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Concert preview: Music nostalgia and novelty spring onstage this quarter

(Kimi Jung/Daily Bruin)

By Ruwani Jayasekara, Sydney Gaw, Reid Sperisen, Puja Anand, and Allison Bushong

April 17, 2024 5:39 p.m.

This post was updated April 23 at 7:53 p.m.

This quarter, artists are hopping onto the stage.

From decades-long discographies to the latest lullabies, musicians are setting off the spring soundwaves. Whether it’s a return to the stage or a celebration of newness, there’s something for every stage of life this season.

Read on for the Daily Bruin’s picks for artists that are making a splash.

The graphic for Justin Timberlake's The Forget Tomorrow World Tour depicts the former *NSYNC member gesturing with a thumbs up. The tour will have include two stops at the Kia Forum in mid-May. (Courtesy of Live Nation)
The graphic for Justin Timberlake’s “The Forget Tomorrow World Tour” depicts the former *NSYNC member gesturing with a thumbs up. The tour will include two stops at the Kia Forum in mid-May. (Courtesy of Live Nation)

“The Forget Tomorrow World Tour” (Justin Timberlake)

Justin Timberlake is feeling selfish this spring.

The former *NSYNC member is taking the stage after five years, kicking off his “The Forget Tomorrow World Tour” on April 29 in Vancouver before winding down the coast to Los Angeles’ Kia Forum on May 17 and 18. The tour, including shows in Canada, United States and select European countries, comes six weeks after his comeback album “Everything I Thought It Was.” Timberlake announced his long-awaited return to live concerts on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” that his album is a product of the last four years. Tickets for the LA shows begin at around $118 on Ticketmaster.

To build excitement for his album and tour, Timberlake has been putting on free concerts across the nation, beginning in his hometown Memphis. His first solo album in five years, “Everything I Thought It Was” is an ode to Timberlake’s vibrant career, reminiscing his “Prince of Pop” days while dabbling in *NSYNC reunions for “Paradise.” The singer wrote on Instagram that his 18-track album encompasses where he’s been and where he hopes to go. Timberlake’s single “Selfish” set the stage with its nostalgic early 2000s sound and boy band lyrics. His signature syncopated rhythms, layered harmonics and contemporary dance moves give audiences a taste of what Timberlake has in store for his return to the stage.

From love ballads to funk-pop grooves, Timberlake is ensuring the concert will be everything audiences thought it would be.

– Puja Anand

[Related: Road to Royce: Student bands face off for chance to perform at historic Royce Hall]

Lizzy McAlpine runs in a field as part of the poster for the singer-songwriter's Older Tour. Named after her latest album, the tour will include two dates at the Greek Theatre. (Courtesy of Lizzy McAlpine)
Lizzy McAlpine runs in a field as part of the poster for the singer-songwriter’s “The Older Tour.” Named after her latest album, the tour will include two dates at the Greek Theatre. (Courtesy of Lizzy McAlpine)

“The Older Tour” (Lizzy McAlpine)

Lizzy McAlpine will be returning to the stage with new insights on love, loss and impermanence.

The indie folk-pop musician will make appearances at the Greek Theatre for “The Older Tour” on May 18 and 19. The tour’s setlist showcases songs from her latest album, “Older,” including fan favorites “The Elevator” and the eponymous track. The first leg of “The Older Tour” will start in San Diego and take a loop through the West with back-to-back performances in LA. The tour will then make its way to the East Coast, and later Australia, Europe and the United Kingdom. Now available, ticket prices start at around $31 on Ticketmaster.

Known for her ethereal vocals and heartbreaking lyrics, McAlpine brings emotional complexity and unabashed vulnerability to her live performances. “Older” is the singer-songwriter’s third album, and its themes center around challenging relationships, the death of her father and her fear of aging. McAlpine gained popularity on social media for her thematically poignant track, “ceilings,” and has since continued to compose her music with delicate harmonies and rich instrumentals.

With “The Older Tour,” McAlpine promises fans a night that won’t get “Better Than This.”

– Sydney Gaw

Sporting blonde hair with red tips, Avril Lavigne poses with hands on hips. The "What The Hell" singer will embark on her Greatest Hits tour which includes a performance at the Kia Forum at the end of May. (Courtesy of Avril Lavigne)
Sporting blonde hair with red tips, Avril Lavigne poses with hands on hips. The “What The Hell” singer will embark on her “Greatest Hits Tour” which includes a performance at the Kia Forum at the end of May. (Courtesy of Avril Lavigne)

“Greatest Hits Tour” (Avril Lavigne)

Avril Lavigne is making things simple – all her greatest hits, one night.

