It’s a tradition as old as the Johnny Carson show: Most nights, since 1966, bands big and small play on the national stage of late night television. Sometimes good things happen, sometimes bad things happen, but the performances are always worth watching. They’re captivating mostly because they offer the raw sound of a live band and the professional video and audio recording of a late night television show.

This week, July 29 – August 2, Robin Thicke sings about naughty parts, Backstreet show they’ve still got it and the Kopecky Family Band represent Nashville’s indie scene.

Late Show With David Letterman
Monday, July 29 – James McCartney
Tuesday, July 30 – Michael Franti & Spearhead
Wednesday, July 31 – Hanni El Khatib
Friday, August 2 – Jason Isbell

Jimmy Kimmel Live
Monday, July 29 – Pepper
Tuesday, July 30 – Backstreet Boys 

The Backstreet Boys will always be thought of as the white suit wearing, Thriller-aping boy band that, along with a few others, ruled the charts in the late Nineties. Thanks to a few surprisingly strong sequels and an odd (but very, very welcome) appearance in this summer’s bro-comedy, This Is the End, Backstreet is now really, officially back, and bringing mean choreography to the late night game.

Wednesday, July 31 – Queens of the Stone Age
Thursday, August 1 – Palma Violets

The Tonight Show With Jay Leno
Monday, July 29 – Phillip Phillips 
Wednesday, July 31 – Kopecky Family Band

The Kopecky Family Band is a pleasant surprise in this week’s preview. The Nashville group has long been a mainstay in that city’s indie rock underground (yes—it exists), but has failed to make too much of a name on a national scale. Granted, Nashville is known for country – and for good reason – but these folks know how to make a great country rock song, with all of the pop melodies you’d expect out of Music City, USA, with none of the affectations one would expect of a “family” band.

Friday, August 2 – Charlie Worsham

Get the full week’s line-up on


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