Here Are the Celebrate Brooklyn! Shows We’re Most Excited For

If you want to rub elbows with real live Voice employees in Prospect Park, here’s where we’ll be


The BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, the annual summer concert-and-other-things series at the Prospect Park bandshell, kicks off with a free concert by Common, then continues through mid August with its usual assortment of celebrated performers and hidden gems. (And yes, we would say that even if the Voice weren’t a media partner of the festival; it really is our favorite summer music series.) The full calendar is below, annotated by the Voice staff with the shows we’re frantically rearranging our vacation schedules to make sure we’re in town to see:

Tuesday, June 5, 8 p.m.: Common

Sunday, June 10, 3 p.m.: Los Lobos

One of my favorite things about Celebrate Brooklyn! has been watching parents my age dance with their young kids to the music they grew up with. Now that I’m the parent of a young kid myself, I can’t wait to get out and dance with my child at this year’s family concert, headlined by Los Lobos. I’m also looking forward to introducing him to the wide range of styles Los Lobos cover, from early rock ’n’ roll to r&b to zydeco to blues. And of course shimmying with my kid to “La Bamba”! — Nina Pearlman

Wednesday, June 13, 7 p.m.: The Decemberists / M. Ward (benefit concert, $45)

Thursday, June 14, 7:30 p.m.: Vance Joy (benefit concert, $54.50)

I don’t remember exactly when I first heard Vance Joy. I only know that somehow the singer-songwriter’s plaintive voice and harmony-rich songs stayed with me, worming their way into my thoughts and my heart. I could listen to his 2014 indie-folk album, Dream Your Life Away, over and over, its melodies wrapping themselves around me like a warm, comforting blanket. I can already picture myself swaying and clapping along. — Nina Pearlman

Saturday, June 16, 7 p.m.: The Jayhawks / Mandolin Orange / Parsonsfield

Wednesday, June 20, 6:30 p.m.: Grizzly Bear & Spoon with Special Guest Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith (benefit concert, $46)

I caught Grizzly Bear back in 2010, when they were making indie-rock waves with their album Veckatimest, from the previous year. At that time, I remember listening to the band with mere passing interest, my ears only really perking up when the group finally played its ubiquitous-at-the-time single “Two Weeks.” But in the intervening years, their music — complex, intricate, and emotionally intense — has quietly grown on me, and the band itself has become one of my favorites. The bandshell’s open-air setting should prove the perfect venue in which to let Grizzly Bear’s interwoven melodies waft over you. I know they’ll be getting my full attention this time around. Nina Pearlman

Thursday, June 21, 7 p.m.: Aimee Mann / Superchunk / Jonathan Coulton

I am ashamed to say I’ve never seen Aimee Mann live, since she’s performed so many iterations of offbeat indie singer-songwriteriness that you’d think we’d have crossed paths in RL by now. (Personal off-the-offbeat favorite: Her rendition of Paul McCartney’s “Too Many People” on a RAM covers album that WFMU released a few years back, which performed the impressive trick of making Sir Paul’s version seem comparatively unschooled in art-pop perfection.) Getting to see her on a bill with Superchunk is a must-see, as their new album, What a Time to Be Alive, is a masterpiece of punk anti-Trump rage, and they’re one of indie rock’s most unbeatable live bands to boot. — Neil deMause

Friday, June 22, 7:30 p.m.: R+R=NOW ft. Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Derrick Hodge, Justin Tyson, and Taylor McFerrin / Paul Beaubrun

Saturday, June 23, 7:30 p.m.: Fischerspooner / Xeno & Oaklander / Juliana Huxtable

Thursday, June 28, 8 p.m.: The Blues Project featuring Dorrance Dance with Toshi Reagon & BIGLovely

Toshi Reagon & BIGLovely are a goddamn Brooklyn treasure. I marked off June 28 on my calendar before even checking to see what The Blues Project is about — it’s a collaboration with Dorrance Dance that drew raves during a run at the Joyce a few years back — solely on the strength of their prior works. If it’s even half as good as the rock-opera version of science-fiction writer Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower that Toshi and her band premiered at the Public last winter, you will leave with your mind racing and your heart aflame. — Neil deMause

Friday, June 29, 7:30 p.m.: Branford Marsalis / Roger Guenveur Smith: Frederick Douglass Now

It’s a Marsalis sandwich: Two sets from that stalwart, funky sax man Branford Marsalis and his working quartet (Joey Calderazzo, Eric Revis, and Justin Faulkner), with Roger Guenveur Smith’s spoken-word, rap-inflected Frederick Douglass Now show in between. Expect truth-telling as ferocious as the band’s virtuosity. — Alan Scherstuhl

Saturday, June 30, 7 p.m.: Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder / Sierra Hull and Justin Moses / Mamie Minch

