Who: Best Coast
What: Northside Festival
Where: Brooklyn Live at the Inlet, 50 Kent Ave.
When: Saturday, June 13, $30, 5:00 - 10:00
Why: Singer/songwriter/guitarist Bethany Cosentino and guitarist Bobb Bruno, better known as Best Coast, are hitting the road in support of their third full-length, California Nights (Harvest, May 4). The follow-up to 2010’s Crazy for You and 2013’s The Only Place, the disc, which explores the darker sides of Los Angeles, features such tracks as “Feeling OK,” “Fine without You,” “Jealousy,” and “Wasted Time.” “It’s about a journey, accepting the things you have no control over,” Cosentino says of the record. “It’s about dealing with life like an adult, and at the end of the day, reminding yourself that there really is no reason to be sad, and you have every right to feel okay.” The California duo will be in New York City on June 13 for the Northside Festival, playing Brooklyn Live at the Inlet with Built to Spill, Alvvays, and Bully.
Who: Karen, Katherine & Jen, Paul Bertolino, Jaime Dejesus, Sarah Factor, Samantha Feldman, Andi Rae Healy, 5j Barrow, Joanna Levine, Jeff Litman, Andrea Nardello, Abby Payne, Gerianne Pérez, Gerry Rosenthal, Jason Spiewak, Kate Steinberg, Jenn Summers, Casey Solomon, Maddy Wyatt, and others
What: The “Leave a Lasting Mark” Concert Series presents “Rumours: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac”
Where: The Bitter End, 147 Bleecker St. between Thompson St. & La Guardia Pl., 212-673-7030
When: Tuesday, March 31, suggested donation $10, 7:00
Why: Nearly two dozen artists will be at the Bitter End on March 31 performing the songs of Fleetwood Mac, including the entire classic Rumours album, as a fundraiser for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, whose stated mission “is to drive the research that will provide preventions, treatments, and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome, and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases.” The organization’s annual New York City VisionWalk will take place April 18 beginning at the Central Park Bandshell.
Who: New York Philharmonic, conductor George Daugherty, and special guest Whoopi Goldberg (May 15-16)
What: Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II
Where: Avery Fisher Hall, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, Broadway between West 62nd & West 65th Sts.
When: May 14-16, $55–$145, 7:30 (plus 2:00 matinee on May 16)
Why: Tickets are going fast for the twenty-fifth anniversary of “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony,” in which the New York Philharmonic plays live scores to classic Warner Bros. cartoons projected behind the orchestra on a big screen. Among the Looney Tunes favorites, all featuring classical music, of course, are What’s Opera, Doc?, Rabbit of Seville, A Corny Concerto, and Rhapsody Rabbit. We learned everything we know about classical music from two sources, Merrie Melodies and Stanley Kubrick films, so we were thrilled when we saw “Bugs Bunny on Broadway” back in 1990, and now we’re even more thrilled that it’s coming back our way for four shows at Avery Fisher Hall May 14-16.
Who: Neil Diamond
What: Neil Diamond Live in Concert
Where: Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave., 800-745-3000
When: Thursday, March 26, $30-$175, 8:00
Why: It’s hard to believe, but on Thursday night, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Neil Diamond will be playing his first public show ever in his home borough of Brooklyn, where he was born on January 24, 1941, highlighting songs from throughout his career as well as from his latest album, Melody Road (CMG, October 2014), which was produced by Don Was and Jacknife Lee. Get ready for a major lovefest, especially given the tour’s setlist, which includes “I’m a Believer,” “Love on the Rocks,” “Cherry, Cherry,” “I Am . . . I Said,” “Cracklin’ Rosie,” and “Sweet Caroline.” As Diamond himself recently proclaimed, “It’s going to be so good, so good, so good.”
Coney Island USA
1208 Surf Ave. between Stillwell Ave. & West 12th St.
Saturday, March 28, $100-$150, 7:00 - 12 midnight
Arts fundraisers can be pretty stuffy affairs, so leave it to Coney Island USA to do things just a little bit differently. On March 28, their gala spring fundraiser — taking place for the first time ever in its home base on Surf Ave. — will feature daring burlesque, sideshow performers, a Mystery in a Box, and more. The Coney Island Horror Story theme is a riff on this past season of American Horror Story, which was set at a freak show, and AHS star Mat Fraser will take part in the festivities, along with his wife, Julie Atlas Muz, and a fab cast of characters that also includes Deity Von Cuchi, Velvet Crayon, Jennifer Miller, Clara Coquette, Ginger Twist, La Maia, Puss n Boots, Sincerely Yours, Sizzle Dizzle, Tiny D, Zoe Ziegfeld, Adam Realman, Wae Messed, Betsy Propane, Divina GranSparkle, Sabrena Sunshine, Agent Topchik, Betty Bloomerz, Ray Valenz, Princess Pat, Alejandro DuBois, Sean Coleman and the Quasars, and Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones. In addition, the Great Fredini will be on hand, making his Scan-a-Rama 3D portrait, and there will be a silent auction. All of the proceeds go into Coney Island USA’s unique programming, consisting of such favorites as the Mermaid Parade, the Coney Island Film Festival, the Coney Island Museum, Burlesque at the Beach, and the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. (VIP tickets entitle you to early admission, a meet-and-greet with some of the performers, a gift bag, and unlimited beer, wine, and food.)
