Reflections on BK’s Music Scene-A Year to Be Celebrated and Another One Coming Up !
2017 was laden with musical riches, as the Brooklyn talent incubator was hard at work once again. Whether it was in the schools, colleges, clubs, theaters, its beautiful parks, studios or on digital devices, Brooklyn’s music scene proved to be as vibrant and exciting as ever.
Celebrate Brooklyn!, The Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, the Northside Festival, Afropunk and the Brooklyn Americana Music Festival once again captivated outdoor concert goers, while showing off our borough’s strengths as both a fertile field for nurturing and inspiring new artists , as well as a powerful magnet that attracts top talent to come here from elsewhere to perform.
For example, Lake Street Dive, Big Thief, Yeasayer, Talib Kweli, Sufjan Stevens, The National’s Bryce Dessner, and Brooklyn Raga Massive were among locally based performers who took the bandshell stage in Prospect Park during Celebrate Brooklyn!, while artists from beyond Brooklyn who played there this summer included Alisa Loeb, Andrew Bird, Esperanza Spalding, Béla Fleck, Nellie McKay, Musiq Soulchild, Pharoah Sanders, Wilco’s Nels Cline, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, The Shins and Fleet Foxes.
Northside — with stages in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick — also had its share of local talent among the 300+ artists who perform. Among those representing Brooklyn were Dead Stars, Dirty Projectors, Fruits & Flowers, Grim Streaker, Milan to Minsk, Monograms, Radamiz, The Pains of Being Pure of Heart, Tiny Hazard, Tubafresh and Yucky Duster.
Afropunk presented talent from as far away as Paris (DJ Anais B), London (Soul II Soul, Sampha, Dizzee Rascal and Michael Kiwanuka) and the U.S. West Coast (Macy Gray, Thundercat, Raphael Saadiq and Sango), as well as Austin, TX (Gary Clark, Jr.), New Orleans (Solange Knowles) and Chicago (The Cool Kids). They and many others joined such New York-area performers as SZA, Princess Nokia and Sudan-born Brooklynite Sinkane.
Brooklyn Americana Music Festival
The majority of acts that played at the Brooklyn Americana Music Festival had roots in Brooklyn, including Bobtown, Stella Branstool, The Defibulators, Ana Egge, Abby Hollander, Pete Lanctot, Jesse Lenat, The Maybelles, M Shanghai, and Rench, among many others.
Brooklyn Roads was on hand for a number of the performances cited above and also attended concerts at several year-round venues in our borough including Evanescence, The Isley Brothers, Patti Austin, Hot Tuna, Becca Stevens, Nicole Atkins, American Nomads, Carolann Solebello and VickiKristinaBarcelona, the latter four being locally based or connected. Hot Brooklyn acts who played on Brooklyn stages in 2017 include Jay-Z, Big Daddy Kane, The Hold Steady, Thief, St. Vincent, Grizzly Bear, Busta Rhymes, Fabolous and Real Estate.
Among the many outstanding performers we welcomed to various local stages this year were Willie Nile, Janet Jackson, Green Day, Spoon, John Hammond, The Decembrists, PJ Harvey, Abbie Gardner, 50 Cent and Dionne Warwick.