Labor Day Weekend 2016 NYC event guide
by Andrew Sacher, Bill Pearis & Rob Sperry-Fromm
While summer technically goes till September 21, Labor Day always marks the spiritual end of summer and when you're supposed to put your white pants in the closet for another year. While you should certainly make time for backyard barbeques, binge-watching that show you've been meaning to watch, and that nagging bit of home improvement, there are also lots of show options to keep you occupied in NYC (and nearby) this Labor Day Weekend. The weather forecast is not the greatest, unfortunately, and may short out the Electric Zoo (we know, dang) but we've got a bunch of suggestions to keep you entertained, below...
If you're looking to get out the city, camp under the stars and also catch a bunch of great bands, there's Meltasia which happens Friday - Sunday at The Old Game Farm in Catskill, NY. That location, by the way, is an actual abandoned zoo. The lineup includes Shannon & the Clams, Pentagram, Kool Keith, Sheer Mag, Fat White Family, Murphy's Law, Bloodshot Bill, Natural Child and more. Making sure things stay weird will be your emcee for the weekend, Neil Hamburger. Tickets are available.
Nearby in Philly, the annual Jay Z-curated, Budweiser-presented Made In America festival goes down on September 3 & 4. As always, there's tons of cool rap and R&B like Rihanna, the new Lil Wayne/2 Chainz collab project Collegrove, Chance the Rapper, A$AP Ferg and more. There's also major indie/alt stuff like Coldplay, Jamie xx and Grimes. And as always, Made In America has a solid punk/indie rock booking: Touche Amore, Basement, Car Seat Headrest, Kevin Devine, Show Me The Body, Aaron West & the Roaring Twenties, Porches, Into It. Over It. and more. And really, how can you say no to a festival where you could see Rihanna and Touche Amore the same weekend?
DIY venue Aviv just announced they'll be leaving their current Greenpoint location at the end of October, so if you've been meaning to check it out, a great time to go would be this weekend's Summer's End Music Festival which happens Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's lineup features Honduras and Guerilla Toss; Sunday has Mal Blum & The Blums, PILL and more. Full lineup here.
If you're looking for something a little different, the Experi-MENTAL Festival is happening all weekend, Thursday at Spectrum in Manhattan and Friday - Sunday at Silent Barn in Brooklyn. Twenty-two electronic and experimental artists will perform, there will be VJs providing visuals and there will also be tarot card readings. Get freaky! More details are here and you can watch a promotional trailer for the fest:
Also outside of NYC but close enough to travel, blink-182's tour hits CT, Saratoga, and Atlantic City this weekend. They may be without co-frontman Tom Delonge, but musically speaking, their new album has them more in the spotlight than they've been since their prime late '90s / early '00s era, and the live shows are still great. As an added bonus, NJ's great Front Bottoms open the AC show.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1
With a sound straight out of the early days of Rock n’ Roll, Shannon & the Clams bring big hooks and personality (and a lot of fun) to the table. It’s bound to get wild tonight at their second Market Hotel show in as many nights. White Mystery and Big Huge are also on the bill. Advance tickets are sold out but there should be a few at the door -- go early.
It’s the collaboration no one was waiting for but Interpol’s Paul Banks and Wu-Tang’s RZA seem to be having fun so why spoil their party? Banks and Steelz will get some additional help at Bowery Ballroom tonight from Joan Wasser of Joan as Policewoman. Add always-out-there opener Kool Keith and you’ve got a night that will probably be unlike any, at least till Del the Funky Homosapien and Carlos D decide to make a record.
Over at Analog BKNY (177 Second Ave), you can catch a stacked night of electronic music, including the beautiful/melodic Andy Stott, the darker Demdike Stare, and Prurient main man Dominick Fernow’s other project Vatican Shadow.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2
If you've got a car or can rent one, the very easy trip to Asbury Park is worth taking this weekend even if there wasn't any good music there. What better way to wrap up your summer than one last trip to the beach/boardwalk? But making things even better, there is good music there. On Friday night, outlaw country legend Willie Nelson rolls through for a show at the Stone Pony Summer Stage, the venue's very nice outdoor stage which is right across the street from the boardwalk. Willie's still got in a major way, and any chance to see him is a good one. (And just a heads up, you can also see him in Coney Island later this month.)
You can argue that Dave Wakeling and a bunch of sidemen is hardly The English Beat that gave us three classic '80s albums, but there's no denying songs like "Mirror in the Bathroom" and "Save it for Later." His voice still sounds great, and he throws in a few General Public favorites, too. Ranking Roger (and Andy Cox and David Steele) is missed though. They play Friday and Sunday at City Winery. Tickets are available.