The Rock Shop
249 Fourth Ave., Brooklyn
Friday, March 20, $7-$10, 8:00
Two of the smartest bands around will be at the Rock Shop in Brooklyn on Friday night, March 20, one of them celebrating its first record in more than fifteen years, the other debuting its first full-length. There’s a good reason why we asked Paula Carino to play at our tenth anniversary party at Fontana’s in 2011; she kicks some real ass. The Brooklyn-based singer, guitarist, and songwriter, who has released such well-received solo albums as Aquacade and Open on Sunday, is back with her first band, Regular Einstein (Seven Deadly Songs, Robots Helping Robots), and is about to release the record she’s always been destined to make, Chimp Haven. On the twelve-track release, Carino’s voice is sharper than ever, perfectly in tune with her quick-witted, incisive lyrics about difficult love, the pains and pleasures of self-awareness, and searching for one’s place in the world. “I’m stumbling on all my lines / I fumbled the soliloquy / I wanted to pretend I’m fine / So you would not think ill of me / Cuz when you come back into town / I become a clumsy liar / I’m an amateur production of / A Streetcar Named Desire,” she sings on “Bad Actor,” going on to reference Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Madonna, and other Hollywood thespians. On “Never Saw It Coming” she admits, “I would always skip ahead / No one crying, no one dead / So I never saw it coming.” Featuring original Einsteiners David Benjoya on guitar and keyboards and Andy Mattina on bass, with Nancy Polstein, who joined the band in 2010, on drums, Regular Einstein sounds fresh and bursting with life on the record, which features pristine production from Love Camp 7’s Dann Baker as the band shifts from power pop to postpunk to 1960s jangle, with nods to the Kinks, the Pretenders, the Beatles, and the Ramones. How can you not love a group that declares, “From Forest Hills to Jamaica Bay / Flushing our sunny side away.” Chimp Haven, which boasts cover art by primate Cody from Save the Chimps, is a whirlwind of a record, a burst of sweet, infectious energy from one of New York City’s most underrated talents.
“Believe me / The good times are coming soon / The good times are here,” Carino sings on the jazz-blues charmer “The Good Times.” The bad times are here as well, as portrayed on Lazy Lions’ darker but no less brainy When Dreaming Lets You Down. . . . “Crapped out once again / Fate’s made fools of wiser men / Even the best umbrellas will complain / After weeks and weeks of heavy rain / ’Cause when the wind comes in and starts to slap / The feather’s right out of your cap / The sharpest knife can’t make the cut / You might as well sew your pockets shut,” Jim Allen sings on “Let the Bad Times Roll,” one of twelve tracks that delve into the colder aspects of life and love, feeling right on target during this brutal winter. “Jesus, it’s freezing out here,” he adds later. Singer, keyboardist, and chief songwriter Allen, guitarist Robert Sorkin, bassist Anne-Marie Stehn, and drummer Sean McMorris pay homage to Elvis Costello, Robert Gordon, Joe Jackson, Squeeze, and Graham Parker on the album, with Allen’s deep-throated voice front and center in the mix. “Did you ever feel the winter’s bite?” he asks over a soaring organ on “February.” Meanwhile, for Lazy Lions, it’s not always mind over matter; “The heart hasn’t spoken / Because the head still hasn’t gotten all the facts,” Allen explains on the honky-tonkin’ “Tiny Little Cracks.” The band certainly has its facts when it comes to crafting astute pop songs, making When Dreaming Lets You Down… a canny debut. At the Rock Shop, Regular Einstein goes on at 10:00, followed by Lazy Lions at 11:00; the evening opens with Brooklyn punks Tanuki Suit.
Who: Jessica Phillips, Elizabeth Stanley, Bob Stillman, Jeremy Morse, Brian Charles Rooney, Ryan Silverman, Lauren Fox, Scott Coulter, Carole J. Bufford, Tiffany Gray, Eric Yves Garcia, Brad Simmons, and host Maxine Linehan
What: Broadway at Birdland Concert Series: All U2
Where: Birdland Jazz Club, 415 West 44th St., 212-581-3080
When: Monday, March 16, $35-$75 (plus $10 food or drink minimum), 9:30
Why: On St. Patrick’s Eve, Birdland will host an evening of the songs of U2, performed by an all-star lineup of Broadway and nightclub newcomers and veterans, with proceeds benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The show is produced by Scott “Broadway by the Year” Siegel and Linehan, with musical direction by Ryan Shirar and Andrew Koss.