The Ultimate List of Free Summer Concerts in NYC, 2014

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Get ready to plug this in your bookmarks, iCals, sticky notes, and religious shrines, because the ultimate guide to free summer concerts 2014 in New York City is here! Seriously, scroll down and don’t be stingy — share with your friends. Concerts aren’t fun without friends. We’ll be updating this post over the coming weeks as new shows are released, so be sure to check back all summer long.

BAM, Peter Jay Sharp Building:
May 9, 9 p.m.: Jus Post Bellum
May 10, 6 p.m.: Persian and Balkan Break-out!
May 16, 6 p.m.: pILLOW tHEORY
May 17, 6 p.m.: A Brooklyn Tribute to Amiri Baraka
May 23, 10 p.m.: The Earthman Experience featuring DJ Hard Hittin Harry
May 24, 10 p.m.: Late Night Dance Party with DJ Ian Friday
May 30, 10 p.m.: Jeremiah Hosea Trio
May 31, 10 p.m.: Ursa Minor
June 6, 9 p.m.: BAMcafé Live curated by Terrance McKnight: Villalobos Brothers
June 7, 9 p.m.: BAMcafé Live curated by Terrance McKnight: Brown Rice Family

Betsy Head Park:
June 10, 7 p.m.: Duck Down BBQ with Boot Camp Clik & Friends
June 11, 7 p.m.: Sisqó

Brookfield Place Plaza:
July 16, 6 p.m.: Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, No BS! Brass Band
July 17, 6 p.m.: Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival with The Robert Cray Band, John Hiatt & The Combo, James Carter Organ Trio

Brooklyn Bridge Park @ 7p.m.:
May 8: Global Dance Party with Balkan Beat Box, DJ Joro Boro
May 15: Electro-Jamz Dance Party with Cibo Matto, Javelin, JD Samson
May 22: African Dance Party with Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, Okayafrica Electrafrique with Chief Boima & DJ Underdog

Central Park:
June 7, 7 p.m.: Toquinho Tribute to Vinicius de Moraes, DJ Gaspar Muniz
June 14, 6 p.m.: ROberto Roena Y Su Apollo Soun, La Mecanica Popular, Little Louie Vega
June 15, 6 p.m.: Black Coffee, DJ Spoko
June 21, 7 p.m.: -M-, Emilie Simon
June 22, 7 p.m.: Buika, Marques Toliver
June 23, 8 p.m.: Amber Wagner, Jamie Barton, Russell Thomas
June 28, 3 p.m.: Sam Sparro, Ultra Nate, Kevin Aviance, Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin, Norma Jean Wright, Company Freak
June 29, 7 p.m.: Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
July 3, 7 p.m.: Herbert Holer, DJ Cosi, Marc Smooth
July 5, 3 p.m.: Teddy Afro, Noura Mint Seymali,
July 6, 3 p.m.: Okee Dokee Brothers, Hybrid Movement Company, Shaun Parker & Company, Acrobuffos
July 8, 7 p.m.: Andrew Bird & the Hands of Glory, Luke Temple
July 9, 6 p.m.: Beatnuts, Ana Tijoux, Bodega Bamz, DJ Tony Touch
July 12, 3 p.m.: Babasonicos, Juana Molina, La Santa Cecilia
July 13, 6 p.m.: Bonobo, Cibo Matto
July 19, 7 p.m.: Lenine & Martin Fondse Orchestra, Maira Freitas, DJ Tutu Moraes
July 20, 3 p.m.: Mishima, Txarango, Headbirds DJ Set
July 21, 7 p.m.: Amanda Palmer, Anti-Flag, Steve Earle, Michael Glabicki, Rebel Diaz, James Maddock
July 26, 3 p.m.: Chronixx & the Zincfence Redemption, Junior Reid, The Rice and Peas Crew
July 27, 3 p.m.: Rock Steady Crew 37th Anniversary
August 2, 3 p.m.: Dr. John & the Night Trippers, Hurray for the Riff Raff
August 3, 7 p.m.: Gregory Porter & Revive Big Band led by Igmar Thomas
August 9, 3 p.m.: Tasha Cobbs, Smokie Norful, Pastor Charles Jenkins, Vashawn Mitchell, Kierra Sheard, Micah Stampley
August 10, 3 p.m.: Passenger, Liam Bailey, DJ Natasha Diggs
August 13, 5 p.m.: Gavin Degraw, Matt Nathanson, McMahon
August 16, 7 p.m.: Blood Orange, Moses Sumney, Sean Nicholas Savage
August 17, 7 p.m.: Musiq Soulchild
August 23, 3 p.m.: Alex Sensation
August 24, 6 p.m.: Fania All Stars
September 8, 7 p.m.: Gary Clark JR.

Commodore Barry Park:
August 23, Afropunk Fest
August 24, Afropunk Fest

Crotona Park:
June 24, 7 p.m.: Our Latin Thing with New Swing Sextet
June 25, 7 p.m.: Chuck Chillout, DJ Hollywood, Brucie B, Chief Rocker Busy Bee, LA Luv and 4th Quarter Boyz, hosted by Mick Benzo in association with Universal Zulu Nation and the 40th Anniversary of Hip-Hop culture
June 26, 7 p.m.: D.I.T.C (Lord Finesse, A.G., Diamond D, DJ Boogie Blind, Large Professor)
July 1, 7 p.m.: The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series Mary-Jane Lee (soprano), Ginger Costa-Jackson (mezzo-soprano), and Yunpeng Wang (baritone), accompanied by pianist Dan Saunders

East River Park Amphitheater:
August 5, 7 p.m.: Típica 73 with guest: Adalberto Santiago, Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra
August 6, 7 p.m.: Mobile Mondays LIVE – The Salsoul Edition featuring Joe Bataan, First Choice, Double Exposure, Instant Funk, Ladies of Skyy, Carol Williams
August 7, 7 p.m.: Mykki Blanco

Herbert Von King Park @ 7 p.m.:
June 18, DJ Bent Roc, Chubb Rock, Dana Dane, Special Ed
June 19, Algebra
June 22, A Tribute to Frankie Knuckles featuring the Soul Summit DJs, DJ Kervyn Mark, DJ Stormin’ Norman, with vocalists Kenny Bobien, Lynn Lockamy

House of Vans:
June 12: Charles Bradley & his Extrordinaires, Mac DeMarco, Benjamin Booker
June 19: Strfkr, Poolside

 

