Labor Day Weekend 2017 NYC event guide
Where did the summer go? We know it’s not officially autumn until September 22 but Labor Day Weekend marks the spiritual end of summer. (After that it’s back to school, back to the grind and take those sweaters out of storage.) While holiday weekends are are never the biggest time for shows, there’s always something worth checking out in NYC and we’ve rounded up the live music highlights from Thursday through Labor Day. There’s also Philadelphia’s Made in America Festival this weekend, which isn’t too far away from NYC with Jay-Z, Solange and more. Hopefully you can squeeze in one more trip to the beach (maybe with live music…see below) and backyard BBQ, too. Our picks for Labor Day Weekend shows are below. Have a great and safe (and relaxing) holiday, whatever you end up doing.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 31
Jawbreaker documentary screening and Q&A @ Nitehawk Cinema
Jawbreaker are finally reunited for their first shows in 21 years, having recently played a tiny secret gig in California ahead of September’s Riot Fest. Along with the reunion comes the release of the new documentary Don’t Break Down: A Film About Jawbreaker, which features interviews with Billie Joe Armstrong, Steve Albini, Jessica Hopper, Graham Elliot, Chris Shifflet, Josh Caterer and more. The film made its premiere in San Francisco earlier this month, and it screens in NYC on Thursday, as part of the BrooklynVegan-presented Music Driven signature film series at Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg. The film starts at 9:30 PM, and it’s followed by a Q&A with Jawbreaker frontman Blake Schwarzenbach. Stick around directly after the Q&A for the afterparty in Nitehawk’s downstairs bar Lo Res, where BrooklynVegan editor Andrew Sacher will DJ an hour of punk and emo (from about 11:15 PM to 12:15 AM).
Little Dragon, Xavier Omär @ The Apollo
Sweden’s Little Dragon have been spending their summer dazzling fans at festivals around the world in support of their very enjoyable new album, Season High. Having just played Terminal 5, and ahead of weekend appearances at MoMA PS1’s Warm Up finale and Philly’s Made in America Festival, they play this historic Harlem venue tonight.
The Nude Party, Max Pain & The Groovies, Ghost Funk Orchestra @ Baby’s All Right
North Carolina’s The Nude Party have been mixing garage, rockabilly and ’60s British Invasion sounds into their own debaucherous mix for about four years now. They wrap up their August residency at Baby’s tonight.
Helado Negro @ MoMA
The MoMA Nights series wraps up with perhaps its most interesting show: Brooklyn’s Helado Negro (aka multi-disciplinary artist Roberto Carlos Lange) whose captivating live shows often incorporate visual art. Free with museum admission.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1
Omar Souleyman, Karikatura @ Brooklyn Bowl
Syria’s Omar Souleyman has a super-fun, danceable, and unforgettable live show, that you just have to see to fully believe. His music combines Syrian Dabke music with more Western electronic sounds, and this year’s To Syria With Love (released on Diplo’s Mad Decent label) is even more heavy on techno than his previous works. UPDATE: Cancelled due to visa issues. Bummer!
Madball, Maximum Penalty, Free, Rare Form, Mad Diesel @ Brooklyn Bazaar
NYHC greats Madball have been at it since the late ’80s and their approach remains the same. (Their latest album is called Hardcore Lives, which should give you an idea of how much these guys stick to their roots.) Their live shows haven’t lost one bit of aggression or crowd participation — seeing them at a place like Brooklyn Bazaar (small room, low stage, no barrier) should be perfect. Making this bill even better is direct support from another great NYHC band, Maximum Penalty.
Electric Zoo (FRI, SAT & SUN)
This weekend, Randall’s Island hosts major EDM festival Electric Zoo, one of NYC’s biggest Labor Day musical events. Among the lineup is DJ Snake (whose Coachella set this year included a surprise Lauryn Hill appearance), Zedd, Sasha & John Digweed, Paul Kalkbrenner, Tchami, Claude VonStroke, The Black Madonna, Dixon, a collaborative set from deadmau5 & Eric Prydz, and more. Be prepared for colorful outfits and light shows, and nonstop dancing.
Twerps (solo), Free Time, Lionlimb @ Baby’s All Right
Marty Frawley, frontman for Australia’s Twerps, has been hanging in Brooklyn for much of the summer (skipping out on the Australian winter) and is playing a solo show tonight with an ad-hoc backing band. Hopefully he’ll play some songs off the band’s forthcoming album for Merge. Also on the bill: Aussie ex-pats Free Time.
