Who Needs the Great Pumpkin? Brooklyn’s Got Great Music!

October 10, 2016 by
Don Henley / photo by HBL

Don Henley at Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk / photo © 2016 by Howard B. Leibowitz / courtesy of B.L.Howard Productions

“Nobody on the road…nobody on the beach…I feel it in the air…the summer’s out of reach.” It’s fitting that the man who wrote those lyrics, Don Henley, brought Brooklyn’s latest epic summer of outdoor music – including Celebrate Brooklyn!, AfroPunk, the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival and the  Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series — to a close on the official last day of the season. Henley’s September 21 performance at The Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk was also the coda for that new arena’s first star-studded summer, which featured music spanning six decades – and an even greater number of genres. The lineup included Bryan Adams, Erykah Badu, the Beach Boys, Boston, Counting Crows, Culture Club, Peter Gabriel, Kool & the Gang, Willie Nelson, Sting, Ziggy Markey and Brooklyn’s own Maxwell, to name a few.

Counting Crows

Counting Crows at Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk / photo © 2016 by Howard B. Leibowitz / courtesy of B.L.Howard Productions

Now, as the leaves — and the temperatures — begin to fall, our borough’s indoor venues rise to the occasion and keep the music fires burning.

The Brooklyn music scene in October is like a bag of Halloween treats filled with something for everyone’s taste. Don’t like Mary Janes or candy corn? Reach in again a pull out a KitKat or a Snickers bar or a packet of SweeTarts – or the musical equivalent thereof. This month alone the performance halls in our borough are offering such diverse treats as The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir — accompanied by The National’s Aaron Dessner, Bryan Devendorf and Scott Devendorf – at the Kings Theatre; fab femme rockers Luscious Jackson at Bell House; Brooklyn-by-way-of-Seattle brass quartet The Westerlies at Roulette; and, for fans of hip-hop and contemporary R&B, Powerhouse 2016 at Barclays Center, with self-described “honorary Brooklynite” Usher, local sensations Young M.A. and Desiigner, plus Wiz Khalifa, Bryson Tiller, Tory Lanez and Fat Joe & Remy Ma.


Country music aficionados can always find something good cooking at Hill Country Live, such as Evan Felts, whose many travels have led him to Brooklyn where he currently resides, or they can check out the various country, folk and Americana artists who show up every Sunday evening for Grammy nominee Terry Radigan’s Radigan Roundup at 12th Street Bar & Grill. The Way Station’s October calendar includes a pair of local acts — singer/folktronicist E.W. Harris, who will no doubt be singing tunes from his brand new release, Mimetic Desire, and eclectic pop band Rooster, led by Mimi Oz, who is currently laying down tracks for her third album, Growing Pains, at Brooklyn’s Golden Rule Studio.

All of the above is leading up to a Halloween weekend full of treats and a post-ghostfest “Trick.” Brooklyn Bowl hosts the Halloween Family Party with The Rock and Roll Playhouse, as well as the ska-infused 5th Annual Devil’s Night Danse, while Rough Trade offers the Scream 20th Anniversary Halloween Party and, at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Jukebox the Ghost presents HalloQueen.

For those who prefer the twang of strings to the rattle of chains, there’s the Fifth Annual Brooklyn Bluegrass Bash at Bell House. Headlined by innovative contemporary banjo virtuoso Tony Trischka, the lineup includes a number of Brooklyn-based artists, such as the Abby Hollander Band, Michael Daves and Friends, and the Punch Brothers’ Chris “Critter” Eldridge teaming up with fellow guitar whiz Julian Lage.

That trick we mentioned earlier should be a treat for lovers of alt-country and Americana. On November 4, Jalopy hosts Annie Keating’s record release show for her new album, Trick Star. Preceding her performance will be three sets by her special guests — fellow Brooklynites Jan Bell, Steve Mayone and Gabriel Mayers.