Tag Archives: Prospect Park Bandshell


Fleet Foxes – Celebrate Brooklyn – August 2, 2017

August 3rd, 2017

Photos courtesy of Marc Millman Photography | www.marcmillmanphotos.com/music


Fleet Foxes Return to Brooklyn This Week for Two Shows

July 31st, 2017

Fleet Foxes really know how to lay it on thick. Well, let me rephrase that: Fleet Foxes (above, performing “Fool’s Errand” for CBS This Morning) really know how to build a song. Ever since their first release, the EP Sun Giant (stream it below), in 2008, they have set the bar with their lush pastoral-folk sound beneath their signature stacked angelic harmonies. The group’s leader and frontman, Robin Pecknold, has remained a true perfectionist in their time as a band. Intensely laboring over the crafting of these intricate tunes, they have only released three full-length albums in almost a decade. Their newest, this year’s Crack-Up (stream it below), was released after a six-year silence, and it’s safe to say that it was well worth the wait. The LP’s dense, vibrant textures act like a tall drink of water for salivating fans who have been craving new material since the band’s last release, 2011’s Helplessness Blues (stream it below). Fleet Foxes bring their tour to the Prospect Park Bandshell for two BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn shows this week that are sure to be epic: tomorrow (which is already sold out) and again on Wednesday. —Pat King | @MrPatKing


Sylvan Esso Triumphantly Return to Celebrate Brooklyn

July 27th, 2017

Sylvan Esso – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – July 26, 2017

(Sylvan Esso play My Morning Jacket’s One Big Holiday on 3/2-6.)

Killer squirrels be damned, last night Sylvan Esso returned to Prospect Park, almost two years to the day since they’d last performed there. Not even signs around the park warning of our now infamous and unusually aggressive squirrel with a taste for human flesh could tamp down the mood of an otherwise beautiful night for music. “We had a lovely weekend in your city. Last night we saw Phish. It was my first time,” said singer Amelia Meath. “And my 22nd,” added Sylvan Esso producer and beat-master Nick Sanborn. “I get it, I got it, I got it. I think I got it,” said Meath, referring to the Phish “thing.”

For anyone unfamiliar with a Sylvan Esso live show, it’s important to note that Meath can fucking dance. “Man, she’s GOING for it,” said a woman next to me two songs into the set. Slithering, snaking her body through a web of beats, whipping around a ponytail, Meath can make a big stage seem somehow not big enough for two people: They own it. Outdoor shows can make everything seem bigger, but providing the backdrop for this dance-y performance mutated their bedroom pop songs into downright pop anthems—and they’re pop anthems the world seems to need right now.

“This song is about feeling good and making yourself feel good. Whether it’s in your own skin or your mother-fucking country, we stand with you everyday,” said Meath introducing “Dress.” Something about this musical duo has made sense from Day One. Meath’s silky smooth voice contrasts beautifully against Sanborn’s choppy, scattered beats. “Signal,” maybe the craziest beat of any of their songs, had Meath’s voice split into octaves harmonizing with itself. Their megahit, “Coffee,” came out as the mid-set stimulant, complete with “get up, get down” sing-alongs. Just two albums in and Sylvan Esso already have an impressive roster of insanely catchy songs, like “Just Dancing,” “Hey Mami” and “H.S.K.T.” The twosome closed the set with their first single off their second album, “Radio.” It’s a huge amount of pop songs to be written by a duo. Most other pop acts get, at best, a few singles off each album, worked many times over by massive teams of the world’s most renowned producers in music. But Sylan Esso are a David in a world of pop Goliaths, and Goddamn can that David dance. —Dan Rickershauser |@D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com


Conor Oberst – Celebrate Brooklyn – July 20, 2017

July 21st, 2017

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com


Planetarium’s Wondrous Aural Expansion at Celebrate Brooklyn

July 19th, 2017

Planetarium – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – July 18, 2017

Upon reflection, I can’t say that I’ve ever before seen a concert for one album that was recomposed from original concert performances. Planetarium is this year’s grand, ambitious concept album that originated years ago when contemporary classical composer Nico Muhly was commissioned by Dutch concert hall Muziekgebouw Eindhoven to create a performance piece. With the cosmos as his muse, Muhly recruited friends and contemporaries Sufjan Stevens, the National’s Bryce Dessner and the multidimensional James McAlister to bring an ode to the universe to life. Those live performances were unearthed and reconstructed in studio and are now returning to their point of genesis as a monumental set of live renditions played in a small run of special engagements.

