Tuned In: The Best Concert Posters of May

Welcome back to Tuned In – an ongoing series that highlights the best concert posters of the month (if you missed April’s roundup, check it out here!). These limited edition posters are typically available for purchase at each band’s merchandise table during the show, with a smaller portion sold directly from the illustrator or design studio.

Any number of factors can contribute to what makes a poster great, including overall design and color, quality of paper, and the chosen ink. The value of a poster can fluctuate based on size of the edition, the concert venue, or significance – if it represents an anniversary, record release, or reunion.

As concert season hits full swing, the options for this month were immense. Tough choices were made, but these seven posters are the best of May:

The Avett Brothers by Mariano Arcamone

The Avett Brothers, Springfield, MO by Mariano Arcamore
The Avett Brothers, Springfield, MO., by Mariano Arcamone

The Avett Brothers’ tour marches on, and they started the month off right with a little help from Mariano Arcamone. Hailing from Buenos Aires, Mariano has created local posters for Dave Matthews Band, Real Estate, and The Vaccines. His work in the states has been limited, but that’s sure to change with this wonderful poster for The Avett Brothers’ show in Springfield, Mo. The 4-color print is available in limited quantities and on sale now.

Flight To Mars by Brad Klausen

Flight To Mars, Seattle WA, by Brad Klausen
Flight To Mars, Seattle WA, by Brad Klausen

If you’re unfamiliar with Flight To Mars, that’s understandable. The band, a tribute to the ’70s rock group UFO, is a labor of love for Pearl Jam guitarist, Mike McCready. Along with friends and local musicians, the band convenes annually for a benefit show, with proceeds going directly to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America’s “Camp Oasis” program. Brad Klausen’s poster sold out immediately, but members of Pearl Jam’s fan club can still purchase it while supplies last.

The Decemberists by Nate Duval

The Decemberists, Los Angeles, CA. by Nate Duval
The Decemberists, Los Angeles, CA., by Nate Duval

The Decemberists wrapped up their Spring tour last month, but not before back-to-back dates in California. Nate Duval had the pleasure of creating three posters in all for this recent trek across the US, including the final night at Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre. Duval has been on an absolute tear lately, working with The Black Keys, Tame Impala, The Tallest Man on Earth, Father John Misty and DIIV within the last six weeks! The 6-color, signed Artist Edition is available now.

The Pixies by Ken Taylor

The Pixies, New York by Ken Taylor
The Pixies, New York by Ken Taylor

Wow. I mean, jaw-dropping, dying to see this in person, wow. Ken Taylor’s poster for the band’s three-night run in New York is one of his best, deservedly so for a group as legendary as the Pixies. This poster has everything we’ve come to expect from Ken Taylor: striking images, bold colors and metallic ink. No word yet on when he will sell his artist edition, so keep your eyes peeled to the poster section of Posters and Toys, the only place to buy Ken’s posters.

The Tallest Man On Earth by Charles Crisler

Tallest Man On Earth, US Tour by Charles Crisler
Tallest Man On Earth, US Tour, by Charles Crisler

With the release of The Tallest Man On Earth’s latest album, Dark Bird Is Home, comes a string of dates across the US, and this poster, created by Charles Crisler. Crisler, who is the sole designer and proprietor of 27 Design Co., created this 4-color print, with an edition of 800, signed and numbered. The tour has wrapped up, so the only place to get this is through his shop.

My Morning Jacket by Justin Helton

My Morning Jacket, Knoxville TN. (Artist Edition) by Justin Helton
My Morning Jacket, Knoxville TN. (Artist Edition) by Justin Helton.
My Morning Jacket, Knoxville, TN. (Sparkle Foil Variant) by Justin Helton
My Morning Jacket, Knoxville, TN. (Sparkle Foil Variant) by Justin Helton.

Justin Helton, of Status Serigraph, finds himself on our list in consecutive months with this extremely limited poster for My Morning Jacket’s show in Knoxville, Tenn. The Artist Edition of 40 sold out immediately, as well as his Sparkle Foil variant, limited to 20! You might have missed this one, but fans of My Morning Jacket will have plenty of chances to grab a poster as the band has dates scheduled through October.

Primus by EMEK

Primus, Morrison, CO. by EMEK
Primus, Morrison, CO., by EMEK

Without question, EMEK’s poster for the recent Primus show at Red Rocks is one of the best I’ve ever seen. As I mentioned last month, Primus is currently on tour with a re-imagining of the soundtrack to Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. Among the many artists that have been asked to contribute to this project, none of them have taken it to the level of EMEK. From the die-cut, stamp border to the oversized, googly eyes, this print is as unique and awe-inspiring as the venue itself. If you’re interested in one, I’d sign up for EMEK’s mailing list; these have yet to go on sale, and show editions are already going for over $300.

How are we going to top this for next month? Maybe you’ve seen a poster that deserves to be shared. Let us know and please go out and support these amazing bands and phenomenal artists!

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Paul Vinas

Chicago-based blogger on a steady diet of vinyl and pizza.