Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom ready to rock: Here's the lineup of acts for 2024

Max Sullivan
Portsmouth Herald

HAMPTON — Pete Davidson will make his debut at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom this summer alongside a slew of acts that include Bonnie Raitt, Aaron Lewis and KC and the Sunshine Band.

Forty-six shows from April to October have been announced for this year’s concert season, from rock to blues, country, tribute bands and comedians. Davidson, who rose to fame on "Saturday Night Live," will do two shows June 22 as part of his 2024 Prehab Tour.

“Pete Davidson coming in is a pretty big deal,” said Hampton Beach Casino marketing director Andy Herrick.

The Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, which seats 2,200, will see a host of rock, country, pop and standup comedy shows this summer, as well as "The Long Island Medium."

Joe Bonamassa, Teddy Swims, and The Used are also among the performers set to take the stage this year at the historic venue. The Casino has in past years hosted shows from artists as legendary as Jim Morrison, Willie Nelson and Jerry Garcia.

“It’s special,” Herrick said, “And really special for the patrons who come in often.”

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Aaron Lewis, Bonnie Raitt, Joe Bonamassa and more

Herrick said the Casino Ballroom’s slate of concerts appeals to a wide range of music fans. The shows span genres that include rock, country, blues, disco, emo and progressive.

Aaron Lewis will be at the Casino Ballroom July 11 and 12. Lewis is known for hit songs with the hard rock band Staind like “It’s Been Awhile” and “Outside.” Most recently, he has been playing country music. His new album “The Hill” recently debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes “All Genre” and “Country” charts.

“He spent some time living in Hampton years and years ago,” Herrick said. “It’s a special place for him.”

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Other country artists coming to the Ballroom this year include Charley Crockett June 5, Jo Dee Messina June 7, Priscilla Block July 7 and Kameron Marlowe July 25.

Bonnie Raitt returns June 18 to sing hits like “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and “Something to Talk About.” The renowned songwriter and slide guitarist won a Grammy in 2023 for Song of the Year for "Just Like That" and has continued to make Hampton Beach a consistent stop.

“She has a real affinity for Hampton, has some friends in town,” Herrick said. “Last time she walked onto the stage, she ripped a slide solo like nobody’s business and then started singing like an angel.”

Fans of blues guitarists will also look forward to Kenny Wayne Shepherd Aug. 8 and Joe Bonamassa Aug. 30 and 31. Herrick said Bonamassa once played at the Casino Ballroom opening for B.B. King when he was 12 years old and that the venue is fortunate to see him return so often.

Guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa returns to the Casino Ballroom Aug. 30 and 31. He has come to the Ballroom often, having played here when he was 12 opening for B.B. King, according to Casino Ballroom marketing director Andy Herrick.

Herrick said up-and-coming bands include the Driver Era May 3, as well as other more known bands like the Front Bottoms May 10. Teddy Swims, whose debut studio album “I’ve Tried Everything But Therapy (Part 1),” brings his soul and country-fused music to the Ballroom Aug. 7.

Oct. 14 will feature the supergroup Beat featuring members of King Crimson, as well as virtuoso guitarist Steve Vai and Danny Carey of Tool. Beat, a supergroup named for the King Crimson album of the same name, will perform three albums straight from the King Crimson catalogue with former members Adrian Belew and Tony Levin featured on guitar and bass, respectively.

Herrick said Beat will be playing the albums “Discipline,” “Beat” and “Three of a Perfect Pair.” Belew, who previously played with Talking Heads, came to the Casino Ballroom last year performing songs from the Talking Heads catalogue.

“Adrian Belew was great last year with the Talking Heads thing,” Herrick said. “This is a whole other ball game.”

Teddy Swims comes to the Casino Ballroom Aug. 7 after his first album "I Tried Everything But Therapy (Part 1)" debuted in September 2023.

Michael Franti and Spearhead are scheduled for June 25, while jam band icons Umphrey’s McGee are booked for July 5. KC and the Sunshine Band returns to the Casino Ballroom Aug. 15 with hits like “Get Down Tonight” and “Shake, Shake, Shake (Shake Your Booty).” Also appearing is Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue July 14 and a triple bill June 28 with Matt Nathanson, Blue October and Switchfoot.

