NYC Memorial Day Weekend 2017 guide to events & concerts
Memorial Day Weekend is upon us, marking the unofficial start of summer. Unfortunately for folks in NYC, the weather forecast is pretty soggy for the whole thing, though beaches do officially open on Memorial Day and this year have free sunscreen dispensers. So you might want to catch one of the season’s big blockbusters (Alien: Covenant, Pirates of The Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales…Baywatch?), or binge-watch some TV like new seasons of Master of None and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt, or the awesome first season of Legion. Or maybe finally check out The Whitney Biennial.
Holiday weekends are usually light on concerts but there are still some great options all weekend long, including a few very notable ones. Check out our list below.
Pixies may be without Kim Deal, whose contributions to their sound are crucial, and their recent material may not be so hot, but few alternative rock bands hold a candle to the albums that came out during Pixies’ initial run as a band — and even less are as influential. One of the better modern bands who pulls from the type of rock that Pixies helped pioneer, Cymbals Eat Guitars, open these shows.
Piebald @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
During their initial run as a band, Piebald made powerful post-hardcore, crunchy, catchy indie rock, Beatlesque pop, and more. The Boston band reactivated last year, and they’re currently on a short tour surrounding their appearance at hometown festival Boston Calling. In addition to their NYC show on Thursday, they’ve got a show in the tri-state area in Asbury Park on Friday. Their reunion shows so far have been great, and they still haven’t booked very many so these are on the rarer side.
“The Hum” with Angel Deradoorian, Miho Hatori, Ikue Mori, The Blow, Eartheater, Chaos Chaos @ Le Poisson Rouge (Thursday)
The Hum is a “unique all-female music series with an emphasis on collaborations between musicians who have never played together before.” Tonight’s lineup is pretty impressive, with Angel Deradoorian, Cibo Matto’s Miho Hatori, The Blow and more participating.
Max Kansas City Festvial @ Bowery Electric (Thursday, Friday & Saturday)
The three-day Max’s Kansas City Festival celebrates the iconic ’70s punk venue that ran wild from 1965 to 1981. This year’s fest features such acts as Waldos, Sic F*cks, Reagan Youth, The Brats, Nihilistics, New York Junk and lots more.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds @ Kings Theatre (Friday & Saturday)
A master showman with a deep catalog of amazing songs, and an incredible band in The Bad Seeds, any chance to see Nick Cave is worth it. Add to that the gorgeous setting that is Kings Theatre makes these shows especially appealing, and unsurprisingly sold out.
Alabama Shakes @ Bowery Ballroom (Friday)
“One of our favorite early memories as a band was playing The Bowery Ballroom in NYC,” Alabama Shakes said, announcing this return to the venue that is very small for them these days. Needless to say, sold out.
Zomby, NOLIFE, MACK, Doss, J. Albert, 38 @ Brooklyn Night Bazaar (Friday)
UK producer Zomby broke through with 2008’s Where Were U in ’92?, an excellent revival of ’90s hardcore rave, and he’s kept it at with releases on Hyperdub and 4AD that dove into post-dubstep, drum & bass, ambient, garage, and more. His latest album, 2016’s Ultra, featured collaborations with Burial and Darkstar.
Kirin J Callinan, Blonder, The Night Game @ Baby’s All Right (Friday)
Aussie eccentric and gonzo performer Kirin J Callinan has a new album out in a couple weeks — the well-titled Bravado — and will pull double duty at this late night show, with his own set and as part of The Night Game.
Martial Canterel, Collin Crowe, Anastasia, Anastasia Clarke, Dylan Marcheschi @ Knockdown Center (Friday)
Xeno & Oaklander’s Sean McBride, in his solo Martial Canterel guise, headlines this synth-centric show that is promising “quadrophonic sound.” Should be interesting.
Elf Power, Sunwatchers @ Baby’s All Right (Saturday)
Elephant 6 vets Elf Power have been going strong since the ’90s. They’ve never really changed their sound, but that’s not a bad thing — there are still few bands who pull this kind of lo-fi psychedelic pop off the way Elf Power do, and not for lack of trying. Elf Power’s influence can be felt on a bunch of modern indie/DIY bands. They recently released Twitching In Time, which is high quality stuff.
OSHUN, Highclass Hoodlums, Nakaya, JIL, DJ Shiva @ Knockdown Center (Saturday)
Neo-soul/hip hop group OSHUN are one of the best live bands in NYC right now. They’re led by core members Thandiwe and Niambi Sala, who wear matching outfits and facepaint on stage and who have incredible voices, and the duo is always joined by an ace backing band. They’re like Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and Digable Planets all rolled into one, with so much natural talent and confidence.
Psychic Ills, Blazer Sound System @ Union Pool (Saturday, FREE)
One of our favorite Brooklyn summer traditions is Union Pool’s Summer Thunder series, which presents free shows in the Williamsburg venue’s back patio. Today’s the kickoff show, with the dark and moody Psychic Ills. In case of rain, the shows happens in Union Pool’s performance room.
John Zorn @ Village Vanguard (Sunday)
Jazz innovator and Downtown icon John Zorn has his own club in the city — The Stone — but today he’s playing a matinee as part of a quartet also featuring Steve Coleman (alto sax), Christian McBride (bass), and Tyshawn Sorey (drums). Advance tickets are sold out but you may be able to slide in when doors open at 3 PM.
Leon Vynehall, Alan & Andrew Blancato, David Marston, Toribio, Bryce David @ Good Room (Sunday)
Leon Vynehall’s great 2016 album Rojus (Designed To Dance) was a concept album based on Leon’s observation that the courtship rituals of birds of paradise were similar to that of humans trying to impress potential partners on the dancefloor in the club. The album was designed designed to mirror a club night from doors to close, using samples of bird calls. He also intended it to be “functional dance music,” which he’ll likely deliver plenty of at Good Room on Sunday.
Holy Ghost! (DJ), JDH & Dave P @ Good Roof at Dobbin St. (Monday)
The folks at Good Room are also curating this rooftop party series that kicks off today with DFA mainstays Holy Ghost! 3 – 9 PM.
Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Revocation, Withered @ Gramercy Theatre (Monday)
Death metal as we know it wouldn’t exist without Morbid Angel, whose 1989 LP Altars of Madness is a defining album of the genre. Their lineup currently includes Dan Vadim Von of Vadimvon and drummer Scott Fuller of Annihilated, and this is their first tour with those guys. With support from fellow DM vets Suffocation, deathy thrashers Revocation, and blackened death metallers Withered, this will be a killer show all around.
Night Train w/ guest host David Cross @ Littlefield (Monday)
Regular Night Train host Wyatt Cenac is away and David Cross is guest hosting. He welcomes guests Greg Fitzsimmons, Myq Kaplan, Sonia Denis, Zach Sherwin, and Neel Nanda. There may be some surprises too — last week David’s Mr Show partner Bob Odenkirk stopped by.
Mike Birbiglia: Working It Out @ Union Hall (Monday)
The very funny Mike Birbiglia is more popular than ever, having directed and written two films and released a few great standup specials, including this year’s Thank God for Jokes. He hasn’t forgotten his roots though, and frequently returns to his old stomping grounds of Union Hall to work out new jokes (hence “Working It Out”). After Union Hall had to close due to a fire, Mike moved things to The Bell House to do a show that raised money for Union Hall bartenders. Union Hall isn’t fully up and running again yet, but they’re now able to do shows in the downstairs performance, where Mike will be tonight. Sold out, but there will be standby tickets when doors open.
More recommended Memorial Day Weekend Shows:
Aye Nako, Sammus, Jelani Sei @ Silent Barn (Saturday)