Hudson River Park:
July 10, 6 p.m.: Wild Beasts, Mutual Benefit
July 13, 6:30 p.m.: David Berger Jazz Orchestra
July 20, 6:30 p.m.: Los Hermanos Colon
July 24, 6 p.m.: Teenage Fanclub
July 27, 6:30 p.m.: Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks
August 3, 6:30 p.m.: Nu’Lux
August 7, 6 p.m.: Temples
August 10, 6:30 p.m.: George Gee Swing Orchestra
August 23, 2 p.m.: Blues BBQ With Big Sam’s Funky Nation, John Nemeth, Samantha Fish, Shemekia Copeland, Slide Brothers

BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center:
June 5, 12 p.m.: Darlene Love
June 12, 12 p.m.: Nicholas Payton presents Black American Music
June 19, 12 p.m.: The Ohio Players
June 26, 12 p.m.: Butler Bernstein and the Hot 9
July 3, 12 p.m.: Davell Crawford
July 10, 12 p.m.: Fredericks Brown
July 17, 12 p.m.: Third World
July 24, 12 p.m.: Bobby Rush
July 31, 12 p.m.: Snarky Puppy
August 7, 12 p.m.: Lisa Fischer

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts:
July 20, 4 p.m.: A Memorial Concert for Pete and Toshi Seeger featuring: Adira and David Amram, Tom Chapin and The Chapin Sisters, Guy Davis, Emma’s Revolution, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Kim & Reggie Harris, Hudson River Sloop Singers, Michael Moore, Holly Near, The Vanaver Caravan, George Wein, Dar Williams, Paul Winter Consort, Peter Yarrow, and Dan Zanes, plus surprise guests.
July 23, 7:30 p.m.: Larry Harlow’s HOMMY: A Latin Opera, Michael Stuart y Su Tremendo
July 25, 6 p.m.: John Luther Adams’s Sila: The Breath of the World
July 26, 2 p.m.: Deep Roots of Rock and Roll by Toshi Reagon, Black Rock Coalition Orchestra and special guests
July 26, 6 p.m.: John Luther Adams’s Sila: The Breath of the World
July 26, 7:30 p.m.: Roberta Flack, Davell Crawford
July 27, 1 p.m.: Banda de los Muertos, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem
July 27, 5 p.m.: Banda de los Muertos, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem (Second performance)
July 27, 5 p.m.: Charanjit Singh, DJ Ushka (Dutty Artz), Baiana Play Som, DJ Ripley (Dutty Artz)
July 27, 5 p.m.: BaianaSystem, The Bombay Royale, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Emil Zrihan
July 30, 6:30 p.m.: Amel Larrieux, Avery*Sunshine, The Jones Family Singers
July 31, 7:30 p.m.: José González, yMusic
August 1, 5 p.m.: A Celebration of Jenneth Webster
August 2, 12 p.m.: La Casita: Poetry and Music
August 3, 1 p.m.: Echoes of the Divine: Arts of the Turko-Persian Diaspora
Featuring Ahmet Erdogdular, Shashmaqam, Quraishi, The New York Crimean Tatars
August 3, 3 p.m.: La Casita: Poetry and Music
August 3, 7 p.m.: Tribute to Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez Featuring The Cita Rodriguez Orchestra with special guests Pete Rodriguez, Johnny Pacheco, Tito Allen, Willie Torres, Eddie Montalvo, Ray Martinez and the Alma Moyo Drummers
August 6, 7:30 p.m.: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Robert Ellis
August 7, 7:30 p.m.: Tift Merritt
August 8, 7:30 p.m.: Cassandra Wilson, The Campbell Brothers
August 9, 1:30 p.m.: The Devil Makes Three
August 9, 6 p.m.: Rosanne Cash, The Lone Bellow, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale
August 10, 5 p.m.: Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Bobby Patterson, Music Maker Blues Revue Featuring Dom Flemons, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Ironing Board Sam

Madison Square Park:
June 18, 7 p.m.: Nicole Atkins
June 25, 6 p.m.: Ester Rada, Maya Azucena
July 2, 6 p.m.: The SteelDrivers, Cricket Tell the Weather
July 9, 7 p.m.: John Fullbright
July 16, 7 p.m.: Jacky Terrasson Quartet
July 23, 7 p.m.: Jon Cleary
July 30, 6 p.m.: Forro in the Dark, Debo Band
August 6, 7 p.m.: Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds

Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater:
August 12, 7 p.m.: Joe
August 13, 7 p.m.: Bobby Sanabria
August 14, 7 p.m.: Byron Cage
August 17, 4 p.m.: Harlem Family Day: Shine and the Moonbeams, Moona Luna, Kojo Odu Roney & Friends, B-Love’s Hip Hop Jazzy Groove, DJ-KS 360
August 17, 7 p.m.: A Soul Train Tribute to Women in Music with Jamila Raegan, The Ki Ki Experience, Raye Six, Phyllisia Ross, Winston’s Crew Collective
August 23, 3 p.m.: Charlie Parker Jazz Festival: The Wallace Roney Orchestra, Lionel Loueke, Melissa Aldana, Kris Bowers with special guest Chris Turner

McCarren Park:
June 14, 6 p.m.: Thee Oh Sees (Northside Festival)
June 15, 3 p.m.: Chvrches (Northside Festival)

Prospect Park:
June 4, 8 p.m.: Janelle Monae
June 7, 7 p.m.: The Soul Rebels, Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Lost Bayou Ramblers
June 4, 7 p.m.: Celebrate Ornette: The Music Of Ornette Coleman Featuring Denardo Coleman Vibe with special guests Afrika Bambaataa, Bill Laswell, Bruce Hornsby, Flea, Geri Allen, Henry Threadgill, James Blood Ulmer, Joe Lovano, Patti Smith, and many more
June 14, 4 p.m.: Ozomatli’s Ozokidz
June 20, 7:30 p.m.: Amos Lee, Lake Street Dive
June 21, 7 p.m.: Dum Dum Girls, Hospitality, TEEN
June 26, 7:30 p.m.: Warpaint, Yellowbirds
June 27, 7 p.m.: Shovels & Rope, Valerie June, Shakey Graves
June 28, 7:30 p.m.: Luciano, Sandra St. Victor & Oya’s Daughter
July 5, 7 p.m.: Robert Glasper Experiment Featuring Talib Kweli, Glenn Kotche, Aja Monet
July 10, 7 p.m.: Illya Kuryaki & The Valderramas, Choc Quib Town, RVSB
July 11, 7:30 p.m.: Vote, It Ain’t Illegal Yet!
July 12, 7:30 p.m.: Alloy Orchestra: He Who Gets Slapped, Stephane Wrembel
July 18, 7 p.m.: Bebel Gilberto, Vinicius Cantuaria, Netsayi
July 19, 7:30 p.m.: Deltron 3030, Nomadic Massive
July 24, 7:30 p.m.: Nickel Creek
July 25, 7:30 p.m.: Neo Muyanga & William Kentridge’s Second-Hand Reading
August 1, 7:30 p.m.: Jimmy Bosch y Su Estrellas, Pedrito Martinez Group Featuring Ariance Trujillo
August 2, 7 p.m.: Kes The Band, Kuenta i Tambu, DJ Dr Wax, Steel Sensations
August 7, 7:30 p.m.: Altan, Maura O’Connell
August 8, 7:30 p.m.: Asian Dub Foundation: THX 1138, Taylor McFerrin
August 9, 7:30 p.m.: St. Vincent, San Fermin

