Winter and spring and Game of Thrones have passed, and the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day, is finally here, giving you hopefully a long weekend of rest, relaxation and fun. If you’re spending it in NYC, there are no shortage of things to do and that includes many great live music and comedy options. We’ve rounded up some of the most notable ones in this guide.
Other things to do: NYC Beaches officially open Memorial Day Weekend, as does the Rockaways’ Riis Park Beach Bazaar. It’s not a bad time to go to the movies, either — have you seen Avengers: Endgame and John Wick 3 yet? — or maybe you want to stay in and binge the three seasons of Deadwood ahead of its long-awaited new HBO movie premiering next week.
Check out our NYC-area Memorial Day Weekend show picks, below.
Sannhet, Planning For Burial, Elizabeth Colour Wheel @ Elsewhere Zone One
Here’s a killer, varied but very heavy triple bill with instru-metalists Sannhet, Thom Wasluck’s “gloom” project Planning for Burial, and Elizabeth Colour wheel who mix goth, punk, black metal, doom, slowcore, and noise into their sound.
TV Girl, Yohuna @ Elsewhere Zone One (THURSDAY)
L.A. band TV Girl mix satirical, dark lyrics with bright, sample-based pop, making for sonic bon bons with an acid center.
The Undertones, Dot Dash @ Gramercy Theatre (THURSDAY)
Irish punk/pop greats The Undertones still sport most of the original lineup — and though, crucially, singer Feargal Sharkey is not part of it, Paul McLoone has been vocalist since 1999. But you’ve got the rest of the band — John and Damian O’Neill, Michael Bradley, and Billy Doherty — plus all those great songs.
Pile, C.H.E.W., Pelican Movement @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (THURSDAY)
Pile‘s just released Green and Gray which sees the Boston band’s unique take on grungy post-hardcore in fine form.
Deradoorian, M. Geddes Gengras, Greg Fox @ Public Records (THURSDAY)
Angel Deradoorian has been a member of Dirty Projectors and occasionally fronts a Black Sabbath cover band, but makes droney, beautiful music on her own. Greg Fox, who counts that same Black Sabbath cover band as one of hs many, many musical projects, is on this bill as well. This is a good opportunity to check out new Gowanus venue Public Records, too.
The Accused AD, The End AD, Darkside NYC @ Saint Vitus Bar (THURSDAY)
On their way to Maryland Deathfest, The Accused AD (Blaine Cook and Alex Sibbald of Seattle crossover thrashers The Accüsed), play this Brooklyn show with Philly hardcore/metal crew The End AD and more.
Lizzo, Tayla Parx @ Terminal 5 (THURSDAY)
Riding high on her new album Cuz I Love You (and its great single “Juice”), Lizzo’s run of sold-out NYC shows continues tonight — next stop Radio City.
Satanicide, Witch Taint (with Dave Hill) @ Mercury Lounge (THURSDAY)
If you prefer your metal with tongue firmly in cheek, this is a double bill for you, with long-running mockumetal group Satanicide and Dave Hill’s high-concept black metal group Witch Taint.
MGMT, Warpaint @ Webster Hall (THURSDAY & FRIDAY)
Last year’s Little Dark Age split the difference nicely between MGMT’s very popular debut album and the full-on weirdness of their subsequent albums, and the band have been putting on very fun live shows in support. This run of dates is opened by Warpaint making for a very appealing double bill. They also play Friday and will DJ the afterparty at Schimanski that same night.
Cameron Esposito @ Union Hall (THURSDAY & SUNDAY)
Comedian Cameron Esposito continues a five-night run at Brooklyn’s Union Hall tonight, where she’ll be working out her newest show, Cameron Esposito: Separately.
Eddie Izzard @ Beacon Theatre (THURSDAY – SATURDAY)
British comedian Eddie Izzard brings his new show “Wunderbar” — “about everything from humans over the last 100,000 years to talking dogs and animal superheroes” — to Beacon Theatre for five nights.
American Football, Pure Bathing Culture @ Warsaw (FRIDAY & SATURDAY)
American Football’s great new album, LP3, sees this veteran band moving on from their storied past, and it features collaborations with members of Paramore, Slowdive, and Land of Talk.
Four Tet, Ben UFO, Anthony Naples, UMFANG @ Knockdown Center (FRIDAY)
Kieran Hebden usually makes his NYC shows special, whether it’s a site-specific light installation at National Sawdust, or setting up in the middle of the crowd at Brooklyn Steel. What does he have in store for tonight?
