6/4 - 6/5 Hillstock DIY Festival
This year’s Hillstock festival includes two awesome, classic outdoor Brooklyn activities: a block party and a rooftop picnic. Organized by young DIY-ers Eric Williams and Alex Billig (with help from Silent Barn and Showpaper’s Joe Ahearn), these two events will host more than 30 bands for a grand total of $15. On 6/4, there’s the Block Party, featuring electro-soul locals Ava Luna and much more, and then on the 5th there’s the Rooftop Picnic, with Easter Vomit, Laura Stevenson and Kittens Ablaze. Now that’s keeping it real. Real frugal.
Block Party at 106 Emerson Place, 10am; Rooftop Picnic location TBD, 10am.
6/10 Andrew Bird
So this is basically the official start to the summer concert season, and really, we could think of far, far worse ways to kick things off than to have Andrew Bird playing violin, whistling and singing his meticulously crafted chamber-pop songs for free at the Prospect Park Bandshell. It’s been quite a while since Bird last released a proper full-length (2009’s Noble Beast), so hopefully he’ll have some new material to play for us tonight.
Prospect Park Bandshell, 8:15pm, FREE.
6/14 The Decemberists, Best Coast
There’s no way around it, really: at least within the realm of indie-rock anyway, this is one of the strangest pairings imaginable: The Decemberists are of course known for their hyper-literate, smart-aleck take on indie-folk, prog and all sorts of traditional music. Best Coast, on the other hand, is known for smoking shit-tons of weed and writing really simple but extremely catchy songs about missing your boyfriend. Still, though, we find ourselves desperately hoping for an on-stage collaboration, in hopes that one might rub off on the other.
Prospect Park Bandshell, 6pm. $40.
6/16 - 6/19 The Northside
What do you mean, conflict of interest? Look, we’re simply letting you know that there is a four-day music festival taking place in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, featuring over 250 bands and basically every single venue you can think of. The highlights? Well, as of now, you’ve got Beirut and Sharon Van Etten at a new McCarren Park stage on Friday night, then Guided By Voices, Wavves, Surfer Blood and The Babies at the same space on Saturday. We’ve also got bands like Woods, Atlas Sound and Eleanor Friedberger at the beautiful, 800-cap St. Cecilia’s Church, an opening night party with Theophilus London, a set by Deer Tick’s Nirvana-covering alter-ego Deervana, and much, much more. And keep in mind, this is to say nothing of the roughly 50 showcases being booked by the city’s most influential music blogs, record labels, publications, etc.
Visit northsidefestival.com for details.
6/18 Governors Ball Music Festival
Well, will you look at us playing all nice and shit, even deigning to tell you about this event, which takes place, you’ll notice, on the Saturday of this year’s Northside Festival. It’s a doozy, though, with sets by local scene-stealers Das Racist, the inimitable Big Boi, mash-up artist extraordinaire Girl Talk and, uh, Passion Pit, which… sure, fine. There’s much more, too, and if you choose this over any of the really great stuff going on at Northside, well, we’ll be angry, but we’ll find it in our hearts to forgive you. Really, though? Passion Pit?
Governors Island, All Day, SOLD OUT.
6/24 Florence and the Machine, Twin Shadow, Bubbles
Somewhere on Youtube, there is a video of Florence Welch running around an onstage track at a massive outdoor British stadium show wearing nothing but a leotard and obscenely highheels. Singing, too—as well as any mega-talented person standing still in flats and breathing normally would. We’re still not sure how this is possible, and still kind of considering the possibility that Florence Welch is the secret identity of Wonderwoman. Maybe at Summerstage she’ll reveal the truth.
Central Park Summerstage, 5:30pm, $35.
7/7 My Brightest Diamond, yMusic
My Brightest Diamond and sexy hipster chamber music sextety Music played one show together at Lincoln Center earlier this year that was at times tearfully poignant, at times mind-blowing. Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) happens to be one of those people whose live performance takes her music to a whole new level, and she’s also got some fairly decent stage banter. So, expect some punk, expect some puns and expect to revel in the poetry.
Castle Clinton, 7pm, FREE.
7/11 They Might Be Giants
We’d have bet any amount of money that this would be one of the children’s shows They Might Be Giants have been known to play from time to time, but it’s not, actually—it’s a full-fledged adult show, which, admittedly, when you’re talking about They Might Be Giants, isn’t really all that adult. Regardless, it’ll be nice to see them down there at the Waterfront, in a neighborhood they’ve been associated since, long, long before it is what it is today. Gotta know your history, kids. Don’t miss this.