Queensbridge Park:
July 15, 7 p.m.: Ismael Miranda, Rebel Tumbao, Joe Claussell
July 16, 7 p.m.: J. Holiday
July 17, 7 p.m.: Mobb Deep
July 20, 4 p.m.: Queens Family Day: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Rashida Bumbray, Michael Mossman & Copland Jazz

Red Hook Park:
June 3, 7 p.m.: Ty Dolla $ign
June 4, 7 p.m.: Mark McGuire, Marissa Nadler, Delicate Steve
June 5, 7 p.m.: Pro Era

Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series) @ 6 a.m.
May 16: Mariah Carey
May 23: Tim McGraw
May 26: Austin Mahone
May 30: Rascal Flatts
June 5: Pharrell
June 6: Sara Bareilles
June 13: Train
June 17: Little Mix
June 20: Fall Out Boy
June 27: Phillip Phillips
July 4: Ed Sheeran
July 11: Fifth Harmony
July 18: Jason Mraz
July 25: OneRepublic
July 29: Jennifer Hudson
August 1: Aloe Blacc
August 8: TBD
August 15: Neon Trees
August 22: TBD
August 29: Ariana Grande
September 1: Maroon 5
September 5: Usher

Rumsey Playfield at Central Park:
Good Morning America Summer Concert Series @ 7 a.m.:
June 6: Demi Lovato
June 13: Paramore
June 20: Jennifer Lopez
June 27: Afrojack
July 4: Jason Derulo
July 11: Keith Urban
July 18: Zedd
July 25: Kings of Leon
August 1: Enrique Iglesias
August 8: Luke Bryan
August 15: Florida Georgia Line
August 22: Robin Thicke
August 29: Brad Paisley

South Street Seaport:
July 11, 7 p.m.: Protomartyr, Alvvays
July 12, 1 p.m.: Village Voice 4th Annual 4Knots Music Festival with The Julie Ruin, Those Darlins, Speedy Ortiz, Radkey, Viet Cong, Nude Beach, Juan Wauters
More TBD
July 18, 7 p.m.: Calvin Love, las Rosas
July 25, 7 p.m.: Torres
Aug. 1, 7 p.m.: Snowmine, The Casket Girls
Aug. 8, 7 p.m.: Black Bananas, Shockwave Riderz
Aug. 15, 7 p.m.: Boogarins, Jacco Gardner

Rough Trade NYC:
May 12, 7 p.m.: Asgeir
May 17, 2 p.m.: Talib Kweli
May 24, 2 p.m.: Pujol

Tompkins Square Park:
August 24, 3 p.m.: Charlie Parker Jazz Festival: Kenny Barron, Cindy Blackman Santana, Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith, Brianna Thomas

 

On the next list: Each show sorted by date.

June 4th
Mark McGuire, Marissa Nadler, Delicate Steve. 7pm. Red Hook Park
Janelle Monae. 8pm. Prospect Park

June 5th
Pro Era. 7pm. Red Hook Park
Pharrell. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series) @ 6 a.m.
Darlene Love. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center

June 6th
Sara Bareilles. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series) @ 6 a.m.
Demi Lovato. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
BAMcafé Live curated by Terrance McKnight: Villalobos Brothers. 9pm. BAM, Peter Jay Sharp Building

June 7th
The Soul Rebels, Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Lost Bayou Ramblers. 7pm. Prospect Park
Toquinho Tribute to Vinicius de Moraes, DJ Gaspar Muniz. 7pm. Central Park
BAMcafé Live curated by Terrance McKnight: Brown Rice Family. 9pm BAM, Peter Jay Sharp Building

June 10th
Duck Down BBQ with Boot Camp Clik & Friends. 7pm. Betsy Head Park

June 11th
Sisqó. 7pm. Betsy Head Park

June 12th
Charles Bradley & his Extrordinaires, Mac DeMarco, Benjamin Booker. House of Vans
Nicholas Payton presents Black American Music. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center
Celebrate Ornette: The Music Of Ornette Coleman Featuring Denardo Coleman Vibe with special guests Afrika Bambaataa, Bill Laswell, Bruce Hornsby, Flea, Geri Allen, Henry Threadgill, James Blood Ulmer, Joe Lovano, Patti Smith, and many more. 7pm. Prospect Park

June 13th
Train. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Paramore. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series

June 14th
Roberto Roena Y Su Apollo Soun, La Mecanica Popular, Little Louie Vega. 6pm. Central Park
Thee Oh Sees. 6pm. (Northside Festival) McCarren Park
Ozomatli’s Ozokidz. 4pm. Prospect Park

June 15th
Black Coffee, DJ Spoko. 6pm. Central Park
Chvrches (Northside Festival) 3pm. McCarren Park

June 17th
Little Mix. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)

June 18th
Nicole Atkins. 7pm. Madison Square Park
DJ Bent Roc, Chubb Rock, Dana Dane, Special Ed. 7pm. Herbert Von King Park

June 19th
Algebra. 7pm. Herbert Von King Park
Strfkr, Poolside. House of Vans
The Ohio Players. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center

June 20th
Jennifer Lopez. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
Amos Lee, Lake Street Dive. 7:30pm. Prospect Park
Fall Out Boy. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)

June 21st
-M-, Emilie Simon. 7pm. Central Park
Dum Dum Girls, Hospitality, TEEN. 7pm. Prospect Park

June 22nd
Buika, Marques Toliver. 7pm. Central Park
A Tribute to Frankie Knuckles featuring the Soul Summit DJs, DJ Kervyn Mark, DJ Stormin’ Norman, with vocalists Kenny Bobien, Lynn Lockamy. Algebra. 7pm. Herbert Von King Park

