Eight Great Summer Concerts in NYC


[Editor’s note: The lineup for the Voice‘s 4Knots Music Festival was in flux at press time thanks to a lyme disease flareup for original headliners The Julie Ruin’s singer Kathleen Hanna, but now things are back on track with the mighty Dinosaur Jr. topping a bill that also features Those Darlins, Speedy Ortiz, Radkey, Viet Cong, Nude Beach, Juan Wauters, and more. All on July 12 starting 1 p.m. at South Street Seaport, all gloriously free.]

Bill Orcutt and Chris Corsano

June 8

Summer jams don’t come much more jagged than a rare appearance by former Harry Pussy guitarist Bill Orcutt and freelance drum re-inventor Chris Corsano. Chasing the continuum of fire music through noise clouds, slicing beauty, and intimate densities over a few short recordings and scattered gigs, the Orcutt/Corsano duo provide the kind of authentic head-spinning disruption that venture capitalists haven’t figured out how to cash in on. Yet. All recent Williamsburg condo buyers are encouraged to attend. Baby’s All Right, 146 Broadway, Brooklyn,

Thee Oh Sees

June 14

The prolific San Francisco candy-fuzzers announced an “indefinite hiatus” way back in the fall and are already returning to Brooklyn on the heels of a hot new album, but who’s complaining? Led by songwriter John Dwyer and anchored by Petey Damnit’s punching Fender VI baritone guitar, the quartet’s bounce is so kinetic that they’re even worth navigating the guaranteed chaos of Williamsburg’s annual Northside Festival. RSVPs? Badges? Probably. McCarren Park, Bedford Avenue at North 12th Street, Brooklyn,


July 11–13

The jam stalwarts and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame–eligible vets may show up in their less-adventurous recent guise, flaunting shorter jams, new material they may or may not be ignoring, and a crowd prone to wooing over the interesting parts. But pick the right night and the Vermont quartet can still set sail for the stars and play the sound of wind and waves. There remains nothing on the American musical landscape that remotely approaches the improv-prog foursome. Whether or not you get any closer is a matter of free will. Randall’s Island,

Alloy Orchestra

July 12

One of the most delightful avant-family traditions in Brooklyn is the summer appearance by Boston’s Alloy Orchestra, playing their playful and rich silent film scores under the stars. This year, the group (which includes Mission of Burma’s Roger Miller) presents its soundtrack to 1924’s He Who Gets Slapped, the first film fully made by Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer. Starring Lon Chaney as a scientist turned circus clown, the thriller is sure to provide clever turns for the adults and dreamy strangeness for any young weirdos of the future who might doze off on a blanket. Prospect Park Bandshell, 9th Street and Prospect Park West, Brooklyn,

Circulatory System

July 22–23

Neutral Milk Hotel’s latest victory lap through NYC is grand, but Brooklyn should rejoice in the return of Jeff Mangum’s almost-as-elusive opening act, Circulatory System. Counting their incarnation as The Olivia Tremor Control, Will Cullen Hart and company have spent 20 years defiantly at play in the realms beyond Strawberry Fields. The new Mosaics Within Mosaics is Hart’s furthest out (or maybe in) yet, but live shows often call for big choruses and endearing all-hands-on-deck arrangements. Prospect Park Bandshell, 9th Street and Prospect Park West, Brooklyn,

Larry Harlow’s Hommy:
A Latin Opera

July 23

Besides the initial spark, name, and titular deaf and blind boy, Larry Harlow’s Hommy bears little resemblance to The Who’s Tommy. First staged at Carnegie Hall in 1973, Hommy was an arrival for the seething New York salsa scene and the beginning of the second act for the magnificent Celia Cruz. For the first full production in over 40 years, Fania Records mastermind Larry Harlow himself conducts a full symphony, chorus, dance company, and cavalcade of special guests. Damrosch Bandshell, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza,

John Luther Adams’s
Sila: The Breath of the World

July 25–26

Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music, composer John Luther Adams has spent a lifetime channeling swarming natural forces into sound. Drawing influence from the dramatic spaces of his beloved Alaska, the world premiere of site-specific Sila calls for some 80 musicians to spread in concentric circles around the performance space, finding the horizon line between their own breaths and the noisy cityscape, as audience members move between musicians and wander among Adams’s harmonic clouds. Damrosch Bandshell, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza,

Hal Willner

August 26–31

Instead of a massively eclectic bizarro-world musical homage on one of the city’s big stages, super-producer Hal Willner this year opts for a multi-night run in the austere quarters of The Stone. Subjects include Lou Reed, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Terry Southern, and silent films. Among Willner’s collaborators are The Fugs’ Ed Sanders (reading Edgar Allen Poe), NRBQ’s Terry Adams, actor Fisher Stevens, and “a very special guest pianist” perhaps known for playing minimally. For best results, arrive early and befriend your linemates. The Stone, Ave C at 2nd Street,