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The best concerts in NYC in May

Justin Bieber, Mykki Blanco, Sheer Mag and Mac DeMarco highlight our recommended concerts in NYC this month

Photograph: Chris Shonting
Mac DeMarco

The month of May signifies the coming of summer in New York—which, for a majority of music fans, means the long-awaited arrival of summer music festivals! But, while we're all for embracing the outdoors, don't forget about all of the month's other awesome offerings for concerts in NYC! Check out big-name artists such as Justin Bieber and Mac DeMarco, and peep our weekly list of the city's best parties for some late-night music as well.

RECOMMENDED: See our guide to concerts in NYC

Concerts in NYC in May

Pearl Jam

The steadiest and sturdiest of the great Seattle grunge titans—the only one that hasn't lost a key member or taken an extended hiatus—rumbles into town for two stadium gigs. Expect to hear raucous newer tunes (like "Mind Your Manners" of its latest record, 2013's Lightning Bolt) as well as selections spanning a vast catalog that's far more compelling than the band's vocal haters would care to admit.

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Sun May 1 - Mon May 2

Justin Bieber

Pint-size pop idol Justin Bieber hits the Prudential Center in support of his latest one, Purpose, which sees him veering into tropical house and hazy R&B territory via production from MdL and Skrillex. But that's not his only change of course: Biebs has also reportedly vowed to clean up his act and tone down the bad-boy antics. Could his days of monkey smuggling and peeing in buckets be behind him? Go ahead Justin, make Beliebers out of us.

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Wed May 4 - Sat Jul 9

Mykki Blanco

Fusing her consummately vicious wordsmithery with a riot grrl image, queer rapper Mykki Blanco further proved her endless ability to transgress labels and conventions on last year's noisy collaboration project Mykki Blanco Presents C-ORE released on her new Dog Food imprint. She gigs here at fittingly underground digs: the newly re-opened Bushwick DIY space, Market Hotel.

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05 May 2016

Sheer Mag

Swaggering, defiant riffage packed into compact punk grooves—there's a glut of East Coast groups out there attempting the formula, but none match Sheer Mag's blaring force and arena-sized aspirations. The Philly outfit's latest release, III, expounds upon the band's incisive, anarchic political project as singer Christina Halladay takes on everything from the murders of working class women in Ciudad Juarez to government corruption.

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06 May 2016

Woods + Ultimate Painting

Brooklyn mainstays Woods bring their lazily funky drums and fuzz-fried guitars behind their latest, City Sun Eater in the River of Light, which incorporates Ethiopian jazz and jammy reggae grooves into the band's sound.

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07 May 2016

Mac DeMarco

The reigning hooligan king of indie pop, Mac DeMarco released a mini-album of love songs last summer that revealed, in addition to the nuances of his heart, his home address, complete with an invitation for coffee. If you haven't had a chance to make it out to Mac's Queens apartment, you can also enter a chance to win a Meet n' Greet through his new fan club, the Mac DeMarco Fan Club, run by none other than his mom, Agnes. Or for an alternative route to a face-to-face with the impish outsider–lite rocker, you can ambush him here at this Webster Hall gig as he returns home to New York to air his pouty, surreally stylized lo-fi tunage.

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Sun May 15 - Mon May 16

The 1975 + The Japanese House + Wolf Alice

The bratty, likably bombastic British synth-popsters of the 1975 come from Manchester (the birthplace of the Smiths, the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays) and are somewhat of a big deal in their homeland, and increasingly in the States as well: The band's sophomore album, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It, topped the charts in both countries upon its release.

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17 May 2016

Anohni: Hopelessness

Soulful singing enigma Anohni (formerly Antony) gives her new album, Hopelessness, an audio-visual presentation inside the Park Avenue Armory's spacious drill hall. As part of the Red Bull Music Academy Festival, Anohni unveils the new direction, which she has decribed as a "dance/experimental electronic record with quite a dark thematic undertow," over two nights.

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Wed May 18 - Thu May 19

Moderat + Telefon Tel Aviv

German electronic supergroup Moderat consists of Sascha Ring, the IDM producer better known to fans of esoteric electronic rhythms as Apparat, alongside aural anarchists Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary of Modeselektor (can you decipher how they thought up the project name?). The trio's latest album, III, delves further into the group's dynamic body-moving textures.

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19 May 2016
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