NYC Summer 2011 Show Selections

June 6, 2011 at 2:45 pm Leave a comment

New York in the summer can be quite unbearable: the humidity, the hot-as-hell subway commutes, the very confused tourists, ETC. One of the best things about our summers, though, is the incredible amount of great free music. From Celebrate Brooklyn to the River to River Fest to the Williamsburg Waterfront, you’ll never lack for choices. Here are a few of our top picks for summer shows, some free, some not. If you missed out on tickets, never fear: most of these are outdoors, so you can at least get to listen happily while taking in the local scenery.

1. Andrew Bird, in Prospect Park for Celebrate Brooklyn, 6/10, free

Photo of Andrew Bird via thelmagazine.com

Andrew Bird kicks off the season for Celebrate Brooklyn with a free show at Prospect Park! He will surely play songs from his latest, Useless Creatures, as well as his 2009 standout Noble Beast.

2. The BooksJunip, and Doveman, in Prospect Park for Celebrate Brooklyn, 6/17, free

Photo by Jon Bergmann via Junip.net

We covered one of Junip’s first New York shows awhile back, and we’re looking forward to seeing what they have for us this time around. The Books put on an excellent live show as well. Don’t miss this one!

3.  Guided By Voices at McCarren Park on 6/18, $35 day of show (if still available)

Photo via GBV.com

Guided by Voices put on an unforgettable live show; this fact is beyond question. This show is part of the Northside Festival, which takes place from June 15th to June 19th in venues across Williamsburg and Greenpoint. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll be hosting a showcase for another online music site. More details to come, as well as coverage of the entire fest.

4. Lower Dens and Dirty Beaches at the South Street Seaport, 7/1, free

Image via LowerDens.com

Both of these bands are new on my radar but their debut albums (Twin Hand Movement 2010, Badlands 2011, respectively) have impressed me greatly. I saw Lower Dens last year when they opened for Future Islands, and since then I’ve been looking forward to checking them out on a bigger stage.

5. Tune-Yards at Pier 54 on July 14th/Patti Smith at Castle Clinton, both free

This is a tough choice! We’ve seen Tune-Yards before and she’s amazing live, but Patti Smith is a legend. Either way, it’s a win-win, but for Patti Smith, you need to get free tickets ahead of time, either online or at the entrance to Castle Clinton the day of the show.

6. The Radio Dept at South Street Seaport on July 15th (free)/The Wooden Birds at Rock Shop ($10)

Photo via TheRadioDept.com

Another tough call. Both of these bands are fantastic live, but if you’re trying to be thrifty, The Radio Dept is free. Count on it being crowded, though! If you’re in Park Slope and in the mood for a more mellow vibe, The Wooden Birds are a guaranteed good time.

7. Wanda Jackson at Central Park Summerstage 7/27,  free

Photo via Third Man Records

Wanda Jackson is the unofficial “Queen of Rockabilly” and has had a resurgence in popularity due to her recent album The Party Ain’t Over, released this January and produced by Jack White. I caught most of her set at SXSW, and while I wasn’t able to get too close to the stage, I could tell she still has “it” after all of these years.

8. Ra Ra Riot and Buke & Gass, in Prospect Park for Celebrate Brooklyn 8/5, free

Photo of via rarariot.com

Having never seen either of these bands live, I can only judge by how much I like their albums and how positive the press about them has been. It’s free, so no harm, no foul.

9. Sonic Youth and Wild Flag, Williamsburg Waterfront, 8/12, $32.50

Photo via SonicYouth.com

Go to this show if you can! Sonic Youth are eventually going to stop playing amazing, outdoor NY shows with fantastic openers such as Wild Flag, and you’re going to be sorry if you miss out. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

10. Afro-Punk Festival in Fort Greene in Commodore Barry Park with headliners Cee Lo Green, Santigold, Fishbone, and including Janelle Monae, Toro Y Moi, Reggie Watts, among others 8/27-8/28, free

Photo via ceelogreen.com

This has to be one of the best line ups of a free festival of the summer that I have seen in a while. How could you pass up on Cee Lo Green playing with Janelle Monae? For FREE?? The schedule of performances is yet to be announced, but keep checking the Afro-Punk Fest website for updates.

There are only a few of the many live and many free shows. For a more complete list, check here and here. Enjoy your summer!

Entry filed under: Bands We Like, Jams, JudyJams, Music News. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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