Last night, the unexpected quartet, backed by brass and string sections, unleashed Planetarium before an awestruck turnout at Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell. Special engagements call for special venues and the always enchanting Bandshell’s open natural amphitheater space, nestled among grand old trees, was the obvious home for a performance that needed the freedom to spread into the atmosphere. For this manifestation of universal magnificence here were the fearless voyagers, each a conduit of the sonic forces that merged into a glorious big bang. Their express mission was to widen scope and to inspire earthbound beings to expand perspective at all opportunities.

On this tour through the planets of our solar system, Stevens, doused in glitter to symbolize the infinitum is stars, served as the quintessential vocal guide. After floating in on piano keys from the heavens as an introduction to “Neptune,” he took a moment to welcome everyone with a few words on the significance of their musical observance of the universe. “We must remind ourselves that the universe holds an abundance of truth and purity, dignity and light … let us all remember that.” Joining Stevens, Muhly sat behind his grand piano like the captain at a spaceship’s control deck, his role to lend a limitless depth of field. McAlister, the percussive wizard, sat at his expanded drum set, gracefully keeping time in a timeless medium and adding flourishes of cymbal when needed. All the while, Dessner, armed with his trusted guitar, provided masterful manipulation of guitar strings issuing forth as a million beams of light, adding the particulate matter to the grand tapestry. In the beginning, there was sound, glorious and immeasurable—and artistically reinterpreted by this group of talented musicians, it was a singular and magical thing to behold. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly



Conor Oberst Headlines Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park

July 18th, 2017

What a thrilling ride it’s been to watch Conor Oberst (above, performing “Tachycardia” at the Sydney Opera House) grow up. Beginning his insanely prolific singer-songwriter career, as Bright Eyes, at the ripe age of 13, Oberst’s releases have tested the limits of multiple genres (check out his politically charged punk band Desaparecidos if you need proof) all while strengthening his skills as one of the best lyricists of the past 20 years. And while it might be lazy to throw out the Dylan comparisons, hey, they both grew up in the Midwest. There must be something in the water? Oberst has put out records in the past under his own name accompanied by the Mystic Valley Band, but his 2008 eponymous album (stream it below) was truly his first solo venture. Last year’s Ruminations (stream it below) went further down that path as he stripped down his songs to their ribcages with only Oberst playing guitar, piano and the occasional harmonica. He later released a full-band companion version of that album titled Salutations with Catskill Mountains’ favorite sons the Felice Brothers acting as his backing band. Oberst and the Felice Brothers will bring songs from his entire career to the Prospect Park Bandshell on Thursday for an electrifying night of music. Philly rock royalty Hop Along and Brooklyn’s own Big Thief will open. Show up early so you don’t miss these two great bands for what will be one of the most stacked bills of the summer. —Pat King | @MrPatKing


The Lumineers/Langhorne Slim – Celebrate Brooklyn – August 3, 2016

August 4th, 2016

The Lumineers/Langhorne Slim - Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell - August 3, 2016

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com


Beirut – Celebrate Brooklyn – August 2, 2016

August 3rd, 2016

Beirut - Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell - August 2, 2016

Photos courtesy of Mina J


Beirut Close Tour with Two Local Shows Next Week

July 29th, 2016

Beirut began a decade ago in Santa Fe, N.M., as a solo project for Zach Сondon (vocals, flugelhorn and ukulele). And in the ensuing years, the band has expanded in sound—covering lo-fi rock, pop, psychedelia, Balkan folk and Gypsy music—and size—upon moving to Brooklyn, Condon began performing with a rotating group of musicians, which now includes Nick Petree (drums), Paul Collins (bass), Kyle Resnick (trumpet), Ben Lanz (trombone) and Aaron Arntz (keys). Their fourth studio album, No No No (stream it below), arrived last September. According to AllMusic, it “should appeal to the Beirut loyal as well as serve as a fine representative for any potential admirers who’ve simply managed to miss them along the way.” And the Line of Best Fit added that “No No No is, on paper at least, the latest in a growing line of very good Beirut albums. In practice, it is that and more: nine sketches of heartbreak and hope played with a newfound ease, a short collection that yields greater returns with each listen.” The local favorites (above performing “So Allowed” on Conan) close out their tour at The Capitol Theatre on Monday and Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell on Tuesday.