June 23rd
Amber Wagner, Jamie Barton, Russell Thomas. 8pm. Central Park

June 24th
Our Latin Thing with New Swing Sextet. 7pm. Crotona Park

June 25th
Chuck Chillout, DJ Hollywood, Brucie B, Chief Rocker Busy Bee, LA Luv and 4th Quarter Boyz, hosted by Mick Benzo in association with Universal Zulu Nation and the 40th Anniversary of Hip-Hop culture. 7pm. Crotona Park
Ester Rada, Maya Azucena. 6pm. Madison Square Park

June 26th
Warpaint, Yellowbirds. 7:30pm. Prospect Park
D.I.T.C (Lord Finesse, A.G., Diamond D, DJ Boogie Blind, Large Professor.) 7pm. Crotona Park
Butler Bernstein and the Hot 9. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center

June 27th
Shovels & Rope, Valerie June, Shakey Graves. 7pm. Prospect Park
Phillip Phillips. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Afrojack. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series

June 28th
Sam Sparro, Ultra Nate, Kevin Aviance, Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin, Norma Jean Wright, Company Freak. 3pm. Central Park
Luciano, Sandra St. Victor & Oya’s Daughter. 7:30. Prospect Park
Harlem Arts Festival. Richard Rodger’s Amphitheater at Marcus Garvey Park

June 29th
Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. 7pm. Central Park
Harlem Arts Festival. Richard Rodger’s Amphitheater at Marcus Garvey Park

July 1st
The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series Mary-Jane Lee (soprano), Ginger Costa-Jackson (mezzo-soprano), and Yunpeng Wang (baritone), accompanied by pianist Dan Saunders. 7pm. Crotona Park

July 2nd
The SteelDrivers, Cricket Tell the Weather. 6pm. Madison Square Park

July 3rd
Herbert Holer, DJ Cosi, Marc Smooth. 7pm. Central Park
Davell Crawford. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center

July 4th
Ed Sheeran. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Jason Derulo. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series

July 5th
Teddy Afro, Noura Mint Seymali. 3pm. Central Park
Robert Glasper Experiment Featuring Talib Kweli, Glenn Kotche, Aja Monet. 7pm. Prospect Park

July 6th
Okee Dokee Brothers, Hybrid Movement Company, Shaun Parker & Company, Acrobuffos. 3pm. Central Park

July 8th
Andrew Bird & the Hands of Glory, Luke Temple. 7pm. Central Park

July 9th
Beatnuts, Ana Tijoux, Bodega Bamz, DJ Tony Touch. 6pm. Central Park
John Fullbright. 7pm. Madison Square Park

July 10th
Wild Beasts, Mutual Benefit. 6pm. Hudson River Park
Fredericks Brown. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center
Illya Kuryaki & The Valderramas, Choc Quib Town, RVSB 7pm. Prospect Park

July 11th
Vote, It Ain’t Illegal Yet! 7:30pm. Prospect Park
Fifth Harmony. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Keith Urban. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
Protomartyr, Alvvays. 7pm. South Street Seaport

July 12th
Babasonicos, Juana Molina, La Santa Cecilia. 3pm. Central Park
Alloy Orchestra: He Who Gets Slapped, Stephane Wrembel. 7:30pm. Prospect Park
Village Voice 4th Annual 4Knots Music Festival with Dinosaur JR, Those Darlins, Speedy Ortiz, Radkey, Viet Cong, Nude Beach, Juan Wauters. 1pm. South Street Seaport

July 13th
Bonobo, Cibo Matto. 6pm. Central Park
David Berger Jazz Orchestra. 6:30pm. Hudson River Park

July 15th
Ismael Miranda, Rebel Tumbao, Joe Claussell. 7pm. Queensbridge Park

July 16th
Jacky Terrasson Quartet. 7pm. Madison Square Park
J. Holiday. 7pm. Queensbridge Park
Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, No BS! Brass Band. 6pm. Brookfield Place Plaza

July 17th
Third World. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center
Mobb Deep. 7pm. Queensbridge Park
Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival with The Robert Cray Band, John Hiatt & The Combo, James Carter Organ Trio. 6pm. Brookfield Place Plaza

July 18th
Bebel Gilberto, Vinicius Cantuaria, Netsayi. 7pm. Prospect Park
Jason Mraz. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Zedd. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
Calvin Love, las Rosas. 7pm. South Street Seaport

July 19th
Lenine & Martin Fondse Orchestra, Maira Freitas, DJ Tutu Moraes. 7pm. Central Park
Deltron 3030, Nomadic Massive. 7:30pm. Prospect Park

July 20th
Mishima, Txarango, Headbirds DJ Set. 3pm. Central Park
Los Hermanos Colon. 6:30pm. Hudson River Park
A Memorial Concert for Pete and Toshi Seeger featuring: Adira and David Amram, Tom Chapin and The Chapin Sisters, Guy Davis, Emma’s Revolution, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Kim & Reggie Harris, Hudson River Sloop Singers, Michael Moore, Holly Near, The Vanaver Caravan, George Wein, Dar Williams, Paul Winter Consort, Peter Yarrow, and Dan Zanes, plus surprise guests. 4pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Queens Family Day: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Rashida Bumbray, Michael Mossman & Copland Jazz. 4pm. Queensbridge Park

July 21st
Amanda Palmer, Anti-Flag, Steve Earle, Michael Glabicki, Rebel Diaz, James Maddock. 7pm. Central Park

July 23rd
Larry Harlow’s HOMMY: A Latin Opera, Michael Stuart y Su Tremendo. 7:30pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Jon Cleary. 7pm. Madison Square Park

July 24th
Teenage Fanclub. 6pm. Hudson River Park
Bobby Rush. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center
Nickel Creek. 7:30pm. Prospect Park

July 25th
John Luther Adams’s Sila: The Breath of the World. 6pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Neo Muyanga & William Kentridge’s Second-Hand Reading. 7:30pm. Prospect Park
OneRepublic. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Kings of Leon. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
Torres. 7pm. South Street Seaport

July 26th
Chronixx & the Zincfence Redemption, Junior Reid, The Rice and Peas Crew. 3pm. Central Park
Deep Roots of Rock and Roll by Toshi Reagon, Black Rock Coalition Orchestra and special guests. 2pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
John Luther Adams’s Sila: The Breath of the World. 6pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Roberta Flack, Davell Crawford. 7:30pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

July 27th
Rock Steady Crew 37th Anniversary. 3pm. Central Park
Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks. 6:30pm. Hudson River Park
Banda de los Muertos, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem. 1pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Banda de los Muertos, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem (Second performance.) 5pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Charanjit Singh, DJ Ushka (Dutty Artz), Baiana Play Som, DJ Ripley (Dutty Artz.) 5pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
BaianaSystem, The Bombay Royale, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Emil Zrihan. 5pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

