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Photograph: Mei Mei McComb

The best concerts in NYC in May 2020

Highlights for this month’s concerts in NYC include DJ Shadow, The Tallest Man On Earth and Kaytranada

Written by
Andrew Frisicano
&
Ro Samarth
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Update: With the current ban on public gatherings of any size, many of the concerts and festivals below may be postponed to a later date or canceled. 

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 the shows below and dig into 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

TOKiMONSTA
  • Music
  • Dance and electronic

An alum of L.A.'s famed Brainfeeder label, producer Jennifer Lee touches down in Bushwick to air her psychedelic hip-hop and skittering electronic beats. Expect new tunes here from her latest, Oasis Nocturno, which, if the music video to the first single "Fried for the Night" is any indication, promises to be an especially vivid, technicolor affair, rounding out her bold production with effective vocal features.

DJ Shadow
  • Music
  • Dance and electronic
  • price 2 of 4

DJ Shadow became an instant headphone hero in the ’90s with his debut album, Endtroducing…, a stone-cold hip-hop classic that set off nearly two decades of a scene swamped with imitative efforts by fellow sample slayers and turntable terrors. The man himself will be rocking the decks tonight in the East Village, as he tours behind a new release, Our Pathetic Age, an ambitious double album split between instrumentals and rap collabs.

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  • Music
  • Folk, country and blues
  • price 2 of 4

Swedish folkie Kristian Matsson enjoyed a mainly online cult following for many years, until he exploded into the mainstream in 2010, roping in fans with his critically adored Dead Oceans debut. Frequently tagged as a young Bob Dylan, Matsson performs songs that are simple, earnest and poignant, and he and his guitar notoriously command audiences. Following last year's I Love You. It's A Fever Dream, the singer-songwriter returns to the city for two nights.

  • Music
  • Rock and indie

Two giants of the dreamy, reverb-drenched Captured Tracks label return to their brilliant breakout 2010 debuts, performing them both here in-full (as if those records didn't already mine nostalgia extensively enough!). Headlining is blissed-out indie-gone-psych faves Beach Fossils, who virtually founded an entire genre with their fuzzy, breezy gem of a self-titled debut; while the opening set features Wild Nothing, who play from their 80's-tinted classic Gemini.

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  • Music
  • Rock and indie

You don’t have to listen to much more than a minute of a Xiu Xiu song to understand that Jamie Stewart is upset. Indeed, nearly everything in the Durham, NC, singer’s catalog represents a shot across the bow of calmness: his vocal histrionics, the ping-ponging of intense imagery and emo straightforwardness and the wailing electronics that cut through otherwise pleasant melodies. He plays solo here alongside multi-instrumentalist Deja Carr, better known as Mal Devisa, who works surprisingly textured tunes from a pared down format: her soulful voice soaring over loops of understated bass guitar.

Fetty Wap
  • Music
  • Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Breakout rap darling Fetty Wap made waves in 2015 with irresistible club-wreckers like "Trap Queen," "679" and "Again." The follow-up to his sensitive, anthemic self-titled debut has been in the works and continuously delayed for the past five years—but no longer. Back from the brief hiatus, he plays here from his new album, King Zoo.

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  • Clubs
  • price 2 of 4

This Montreal producer rose to fame via an unrelenting series of slam-dunk remixes and Polaris Music Prize-winning debut, 99.9%. Hear him play here from his new follow-up, Bubba, a knockout soul-inflected record that features the likes of Kali Uchis, Pharrell Williams, Mick Jenkins and Tinashe.

  • Music
  • Rock and indie

This Montreal band plays small-scale indie-rock songs of desperate emotion (generally poignancy) and a youthful air. The band had been on hiatus for half a decade, until 2017's Life After Youth and now this year's Indistinct Conversations, which pick up right where the plaintive poeticism of 2010's Cloak and Cipher left off.

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  • Music

Granted, “banjo rap” sounds like a cruel joke. But this genre-bending local trio utilizes the spare combo of bass, banjo and talk-sing vocals to punishing effect. As much hardcore punk as it is hip-hop, this Ratking-associated crew is a staple of the New York underground music scene.

  • Clubs
  • House, disco and techno

This duo—which consists of Northern Irish bloggers turned producers Andrew Ferguson and Matthew McBrian—doesn't make "muscular," no-nonsense techno. Rather, take "Bicep" to denote the fist-pumping abandon this twosome's effervescent house-cum-trance tunes evoke. For a taste, bask in the afterglow of "Aura"—a majestic, anthem track universally touted as 2017's "banger of the year."

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