The Summer Concert Guide
It’s summer, and while there are still serious symphonies and operas on cultural calendars everywhere, we like to spend the hotter months focused on the straight-up fun stuff, like festivals, one-off concerts, and full-on throwback tours.
Leon Bridges at The Apollo TheaterOctober 20 | 253 W. 125th St.
A Leon Bridges concert can almost feel like a trip back in time—his soulful, gospel-style voice and slow, steady tracks (plus his old-school outfits, which he sources at thrift stores) definitely have a vintage vibe. Though you won't be able to see him in the states until October when he gets back from his European tour, it's definitely worth the wait.
Basement Jaxx at Central Park Summer StageJuly 1 | Central Park Rumsey Playfield
The bulk of Central Park’s Summer Stage concerts are free, while a select few (mostly bigger acts with name recognition) require a modest contribution, which actually goes to support future programs. Basement Jaxx is one such act. Bring the kiddos to this one—the British duo are really good at getting everyone to dance.
Billy Joel at Madison Square GardenSeptember 26 | 4 Pennsylvania Plaza | 212.465.6741
You really don't have to be a die-hard Billy Joel fanatic to appreciate the significance of seeing him live, especially live in his hometown. The guy is a true showman who can bring the whole of Madison Square Garden to tears with a single rendition of "Piano Man." He hasn't come out with a new album in years—which is fine as his body of work is remarkably vast—so expect to hear the hits. Tickets for his shows tend to sell out immediately.
Lolawolf with Rey Pila at Montauk Surf LodgeJuly 18 | 183 Edgemere St., Montauk | 631.483.5037
When Lenny Kravitz is your dad, stardom and general badassery are essentially a birthright. But rather than lean on her parents (mom is actress Lisa Bonet), Zoë Kravitz paved her own way, forming three-man indie band Lolawolf with pals Jimmy Giannopoulos and James Levy. Their sound doesn't fit any one style and takes its cues from everything from '90s hip-hop to '80s pop.
Donovan Frakenreiter at the Montauk Surf LodgeAugust 16 | 183 Edgemere St., Montauk | 631.483.5037
Donavon Frankenreiter was a seriously accomplished surfer before he released his first album (appropriately, on Jack Johnson’s Brushfire label) in 2004, so the Montauk Surf Lodge seems like the perfect place to see him. This is a small venue and the lines are long (partially because the shows are free), but you really can't beat the relaxed vibe and the sunset views.