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 JoJo and, and the xx 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
Back around 2004, pop songstress Jojo penned a megahit that charted No.1 on Billboard‘s mainstream Top 40, signed a a seven-album deal with Blackground Records and released a platinum-selling debut album. Most impressive about those stats? She was 12. After a decade-long struggle with label woes and legal snafus, the star recently returned to the spotlight with a hook-heavy third studio album, Mad Love—and it sounds like the time away has only matured her R&B pipes.
You already know Carter is an iconic bassist. And, well, even if you don't, chances are you own a record that features his playing—the guy continues to hold the title of "most recorded jazz bassist" (Miles Davis! A Tribe Called Quest!). The vet's been leading several sparkling ensembles the past few years, but no word yet as to who's on hand here at his 80th birthday celebrations. Regardless, you can rest assured the talent will be world-class.
Ready to break out those hot summer dance moves? Get yourself to Billyburg for this show, featuring Syrian star Omar Souleyman, whose fame has been fueled by three Sublime Frequencies compilations, a hit YouTube video and a potent endorsement from Björk on NPR. His manic electronic take on the Syrian dabke is designed for frenzied dancing at weddings, and attracted the attention of venerable electronic whiz Kieran Hebden—a.k.a Four Tet—who produced Souleyman's Wenu Wenu.
Mastodon tempers its doom-thrash onslaught with prog, boogie and psychedelic pop, as heard to great effect on 2015's Once More ’Round the Sun. The hard-rocking Atlanta juggernaut plays alongside instru-metal technicians Russian Circles, who construct towering riffscapes that occasionally veer from brutal to cinematic, and California rock dudes Eagles of Death Metal.
San Francisco songwriter Ty Segall typically follows a timeworn formula, in which welcoming pop melodies come layered in antisocial fuzz. Thankfully, his newly released ninth studio album—and second self-titled record, following his 2008 debut—doesn't stray from those tendencies. Grab some Polish sausage while you catch the prolific glam-psych mastermind live at Brooklyn's Warsaw.
The xx manages to communicate volumes in its elegant, subdued and understatedly sensual songs. The last time the deservedly fussed-over London trio touched down in the city, the transmissions were fittingly intimate: a 25-show residency with 40 people at each gig. In support of the newly released third studio album, I See You, though, the band notches the volume back up as it returns to the stadium stage.
Intense young English neofolk singer Laura Marling emerged from the celebrated London scene that gave us Mumford & Sons and Noah and the Whale and released her first album just days after her 18th birthday. Armed with a bigger sound and a bolder voice, Marling makes that case that her tunes are more timeless than they are old-fashioned with her sixth album, Semper Femina.
Headed by guitarist Max Kakacek and singer-drummer Julien Ehrlich—of Smith Westerns and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, respectively—this Chicago indie-rock outfit has been filling bigger and bigger spaces with each NYC visit. No wonder: Its 2016 debut, Light Upon the Lake, is a deeply satisfying album steeped in ’70s country and soft rock and bouyed by Ehrlich's honeyed falsetto vocals.
Over their three decades and counting, Cave & co. have lost none of their fire and drama playing live. What's more, the band's new album, Skeleton Tree, demonstrates that Cave's writing has only intensified its profoundly haunting qualities. Bathed in grief and world-shattering loss, the album was written in the aftermath of the passing of the singer's 15-year old son.