Center (aka Deer Creek). We love country concerts, and Brad Paisley will definitely not disappoint. Summer outdoor concerts are magical, and we’re super excited! Here’s hoping it’s not 100 degrees or raining. Fingers crossed!”

Ben Folds / The Violent Femmes

August 10 – Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park

Abby Reckard: “We’ll be going to see Ben Folds at the Lawn in August, and I’m so excited. It will be Silas’ second concert, and the outdoor lawn venue is perfect for a baby who is content to sit on a blanket or hang out in the Ergobaby (fortunately ours is). This will be my third time seeing Ben Folds, and I’m really hoping to instill some of his musical brilliance and delightful wit in Silas at a young age.”

Weird Al Yankovic

August 29 – Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park

Alex Mattingly: “It’s hard to overstate the role Weird Al played in my childhood. I was on a pretty restrictive musical diet growing up, due to my mother’s draconian rules on lyrical content (‘No sex. No drugs. No cop killing.’) Weird Al served as a Trojan horse by which I heard mainstream music long before I heard the actual songs, allowing me to fake familiarity with so much music my peers took for granted.

“My ability to fit in under these false pretenses culminated when my high school speech team began singing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and I could sing along. Those idiots had no idea that I was actually singing Weird Al’s ‘Bohemian Polka,’ which was lyrically identical but musically, well, a polka.

“So it’s strange to admit that I’ve still never seen him in concert. The fact that anyone discovered by Dr. Demento would go on to have a decades-spanning career in novelty music is sort of staggering. Because of that, I guess I’ve just taken it for granted that there will always be another chance to finally see him live. But eventually I know there won’t be, so maybe 2019 is the year I finally cross this off my list.”

Photo of Courtney Barnett courtesy of digboston via Wikimedia Commons.