Better Than: Festivals that take place in 90 degree weather.
All photos Lindsey Rhoades Liars
Summer may be over, and with it, festival season proper, but that didn't stop the organizers of Modern Sky from bringing the Beijing-based festival stateside this weekend. Taking over Central Park's Rumsey playfield, the two-day line-up boasted Cat Power, Liars, Stars, the reunited-for-tour Blood Brothers, and an ensemble of esteemed musicians performing renditions of William Onyeabor's recently reissued synth-funk epics. Those were just the headlining acts--sprinkled into the line-up was an array of Chinese artists spanning various genres: Clash-era throwbacks Re-TROS, folksy experimental guitarist Deserts Zhang Xuan, drag-donning psychedelic outfit Second Hand Rose, hardcore rockers Shuh Tou, and surf punks Queen Sea Big Shark, all of whom have large followings at home but have yet to gain much recognition outside of it.
Better Than: Never loving again, I guess?
All photos Jena Cumbo Lykke Li at Radio City Hall
Lykke Li is one of those strange situations that happens now and again these days: someone who's talked about as a pop singer, is sort of presented as such, but in reality is a bit weirder, a bit too idiosyncratic to fully fit that mold. She, of course, has some indelible hooks out there, and who wouldn't want to hear "I Follow Rivers" on a Saturday night at Radio City Music Hall? But it's not exactly a pop show where you're going to go dance your weekend night away. This is especially true now, as Li tours behind her most recent record, I Never Learn, perhaps the best and most thoroughly heartbroken break-up album of the year. These are all songs about mistakes made, love lost, and a conflicted take on the past that runs the spectrum from yearning to regret to resolve. I mean, that's how you spend all of your Saturday nights, too, right?More »
Better Than: Every other punk band since 1981...
Photos by Kevin D. Emerson
Punk's not dead! Was it ever? Perhaps, to a point, for a stretch in the 1990s, but it was certainly alive and well when British hardcore legends G.B.H. came to NYC in one of the final show dates of their current U.S. tour. Formed in Birmingham, England, in the late '70s, G.B.H. ("Grievous Bodily Harm," referring to a section of the English criminal code under which one of the band's members was once charged -- the band initially performed under the moniker "Charged G.B.H.") was an early and prominent member of the "Second Wave" of British punk music, along with Discharge, the Exploited, the Varukers, and others. Unlike most of their "UK82" classmates, G.B.H. avoided the angry anarchism typically associated with the genre and managed to find a balance between lyrical content dealing with serious social issues and not taking themselves too seriously. And it has stood the test of time. Uncommon among their early '80s contemporaries, the band has continued to tour and release very high quality new music throughout their 30+ year career.More »
'Fool's Gold Day Off'
2:00 p.m., $15-$30
If you can't make it out of town for Labor Day, local hip-hop/electronic label Fool's Gold can always be counted on to make sure you have a wicked end to your three-day weekend. This year, its Day Off party has expanded beyond BK, and is now hosting a five-city, ticketed mini tour of sorts which hits Toronto, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Miami. As usual, the lineup is heavy and features Danny Brown, French Montana, AraabMuzik, Brenmar, and Fool's Gold co-founder Nick Catchdubs. The event promises special guests, and its insane history of headliners could be a perfect starting list of contenders, like A$AP Rocky or Juicy J, who could make the afternoon party an even wilder experience. Fool's Gold has become an important purveyor of the newest game changers, so prepare to spend your day off working hard to keep up. -- By Brittany Spanos