Dance Through the Best Labor Day Weekend Concerts in NYC, Starting With Electric Zoo: Transformed


For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

Calling all beat-thirsty ravers: The Zoo has returned, and this time with even more oomph. Electric Zoo: Transformed is set to dominate the weekend by commandeering Randalls Island Park for three days of nonstop drops and colorful expression. Unleash your inner animal during sets by the Chemical Brothers, Zeds Dead, Above & Beyond, Alesso, and many more. If EDM isn’t the answer to your weekend desire, give experimentalist Jenny Hval or avant-garde jazz percussionist Harris Eisenstadt a chance to close out summer in style.

Friday, 9/4
Electric Zoo: Transformed
Randalls Island Park
1 p.m., $119–$299
For its seventh year, the electronic-music festival is rebranding as Electric Zoo: Transformed, an updated concept that finds festival host Made Event partnering with ID&T (the creative magicians behind fests like TomorrowWorld) for an even bigger and brighter neon-hued production. As always, Randalls Island is host to more than 100,000 revelers over Labor Day weekend, and this year’s headliners include the likes of the Chemical Brothers, Above & Beyond, and Alesso. Multiple stages, interactive art installations, and food and drink options add to the overall festive aesthetic. Following the drug-related deaths of two festivalgoers in 2013, increased security and safety were a priority at the 2014 event, and will surely be at its 2015 iteration as well. — Jill Menze

Living Room
8 p.m., $8
Four friends from Brooklyn who fuse their dreamy and emo influences into their own self-described style (called, naturally, “dreamo”) make up the emotional outfit Living Room. Taking cues from Taking Back Sunday’s pain-laden vocals and the Appleseed Cast’s luscious guitar-based arrangements, Living Room sound energized and heartbroken on their solid 2014 debut, Moonchaser. Never too heavy but definitely not soft, Living Room remain accessible and are a pleasing breath of fresh air for a genre that’s been rather stagnant for the past decade. — Silas Valentino

The Cry
Mercury Lounge
10:30 p.m., $10
The Cry have the hair, appeal, and songs to match their power pop and glam ancestors, and the ghosts of Marc Bolan and the New York Dolls can rest assured that the style of music they helped to create is being properly handled by this rowdy group of Portlanders. They seem tailored for the East Village — appropriately playing at its border venue Mercury Lounge — and offer up the crunchy, riff-heavy songs and beer-breath’d attitude the locals can appreciate: See “Toys in the Attic” and “Shakin,’ ” off their 2014 sophomore effort, Dangerous Game. — Silas Valentino

Cameo Gallery
8 p.m., $8–$10
“The meaning of the name Teletextile is not first date information,” says band founder Pamela Martinez on their Bandcamp profile, and this charming aloofness has seeped its way into Teletextile’s electro-pop sound, where the arrangements ebb and flow from subdued valleys to robust breakdowns. Their track “I Don’t Know How to Act Here,” off the 2011-released Reflector EP, features Feist-recalling vocals from Martinez and various musical left turns that ultimately lead to an energized finish where the words “end this” and “endless” meld into an epic and reverberated finish. — Silas Valentino

Saturday, 9/5
Cameo Gallery
8 p.m., $10
Rising from the ashes of defunct Chicagoan darlings Kids These Days arrives Marrow, an indie four-piece that channels the Texas blues in their vocals and features instrumentation that could rival Wilco’s. The microphone gets passed around to each band member, but when keyboardist/guitarist Macie Stewart takes over on the toe-tapping rocker “Paulson,” you quickly hear who’s calling the shots. Marrow’s debut LP, The Gold Standard, hits shelves on September 5, the same day as this Cameo Gallery appearance, and this set would be the proper intimate gig to catch them before they return to play larger rooms. — Silas Valentino

Whiskey Bitches
Le Poisson Rouge
7 p.m., $10
With an attention-snagging name and a crisp riff-rock sound, New York trio Whiskey Bitches dare you to sit still as their high-voltage rock infiltrates your rebel soul. Split between Brooklyn and Queens, the Whiskey Bitches formed one night as a joke band to round out a set at Muchmore’s in Williamsburg. Three years later, the gag has turned into a full-throttled attack, sounding its finest on the 2014 EP Never Enough. Whiskey Bitches follow in footsteps planted by the Ramones and Green Day: gritty punk made deliciously palatable. — Silas Valentino

Sunday, 9/6
Black Rock Coalition’s 30th Anniversary
The Bell House
7 p.m., $10–$12
The Black Rock Coalition’s 30th Anniversary Kick-Off Party is the first event in a 30-day celebration of the thriving collective co-founded by Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid and former Village Voice staffer Greg “Ironman” Tate. Oscillating between irony and its opposite for longer (and louder) than anyone might have imagined, the Coalition is a continually evolving and renewing volunteer network of politically engaged black musicians exploring a habitual, though far from traditional, white genre. Tonight’s show reflects the BRC’s vitality with performances by Unlocking the Truth, the heavily metallic, Brooklyn-based trio whose Sony contract had to be approved by the New York Supreme Court due to their tender ages; Living Colour co-conspirators Reid and vocalist Corey Glover; and Kudu singer Betty Black. — Richard Gehr

Jenny Hval
Rough Trade NYC
8 p.m., $12
Norwegian avant-garde singer-songwriter Jenny Hval stretches the frame of experimental pop music with her third album, Apocalypse, girl, which challenges ears to participate in its well-articulated doom. She’s based in electronic instrumentation, but confinement is not a trait she wears well. Sometimes Hval is spacey and eerie (“White Underground”) while at others she flexes her astute spoken-word ability (“Kingsize”) to provoke imagery of the modern world gone mad. Apocalypse, girl was released on the local label Sacred Bones, and their union is a success in boundary-daring output. — Silas Valentino

Bass Drum of Death
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m., $12
Last May, lo-fi garage rockers Bass Drum of Death took to their Facebook page to let fans know that they were canceling upcoming European dates due to personal matters. “Our goal is always to put on the very best live show that we can at all times, and unfortunately that’s not possible right now,” it read. And while this sentiment could be interpreted as an alarm, sounding an end to the Oxford, Mississippi, duo, it should be seen as a testament to Bass Drum of Death’s mission to provide only their unadulterated finest onstage. Take solace, Baby’s All Right, for you know you’re about to receive a committed and determined set. — Silas Valentino

Harris Eisenstadt
The Stone
8 p.m. & 10 p.m./$15
NYC’s perpetually buzzing avant-jazz scene is home to a hotbed of drummer/composer heavyweights including Ches Smith, Jim Black, and Vinnie Sperrazza. Enter Harris Eisenstadt into that prolific fray. Over the last several years, the Brooklyn-via-Toronto percussionist has proven a protean composer of the highest order on conceptual sprawls such as his recurring Golden State and Canada Day series and with his September Trio. This week-long residency — which coincides with his 40th birthday — is the perfect chance to see Eisenstadt present his copious oeuvre as he runs the gamut from improvised sets with the likes of woodwind master Vinnie Golia and epic compositions with his Golden State ensemble to a record release party for this newest release, Canada Day IV. Check the Stone website for the full calendar. — Brad Cohan