Labor Day Weekend 2018 NYC event guide
Labor Day Weekend is upon marking the unofficial end of an especially hot and humid summer. (It’s been one.) It’s one last weekend to relax and have fun, before heading back to school, back to work, and pulling your sweaters out of storage. If you’re in NYC and looking to see some live music this long holiday weekend, there are more than a few options, including many outdoor shows (let’s hope the weather is nice).
There’s also Philly’s stacked Made in America Festival, which isn’t too far of a commute. Here are our Labor Day Weekend show pics, below…
THURSDAY, AUGUST 30
Drake, Migos @ Barclays Center (Thursday, Friday, Saturday)
The superstar rap combo of Drake and Migos are in the midst of a seven-show NYC run, three of which go down Labor Day Weekend. So far, guest appearances have included Cardi B and Tory Lanez. Will anyone join them at these shows?
Holly Miranda @ Loft at City Winery
Possessed with songwriting skills and musical chops to rival her amazing voice, Holly is always worth catching and this show is in City Winery’s relatively new, intimate upstairs Loft. UPDATE: Holly had to cancel Thursday’s show due to illness. Feel better, Holly!
Mutual Benefit @ MoMA
MoMA’s Summer Thursdays series wraps up tonight with a performance by Jordan Lee’s Mutual Benefit project (who releases new album Thunder Follows the Light in September. This show is included with museum admittance.
The Dean Ween Group @ Rocks Off Concert Cruises
When not touring with Ween, the Deaner has stayed busy releasing a solo album earlier this year, and he’s been hinting at a record with Kurt Vile to come. Tonight: he plays a boat.
Jonah Matranga (Water & Solutions 20th anniversary), The Pauses, Dave Hill @ Mercury Lounge
It’s been 20 years since post-hardcore greats Far released their most classic and influential album, Water & Solutions, and to celebrate the anniversary, frontman Jonah Matranga is on the road playing the album in full. He’ll be backed by indie band The Pauses, who are also opening. Making this show even more appealing is comedian/rocker Dave Hill.
Springsteen on Broadway (Thursday, Friday)
The Boss continues his sold-out “Springsteen on Broadway” run at the Walter Kerr Theatre, which runs through December. At these shows, Bruce is giving fans shows “that are as personal and as intimate as possible.”
FRIDAY, AUGUST 31
Shonen Knife, The U.S. Americans @ Brooklyn Bowl
Osaka, Japan’s Shonen Knife has been making punk rock with a naive charm since 1981, a sound that made fans out of Sonic Youth and Nirvana. They remain a whole lot of fun.
The Juan MacLean, Amtrac (DJ Sets) @ Elsewhere Rooftop
Elsewhere’s rooftop was an instant hit when it opened the summer and is always a good place to hang, even moreso when you add a DJ set from DFA artist Juan Maclean to the mix.
Hether Fortune (solo), Planning For Burial, Shadow Age @ Elsewhere Zone One
Hether Fortune put her band Wax Idols on ice earlier this week (and canceled the tour) but is still playing this Brooklyn show tonight, solo. Likewise, Planning for Burial will also be playing “a quieter, intimate version of his set.”
The Austerity Program, Faking, sewingneedle, Nonagon, Huh, Risk/Reward, Language, Husbandry, The Milford @ Mercury Lounge
NYC post-hardcore/noise rock vets The Austerity Program finally released their long-awaited sophomore album in 2014, and they’ve been going strong since then. Catch them on their home turf this Labor Day Weekend.
ELECTRIC ZOO (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
As always, Labor Day Weekend means massive EDM festival Electric Zoo returns to Randall’s Island. Alongside huge names like Marshmello, Martin Garrix, Kaskade, Tiesto and Alessio, there’s cool stuff like Anna Lunoe, UNIIQU3, Destructo, Justin Martin, Pete Tong, Shiba San, Chris Liebing b2b Dubfire, AC Slater, Chris Lorenzo, Redlight, Matthias Tanzman, and more.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1
Sun Ra Arkestra @ Union Pool (Summer Thunder)
Union Pool’s free Summer Thunder series closes its season on a high note with the Sun Ra Arkestra, still led by the 94-year-old Marshall Allen. They’ll take over Union Pool’s courtyard, fingers crossed the weather holds out. 2-6 PM, get there early.