Friday, July 6, 8 p.m.: Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal: Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me

Saturday, July 7, 7 p.m.: Rhye / Natalie Prass / Overcoats

Thursday, July 12, 7:30 p.m.: Antibalas / Combo Chimbita / DJ Nickodemus

Friday, July 13, 7 p.m.: Mala Rodriguez / Ana Tijoux’s Roja y Negro / Girl Ultra

Saturday, July 14, 7:30 p.m.: Kronos Quartet / Trio Da Kali

In an alternate universe, I long ago dropped everything I was doing and committed myself to following the Kronos Quartet around the world. Unfortunately, I don’t live in that universe, so I just try to see them any opportunity I can. Last year, the Malian griot supergroup Trio Da Kali collaborated with them on the transportingly sublime album Ladilikan, which brought together grand classical gestures with folk, blues, and gospel stylings. (The music of Mahalia Jackson was a key influence on the record.) This joint concert will have the two ensembles performing “separately and together,” which means it should run a gamut of styles, genres, and periods. And something tells me that hearing the powerful voice of Trio Da Kali vocalist Hawa Diabaté rise above the Brooklyn night will bring shivers to thousands. — Bilge Ebiri

Thursday, July 19, 7 p.m.: Joe Russo’s Almost Dead (benefit concert, $45)

Friday, July 20, 7:30 p.m.: Anoushka Shankar — Land of Gold / My Brightest Diamond

Saturday, July 21, 7:30 p.m.: Brimstone & Glory w/ Live Score by Wordless Music Orchestra / Sonido Gallo Negro

Wednesday, July 25, 7 p.m.: Courtney Barnett / Julien Baker / Vagabon (benefit concert, $39.50)

Thursday, July 26, 7:30 p.m.: Brandi Carlile / Ruthie Foster

Friday, July 27, 7:30 p.m.: Tinariwen / Cheick Hamala Diabate

Some forty years since their founding, the transcendent West African desert blues collective Tinariwen stir, in their LPs and concert performances, the heat and haze and sweeping expansiveness of the Sahara. Driven by traditional Tuareg melodies and percussion, and the barbed lead guitar lines of Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, the band is entrancing, meditative even, as it rocks, and while the lyrics (on 2017’s Elwan) bemoan a world gone mad. Don’t miss this if you still love guitars but haven’t been turned on in a while by what’s coming out of them stateside. — Alan Scherstuhl

Saturday, July 28, 7:30 p.m.: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind / Kaki King featuring Treya Lam

Nausicaä is not my absolute favorite Hayao Miyazaki film — the plot is a bit of a jumble, and there’s a lot of swordplay if you’re expecting the sweet sadness of a My Neighbor Totoro or Kiki’s Delivery Service — but that doesn’t mean it’s not glorious in its own right. There are heroes and antiheroes and flying machines and the most memorable giant insects you’ll ever see on film, and it will all look amazing on a big screen. As will Kaki King, no doubt, who doubles as the city’s most inventive guitarist and the city’s most inventive projection screen (see YouTube). — Neil deMause

Thursday, August 2, 7:30 p.m.: BADBADNOTGOOD / Charlotte Day Wilson

Friday, August 3, 7:30 p.m.: Noname / Topaz Jones / Jazze Belle

Saturday, August 4, 7:30 p.m.: Tarrus Riley with Dean Fraser and the Blak Soil Band / Mwenso & the Shakes

Tuesday, August 7, 7:30 p.m.: GOOD VIBES with Jason Mraz & Brett Dennen (benefit concert, $55)

Thursday, August 9, 7:30 p.m.: Gary Clark Jr. / Fiona Silver

Friday, August 10, 7:30 p.m.: Godspeed You! Black Emperor / Emel Mathlouthi

Droning with a vengeance — and melodic purpose — the experimental musicians of the Montreal-based GY!BE will no doubt deliver their patented wall of mesmerizing reverberation rock. With composition titles such as “Bosses Hang” (from their most recent studio album, Luciferian Towers), audience members can count on plenty of transcendent dissonance and dark harmonies literally shot through with illumination from old-school projectors playing grainy film footage. It’s the Exploding Plastic Inevitable for our still-new millennium. — R.C. Baker

Saturday, August 11, 7:30 p.m.: The Breeders / Speedy Ortiz

I recently described the Breeders’ live shows to a fellow fan as “like a cover band trying to learn their own songs,” and while he readily agreed, neither of us meant it as an insult. There’s something about the Deal sisters’ disarmingly unpolished performance style (accompanied here by classic Last Splash lineup bandmates Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson) that meshes with their perfectly polished songcraft to make for an evening that is an ideal amalgam of indie-rock earworms and raucous fun. — Neil deMause