Guided by Voices @ House of Independents (Asbury Park)
It’s hard to believe (or maybe it isn’t) that Robert Pollard has put out over 100 records and doesn’t seem to be slowing down — we’ve gotten two GBV records this year already. The current lineup of the band, featuring Doug Gillard and Bobby Bare Jr, is excellent, and Bob can still swing the mic and karate kick like the best of them.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2
DJ Tunez, Little Dragon, DJ Lag, LSDXOXO, Odwalla1221, Debit @ MoMA PS1 (Warm Up)
It’s not summer in NYC without Warm Up, the dance party under the sun that takes place every Saturday in MoMA PS1’s courtyard. Warm Up 2017 has been a great season, and that season goes out with a bang today. The main attraction for many is alt-pop lifers Little Dragon, who also play much larger NYC shows at Terminal 5 and The Apollo this week, but it’s Warm Up, so there are of course a handful of great DJs to keep everyone dancing too. Might we recommend catching LSDXOXO?
Venom Inc, Goatwhore, Toxic Holocaust, The Convalescence @ Gramercy Theatre
Extreme metal as we know it wouldn’t exist without Venom, whose early works like Welcome to Hell and Black Metal paved the path for a handful of metal subgenres. Venom Inc is the version of Venom with Mantas and Abaddon (but not Cronos), and they’re promising a “brand new set” for this tour. With quality openers like Goatwhore and Toxic Holocaust, this should be a great night.
Neon Indian, Mira Fahrenheit, Love Tempo @ Good Room
It’s been a couple years since Neon Indian released a new album, but main man Alan Palomo Jr maintains a public profile via DJ gigs where he spins his influences and current music too.
Weeping Icon, Giggly Boys, The Seminals, Dethmelt @ Rippers
If you’re hoping to get in one more trip to the beach and and want to see some music as well, this show at Rockaways staple Rippers is a good bet, featuring a lineup of dark-hued postpunk. Free, 4 PM.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
Robyn Hitchcock, Kevin Barker @ Baby’s All Right
Having made superior, eccentric pop since the late ’70s, Robyn Hitchcock remains a talent today, and there’s just nobody else like him. He’s still going strong, too, having released his excellent 21st studio album earlier this year. Few artists spin stories as well as Robyn, making the between-song banter as much of a treat as his many great songs.
Diablo Fest w/ Burn, Show Me the Body, Goretex, Ninjasonik, Ache, Man Without Plan, Black Punk, The Bad Racket @ Brooklyn Bazaar
NYHC staple Danny Diablo throws his Diablo Fest today, and the lineup is great as always. The headliners are reunited NYHC greats Burn, who are about to release their first album in 16 years (on Converge frontman J Bannon’s Deathwish label, produced by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou). Burn’s 1990 debut EP helped shape ’90s post-hardcore as we know it, and the singles from the new album have all been pretty crushing, so this is very exciting. The lineup also includes punk/rap maniacs Show Me the Body, Non Phixion’s Goretex, underground rap duo Ninjasonik, NYHC newcomers Ache, long-running Brooklyn band Man Without Plan, punk-trap rapper Black Punk (aka Black Dave), and an act billed as The Bad Racket (who we can’t find an online presence for but perhaps it’s worth noting that’s the name of a Lordz of Brooklyn song).
Shellshag, Tinkerbelles, Watergate, Kangaroo @ The Safari Room at El Cortez
Brooklyn duo Shellshag have been been exemplifiers of the DIY punk spirit for 20 years and their unique live show remains a thrill. Having the show at El Cortez, a pretty fun place to hang out with great food and frozen cocktails, makes it all the more appetizing.
Sunday also the finale of Twin Peaks: The Return, a series comeback that has turned out to be worth the 25 year wait. We can’t even begin to guess what is going to happen though we’d bet Julee Cruise sings at the Roadhouse.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4
Yvette, Weeping Icon @ Baby’s All Right (FREE SHOW)
Welcome fall with open arms at this double bill of dark, noisy post-punk featuring Weeping Icon (who have a great new EP on Kanine) and intense duo Yvette. Free with RSVP.
Charles Bradley @ The Surf Lodge
Charles Bradley’s story never ceases to amaze. He started out making soul music in the 1960s, but he didn’t record a proper album until 2011’s No Time for Dreaming (Daptone Records), which started gaining him some real recognition. He makes the music he wanted to make this whole time — if you didn’t know any better, you’d think Charles’ records were lost albums from the early Motown era. Last year he released Changes, named for its title track which is a cover of the Black Sabbath song. Charles is no stranger to rock covers (his debut had Neil Young and Nirvana songs), and he always makes them sound like classic soul songs. If you’re looking to spend part of your Labor Day Weekend in the Hamptons this year, the chance to see a free Charles Bradley show makes the trip seem that much more appealing.