Timothy “Speed” Levitch (The Cruise) @ Joe’s Pub
Acclaimed documentary The Cruise, about one-of-a-kind NYC tour guide Timothy “Speed” Levitch, turns 20 this year and to celebrate the anniversary, Levitch is presenting this new monologue that is a “front-line reportage of the NYC double-decker bus wars of the early 1990’s, a documentary subject reinventing the notion of his documentary-subjecthood, and a musicological lecture.” This should be great.
Judas Priest, Deep Purple, The Temperance Movement @ Jones Beach
Heavy metal as we know it would definitely not exist without the influence of Judas Priest and Deep Purple, both of whom have tons of huge, timeless classics under their belts that they’re sure to play at this outdoor show.
Thou, Uniform, Sunrot @ Knitting Factory Brooklyn
Boundary-pushing heavy bands — and Sacred Bones labelmates — Thou and Uniform both celebrate great new albums at this show, Magus and The Long Walk, respectively. With solid support from Sunrot, this triple bill is hard to pass up if you’re a fan of uncompromising, alienating heavy music.
Warm-Up w/ Discwoman, Yaeji, Gang Gang Dance, Lizzo, AceMo, Logan Takahashi @ MoMA PS1
Labor Day Weekend means the final edition of Warm Up, which is going out with a bang this year. Headlining is the Discwoman collective, and there will also be sets from genre-defying producer/singer Yaeji, art pop weirdos Gang Gang Dance, energetic rapper Lizzo, and beatmakers AceMo and Logan Takahashi (the latter of Teengirl Fantasy).
James Chance & The Contortions @ The Safari Room at El Cortez
Saxophonist James Chance is a downtown icon who has led The Contortions for four decades. Indie, alt, punk and jazz would not sound the same without him, and El Cortez’s Safari Room will be a fun place to catch them.
Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs, Jane Chuch @ Mercury Lounge (Early)
Onetime Thee Headcoatees member and prolific artist in her own right, Holly Golightly marries great songs, character and attitude to her music, and released new LP Clippity Clop (a covers album where all the songs are about horses) earlier this year.
Mic Handz benefit (The Beatnuts, Black Rob, M.O.P., Pharoahe Monch, Lil Cease & much more ) @ Mercury Lounge (Late)
“In an effort to build awareness and secure maximum donor participation on behalf of Mic Handz and all other chronic kidney disease patients in and around the hip hop community we manditorily come together as one in support of our own,” reads the event description for this show which is stacked with hip hop talent. The lineup includes The Beatnuts, Black Rob, M.O.P., Pharoahe Monch, Lil Cease, Royal Flush, Mr. Cheeks, Mic Geronimo, DoItAll, Craig G, Rock, Prince Po, Tragedy Khadafi, Pudgee, Babs Bunny, Dres from Black Sheep, Grand Daddy I.U., Cappadonna (of Wu-Tang), Large Professor, AL Skratch & Blahzay, and Neek The Exotic.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2
Soul Scream w/ “Secret Guest,” Jonathan Toubin (DJ) @ Our Wicked Lady
Jonathan Toubin has been hosting the Soul Scream party at Our Wicked Lady’s rooftop all summer long and closes out the season with this blowout featuring a surprise headliner.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
Mike Simonetti, Jacky Sommer, Kfeelz, Mike Swells, Ma Sha, Rob Seurat, Joelle Sedlemeyer @ Elsewhere Rooftop
Popgun celebrates Labor Day with this daylong party featuring a parade of great DJs, including Mike Simonetti (Italians Do it Better, Troubleman Unlimited ), Jacky Sommer (Analog Soul) and more.
Butterboy Comedy @ Littlefield
Maeve Higgins hosts solo tonight (Jo and Aparna are off grilling or something) and welcomes guests Julio Torres, Emmy Blotnick, Jordan Carlos, Rob Cantrell, Sarah Tollemache, Norlex Belma, and more. .
There is of course lots more happening this weekend. You can browse our full NYC show calendar for all upcoming NYC-area shows. Have a great long holiday weekend!