July 29th
Jennifer Hudson. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)

July 30th
Amel Larrieux, Avery*Sunshine, The Jones Family Singers. 6:30pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Forro in the Dark, Debo Band. 6pm. Madison Square Park

July 31st
Snarky Puppy. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center
José González, yMusic. 7:30pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
August 1st
A Celebration of Jenneth Webster. 5pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Jimmy Bosch y Su Estrellas, Pedrito Martinez Group Featuring Ariance Trujillo. 7:30pm. Prospect Park
Aloe Blacc. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Enrique Iglesias. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
Snowmine, The Casket Girls. 7pm. South Street Seaport

August 2nd
Dr. John & the Night Trippers, Hurray for the Riff Raff. 3pm. Central Park
La Casita: Poetry and Music. 12pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Kes The Band, Kuenta i Tambu, DJ Dr Wax, Steel Sensations. 7pm. Prospect Park

August 3rd
Gregory Porter & Revive Big Band led by Igmar Thomas. 7pm. Central Park
Nu’Lux. 6:30pm. Hudson River Park
Echoes of the Divine: Arts of the Turko-Persian Diaspora Featuring Ahmet Erdogdular, Shashmaqam, Quraishi, The New York Crimean Tatars. 1pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
La Casita: Poetry and Music. 3pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Tribute to Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez Featuring The Cita Rodriguez Orchestra with special guests Pete Rodriguez, Johnny Pacheco, Tito Allen, Willie Torres, Eddie Montalvo, Ray Martinez and the Alma Moyo Drummers. 7pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

August 5th
Típica 73 with guest: Adalberto Santiago, Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra. 7pm. East River Park Amphitheater

August 6th
Mobile Mondays LIVE – The Salsoul Edition featuring Joe Bataan, First Choice, Double Exposure, Instant Funk, Ladies of Skyy, Carol Williams. 7pm. East River Park Amphitheater
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Robert Ellis 7:30pm Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds. 7pm. Madison Square Park

August 7th
Mykki Blanco. 7pm. East River Park Amphitheater
Temples. 6pm. Hudson River Park
Lisa Fischer. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center
Tift Merritt 7:30pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Altan, Maura O’Connell. 7:30pm. Prospect Park

August 8th
Cassandra Wilson, The Campbell Brothers. 7:30pm Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Asian Dub Foundation: THX 1138, Taylor McFerrin. 7:30pm. Prospect Park
TBD. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Luke Bryan. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
Black Bananas, Shockwave Riderz. 7pm. South Street Seaport

August 9th
Tasha Cobbs, Smokie Norful, Pastor Charles Jenkins, Vashawn Mitchell, Kierra Sheard, Micah Stampley. 3pm. Central Park
The Devil Makes Three. 1:30pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Rosanne Cash, The Lone Bellow, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale. 6pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
St. Vincent, San Fermin. 7:30pm. Prospect Park

August 10th
Passenger, Liam Bailey, DJ Natasha Diggs. 3pm. Central Park
George Gee Swing Orchestra. 6:30pm. Hudson River Park
Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Bobby Patterson, Music Maker Blues Revue Featuring Dom Flemons, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Ironing Board Sam. 5pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

August 12th
Joe. 7pm. Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater

August 13th
Gavin Degraw, Matt Nathanson, McMahon. 5pm. Central Park
Bobby Sanabria. 7pm. Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater

August 14th
Byron Cage. 7pm. Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater

August 15th
Neon Trees. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Florida Georgia Line. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
Boogarins, Jacco Gardner. 7pm. South Street Seaport

August 16th
Blood Orange, Moses Sumney, Sean Nicholas Savage. 7pm. Central Park

August 17th
Musiq Soulchild. 7pm. Central Park
Harlem Family Day: Shine and the Moonbeams, Moona Luna, Kojo Odu Roney & Friends, B-Love’s Hip Hop Jazzy Groove, DJ-KS 360. 4pm. Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater
A Soul Train Tribute to Women in Music with Jamila Raegan, The Ki Ki Experience, Raye Six, Phyllisia Ross, Winston’s Crew Collective. 7pm. Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater

August 22nd
Hunter Hayes. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Robin Thicke. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series

August 23rd
Alex Sensation. 3pm. Central Park
Afropunk Fest. Commodore Barry Park
Blues BBQ With Big Sam’s Funky Nation, John Nemeth, Samantha Fish, Shemekia Copeland, Slide Brothers. 2pm. Hudson River Park
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival: The Wallace Roney Orchestra, Lionel Loueke, Melissa Aldana, Kris Bowers with special guest Chris Turner. 3pm. Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater

August 24th
Fania All Stars. 6pm. Central Park
Afropunk Fest. Commodore Barry Park
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival: Kenny Barron, Cindy Blackman Santana, Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith, Brianna Thomas. 3pm. Tompkins Square Park

August 29th
Ariana Grande. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Brad Paisley. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series

September 1st
Maroon 5. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)

September 5th
Usher. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)

September 8th
Gary Clark JR. 7pm. Central Park

 

 

 

 

The Controversy Surrounding Neil Young Carnegie Hall Concert Taping – Interview with Tom Adams

Neil Young. Photo Village Voice

Neil Young. Photo Village Voice

The Village Voice

When Tom Adams brought his camera to Neil Young’s performance at Carnegie Hall earlier this month, he didn’t capture it on an iPhone or a piece of machinery that’s worth more than three months’ rent. He grabbed a camera before he left the house, double-checked to make sure the batteries were charged, and brought it along with him knowing full well that he might not be able to bring it into the venue. He did, and he didn’t spend the show–Young’s first at the storied concert hall in 41 years–becoming the flash-popping enemy of the people sitting next to him. He put the camera on the floor, trained its lens to shoot in between the bannisters in the railing before him, and hit record. And he wasn’t alone.

[UPDATE: Warner Bros has now taken Tom Adam’s Neil Young concert video removed from Youtube.] Adams’ statement:

“While Warner Brothers certainly has the legal right to remove the video I produced, I am frustrated that no one from the company contacted me directly. Sure, I’m just a small fish in a gigantic pond, but I obviously touched on a nerve here. I simply received a standard email from YouTube noting the copyright infringement. I see the viral nature of this video as an opportunity for Warner Brothers to make a progressive move towards a more modern way of dealing with fan-produced media. I wish they would have seen this as a chance to taking a leading role in the rapidly changing world of online distribution … especially when dealing with one of the world’s most respected and prolific entertainers who, after 40+ years of performing, still has an amazingly solid connection with his fans. I wish they would have considered an alternative way to preserve and present this magical event to his fans instead of just removing it. So if anyone out there in Warner Brothers-land is reading this, I’m all ears and just a click away.”

