Headliner’s Top 10 Free Concerts in NYC this Summer

Words By Alexander J. Pack and Lori Abichandani

She and Him

Presumably you like music because you’re reading this blog. And presumably you like free stuff, because everybody likes free stuff. We’ve compiled a list of the top ten free concerts going on in New York city this summer, and we’re pretty stoked about it. Here’s what you should go see, in chronological order:

1. Alicia Keys: June 25th, 6AM- Good Morning America
Even the most grungy hipster loves a little soul here and there. Alicia is performing hits from her latest album, The Element of Freedom, in Central Park, and if anybody knows how to tickle the keys, it’s this Grammy award winning sensation. If you can muster up the motivation to wake up before 6AM and trek to CP to witness this NYC native, let us know how the show is. Better still, stay up all night, hear Keys and crash.

2. She & Him: July 4th, 4P – The beach @ Governor’s Island
Into modern folk music? Go see Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward perform at The Beach. Ever since her days in Almost Famous, we at Headliner have been obsessed with Zooey, and we’re totally not afraid to admit it. She & Him makes the kind of music that gets stuck in your head for days (not the annoying kind) and we’re pumped for this show.

3. Lady Gaga: July 9th, 6AM – The Today Show
There’s nobody bigger than Gaga right now. Her tickets are going for hundreds of dollars, and her “little monsters” have managed to purchase all of them within the first minute after they go on sale. Unlike the thousands of people that bought pricey tickets to her three back to back sold-out MSG shows, you get to witness this pop superstar for free. Here’s the catch: like Alicia, she’s doing one of those 6AM concerts. If you choose to go, either just don’t sleep the night before or drink copious amounts of coffee throughout the day to remain alive. If you manage to go, leave us a comment and let us know what she was wearing!

4. The Roots/ Talib Kweli: July 11th, 7:30PM – Prospect Park Bandshell
The Roots are pretty sweet. They’ve been around for a really long time, but I bet you’ve still never seen them. The Philadelphia natives are a hip-hop phenomenon, and we’re not sure how often they perform for free. Talib Kweli, the Brooklyn MC, is equally as bomb as The Roots, and this concert is sure to be sick.

5. Thee of Sees/ Golden Triangle/ So Cow: July 16th, 6PM- Seaport Music Festival @ Pier 17
When we heard Thee of Sees was having a free show, we almost pissed ourselves. Kidding (sort of). The experimental band started off with just one dude, John Dwyer, but soon grew into a full band. After changing their name and band members a of couple times, they finally grew into the Thee of Sees we love today. If you miss this show, we will feel thoroughly sorry for you.

6. Siren Music Festival: July 17th Noon-9PM, Coney Island
You were bound to make your way to Coney Island at some point this Summer anyway, so why not go when there’s a 9 hour free concert scheduled? In the midst of riding your favorite Coney Island coasters and lounging at the beach, stroll over to the main-stage to see these artists perform: Matt & Kim, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Holy Fuck, Night Marchers, Surfer Blood, Harlem, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Earl Greyhound, Ponytail, Screaming Females, Wye Oak, Dom, Apache Beat.

7. Free Energy/ Best Coast / Loose Limbs– July 23, 6PM, Seaport Music Festival @ Pier 17

8. Sonic Youth: July 31st, 7PM- Prospect Park Bandshell
Old school wassup. This band has been around the block once or twice, and they’ve made some dope music over the years. Headlining Lollapalooza back in the mid-90’s, Sonic Youth came out with The Eternal about a year ago, and we think it’s a sick album. So go see the old dudes do their newest thing.

Hot Chip

9. Hot Chip/ Hercules and Love Affair/ Holy Ghost: August 4th, 7PM- Seaport Music Festival @ Pier 17
Hot Chip puts out some pretty decent music and, as pitchfork refers to them, they’re a group of “equal opportunity funsters.” They’re from London, and anything from Europe is so much cooler than anything you’ve ever heard of. Hercules and Love Affair should be a good time, too, since they’re pretty original and the lead singer’s voice is unmistakable. Get pumped for this one.

10. The xx/ Chairlift/ Jack Penate: August 8th, 7PM- Central Park Summerstage
Gaah! The xx! Despite their pseudo depressing sound, The xx makes excellent music. Their self-titled album hit the market a few months ago and has been all over hipster music blogs ever since. People are really excited about what’s next for the duo. Chairlift and Jack Penate complement The xx’s soothing tone, and the three bands should make for a solid night of dope music.

So there are more free concerts this summer. Here are a few honorable mentions you might be interested in checking out:
The Apples in Stereo– June 26th, 7PM  -Seaport Music Festival @ Pier 17
Yellowfever/ Woven Bones– July 2nd, 6PM  -Seaport Music Festival @ Pier 17
Bear in Heaven/Zola Jesus– July 9th, 6PM- Seaport Music Fesitval @ Pier 17
Caribou/ Phantogram– July 16th, doors at 6, show at 8- The Beach @ Governor’s Island
Avi Buffalo/ Chad Vangaalen– July 30th, 6PM- Seaport Music Festival @ Pier 17

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