Ray LaMontagne – Celebrate Brooklyn – June 22, 2016

June 23rd, 2016

Ray LaMontagne – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – June 22, 2016

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.com


Tame Impala Thrillingly Dazzle in Prospect Park at Celebrate Brooklyn

June 15th, 2016

Tame Impala – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – June 14, 2016

-Tame Impala – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – June 14, 2016

(Photo: Gregg Greenwood)

Walking to Prospect Park last night, one couldn’t help but notice that, even in the heart of Brooklyn, the region is in the throes of full summer bloom, flowers of orange, purple and yellow painting the city in full color. The setting was perfect for the first of two-sold out shows for Tame Impala, whose show is a full-spectrum rainbow of colors and sounds. The evening opened with a deep prog-psych set from Sweden’s Dungen, which featured excellent extended instrumental jams that helped reorient the slowly growing audience from the long entry line to the upcoming immersive experience. Between sets, a Celebrate Brooklyn organizer made some announcements, including a promise that they’d “wait until it was darker” before the headlining set—an important detail.

Over the years, the Tame Impala’s visual show has evolved along with the band’s sound, from a single green oscilloscope CRT to full Technicolor mindfuck. Kevin Parker and his mates opened with the off-center, dreamy “Nangs,” which played more like an intro to the addictive and explosive “Let It Happen,” which blazed three-dimensionally across the park with zippy synthesizers accompanied by hyperactive flashes on the backdrop screen and an extraterrestrial rainbow of lights, everyone in the overjoyed crowd raising their arms in full party mode. Tame Impala have been touring in support of Currents almost constantly for a couple of years now, and they played its songs with a deep mathematical thrill, a new calculus of psychedelic disco. Each number brought new combinations of synth and guitar, mind trip and funk beats, pinks and blues, the low end of the bass seeming to swallow all of Park Slope at points in “Why Won’t They Talk to Me?”

Meanwhile, the visuals grew increasingly chaotic, almost overwhelmingly colorful—in snapshot, these moments were temptingly Instgrammable or Snapchat-worthy. Parker’s banter was limited and to the point: “Are you ready for this next song?” he asked before the band found their stoner-rock roots in “Elephant,” the crowd clearly, almost giddily ready. And then “Let’s keep the party going” for the following “The Less I Know the Better,” Parker singing, “Is this what you want?” while the visuals gave the impression that the audience was somehow inside a spinning disco ball while bass and drums brought a pulsing, thumping funk-down. The show built to its climactic, full-bloomed-flower end that included a euphoric sing-along on the set-highlight, “Eventually,” some more old school psych rock on “Alter Ego,” off 2010’s InnerSpeaker, and the explosive set-closing “Apocalypse Dreams,” which seemed to push the bouquet parts of the spectrum usually unseen by the human eye. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

(Dungen play The Bowery Ballroom on Friday night.)


LNZNDRF Are Otherworldly Yet Familiar at Mercury Lounge

March 7th, 2016

LNZNDRF – Mercury Lounge – March 5, 2016

The first thing you may have noticed as LNZNDRF assembled onstage at Mercury Lounge for the first of two sold-out shows on Saturday night was their matching tie-dyed long-sleeve coveralls. With the stage’s backdrop lit to resemble the cover of their self-titled debut album, a large planetary sphere, the band members resembled some sort of scrappy but very chill NASA technicians. The scene set the tone for the music, originally conceived through a whirlwind session of extended musical improvisations by Ben Lanz (of Beirut) and Scott and Bryan Devendorf (of the National).

