Once the Columbus City Center mall went vacant Downtown, The Beat thought it would make for a cool combination regional train/commuter rail station.

Once the Columbus City Center mall went vacant Downtown, The Beat thought it would make for a cool combination regional train/commuter rail station.

Since the structure is gone, and Columbus Commons is cool, that's not likely to happen. However, you can catch a Manhattan Transfer there Saturday, July 19, as the legendary vocal jazz quartet joins the Columbus Symphony Orchestra for Picnic With the Pops.

Adult general admission tickets are $23/$25. Table seating also is available. Visit picnicwiththepops.com.


Columbus Symphony Pops conductor Albert-George Schram will give another heroic performance on the podium for the CSO's Popcorn Pops concerts for families series Friday, July 18. Music from Star Wars, Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harry Potter and more will be featured. Children are invited to come dressed as their favorite hero.

Tickets are $8. Visit picnicwiththepops.com.

You've waited and waited, and now, seven years after going on hiatus, and marking the 25th anniversary of its formation, landmark progressive bluegrass band Nickel Creek is back.

Sara Watkins, Chris Thile and Sean Watkins were mere children when they became a sensation. Despite their longevity and the fact they've been busy with other projects in the seven-year interim, there is still plenty of music-making left in this outfit that was embraced for its incorporation of influences as far-flung as classical, '60s pop and modern alternative rock and for its good old-fashioned picking and vocal harmonies.

Nickel Creek, with opener The Secret Sisters, will play Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Saturday, July 19. Tickets are $35. Visit promowestlive.com.

You may have noticed that The Milk Carton Kids aren't hard to find these days. They're crisscrossing North America, playing a plethora of live shows and even recording some for you to take home (the DVD Live from Lincoln Theatre was released in April).

The Los Angeles-based duo evokes shades of Simon and Garfunkel. The perils of comparisons to such a timeless pair aside, the Kids' simple grace, vocal harmonies and gifted turns of phrase result in gorgeous folk-pop of the first order.

The Milk Carton Kids will be in town for a gig at the Lincoln Theatre Tuesday, July 22. Jim Bianco opens.

Tickets are $23.90 -- and scarce. Visit capa.com.

Singer-songwriters Gavin DeGraw and Matt Nathanson cut their teeth in the clubs and coffeehouses of New York and San Francisco, respectively. While both spin tunes and tales literate enough for diehard folkies, their sensibility is decidedly pop.

And they have saved audiences some trouble by teaming up for a tour that stops at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Wednesday, July 23.

DeGraw is, in The Beat's estimation, a signature modern pop artist for the times -- performing literate, catchy and well-crafted tunes. Nathanson boasts an acerbic wit and a nails-and-broken-glass approach to self-reflection.

Andrew McMahon opens the evening. Tickets are $37.50/ $40. Visit promowestlive.com.

Ahh, the Nuge. It's easy to forget any more that Ted Nugent is a guitar slinger par excellence. He knows from rock 'n' roll riffing and maintains a stage presence as crazy as ever.

He hits the Newport Music Hall stage Thursday, July 24, for a special 30th anniversary of Promowest Productions concert. Pistol Day Parade opens.

Tickets are $28.50/$30. Visit promowestlive.com.