All the Best Free Shows of the Summer Are Happening This Week


kleenex girl wonder

Will this be a good week? You doubt it while scrolling through an Instagram stream of other people’s travel photos and tanned bare feet. We accept your skepticism as a normal psychological side effect of not being on vacation, but we absolutely, positively know this will be a good week. The sun is shining and all that yogi stuff, sure, but the summer’s highest caliber of free shows are happening throughout the city during the next few days. Read it and weep, Instagram followers.

In one corner, for zero U.S. dollars, we have one of the week’s best underdog shows, curated by Pop Sundays at Wednesday’s Summerscreen showing of The Big Lebowski. Primarily the project of Graham Smith — essentially the Dude of indie rock — Kleenex Girl Wonder has been churning out a hefty catalog of quirky, psych-infused indie-pop since the mid-90s, which definitely includes albums titled Why I Write Such Good Songs and Graham Smith Is the Coolest Person Alive. He might be, actually, if nonchalantly passing off a wizardly sense of melody is the deciding factor of cool. At his best, he sounds like Jeff Mangum under the light of lava lamps. Tanks Amigo — featuring members of Crystal Stilts, My Teenage Stride and the late, great Cause Co-Motion! — set the stage with casually infectious new wave.

In another corner, we have big guns HAIM and Sleigh Bells, whose guitar rock splinters between pre-80s and post-apocalyptic, respectively. They’re at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park tonight as part of the “Live in Levi’s Project.” (Project?) RSVP required.

Future Islands, Omar Souleyman, Dan Boeckner’s new band Operators and Mas Ysa are set for a free House of Vans bash on Thursday (RSVP also required), throwing all fragments of danceable indie rock into a skater rat’s Disneyland. Across the river, SummerStage presents performance artist-rapper Mykki Blanco at East River Amphitheater while RiverRocks brings forward-thinking British retro-ists Temples and local psych-folk devotees Here We Go Magic and Spires to Hudson River Park so we can experience a gap in the space-time continuum between the 1960s and 2010s.

For one plump cherry on top, St. Vincent and San Fermin close down Prospect Park Bandshell for the season on Saturday, courtesy of Celebrate Brooklyn! You’ll cry because summer is winding down, and cry because you’ll never be St. Vincent.

If you want to experience the 10th level of hell, meanwhile, Iggy Azalea will be at Rockefeller Plaza on Friday. We won’t judge.

Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.