The resulting album captures snippets of these jams and delves into darker, louder and even spacier territory than what you would likely expect from their other bands. Songs like “Kind Things” and “Future You” contained intricate moments of almost disorientating feedback alongside minimal guitar lines on Saturday night. And Bryan Devendorf’s powerful drumming soon punctuated the lulling, hypnotic quality with the ability to transform the material into catchy head-nodders.

At moments, LNZNDRF brought to mind the likes of New Order, the Jesus and Mary Chain and even Brian Eno (particularly during Lanz’s vocals on “Monument” and “Beneath the Black Sea”). But despite these comparisons, LNZNDRF also seem unconcerned with fitting into any particular sound or style, instead using their live show to channel the loose, experimental atmosphere of those initial jam sessions—an immersive experience, otherworldly yet familiar. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK

(Beirut play the Capitol Theatre on 8/1 and Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell on 8/2)



Willie Nelson Brings Rowdy Outlaw Country Music to Brooklyn

August 13th, 2015

Willie Nelson & Family – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – August 12, 2015

Willie Nelson & Family brought outlaw country music to Brooklyn last night, performing for a rowdy, sold-out crowd at Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell. With the opening notes of his 1973 song “Whiskey River,” an enormous Texas state flag unfurled behind the band, a tribute to the artist’s roots. With the Lone Star blazing behind them, Willie Nelson & Family tore through many of his most distinctive hits, including “On the Road Again” and “Always on My Mind,” with a loose, freewheeling energy.

“Let’s do one for Waylon,” announced Nelson, paying tribute to fellow outlaw countryman Waylon Jennings, as he performed “Good Hearted Woman,” encouraging the crowd to sing along during the chorus in a lively call-and-response. Jennings wasn’t the only artist to get a nod from Nelson, who also paid tribute to the likes of Hank Williams with a rendition of “Hey, Good Lookin’,” Merle Haggard with “It’s All Going to Pot” and Tom T. Hall with “Shoeshine Man.” Of course, Nelson, the longtime marijuana-legalization activist, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do “Roll Me Up” (a song that instructs: “And smoke me when I die”) to an overwhelmingly approving crowd.

Encouraging everyone to clap along, Nelson & Family finished the show with a version of the gospel hymn “I’ll Fly Away” before tossing his hat into the crowd and leaving. With Nelson’s talent and an abundance of outlaw spirit, it seems almost irrelevant to mention that he also happens to be 82, but then it makes him all the more impressive nonetheless, and Brooklyn was that much cooler in his presence. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK


Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – August 4, 2015

August 5th, 2015

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes - Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell - August 4, 2015

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com


Modest Mouse Have Them Dancing at Celebrate Brooklyn

July 23rd, 2015

Modest Mouse – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandhsell – July 22, 2013

Modest Mouse – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandhsell – July 22, 2013
After opening their sold-out show at Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell
last night with the rallying call of “Fire It Up,” Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock announced that he had some minor concerns about playing the show. As it turns out, he
had just sprained his index finger. “How’d I do that?” he mused aloud. “Carelessness.” Brock’s candor was fitting, considering the tone of sarcasm and detachment that permeates many of the group’s lyrics, from their first album in 1996 to their latest release, Strangers to Ourselves. Modest Mouse’s performance of songs like “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes,” “Bury Me with It,” “Out of Gas” and “King Rat” nicely conveyed this attitude.

Of course, it’s not all aloofness and irony with Modest Mouse—their catalog includes many moments that skew toward sincere. Last night’s rendition of “Dramamine,” from the band’s first official release, This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About, was clearly an emotional touchstone for the crowd, as was the sweet and simple new song “Coyotes,” and “3rd Planet,” from 2000’s The Moon & Antarctica. But Modest Mouse didn’t shy away from playing one of their most upbeat songs, “Float On,” the sonic equivalent of a pep talk.

Despite Brock’s injury, he admirably played through, and if anything, alongside his shambolic energy and wacky banter, it added to the overall experience of watching this singular performer. As if to get in one last barb, during the spirited performance of “Paper Thin Walls” in the encore, Brock and the band abruptly stopped halfway into it. “A new song or finish this song?” asked Brock. “The second half is exactly the same as the first half,” he pointed out. And, without waiting for a consensus, the band picked up where they’d left off, and the crowd resumed dancing. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.com