Williamsburg Waterfront, 5:30pm, FREE.
7/12 Animal Collective
There’s not going to be a bigger show anywhere in the city all summer, and if you haven’t already swiped up your $30 ticket, you’re probably out of luck, unless you’re willing to brave Craigslist with all the other crazies and cough up about a week’s salary. We don’t really recommend that, but hell, it’s summertime, so we guess anything goes—especially when there’s transcendent, vaguely trippy, highly melodic ambient pop music from one of the most iconic bands in all of indie rock on the line.
Prospect Park Bandshell, 5:30pm, SOLD OUT.
7/14 tUnE-yArDs, Austra
Listening to tUnE-yArDs already kind of feels like running through a sprinkler naked in the middle of July with orange ice pop juice dribbling down your chin. It just channels that child-like joy. And a live, outdoor summertime show with tUnE-yArDs seems like a perfect opportunity to break out the tribal dancing and washable face paint. Cheek butterfly, anyone? Yes, yes, on your face.
Hudson River Park, 6pm, FREE.
7/14 Patti Smith
On any given day, in any given L train car, at least one passenger is bound to be nose-deep in Patti Smith’s best-selling memoir Just Kids. But that’s not why you should go see her show. What other justification do you need? It’s Patti Smith, goddammit, the godmother of punk! The L train thing was just an observation.
Castle Clinton, 7pm, FREE.
8/1 M. Ward
We’ve been passingly fond of most of the work that’s been occupying M. Ward’s time over the past few years. Those She and Him records—She and Him being his 60s pop-leaning collab with Zoey Deschanel—have been pretty enjoyable, and that one record he put out with Monsters of Folk was alright as well. But we’re pleased to no end to have him back as a solo artist, reportedly working on new material. He’s one of our best.
Central Park Summerstage, FREE.
8/2 Death Cab for Cutie
As of this writing, we’re still a month or so away from the release of Death Cab for Cutie’s new album, Codes and Keys. It’s supposedly their least guitar-heavy work to date, with more of a focus on, you guessed it, electronic stuff. We’ll reserve judgment for now, aside from a few brief eye-rolls, of course, because these guys have always boasted strong enough melodies that you assume they’d fare well in any number of genres. Anyway, we’ll see. And they’re a pretty good live band too.
Williamsburg Waterfront, 5:30pm, $40.
8/2 Sufjan Stevens
The super-prolific Sufjan Stevens has a reputation for putting on quite the dazzling (sometimes bewildering) live performance. Lately his aesthetic theme has been something along the lines of neon-tinted futurism, so we’re guessing whatever he does for this show will be full of exciting, bright stimuli and techno-tronic dance moves. Then again, that could be totally wrong. Watch him show up with naught but a banjo.
Prospect Park Bandshell, 6pm, $35.
8/10 Bon Iver
Bon Iver’s new self-titled album comes out in late June, and this’ll probably be the first time any of us on the East Coast get to hear it live. According to NPR, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon is more into auto-tune than ever before on the new album, but it works out well. Either way, a brand new album and a big ol’ outdoor show for the debut? We see you shiver with anticipation...
Prospect Park Bandshell, 6:30pm, $37.50, $40 at the door.
8/11 Deer Tick
Not to be confused with Deervana, the Nirvana cover band that also happens to feature all the same people, Deer Tick is of course the Providence, Rhode Island-based band led by John McCauley, a remarkably gifted songwriter who works in the country/folk tradition, with a touch of gritty blues thrown in for good measure. Their live show has been known to win them some converts, too.
Hudson River Park, 6pm, FREE.
8/12 Sonic Youth, Wild Flag
Ok, so forget what we said about Animal Collective earlier: this could wind up being the biggest show of the summer. Or it should, anyway, since headliners Sonic Youth are, you know, sort of a big deal, and openers Wild Flag, featuring Mary Timony of Helium fame, as well as members of Sleater Kinney and the Minders, are one of the most exciting bands anywhere right now. Say what you will about 90s nostalgia taking hold, but there won’t be a single person on this stage tonight that ever stopped making great music, regardless of the decade.
Williamsburg Waterfront, 7pm, $32.50.
Well, by this point in the sumer, you’ve probably been to more outdoor shows than you can count, and gotten drunk outside more times than you’d care to admit. Well go ahead and do it one more time, for Wavves, who, despite having earned a reputation as a sloppy stoners, have actually grown into a fairly lethal live band, playing impossibly tight pop-punk. It’ll be a fitting end to the season, we think, since basically all their songs are about being fucked up in the sun.
East River Ampitheater, 7pm, FREE.