[Tickets to Neil Young Show at Carnegie Hall were Selling For $3,000]

Adams, who runs a documentary and promotional film production company in Western Massachusetts, made waves last week when he uploaded a nearly two-hour tape of Young’s Carnegie Hall performance to YouTube. The tape is unusual in that it isn’t just a solitary cut from Adams’ camera: it also incorporates footage uploaded by other concert attendees, who shot from their own cameras or cell phones, as well as audio provided by an anonymous taper going by Mr Railing. (The Wall Street Journal reported that this kind of activity and taping isn’t encouraged by Young and his management, and that they find it “rude toward both the audience and the artist.”)

Considering his decades-long hiatus from the venue and the fact that some were willing to fork over $3,000 to see him there, Young’s Carnegie Hall performances were historical events that justified the breach in concert etiquette, as far as Adams and his serendipitous collaborators are concerned. Though it wasn’t intentional, the multi-camera approach to documenting Young at Carnegie Hall was one that worked for Adams, and one that could signal the dawn of a new time in taping. We spoke to Adams about just that.

This Neil Young concert tape is a serious endeavor!
Yeah, well, it’s my profession. I do this stuff for a living, but I’ve always been a huge Neil fan, so I thought I’d put my skills to good use here. [Documentary filmmaking] is what I went to school for. Most of what I do is informational and educational videos for clients, so a lot of it ends up being quasi-promotional type stuff. It depends. When the right thing comes along and there’s funding for it, that’s what I do.

This Neil Young concert tape was a labor of love, then.
Oh yeah. The whole point of this was just to share the experience and get the good word out about Neil.

We’re looking at two hours of tape here, at a very intimate show, and it seems like you’ve compiled a ton of footage posted to YouTube that people captured on their iPhones at Carnegie Hall. That’s nuts.
I think there was only one cell phone that was used; the others were more camera-type devices, I guess. It’s amazing how much controversy comes up because of it. It’s certainly not the first time it’s been done. I kind of find myself defending the fact that I’m not the typical person that sticks the iPhone up in the air with the glow annoying everyone around them and all that stuff.

What compelled you to put together this concert video in the first place? You’ve already mentioned that you’re a fan, but this isn’t a typical approach and one that appears to have taken quite a bit of time, especially when it involves splicing in additional footage.
This show was such a historic event at Carnegie Hall. The place has got so much history to it and everything. I was going to it regardless as to whether I had my camera or not. I made sure I was going to go, and I wound up going by myself. It was important for me to be there. Whether or not I could get in with the camera was almost secondary. I’ve been to shows before where I didn’t shoot, but I felt like this was a historic occasion. He hadn’t been there since 1973, so I thought of it almost as a bookend to his career. He was in his early twenties when he [played Carnegie] the first time and he hadn’t been back since then. Not to say he’s nearing the end of his career, but he’s no spring chicken, you know?

Sure. How much of this video is you shooting? And how much the video is crowdsourced material?
Probably 70% is my camera and the remaining footage is from other people. There were holes in the footage, I wasn’t able to record all of it, so after a couple of days, I went and looked online to see what was uploaded. Some of the songs I was missing were up there, so I went and got permission. It was a haphazard thing. There was no plan to do this before. As I was leaving my apartment to go to the show, I grabbed the camera and made sure the batteries were charged, but I hadn’t been planning to pursue this.

Stylistically, do you think this was an effective approach? You’re a filmmaker, but people shooting Neil on their iPhone, they don’t necessarily have the eye that you have.

I should mention the extreme importance of the audio. Without good audio, the video is nothing. That was the first thing I did, make sure there was a complete show that was able to be downloaded and shareable and all that stuff. When I heard the audio from the source, he calls himself Mr. Railing, I was floored by the quality of it. Once I found that audio, it was really just a matter of matching up the video with the audio and putting in touches along the way. I was just lucky to find that almost all the video that I needed from other sources was from that night. Some of the video is from a different night [of Young’s Carnegie run], because there was no from the night that I needed when I was there. [Neil] wore the same thing for every show. I assumed he did that because his team was recording, too, but I didn’t see any professional cameras.

What’s the benefit of watching the concert through the phone of someone else as opposed to the trained lens of a professional?
I’m certainly not the only one who has good, quality video out there. iPhones can’t really zoom in or get close; it depends on where you’re sitting for the quality and the closeness of the video. If someone else uses an optical zoom camera that’s small enough to fit in a pocket, there can be some great quality video. That has to do with the amount of people out there today that have access to good quality digital equipment that isn’t expensive, and they have the wherewithal to get good shots.

What you’re describing hearkens back to a time when people would sneak cassette recorders into shows and hide them under their t-shirts when they’d go to concerts. Do you recognize any parallels between what you do and the taping?
Oh yeah, totally. It’s an extension of it. It’s the next phase of the recording world. I wasn’t much of a recorder myself; I was more of a collector of other peoples’ recordings, which I guess goes in line with how all this came about. That’s perfectly aligned with this.

Lou Reed’s Guide to New York City

Lou Reed

Lou Reed, Your Most Honest Tour Guide for Almost 50 Years

If there’s one common sentiment shared by all the Lou Reed tributes that have sprung up in the past few dats, it’s how Reed’s music felt like the sound of New York. Whether the subject matter, the ambiance or outright namedropping geography, his almost 50 years of output chronicled and reflected an ever-changing city that he loved, or that at least loved him back enough to inspire him. When I first moved to New York nine years ago, I used Reed’s referencing of different locations to aid my own navigation around the city. It is with the cathartic chance to walk his streets once more that we proudly bring you Lou Reed’s Guide to New York City.

Lou-cations:
1) “I’m Waiting For the Man” 1967
“Up to Lexington, 125
Feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive.”

2) “Run Run Run” 1967
“Teenage Mary said to Uncle Dave
‘I sold my soul, must be saved.
Gonna take a walk down to Union Square,
You never know who you’re gonna find there.'”

3) “Walk on the Wildside” 1972
“Sugar Plum Fairy came and hit the streets
Looking for soul food and a place to eat
Went to the Apollo.”

4) “Sally Can’t Dance” 1974
“Sally is losing her face, she lives on St. Marks Place /
In a rent-controlled apartment, eighty dollars a month.”

5) “Ooohhh Baby” 1975
“But now you are a topless dancer working out of a bar on Times Square.”

