Music events in September 2018
After pairing on single "Walk It Talk It," Canadian R&B superstar Drake joins forces with hip-hop trio Migos on the Aubrey and the Three Migos Tour. Expect to hear plenty of ubiquitous new tracks from his latest album Scorpion. Here's hoping that Drake and Migos play at least part of the show in the Soul Train-themed attire from their collaborative video. While he's in town for gigs at both the Garden and Barclays Center, Drake will also be hosting an event called "The Day Party" at Brooklyn Mirage on Sunday, August 26. Drake associate DJ Spade is spinning, and you can also expect an appearance by Youtube star Shiggy a.k.a. the guy behind the “Shiggy Dance” from the “In My Feelings” challenge. (No word if Drake himself will be performing or just hanging out.)
The world owes a great cosmic debt to time-traveling bandleader Sun Ra. He went back to Saturn and left the funkiest, swingingest band in the Milky Way here on Earth. This afternoon matinee show is your opportunity to travel the spaceways; your captain is 90-year-old Arkestra mainstay Marshall Allen.
A rapper who keeps company with the indie rock crowd (she's signed to Philly label Don Giovanni), Sammus writes hip-hop paeans to geek culture—gamers, comics fans and so forth. She plays with a rotating cast of openers for this Mercury Lounge residency. Most notably, you'll find multi-instrumentalist Mal Devisa performing Sept 11, who works surprisingly textured tunes from a pared down framework: soulful vocals soaring over loops of understated bass guitar. Her strikingly direct tunes have garnered her quite a word-of-mouth reputation in the local indie scene, exploring resilence, displacement and isolation with a revelatory spirit. Also look out for hectic noise-duo Machinegirl (Sept 18) and self-described "future-soul" quintet Jelani Sei (Sept 25).
Pitchfork and October present their second annual pairing of bands and brews. The fest hits Governors Island with a two-day lineup of more than 20 acts, including Vince Staples, Yo La Tengo, Chic, Vagabon, Julie Byrne and the Flaming Lips. Between sets, grab beer samples from over 90 different breweries based near (Blue Point, Circa) and far (India's Bira 91, Germany's Aktien). A single-day ticket includes 45 ounces of beer, a two-day ticket includes 90 ounces and plenty more is available for $1.50 per 3-ounce pour. Come thirsty.
Portland, OR, singer-songwriter Liz Harris brings her murky yet lovely tunes to NYC for the first time in over two years. She hits town behind her latest, Grid of Points. A sparse affair à la 2014's Ruins, Grid of Points finds Harris once again at the piano, her voice swathed in reverb and drifting among the chords like a slowly curling mist. It's music well worth losing yourself in.
The great bard of Irish R&B turns up in Queens for a rare show. You never know what you're going to get from a Van gig—or what mood the famously prickly singer-songsmith will turn up in—but he remains one of the least contrived performers of his generation. While Morrison's vocals might have diminished over the years, his penchant for thrilling improvisational risk remains very much intact. Outlaw-country figurehead and genuine American institution Willie Nelson brings his road-sharped crew to open the night.
The London singer imbues her sugary music with pop-punk riffs, J-pop nuances and video-gameworthy synths, putting it all together in a very post-internet way. Her debut, Rina, is essentially a study in society’s obsession with new technology, from the imagined life of a blogger on “Ordinary Superstar” to the smart-phone addiction of “Cyber Stockholm Syndrome.”
Seminal ‘90s punk band Jawbreaker came out of retirement last year, which meant two decades’ worth of teenagers who passed around 24 Hour Revenge Therapy CDs finally got to shout along to a live rendition of “Boxcar.” Since reuniting for Riot Fest last September, the trio has gradually expanded its tour and even revealed plans to log some studio time. If you weren't able to catch the band during its sold-out run at Brooklyn Steel in February, consider this Coney Island appearance your shot at redemption.
The Aussie quintet has peddled bright, bounding indie rock on its two splendid EPs—2016's Talk Tight and 2017's The French Press—and now it's added an equally infectious debut album to its oeuvre. A 35-minute collection of pristine guitar pop, Hope Downs beautifully showcases RBCF's keen melodic sensibilty, chugging motorik vim and clever, impressionistic lyrics.
The former Talking Head, active solo artist and avid bicyclist returns to Forest Hills for the first time since his erstwhile band visited in 1983 (he's also doing a two-night stint at Kings Theatre directly afterward). His new show is a choreographed spectacle that echoes his Stop Making Sense heyday. In the opening slot, Merrill Garbus and Co. supply Afrobeat-inspired pop with vocal gymnastics that never fail to impress.