Filthy Friends (ft. Corin Tucker, Peter Buck), Dressy Bessy @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (FRIDAY)
Featuring R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker, and Young Fresh Fellows Scott McCaughey and Kurt Bloch, Filthy Friends celebrate the release of their politically minded new album Emerald Valley.
No Vacation, Okey Dokey @ Bowery Ballroom (FRIDAY)
San Francisco’s No Vacation skew to the mellow side of the indie pop spectrum, going down light and easy with no bitter aftertaste.
Laura Stevenson, Mal Blum, Completions @ Rough Trade (FRIDAY)
In the decade-plus that Laura Stevenson has been releasing solo material, she has always bounced back and forth between folk music and driving indie-punk — sometimes on the same song — but her fifth album The Big Freeze is her most overtly folk album yet, and the new direction suits her well.
10,000 Maniacs @ City Winery (THURSDAY – SATURDAY)
While the band is missing Natalie Merchant and the late Robert Buck, this lineup of 10,000 Maniacs has been carrying on the band’s tradition for over 10 years are still making records.
Buster Poindexter @ City Winery Loft (FRIDAY)
David Johansen swaps out leather and heels for a smoking jacket and a martini with his tropical cabaret alter-ego Buster Poindexter.
Snail Mail, Long Beard @ Asbury Lanes (SATURDAY)
Lindsay Jordan’s indie rock project Snail Mail has been on the rise for the last year since releasing her heartfelt, tuneful and yearning debut album on Matador.
Califone @ Littlefield (SATURDAY)
Chicago experimental indie vets Califone haven’t released an album in six years, but a trio version of the band — Tim Rutili, Ben Massarella and Rachel Blumberg — play tonight as part of Littlefield’s 10th anniversary.
The So So Glos, Bodega, Emmerson & Her Clammy Hands, Baglady @ Mercury Lounge (SATURDAY)
Speaking of anniversaries, Lower East Side venue Mercury Lounge is celebrating 25 years of live music this year and this lineup of locals, including punks The So So Glos and arch post-punks Bodega, is one of the special shows for the occasion.
Liturgy, Leya, Brandon Lopez @ The Glove (SATURDAY)
Led by Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, Brooklyn art-metal band Liturgy put the head in head-banging with their abstract take on heavy riffage.
Walter Lure & The Waldos play L.A.M.F. (SATURDAY @ CONEY ISLAND BABY / SUNDAY @ BOWERY ELECTRIC)
Former Heartbreakers guitarist Water Lure pays tribute to his old band’s classic 1977 debut album.
Jonathan Toubin’s Sunday Soul Scream with Gnarcissists, Animal Show @ Our Wicked Lady Rooftop (SUNDAY)
Jonathan Toubin kicks off the 2019 edition of his rooftop Sunday Soul Scream series at Our Wicked Lady tonight with bands starting at 8 PM and then turning into a free dance party at 10 PM.
Bjork (Cornucopia) @ The Shed (SATURDAY & SUNDAY)
Bjork’s “most elaborately staged concert to date” is an audiovisual feast, presenting the songs of Utopia to the accompaniment of lush floral imagery and a septet of flutists. It runs at new Hudson Yards multi-arts space The Shed until June 1.
Kurt Braunohler, Ted Leo (DJ) @ Littlefield (SUNDAY)
Some of you may remember that Kurt used to host weekly comedy show Hot Tub at Littlefield back in the venue’s early days (which begat Night Train which begat Butterboy) and he returns to help them celebrate their 10th anniversary. Ted Leo will spin the hits.
Jungle Brothers, CL Smooth @ Sony Hall (SUNDAY)
One of the original Native Tongues groups, alongside De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, Jungle Brothers were, among other things, notable for bringing house music to hip hop.
Butterboy Comedy @ Littlefield (MONDAY)
Aparna Nancherla and Maeve Higgins are your hosts for this Memorial Day edition of Butterboy and will welcome guests Brooks Wheelan, Ester Steinberg, Calvin Cato, Josh Comers and more.
Green-Wood’s Annual Memorial Day Concert (MONDAY)
Memorial Day in NYC means this annual concert from the ISO Symphonic Band and Orchestra, which is now in its 21st year, and while it might not be the type of thing we normally cover, any excuse to visit Brooklyn’s amazing Green-Wood Cemetery is a good one, especially if there’s live music involved too. They’ll be paying tribute to the music of Green-Wood permanent residents Fred Ebb, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Leonard Bernstein, and others.