If you’re a live music completist, the next few weeks are going to be simply overwhelming. Not only does the Northside Festival kick off today, but on June 21, the first day of summer, Make Music NY returns with a mind-boggling 1,000+ free shows in public spaces. Highlights include a 90+-band punk rock marathon on Staten Island, a hootenany on Governor’s Island, and (God help us all) Billy Joel karaoke from the back of a pickup truck.
The annual festival brings an exhaustive and exhaustingly eclectic mix of music to the city’s community gardens, libraries, parks, bars, cafes, galleries and at least one former firehouse. There’ll be gamelan, bluegrass, mariachi, even an all-female ensemble named the Violin Femmes (genius). There’ll also be mass ukulele jams in Manhattan and Brooklyn, a tribute to Kool Herc featuring the hip-hop legend himself, and an eardrum-pummeling performance by the Wharton Tiers Ensemble, consisting of drummer Wharton Tiers (who’s collaborated with Thurston Moore and Glenn Branca) and five guitarists including Perry “PeeWee” Masco, owner of BAD Burger.
Check out MMNY’s site for a lineup of shows in Bushwick, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and the East Village and Lower East Side. There’ll be several all-day block parties in those neighborhoods, including a two-stage barrage of electronic, experimental and indie at Silent Barn in Bushwick, an indie rock onslaught at Cameo Gallery in Williamsburg, not one but two fetes at Grand Street and Lorimer, an Afro-Asian block party at Suffolk and Delancey, and of course the annual showcase of jazz, world, and r&b music outside of Joe’s Pub.