Summerstage 2010: As Backyard as Concerts Get

The XX, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, Public Enemy, and Chairlift named to play free concerts at Central Park’s Summerstage.

For those of us who live in cities, open green space is not the norm. But there’s one place where everyone cooped up in NYC can always count on for a lovely grassy field to run barefoot in (sunny weather not necessarily included).

Summerstage in Central Park

Central Park, when not populated with tourists and lounging hipsters, is that place. And in the summer time, Rumsey Playfield, a.k.a. SummerStage is the place to be. This unique and most importantly free concert opportunity has been around since 1986. In ’94, it was transferred to the City Parks Foundation which helps put up free jazz, dance and theatre shows all around the city. I’ve been lucky enough to catch some great free shows by The Cat Empire, M. Ward, the Born Ruffians, and Vampire Weekend at SummerStage over the past few summers, and this year’s lineup, like the past years’, is not going to disappoint.

The big (and free) attraction this year is The xx, the now-threesome from London who’s I’ve written about previously. The band, who recently lost guitarist Baria Qureshi due to an ever-expanding tour schedule, is facing a unique problem. The wrote their songs never with the intention for others to hear them – never once performing them at the elite Elliot School that has put out artists like Four Tet, Burial, and members of Hot Chip. And now with popular demand expecting another blockbuster down the road, they are trying to figure out how to start that process.

In the meantime, they’re still doing great things. Check out this mind-twisting video for their song “Islands:

Incidentally, neither of the vocalists, Romy Madley Croft (seated, middle) or Oliver Sim (seated, left) told the other what the songs they respectively wrote were about. And their overwhelmingly impassive stares do little to convey their meaning. Can you divine what’s on their minds? I can’t, for sure.

Opening for The xx, who will be hitting the stage on August 28th is the Brooklyn band “Chairlift”. There similar in many ways to The xx – mostly by nature of their male and female vocalists trading off verses. But maybe you’ll feel otherwise after watching this video for their single “Bruises”:

It’s a pretty fun 80’s treatment of teenage mayhem.

But this one concert is not the least of the free shows going up in your backyard! Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears will be opening up a show for The Specials  on August 22nd. And if you mix a little rap into your rock, don’t miss Public enemy on August 15th.

In the meantime, download out the full schedule with plenty more free concerts across the city by clicking here!

Happy Listening,




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