8 Cincinnati-Area Concerts You Won't Want to Miss In May

This May, acts like Billy Idol, Ella Mai and Dave Matthews Band will take a trip to the Queen City.

click to enlarge Father John Misty - Photo: Pari Dukovic
Photo: Pari Dukovic
Father John Misty

The weather is warmer, the sun is out longer and flowers are blooming which means live music is soon to take over the city. While summer may be known as the season of concerts, spring is where Cincinnati’s music venues come back to life with artists announcing nationwide tours every day. This May, legends like Billy Idol and rising stars like Ella Mai will bring the heat to the Queen City. Ahead, we are laying out the best concerts set to take place in venues across Cincinnati in May. 

Father John Misty
Folk-rock artist Father John Misty will make a stop at Bogart’s in May. The “Real Love Baby” singer will perform on May 3. Joshua Michael Tillman first began making music in 2004 as a solo artist using a variation of his real name, J. Tillman, until adopting his stage name Father John Misty in 2012. Father John Misty has released five albums over the past decade which have earned him four Grammy nominations and one win. His latest album, Chloë and the Next 20th Century, was released in 2022. 6:30 p.m. May 3. Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, livenation.com.

Gary Clark Jr.
Grammy Award-winning blues guitarist is heading to Cincinnati on May 3 to perform at the Andrew J Brady Music Center. Clark’s third studio album, released in 2019, This Land, peaked at six on the Billboard Top 200, garnering 1 billion streams worldwide. Husband and wife blues duo Lindsay Beaver & Brad Stivers will join Clark on the tour. 7 p.m. May 3. Andrew J Brady Music Center, 25 Race St., Downtown, ticketmaster.com.

Billy Idol
Rock legend Bill Idol is bringing his rebellious spirit to Cincinnati. Attendees can expect Idol to light up PNC Pavilion by performing the biggest hits from his 40-year career, as well as from his latest EPs. The singer will be accompanied by his longtime collaborator and lead guitarist Steve Stevens and pop punk band Kelsy Karter & The Heroines. 8 p.m. May 6. PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave., California, riverbend.org.

Sullivan King
Heavy metal DJ Sullivan King is bringing his head-banging hits to Bogart’s. King announced his “Thrones of Blood” tour after releasing an album of the same name, and a stop in Cincinnati is part of that tour. King has found a way to stand out in the EDM scene by blending dubstep and rock to make music for people to rage to. Concertgoers can expect epic guitar riffs, DJing and crowd surfing that King is known for at his live shows. 6:30 p.m.May 10. Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, livenation.com.

John Mellencamp
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp is embarking on a 76-stop tour where he will visit Cincinnati's Aronoff Center in May. His “John Mellencamp: Live and In Person” tour will rock the city on May 12 and 13 with a mix of new and classic hits spanning Mellencamp’s decades-long career where he’s had 22 Top 40 hits. The tour will start and end in Mellencamp's home state of Indiana. 8 p.m. May 12 and May 13. Procter & Gamble Hall, Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org.

Larry June
California-based rapper Larry June will bring his “Larry's Market Run 2023” tour to Bogart’s on May 15. June rose to prominence in 2014 when Complex shared his mixtape, Route 80, which led to a record deal with Warner Records. The tour comes along with June’s newest album, The Great Escape, which is a collaboration with producer the Alchemist and features tracks “60 Days” and “89 Earthquake." June also released a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the album through a 13-minute documentary. 7 p.m. May 15. Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, livenation.com.

Dave Matthews Band
Beloved rock group Dave Matthews Band is stopping by Riverbend Music Center on May 27. The group's catalogue goes back to 1994, when they first released their major debut album, Under The Table And Dreaming. Throughout their decades of live performances, Dave Matthews Band has been known for playing songs differently in each performance. The tour will coincide with the band’s newest album, Walk Around The Moon, which will be released on May 19, just eight days before the Cincinnati show. Fans also will have the opportunity to donate $2 to The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign, which has an ongoing partnership with Dave Matthews. The Plant a Billion Trees campaign is a forest restoration effort with the goal of planting a billion trees by 2025. 7:30 p.m. May 27. Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave, California, Ohio, riverbend.org.

Ella Mai
British R&B singer Ella Mai will bring her “The Heart On My Sleeve Tour” to Bogart's on May 27. Mai rose to fame in 2018 with the release of her debut hit single “Boo’d Up,” which reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy for best R&B song. Mai announced the tour after releasing her sophomore album, Heart On My Sleeve, which features her RIAA Gold-certified single, “Not Another Love Song”. 7 p.m. May 27. Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, livenation.com

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