While the empty expanse that is the pool at McCarren Park will one day be filled again through renovations by the city Parks Department beginning the end of this year, this summer, concerts are on at the pool-cum-venue, with top acts coming out to the North Brooklyn spot once again for both ticketed and free events.
Last summer, billed acts included indie darling Feist and synth pop makers Erasure, while the bands TV on the Radio, Band of Horses, Man Man and others came out for the free Sunday Pool Parties hosted by event promoters JellyNYC and the Williamsburg/Greenpoint community group Open Space Alliance (OSA).
This year, the lineups are equally impressive, with top acts set to rock out in free performances at the pool space, as well as tickets currently on sale on Ticketmaster for the others.
Kicking off the latter of those concerts on June 6 is M.I.A., a London by way of Sri Lanka artist who is as known for her politics as she is for her mash of genres in her infectious songs. Internationally acclaimed, M.I.A. last appeared in New York last summer for the Siren Music Festival last year in Coney Island and returns to Brooklyn behind the release of her sophomore album, “Kala.”
On June 6, indie stars Death Cab for Cutie play McCarren with openers alternative rockers Rogue Wave. The pool is one stop of Death Cab's tour to support their latest album, “Narrow Stairs,” coming out mid-May. Then on June 20, Warped Tour favorite Gogol Bordello, which developed their sound in New York City’s underground gypsy punk scene, comes to Brooklyn.
This one's going to be big. On June 26, New Wavers Devo and Tom Tom Club's tour with opener Dan Deacon, an electronic music composer heavily influenced by both acts, makes a stop in Brooklyn at McCarren Pool for a show that can promise some robotic dance moves and hard hats.
McCarren will then feature some top DJ acts, with Dutch trance music DJ Armin van Burren on July 5 and DJ Shadow on July 17. The latter is joined by Lucas MacFadden’s solo turntablist project, Cut Chemist.
Because this is Williamsburg, indie acts come back to the pool with alt-rockers Ween on July 25, followed by blues-rock duo The Black Keys on August 8, whose latest release, “Attack and Release,” featuring the single “Strange Times,” debuted in early April. And on August 13, Grammy Award winners Wilco, known for their stellar live shows, play the pool.
Because summers in New York City are ones of free cultural events, from outdoor film screenings to opera productions, here’s a separate listing of the free concerts at the pool, sponsored by JellyNYC and OSA, so you can mark your calendars early. Brooklyn-based rock band The Hold Steady kicks off the pool parties, which, in addition to music also feature such wholesome activities as dodgeball and an inflatable slip and slide, on June 29.
On July 20, Radiohead opening act Liars comes to McCarren Park, sharing the bill with Brooklyn-based synth band Team Robespierre, a trio with percussion/guitar, drums and vocals/guitar that results in some danceable punk tunes. Another Brooklyn-based band, MGMT (pronounced Management), billed by Rolling Stone as one of the top 10 artists to watch this year, commute to McCarren on July 27 for a show with Black Moth Super Rainbow, a psychedelic pop band from Pittsburgh that, like MGMT, relies heavily on electronic equipment for their distinctive sound.
On August 3, “flower punk” band Black Lips sharing the bill with Deerhunter, a side project of some members of the band, as well as garage rockers King Khan & His Shrines, who trek from Montreal to Williamsburg for a show expected to be full of surprises.
Other acts slated to perform include hip-hop artist Aesop Rock, indie duo Matt & Kim, punk rockers The Loved Ones, experimental noise group F— Buttons, Panther and British indi pop rockers Ting Tings.
In addition to indie acts, the OSA hopes to also have a great diversity of programming, much like what can be found at other city parks, such as Prospect Park and Central Park, during the summer.
“We're continuing to work on increasing program diversity,” said Stephanie Thayer of the OSA. “We hope to be able to release more details soon.”
For more information on the concerts at McCarren Park, go to jellynyc.com or www.mccarrenpark.com. Concert times and costs vary. For tickets, go to www.ticketmaster.com. The entrance to McCarren Park Pool is on Lorimer Street, between Driggs Avenue and Bayard Street.