6) “All Through the Night” 1979
“My best friend Sally, she got sick and I’m feeling mighty ill myself it happens all the time
and all through the night I went to Saint Vincent’s and I’m watching the ceiling
fall down on her body as she’s lying round on the ground.”

7) “Home of the Brave” 1983
“Here’s to Frank, hit in some bar in picturesque Brooklyn Heights.”

8) “Romeo Had Juliette” 1989
“Manhattan’s sinking like a rock / into the filthy Hudson what a shock.”

9) “Halloween Parade” 1989
“There’s a down town fairy singing out ‘Proud Mary’ As she cruises Christopher Street.”

10) “Dirty Blvd.” 1989
“A small kid stands by the Lincoln Tunnel, he’s selling plastic roses for a buck /
The traffic’s backed up to 39th Street, the TV whores are calling the cops out for a suck.”

11) “Hold On” 1989
“You better hold on / I’m gonna meet you in Tompkins Square.”

12) “Rock Minuet” 2000
“On Avenue B, someone cruised him one night / he took him in an alley and then pulled a knife.”

13) “Coney Island Baby”
“Coney Island Baby”

Songwriter Cass McCombs Offers His Best Work to Date With New Album “Big Wheel and Others”

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Art can often be a constant process of refinement, but Cass McCombs has finally perfected his approach. This week, the 35-year-old singer-songwriter is set to release his most ambitious project to date, a sprawling two-disc album titled Big Wheel and Others. On none of his previous albums has the California-born, Brooklyn-based drifter so finely honed his songwriting talent.

With his 2008 breakthrough, Catacombs, McCombs found a balance between two of his strongest abilities: haunting love ballads like “Dreams-Come-True Girl,” and poignant character studies like “Jonesy Boy” and “Lionkiller Got Married.” Big Wheel and Others is a more focused culmination of these abilities, but it also marks a new chapter in his career.

In the past, McCombs’s songs have, more often than not, been a reflection of the artist and society at large. But new songs like “Big Wheel” are strikingly direct. McCombs has a unique talent for inhabiting characters, but on Big Wheel and Others, the voice is usually his own, the lyrics bolder and more sincere.

McCombs has been painted as a misanthrope in the media, mainly because of his reticence toward interviews and social media. But in conversation after a surprise performance at Bar4 in Brooklyn, there’s no smoke screen, no façade. He has the air of an artist comfortable in his own skin, unencumbered by the Internet’s mix of nasty comments and empty back-patting.

Considering his stance on social media, you would think he’d be up for trashing it a little bit. But weeks later, over the phone from LA, he simply says it’s not for him.

“To each his own,” McCombs explains. “I play music. That’s how I communicate with people.”

While clearly dodging the question, he’s also got a point. When you make music as intensely revealing as his, there’s really no need for constant elucidation. In a perfect world, most artists would share this view, but we live an age of oversharing where the curtain is always up, which makes McCombs one of very few artists to save all of his bleeding for the music.

This can make navigating an interview with him somewhat tricky. (His publicist once told a Nashville publication that McCombs would only conduct interviews with female journalists because it allowed him to open up more and speak more freely.)

It’s a bit of a coup to even get him on the phone.

There are rules, though. No questions about who played on the album or where he lives. He wants to talk “ideas in music on a universal level.”

Fine.

McCombs recently injured his hand skateboarding, and he explains he doesn’t believe in Western medicine. He’s been visiting shamans who have recommended herbs and a strict diet of hot food. He’s toyed around with meditation as well, but playing music, he says, is already quite meditative.

Onstage, it’s clear what he means. Even while wincing through a six-song set at Bar4, he locked into the hard-stomping groove on “Big Wheel” with eyes closed, head bobbing side to side.

“That’s really where it happens for me,” he says. “I don’t really feel like I can totally express myself in a studio. I’d rather be onstage.”

As the opener on his new album, “Big Wheel” is at once its centerpiece and also something of a mission statement. Hearkening back to McCombs’s early 20s, when he worked brief stints as a construction worker and a truck driver, the lyrics consist of shout-outs to steamrollers, bulldozers, and “driving far alone” intertwined with a peacenik ideology that has colored much of his recent work, including a tribute to jailed folk hero Chelsea Manning.

Since the early 2000s, McCombs’s creativity has thrived on his penchant for traveling. Though he divides most of his time between LA and New York, when he isn’t touring he often sets out driving cross-country, crashing on couches, visiting friends and writing songs along the way.

“Traveling and continuing to travel and listening to people’s stories has truly affected the way I write songs, because I’m able to directly put people’s stories into a song,” he says. “It’s very direct.”

In his lyrics, McCombs adopts the voices of people he meets on the road: outcasts, rejects, those relegated to the fringe of society, whose existence says something about where we are or might be heading. On another new song , “Joe Murder,” he sings about a drug dealer who cuts his product with milk sugar. “Such a frugal drifter,” he sings. “But not all who wander are lost.”

McCombs says one of the most inspiring people he met while traveling was cult actress Karen Black, with whom he collaborated on Catacombs for “Dreams-Come-True-Girl.” In the late stages of the ampullary cancer that took her life in August, Black contributed vocals to “Brighter!” on Big Wheel and Others, casually ad-libbing the line “brighter my ass.”

“Every person she met, she instilled in them a sense of dignity,” McCombs reflects. “She didn’t project any amount of hatred, although we had once talked about writing a ‘Fuck You’ song. She was just so open to feeling things and expressing herself that the idea of writing a ‘Fuck You’ song probably sounded fun and light to her.”

‘Yo La Tengo’ React to Legendary Hoboken Venue Maxwell’s Closing Its Doors

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When news broke last week that Maxwell’s—that infamous, beloved rock spot across the river in Hoboken—would be shuttering in late July, industry folks freaked, bands grieved, and music lovers wrung their hands in mourning.

Todd Abramson, one of the owners and the man who’s been booking Maxwell’s for over 25 years, says that a dwindling artistic community in Hoboken, along with an influx of new residents who aren’t particularly compelled to patronize the venue, are two of the primary factors that influenced his decision to close.

“It’s so hard for people to travel to Hoboken—nobody can find parking—and the way that the demographics of the town have changed, the kind of people who would enjoy Maxwell’s have been moving into [New York City],” he says. “People who really aren’t going to be that interested in a place like this are moving in, you know? The artistic community, such as it was, is pretty much gone, and you need to be pretty well-to-do to move into this town nowadays. For the most part, that type of crowd isn’t all that gung ho about seeing the Screaming Females.”

Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo echoes Abramson’s sentiment. Maxwell’s departure is a significant one for Kaplan and his band. The Hoboken indie stalwarts have hosted a run of Hanukkah shows at Maxwell’s since 2001, though their relationship with the venue began long before that: Yo La Tengo first played Maxwell’s in 1984, and more or less cut their teeth on its stage.

“When I opened my mouth to sing at that first show, nothing came out,” says Kaplan, reflecting on Yo La Tengo’s Maxwell’s debut. “There was just terror the first time. The Hanukkah shows matched the venue in a perfect way for us. At these shows, we would try anything. I think it led us in any variety of directions, just bringing people onstage to play with us. This sort of ‘anything goes’ aspect of those shows had a big positive impact on the band. The Hanukkah shows were really fun and exciting, and those were my favorite shows at Maxwell’s. Sometimes you have mixed feelings about your home, but Maxwell’s has been our home all along. It [closing] is not good, and I think it’s reflecting something that’s going on with the city.”

Maxwell’s will host a number of banger concerts—including Ted Leo, the Feelies, and . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead—before officially closing up shop on July 31. Kaplan, who swung the venue the day its closure was announced to see New Zealand’s The Bats play to a sold-out crowd, hits shows there as frequently as he’s played them. He says there’s a reason the club has retained its sterling reputation over the years.

“For one thing, looking at our group, I don’t think it’ll surprise you that I’m a fan of things that last a long time,” he says. “The fact that the club exists as it does today is because it was built on this foundation of so many years ago. Maxwell’s has changed a lot over the years, but it did so gradually and organically, so it’s always maintained its connection to what it began as, which is a place that did things in a way that wasn’t ruthless business but building something for the future.”

Yo La Tengo may squeeze in one last set before the Hoboken institution is closed for good. When asked about their relationship with Maxwell’s, Kaplan plainly states that the imprint the venue has left on the band is substantial.

“You say ‘a place like Maxwell’s,’ and I’m not sure there is one,” he says. “Something I’ll always say about most anything is that if you change the circumstances, the results are going to change, too—so no, I don’t think Yo La Tengo would’ve been the same band without Maxwell’s.”

Yo La Tengo play as The Condo Fucks at Maxwell’s on Saturday, June 15.

Daft Punk: Helmets For Sale!?

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It’s too late now, and it’s probably been too late for the last 10 years. Daft Punk, the French electronic duo who has singlehandedly dominated the press for the last month, will be wearing their robot suits for the rest of their lives. There will never be a reveal, a coming out, or a change of tone. Frat-trance superstar Deadmau5 has, for the most part, removed the cybernetic mouse head. KISS wrote Lick It Up and removed the face paint on MTV. But even now, when Homework is a 16-year old album, Daft Punk will always be a gold helmet and a silver helmet.

If Daft Punk wanted to, they could’ve removed their uniforms in the early 2000s without much fanfare or drama. They could still headline festivals, and tour with a giant pyramid, and they could still make gleaming, romantic, semi-vintage dance music they’ve become famous for. But that didn’t happen, and the cover of the just-released Random Access Memories is emblazoned with the same severe iconography. It’s hard to think of any outfit in music that’s stayed so relentlessly dedicated to a theme over multiple decades. GWAR? Maybe The Residents?

It’s clear that Daft Punk’s aesthetic legacy, and PR maneuvers is born out of the retro-futuristic novelty, and perhaps they keep the suits on simply for purposes of reputation. But that only goes so far, the fact of the matter is that Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homen-Christo are almost 40, and have been hiding their public appearance for a very, very long time. The last 12 years has culturally solidified Daft Punk as a band of robots. For every show, every commercial, every photoshoot, these two men have accepted the fate of dressing up in what looks to be a very sweaty, uncomfortable outfit. That is a profound dedication, and it can’t be written off as simple frivolity. Why do they make this sacrifice? Clearly Daft Punk feel they benefit from the robots, and that might make them the most self-conscious band in the world.

It seems innocuous enough, but what would the impact be if there was a human face behind a song like “Get Lucky”? Would it feel the same? Or would be just a little less intoxicating? Is it easier to fall for something graciously pulpy and populist like roller-rink disco when it comes to us from cartoon characters? And as real life humans, is it ever hard not to blush making this music? Daft Punk’s only resistance to the goof is their masks. The faceless, nameless robots soak up all the attention and enthusiasm, and critics and fans alike start to regard Daft Punk on their own terms, in their own universe. Essentially Daft Punk wipe away any qualms of plasticity by engaging in maximum goof. Saying “One More Time” is too silly profoundly misses the point. But without the masks, it might become a lot easier. Without the masks, Daft Punk might be a hated band.

Daft Punk rely on their costumes because they rely on suspended cynicism. So much so that they might be actually terrified of ever breaking the fantasy. Superhero music needs to be made by superheroes, not men, and certainly not DJs. It’s not to say that Daft Punk haven’t created some of the most singular dance music of their generation, but instead that the public’s continued, unfettered enthusiasm about their music is directly tied to their image. Nobody can ever cut Daft Punk down for being too bright or too obvious because, honestly, what else would you expect from a pair of robots? There’s absolutely no doubt the world wouldn’t be as excited about Random Access Memories if it was coming from just a couple of guys.

But you know what? The robots are totally worth it. If we need a giddy fantasy to trust ourselves enough to enjoy recklessly optimistic music, then they’re doing God’s work. Daft Punk needed to transcend their humanity for their confidence, for their message, and for their audience. They needed to create some distance from the world, in order to bring us in closer than ever. The albums just wouldn’t be as magical if they were coming from planet Earth. Daft Punk dress up like robots for plenty of commercial reasons, but most of all, they do it for us.

Union Square is Getting a Massive Wi-Fi Expansion in June

WiFi

The good people at the Union Square Partnership are bringing Wi-Fi to the masses. Well, at least they’re expanding Union Square’s Wi-Fi, which currently only serves a meager 250 people. By mid-June, though, 3,000 people in and around Union Square Park will be able to hook up to the Internet for free.

According to Jennifer Falk, executive director at the Union Square Partnership, increased use of iPhones and the like put pressure on the network they set up in 2008. So, USP contracted with Sky-Packets, which partners with the Bryant Park Restoration Group, to revamp the system. Sponsored by Beth Israel Medical Center, USP will be adding new technology to two existing antennae at the north and south ends of the park, as well as adding a third antenna at 18th and Broadway.

“This will be a 1,001 percent increase over the old system,” Falk said.

People eating at outdoor cafes around the square should be able to log onto “USP Park Wifi,” too. The only downside we can think of is faster video upload times for Union Square’s notorious peeper population. Dammit.