Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Free Concerts Galore! Buddy Guy, Neko Case, Eleanor Friedberger, Parliament/Funkadelic, & More

If you like free concerts, you're going to love this week. Coming on the heels of last Saturday's twin bill of CBGB Festival shows, there's a boatload more this week. In fact, there are so many concerts leading up to the weekend that I'll have to save Saturday's second 4 Knots Festival at South Street Seaport for a later post.

Neko Case plays the Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival July 12th. Photo: Amanda Hatfield.

Speaking of second timers, tomorrow (Wednesday, July 11th) kicks off the second annual two-day Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival at the World Financial Center. And there are great shows in the various free series around the City. Here's the schedule:

Wed., July 11th: Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival: multiple Grammy winner Buddy Guy headlines a bill that also features 13-year-old guitar prodigy Quinn Sullivan and legendary British blues guitarist John Mayall, whose bands have served as the launching pad for the likes of Eric Clapton and many others since the 1960s.  6 - 9:30 p.m., World Financial Center Plaza, 220 Vesey Street (between North End Ave. and West St.) 

Wed., July 11th: Mad. Sq. Music: In a totally different vein, you can see the quirky and fun singer-songwriter-actress Nellie McKay at Madison Square Park on July 11th. Known for her clever and often offbeat tunes like "David" and "The Dog Song," McKay also won an award for her turn in "The Threepenny Opera" (her Broadway debut). Tomorrow you can see her for free. 7 - 8:30 p.m., Madison Square Park, between Fifth and Madison Aves. & 23rd and 26th Sts.

Thurs., July 12th: Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival: Neko Case, known for her solo albums and her work as a member of The New Pornographers, headlines the festival's second night with her haunting voice and songs that range from country to blues to gospel to rock. I've been a fan of hers for years, and am hoping she'll be breaking out some new songs. Also on the bill: 63-year-old Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires and He's My Brother She's My Sister, a band that the festival says creates "a mix of folk, glam, and western swing." (Oh, and the band includes a tap dancer as well.) 6 - 9:30 p.m., World Financial Center Plaza, 220 Vesey Street (between North End Ave. and West St.)

Thurs., July 12th: RiverRocks: It'll be loops, fuzz, and snyths galore at Pier 84 as Dan Deacon takes the stage in the first of this year's RiverRocks concerts. If you've been to one of Deacon's live shows or have seen the webcasts, you'll know how he can whip crowds into a wild, gyrating frenzy. Also on the bill are John Maus and Roomrunner. 6 p.m., Pier 84, Hudson River at West 44th St.

Thurs., July 12th: River to River Festival: If funk is more to your liking, catch the longtime master at work as George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic play the River to River Festival Thursday night, July 12th. Clinton and company have been creating their own unique version of soul and funk since the 1960s, crafting hits like “Flash Light,” “Give Up the Funk,” and "Dr. Funkenstein." This sprawling collective has included an amazing number of extremely talented musicians over the years, and Thursday's lineup should be no exception. 7 p.m., Rockefeller Park, Battery Park City at the corner of River Terrace and Warren St.

Eleanor Friedberger and band play a free show July 13th.

Friday, July 13th: River to River Festival: Your Friday the 13th might be a bit luckier if you go see Eleanor Friedberger play a free show at South Street Seaport. The lead singer for The Fiery Furnaces stepped out on her own last year with her debut solo album "Last Summer," which garnered a lot of acclaim (you've probably heard the catchy "My Mistakes.") She puts on a good show fronting her own band; I got to see her open for Wild Flag on a previous tour. Also on the bill is Ex Cops. 7 p.m., Pier 17, South Street Seaport (near Fulton St.)

Saturday, July 14th: SummerStage: Latin alternative band Kinky will heat things up at SummerStage on Saturday with its mix of funk, rock, and electronica. The Mexican band will be joined on the bill by Los Auténticos Decadentes, 3Ball MTY, and DJ Raff in a show presented in association with the annual Latin Alternative Music Conference. 3 to 7 p.m., Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

There are lots of great shows this week. And as a special bonus, the temperatures aren't expected to be anywhere near 100 degrees over the next few days (and may not even touch 90). Get out there and see some free live music, folks!

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