The Replacements reunion may be over, but if there's any band keeping Westerberg-ian rock alive it's Beach Slang, whose highly anticipated sophomore album A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings comes out later this month on Polyvinyl. (There's also some Jawbreaker in there, and you're likely to hear covers of both of those bands at a Beach Slang show.) You can see Beach Slang in NYC later this month, but it's the (unofficial) last weekend of the summer, so why not get out of the city and see them in the Hamptons for free? Plus if you stay another night, you can see Gary Clark Jr too (more on that in a minute).
For you metalheads, there's some good stuff going on at metal haven Saint Vitus over the weekend. On Friday you can catch grind/thrash heavyweights Toxic Holocaust with speed metal merchants Bat (mems. Municipal Waste) and Baltimore blackened thrash outfit Cemetery Piss, who just released their sweet new album Order of the Vulture. Tickets for that are still on sale.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
For a heavier Saturday option, Saint Vitus will play host to Lord Dying, Black Fast and Child Bite. This is a cool, varied bill, as Lord Dying play a heavy, dank brand of sludge, Black Fast traffic in proggy thrash, and Child Bite are serious weirdos who seem to tour with everybody in the heavy universe. Tickets are available.
Like we said above, if you're thinking of spending your Labor Day Weekend in the Hamptons, there's some great music to catch there at The Surf Lodge. Friday has the great Beach Slang, and Saturday's got blues-guitar revivalist Gary Clark Jr. Gary just gets bigger and bigger, and he does more and more cool things (like collaborating with Phil Lesh at the recent Lockn' Festival), so seeing him for free in an environment like this is tough to pass up.
There was supposed to be the NYC stop of the weird "I Love the '90s" tour at the Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk on Friday but that show got canceled. You can still indulge in a little nostalgia by the beach on Saturday night with "A Cyclone Ride Back In Time" featuring Sugarhill Gang, The Cover Girls, Biz Markie (who was part of the '90s tour) and more.
If you feel like dancing, House of Yes has a night of indie disco on Saturday with acclaimed producers/DJs Aeroplane, Psychemagik, and Mike Bloom (tickets); meanwhile over at Knitting Factory, Havoc, Andy Mineo, Abir, Rook, Skyzoo and more will play the !llmind & Friends Birthday Celebrations (tickets)
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4
That Sugarhill Gang/Biz Markie/etc show in Coney Island on Friday isn't the only classic-rap revival happening in NYC this weekend. Puff Daddy is in the midst of a tour that reunites the Bad Boy Family -- including Lil Kim, Ma$e, Faith Evans, The L.O.X., Mario Winans, 112, Total, Carl Thomas, French Montana, a Biggie tribute and more -- and is loaded with music from his unstoppable '90s era. That tour hits MSG on Sunday. It's been a while since most people in this lineup put out great music, but those old favorites live up. This should be a super fun night.
Kimbra and Australian artist Sophia Brous are doing another of their collaborative "EXO-TECH" shows on Sunday, out at Red Hook's cavernous, unique Pioneer Works. This one features Sean Lennon, Colin Stetson, Chairlift singer Caroline Polachek (who’s also DJing), Dirty Three/Xylouris White’s Jim White, Arcade Fire’s Sarah Neufeld, Darkside’s Dave Harrington, and more.
The type of dark, melodic hardcore that bands like Modern Life Is War helped popularize is bigger than ever, so it's great to have them doing their thing again. In 2013 they put out their first album since hiatus, last year they toured and reissued their best album Witness for its 10th anniversary. Their Brooklyn show at Saint Vitus on Sunday is one of three currently-scheduled dates for MLIW, and a very worthy way to celebrate your Labor Day Weekend. Locals Primitive Weapons open and they're worth catching too.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
Kanye West is quite possibly in his least predictable year ever. He's already released several versions of The Life of Pablo, and it doesn't seem unlikely that more updates are on the way. He also says he has other albums coming this year, and it pretty much seems like a 50/50 chance of whether or not we'll actually get to hear those. He's on tour now, and will surely do something crazy at each show. Tonight's the beginning of a two-night stand at MSG. He also returns to NYC in October to headline The Meadows festival.
Frankie Rose is keeping a low profile these days, wrapping up work on her third album as we speak. She may break out some new songs Monday night at this all-around good show featuring Promise Keeper (Will from Mood Rings), plus Cantina and Nicholas Nicholas.
What are you doing this weekend?