Celebrating over 20 years of music, the pop-punk princess is slated to take the Kia Forum stage May 30, an early stop on her 27-date tour throughout North America. The Canadian singer will be handpicking hits throughout her entire discography, including fan-favorite punk anthems “Sk8er Boi,” “Girlfriend” and “Complicated.” Joining the ranks of acclaimed musicians who have performed at the iconic LA venue, Lavigne’s Forum appearance is currently on sale, with tickets starting at around $101.

On her Instagram, the Grammy-nominated artist announced the tour dates and invited special requests from fans who have followed her throughout her extensive career. Joined by supporting acts Simple Plan and All Time Low, Lavigne pays homage to her touring roots as the former opened for her first national tour back in 2003. Echoing the female-driven hyper-pop antithesis that has become Lavigne’s signature, the “Greatest Hits Tour” commemorates the influence Lavigne has had on punk-rock and proclaims to her earliest fans, “Here’s to Never Growing Up.”

Embracing the hits that put her in the spotlight, Avril Lavigne is sure to be “The Best Damn Thing” to grace the stage this spring.

– Ruwani Jayasekara

[Related: Q&A: ‘Multiple Talking Women’ hosts discuss origins of podcast, importance of improv]

A blue to beige gradient underscores a graphic reading the 2024 dates for Janet Jackson's Together Again Tour. The tour continues this June after its first leg in 2023. (Courtesy of Live Nation)
A blue-to-beige gradient underscores a graphic reading the 2024 dates for Janet Jackson’s “Together Again” tour. The tour continues this June after its first leg in 2023. (Courtesy of Live Nation)

“Together Again” (Janet Jackson)

Janet Jackson is proving that it’s never too late to get together again.

The international superstar’s “Together Again” tour continues this summer after the critically acclaimed concert series sold out shows nationwide last year. Jackson will return to Southern California alongside special guest Nelly for performances June 8 at Inglewood’s Kia Forum and June 9 at Anaheim’s Honda Center, where ticket prices start around $59. Packed with spirited choreography and groovy nostalgia, “Together Again” promises to be a two-hour spectacle that will offer concertgoers a night of fun through energetic renditions of music from across Jackson’s legendary four-decade career.

Between 1986 and 2001, Jackson sent 27 singles to the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100, and scored her seventh number-one album with her most recent LP, 2015’s “Unbreakable.” The “Together Again” concert is set to feature performances of all 10 of her number one hits, from Grammy-winning classics such as “That’s the Way Love Goes” and “All for You,” to the feisty “Black Cat,” effervescent “When I Think of You” and exuberant 1997 chart-topper the tour is named after. Judging by the tour’s 2023 setlist, “Together Again” will also likely include fresh takes on several of Jackson’s finest deep cuts, such as “Lonely,” “Free Xone” and “Damita Jo.”

For fervent fans of Jackson’s music and casual appreciators of pop culture, “Together Again” is sure to unite audiences as they watch the titanic entertainer.

– Reid Sperisen

Vampire Weekend&squot;s "Only God Was Above Us" Tour poster depicts an individual walking sideways on a metro. The band&squot;s Los Angeles stop will take place at the Hollywood Bowl in June. (Courtesy of Vampire Weekend)
Vampire Weekend’s “Only God Was Above Us Tour” poster depicts an individual walking sideways on a metro. The band’s Los Angeles stop will take place at the Hollywood Bowl in June. (Courtesy of Vampire Weekend)

“Only God Was Above Us Tour” (Vampire Weekend)

This spring, Vampire Weekend will perform before God – and thousands of fans.

Just three days after the album’s April 5 release, Vampire Weekend kicked off the North American leg of the “Only God Was Above Us Tour.” June 12 will mark the band’s return to the Hollywood Bowl for the first time in over four years, accompanied by opening acts The English Beat and Voodoo Glow Skulls. Tickets start at around $40.

The group’s fifth studio album received a warm welcome after Vampire Weekend’s surprise addition to Coachella’s weekend one setlist, which brought new songs like “Gen-X Cops” live to Southern California for the first time. The “Only God Was Above Us Tour” revives the bouncy and preppy spirit that drew fans to hits like “A-Punk,” while introducing a more cynical and critical style in the lyricism of new release “Classical.” Vampire Weekend’s setlist combines old and new hits, and fans can look forward to a resurgence of the indie rock band’s stage presence.

Vampire Weekend will certainly “Connect” with audiences this spring in their highly-anticipated return to the stage.

– Allison Bushong

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