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Stand-up and more: Pete Davidson to the 'Long Island Medium'

The Ballroom added a second show for Pete Davidson due to popular demand, according to a Facebook post by the venue March 1. His sets are scheduled for 7 and 10 p.m. on June 22.

Davidson has risen from an SNL cast member to making major motion pictures like “The King of Staten Island” and the new show “Bupkis” streaming on Peacock.

Comedian Pete Davidson is set to perform June 22 at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom.

Davidson is known for his commentary on mental health, including jokes about his own.

“I think he brings an authenticity to who he is,” Herrick said. “He’s funny and he resonates with a certain demographic.”

Registered nurse-turned-TikTok-influencer Blake Lynch, aka Nurse Blake, returns to the Casino Ballroom June 29 with his Shocked Advised Comedy Tour. Herrick said Casino staff joke you won’t want to get hurt the night Nurse Blake comes to perform in Hampton.

Registered nurse-turned-TikTok-influencer Blake Lynch, aka Nurse Blake, returns to the Casino Ballroom June 29.

“All the nurses will be at the Ballroom,” Herrick said. “He talks about all the things that everybody thinks.”

Kathleen Madigan is coming Aug. 24 after what Herrick called a successful show last summer. Madigan is known for her appearances on late-night television, specials on Netflix, Comedy Central, HBO and recently as a guest on Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”

“She really loved Hampton Beach,” Herrick said. “She had a blast.”

In other non-musical acts coming to the ballroom, TLC’s “Long Island Medium” star Theresa Caputo will be there June 1 and 2. Caputo will help people communicate with their deceased loved ones in front of a live audience.

Tribute bands from Queen to Led Zeppelin take center stage

More tribute shows are coming to the Casino Ballroom this year, starting with its first show. The Classic Rock Show is the season opener April 12, paying tribute to rock legends like Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits, The Who, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac and AC/DC.

“With the cost of some of the shows to see the actual bands, it’s a really cost-effective way to still enjoy the same music,” Herrick said.

Get the Led Out, a tribute to Led Zeppelin, keeps the vintage rock rolling when they appear April 13. Get the Led Out has brought their show to the Casino Ballroom for several years in a row now. They focus less on appearing like the four-piece Led Zeppelin and instead use six players to replicate the band’s recorded catalog.

One Night of Queen returns to the Casino Ballroom coming to April 19 and 20.

Herrick said the group loves coming to the Casino Ballroom for the rock and roll history. Robert Plant’s face is among those on the wall inside the Ballroom.

“That particular band loves the fact that Led Zeppelin actually played here,” Herrick said.

One Night with Queen returns this year for two shows April 19 and 20, having played sold-out shows at the Ballroom in recent years. Other tributes include Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, which plays the music of the Grateful Dead, as well as Face 2 Face: Tribute to Elton John and Billy Joel.

The Dark Desert Eagles, a tribute to the Eagles formed by Pat Badger of Extreme, will play July 27. Brit Floyd will play two nights July 18 and 19, while Dirty Deeds the AC/DC experience will play July 20. Badfish, a tribute to Sublime, comes back July 6.

Historic Casino Ballroom still a draw at Hampton Beach

The Casino Ballroom will see its 100th anniversary in the coming years. The Hampton Beach Casino was built in 1899. The owners expanded to build a ballroom large enough for 5,000 people amidst the rise of national stars known through radio, records and motion pictures in 1927, according to the venue’s website. The capacity today is 2,200.

The Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, which seats 2,200, has hosted performances from legendary bands, including The Doors, Led Zeppelin and Janis Joplin.

The list of performers that have played at the Ballroom also includes Janis Joplin, The Doors, The Ramones and U2. The night Jerry Garcia died in 1995, Grateful Dead fans converged on the Casino Ballroom for a vigil with that night’s scheduled act, Garcia’s long-time bandmate Bob Weir.

“This place is authentic,” Herrick said. “The players of the players have all played in this room.”

Herrick said the Casino Ballroom continues to thrive partly because of New England’s love of live entertainment, be it music or major sporting events. He said the Ballroom remains a place concertgoers can catch music legends as well as the artists on their way up.

“I think there’s an appetite for a wide variety,” Herrick said. “It’s been a pretty healthy offering for the past 60 years.”