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New Order, Holy Ghost!
New Order didn’t abandon all of their lyrical angst after Joy Division singer Ian Curtis left them permanently, but the rush of their beats, synths, and riffs makes it near impossible to mope through their extensive catalog of 80s pop hits. In the summer twilight, the atmosphere should be downright dreamy. DFA Records’ Holy Ghost!, who’ve been focused on emotionally accessible dance floor jams for years, are an enticing opener and fitting heir.
July 24, Williamsburg Park, $50
Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, Guster
Do you really want to fight back against the insane current of 90s nostalgia that’s been going on for the past couple of years, or do you want to ride the wave and maybe have a nice time in Prospect Park? That’s what we thought. Plus, if you choose this as the night to have too many beers and scream at your friends the part of that Barenaked Ladies song about “chickidy Chinese chicken” or whatever, well, you will probably not be alone.
July 30, Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park, $49.50
Sheila E at BAM’s R&B Festival
Best known as Prince’s virtuosic drummer during his untouchable mid-80s peak, Sheila Escovedo’s amazing career also included collaborations with Ringo Starr, Diana Ross, Beyonce, and Marvin Gaye. (She was also the band leader of Magic Johnson’s doomed late night talk show, but we’ll just let that one slide.) Being one of the baddest of badass drummers in pop history is more than enough to earn her center stage at this free show.
August 1, Metrotech, FREE
Beck’s been dancing around to his own 808 beat lately, producing other artists’ records, grabbing famous friends to make cover albums in his home studio, publishing a sheet music-only record for just anyone out there to suss out. But he was one of the most committed performers in alternative music, even when everyone assumed he was being ironic. It won’t just be goofy, because that’s never all it was. August 4, Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park, $50
They Might Be Giants
Making smart, silly rock music since moving here in 1981, They Might Be Giants might be the original heroes of the Brooklyn underground. Nanobots, released in March, is the 16th studio album of their very prolific lifespan. On it, the band races through pop moves like the old pros they are, delivering sticky hooks in under a minute before motoring on to the next.
August 10, Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park, $3
Mad Decent Block Party
This is always a reliably good sweaty time, and this has been especially true since they moved the festivities from the South Street Seaport across the river to Williamsburg Park. With a lineup anchored by Major Lazer, Flosstradamus, and Dillon Francis, there are ample reasons (besides the high ratio of people who neglected to really wear clothes) to stop by.
August 10, Williamsburg Park, $33.50