Brooklyn’s Music Scene Heats Up Summer
Brooklyn’s summer music season is in full swing as the 39th season of Celebrate Brooklyn! got under way with high-octane notes from Lake Street Dive, who were joined by Brooklyn native, keyboardist Akie Bermiss , as well as WFUV Radio’s Rita Houston, who made the on stage introduction , as this night’s show was broadcast live. Their 20-song set began with the title song from their Bad Self Portraits album and also included a searing version of “Rabid Animal” as well as tracks from the newest album, Side Pony, featuring a Mike Olson drum solo on “Godawful Things.” Bridget Kearney, who resides steps away from Prospect Park, treated concert goers to a masterful bass solo on “Be Cool,” while Rachel Price was vocally effervescent for the entire performance.
A few days later, New Orleans-based brass ensemble, The Soul Rebels, headlined the Celebrate Brooklyn! festivities. The night’s electric performances began with Brooklyn’s DJ extraordinaire Natasha Diggs spinning upbeat tunes. R&B songstress Goapele then treated the crowd to her fiery and soulful music set that solicited gasps of delight, when they heard her perform “Secret,” one of her new songs. The Soul Rebels were joined by Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch and Pro Era’s Kirk Knight, as they paid tribute to fellow rapper Prodigy, who had passed away days before.
BAM’s R&B Festival at Metrotech hosted legendary New York Blues Hall of Fame inductee John Hammond, who mesmerized the lunchtime crowd with some of his blues classics, including “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Walking Blues” and “Back Door Man,” also told of his Brooklyn Dodger fan forays, recalling Ebbets Field, Happy Felton’s Knothole Gang and Gil Hodges from the stage.
Highlights at Celebrate Brooklyn! this month the include Robert Randolph & the Family Band (July 13), with opening act Eric Krasno, a two-time Grammy winner and longtime resident of Brooklyn.
Benefit concerts will be staged on July 18 and 20. The first features Planetarium, comprising our borough’s own Sufjan Stevens and Bryce Dessner (The National) along with Nico Muhly and James McAlister. The quartet released their eponymous album in June. Conor Oberst headlines the second one.
International acts appearing on the Prospect Park Bandshell stage include Britain’s Quantic (July 14), France’s Ben L’Oncle Soul (July 15), West African husband-and-wife duo Amadou & Mariam (July 21), and Mashrou’ Leila from Beirut (July 22). Wrapping up the month will be Andrew Bird with special guest Esperanza Spalding (July 28) and Admiral T / Tabou Combo / DJ Spike T.I. (July 29).
The 13th annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival takes place at various sites from July 10-15. Concerts, films, lectures and exhibits feature talents from Brooklyn and beyond.
At the Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island, Echo and the Bunnymen shares the bill with Violent Femmes (July 12), Bed-Stuy native Big Daddy Kane joins Naughty by Nature and others for Wendy Williams’ All White Mixtape Beach Party, and WCBS-FM’s Brooklyn’s Own Joe Causi hosts the 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert of Saturday Night Fever.
For those who prefer to stay indoors, Brooklyn Bowl’s lineup includes tribute shows covering the music of the late Chris Cornell (July 14), Grateful Dead (July 26) and The Beatles (July 30), as well as a Jerry Garcia 75th Birthday Celebration presented by the late rock star’s family. Brooklyn jazz drummer Oscar Noriega and his Crooked Trio play Friday nights at Barbès, and local duo Evan Kaufman and Rebecca Vigil present their award-winning musical Your Love, Our Musical! at Union Hall (July 24).
The Knitting Factory presents the Afropunk Brooklyn Battle of the Bands (July 26-29). Following the last show there’ll be a DJ Set by Belle & Sebastian’s Richard Colburn and Chris Geddes. In conjunction with WFUV, the West Elm store in DUMBO will host a free concert by Nicole Atkins (July 13).