Summertime . . . and the Music Is Easy to Find

June 21, 2016 by

Summer in Brooklyn is the season of warm nights, hot sounds and cool vibrations – a time for catching star performers and stars-to-be under the stars in Prospect Park, DUMBO, Coney Island and elsewhere around the borough. Here’s a taste of what concertgoers can look forward to now through September.

‘Celebrate’ Good Times

Proving once again that all musical roads lead to our borough, this year’s Celebrate Brooklyn! concert lineup runs the gamut of genres while presenting an array of local and nearby talent as well as performers from around the world. The latter include Canadian pop band Alvvays, Algerian rocker Rachid Taha, London-based Krar Collective, Nigeria’s Femi Kuti, Bombino from Niger, and Australia’s Tame Impala, who played the first two benefit concerts.

It was fitting that local sensations Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings headlined the opening gala that kicked off the festival, which features an abundance of other Brooklyn-based acts as well. Among those representing our borough at Celebrate Brooklyn! are Sunny Jain and his band, Red Baraat; Big Thief, who just released their debut album, Masterpiece; Gowanus-based folkie Aoife O’Donovan, opening for the Wood Brothers (whose bassist, Chris Wood, is a longtime Carroll Gardens resident); indie rockers Beirut; alternative hip-hop trio Digable Planets; jazz singer Gregory Porter; and Benin-born Brooklynite Angelique Kidjo, presenting the Celia Cruz Tribute.

Angelique Kidjo-CB!_06-30-12_HBL photo

Angelique Kidjo / photo by Howard B. Leibowitz/ courtesy of B.L.Howard Productions

Top performers from outside our borough include Herbie Hancock; Jon Batiste & Stay Human (The Late Show With Stephen Colbert); singer-songwriters Ray LaMontagne and Josh Ritter; indie darlings case/lang/veirs; and punk icons the Violent Femmes, to name a few.

Local Talent Headlines Hip-Hop Fest 

The multi-venue 12th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival of music, films, exhibits and more will climax with a July 16 Finale Concert in DUMBO’s Brooklyn Bridge Park, featuring such home-grown talent as NAS, Fabolous, Talib Kweli, Torae and host Uncle Ralph McDaniels. Also on the bill will be Rapsody, DJ Rob Swift, and the Soul Rebels, among others.

Afropunk Brings the Funk

If the dog days of summer get you down, get up and get your groove on with the Afropunk Festival, August 27-28 at Commodore Barry Park. Two bands with strong Brooklyn ties, TV on the Radio and Living Colour, share the bill with such fellow luminaries as Ice Cube, Ceelo Green, George Clinton, Janelle Monae, Flying Lotus, Tyler the Creator, The Internet and more than two dozen others. As this year’s theme implies, the multicultural festival promises to bring the “Power to the Party.”

George Clinton

George Clinton /photo by Howard B. Leibowitz / courtesy of B.L.Howard Productions

Coney Island, Baby!

Top names slated for the inaugural summer of The Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk include The Beach Boys, Ziggy Marley, Sting & Peter Gabriel, Jane’s Addiction, Boston, Erika Badhu, Kool & The Gang, Avett Brothers, Counting Crows, Bryan Adams, Jill Scott, Hollywood Vampires (Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry), and East New York’s own Maxwell, whose long-awaited new album, blackSUMMERS’night, will be released July 1. Another local act, Matisyahu, will open for Midwest rockers 311.

Beach Boys-HBL -2010

Mike Love of The Beach Boys / photo by Howard B. Leibowitz/ courtesy of B.L.Howard Productions

The Amphitheater will also host a night of ‘80s power pop with Rick Springfield, Night Ranger and The Romantics; ‘90s boy bands New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees and O Town; and “The Art of Rap Festival,” with Public Enemy, Ice T, Grandmaster Melle Mel and Scorpio, Naughty by Nature, Mobb Deep, Kurtis Blow and EPMD. For a change of pace, there’s the comedy of Sheepshead Bay native Andrew Dice Clay, and, from across the Verrazano Bridge, Impractical Jokers.

Post-Labor Day shows at The Amphitheater include Willie Nelson, Bryan Adams, Culture Club, Widespread Panic, Don Henley and Phil Lesh & Friends.

More Music Around Town

If none of the above floats your musical boat, check out the BAM R&B Festival at Metrotech, every Thursday at noon through August 4; evening SummerStage concerts at Betsy Head, Brooklyn Bridge, Coffey and Herbert Von King parks and the indoor offerings at Kings Theatre, Brooklyn Bowl, Bell House, The Way Station, Jalopy, Rough Trade, Knitting Factory, Music Hall of Williamsburg and other year-round music venues in our borough.