Thursday, August 04, 2011

Free Summer Concerts: Aretha Franklin (Tonight); Ra Ra Riot, Mission of Burma, Friendly Fires, & More this Weekend

 Above: Ra Ra Riot's video for "Boy," from their 2010 album "The Orchard."

The blitz of free summer concerts continues, and after last night's rainouts the skies look clear for the much-anticipated Aretha Franklin make-up show at Coney Island tonight. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. at West 21st St. and Surf Ave., next to the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball stadium. See directions at the Seaside Summer Concerts home page.

The action continues on Friday night when Ra Ra Riot, Delicate Steve, and Buke & Gass (pronounced "byuke" and "gace") play Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park.

Hailing from Syracuse, Ra Ra Riot made a big splash a few years ago with their album "The Rhumb Line," combining catchy pop accented with a violin and viola. Their latest album, "The Orchard," came out last summer.

The most interesting band on Friday's Celebrate Brooklyn bill is Buke and Gass, a duo that plays an mix of modified steampunk-style instruments, including the "buke" (baritone ukelele) and "gass" (a combination of a guitar and bass).

Above: Cults play "Abducted" live at the WFUV studios. 

On Sunday you've got to choose between two free rock shows in Manhattan happening at the same time. Summerstage's Central Park Mainstage (directions) presents Friendly Fires, The Naked and Famous, and Cults at 3 p.m. I'm not too familiar with the first two bands, but have been enjoying the music of the male-female duo Cults the last month or so. You can read an interview they did with WFUV's The Alternate Side here (which includes the video above).

Also at 3 p.m. Sunday, the influential late '70s/early '80s band Mission of Burma plays the Beekman Beer Garden (at South and Beekman Sts., on the north side of Pier 17). Bands ranging from R.E.M., Nirvana, and Throwing Muses has cited Mission of Burma as an inspiration to their own work. As of now the Beekman gig is the only date on their tour schedule, so if you want to see them you'll want to get to this show. Mission of Burma's latest album is "The Sound, The Speed, The Light." (directions to Beekman Beer Garden.)

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