The New York Mets are about to dive into a pennant race, hunting a chance to make it back to the World Series for the second straight year. However, baseball isn’t what’s going to be attracting thousands of fans to Citi Field this weekend; nope, instead, it’ll be the inaugural edition of The Meadows festival, put on by Founders Entertainment. The festival, which will take place on Saturday and Sunday, focuses on hip-hop and indie rock, with an occasional light tangent from those two genres. The weather forecast looks a little spotty right now, but assuming the rain holds up, the weekend should be filled with great music, delicious food, and, hopefully, a number of delightful experiences. We’ve finally started to get that crisp fall feeling in the air, so, below, check out 10 acts to christen the cooler season this weekend at The Meadows.


Kanye West
Day & Stage: Sunday, The Meadows
Set Time: 8:15-10:00
Gotta get this one out of the way quickly: I am obsessed with Kanye West. I devour any and every album he’s ever put out, and just yesterday even put together a half-assed attempt to compare another of my favorite artists to him. Any show that he’s playing, he’s going to lead the list in my book. He just played a pair of shows at Madison Square Garden at the start of September as a part of his Saint Pablo tour, but this show comes as a reconciliation for his doomed/canceled set from the rainy Sunday of Governor’s Ball 2016, which led to the insanity of an attempted pop-up show at Webster Hall. (I was there, too. Woe is me.)

Chance the Rapper
Day & Stage: Sunday, The Meadows
Set Time:5:45-7:00
Oh baby. It’d be hard to come up with a bigger breakout name in music in 2016 than Chancelor Bennett, the Chicago kid who embodies so much joy, hope, and excitement in his music that he’s taken the world by storm—and caught the attention aforementioned Mr. West. Here on the heels of his magnificent new release, Coloring Book, Mr. The Rapper is a fantastic live performer—in his first Complex cover story back in 2013, he was already talking about being a showman on stage—and with a nice catalogue of music and his signature energy and joy, he’ll be the perfect lead-in to Kanye’s weekend-closing set.

Coast Modern
Day & Stage: Sunday, Queens Blvd
Set Time:12:30-1:15
A new band with only a handful of songs released (they have only four on Spotify) Coast Modern reminds me a little bit of a younger Cage the Elephant—who, surprise!, is also on The Meadows bill. Years and years ago I saw Cage The Elephant at The Bamboozle festival in New Jersey, where they performed early hit “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” before a crowd of maybe a few hundred people. It’s been nice to have that memory as the band’s continued to grow; a similar experience could be shared here with Coast Modern and standout single “The Way It Was.” Here’s your chance to jump on early, people.

Kamasi Washington
Day & Stage: Saturday, Shea
Set Time: 2:45-3:30
A recent guest on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast, Kamasi Washington has often been labeled the new face of jazz. After a memorable turn appearing on Kendrick Lamar’s generational album To Pimp A Butterfly, Washington put out a record of his own last year, and it makes for a super fun live show. Titled The Epic, his album lives up to its name: it’s a triple record, and comes with a run time of just under three hours. Kamasi’s set won’t be quite as long as the album, but you can be sure that it’ll be fun for some grooving and some dancing nonetheless.

Lewis Del Mar
Day & Stage: Sunday, Linden Blvd
Set Time:12:00-12:30
Lewis Del Mar is another exciting young band that you’ll have the chance to check out early this weekend. A folk duo from Rockaway Beach, they’ve made their mark with a few singles—”Loud(y)” has made some noise, and the band’s debut EP, which came out in January, made a ripple as well. I really like the single “Painting (Masterpiece)” (the xylophone sound is fire); fans of Grouplove or Foster the People should be at attention.


The Weeknd
Day & Stage: Saturday, The Meadows
Set Time:5:30-6:10
The Weeknd, originally announced as the inaugural Saturday headliner of The Meadows, has seen this set go through a number of changes. About a week ago, the festival abruptly announced that the shadowy R&B crooner’s set wouldn’t be happening, instead replaced by J. Cole (not a horrible last-minute replacement, for what it’s worth). After news came out a bit later that he’d instead be playing the season premiere of Saturday Night Live (and with the election year audience sure to be massive, you can’t really blame him), the singer and festival simultaneously shared that he’d been restored to the bill, now playing the early evening. The Weeknd is a solid live performer with nice stage production and a steady stable of hits; revel in your chance to likely be among the first on earth to hear his new single “Starboy” live.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Weeknd has once again canceled his set.

The 1975
Day & Stage: Sunday, Shea
Set Time:7:00-8:00
Being a huge fan of The Strokes, I found myself wondering recently if there were any bands that were really blowing up—and I mean really, blowing up—on both a critical and commercial level in 2016, in the same way that the New York rockers did when they released Is This It in 2001. And while there’s not a direct parallel, I was given The 1975 as a suggestion and I tend to think that it’s generally pretty on-point. The band’s fanbase is massive, and believe it or not their new record, which has a name that’s too long to even write here, is damn good. Not to mention their frontman, Matty Healy, is pretty charismatic in his own right. The 1975 is a great act to check out right now, because they’ll almost certainly be closing out festivals like this in the not-too-distant future.

Day & Stage: Saturday, The Meadows
Set Time:6:55-7:45
I am so excited for Grimes. I recently listened to her break down her hit “Kill V. Maim” from last year’s Art Angels album on the Song Exploder podcast, and it was a fascinating insight into all of the layering that goes into a single track by the eccentric modern pop star. To see how that all comes together musically in the live format will be a whole different experience. Oh, and she’s got four full records full of synthy-goodness, so it’s going to be an experience.

Day & Stage: Sunday, Linden Blvd
Set Time: 1:15-2:00
The Brooklyn duo is always an exciting live act, and their set on Sunday afternoon should be no different. With songs ranging through the band’s three full-length albums, the cheery style of this synthpop group casts an arc over the crowd, and it’s a joy to be a part of it. The touring band, which includes a saxophone player for some of the newer songs, is exceptional. Some of the notes in these Chairlift songs can be hard to hit, but singer Caroline Polachek does just that, making it sound as if she were singing in the studio. From old-school hit “Bruises” to new favorite “Ch-Ching,” there’s fun to be had here even if you’re a new fan.

Pusha T
Day & Stage: Sunday, Shea
Set Time: 2:45-3:45
“The president of G.O.O.D. Music has been announced,” Pusha T rapped on last year’s single “Untouchable,” which smoothly blends a Notorious B.I.G. sample with the rapper’s always thoughtful rhymes. Pusha T, who’s been at it since his early days with Clipse, is a veteran of the game, and he wasn’t being hyperbolic in that lyric: he is literally the president of Kanye West’s label, G.O.O.D. Music. He signed Desiigner, who’s had a decent year. Pusha is one of the most intelligently lyrical rappers out there, and, considering how many people were introduced to him initially as part of a live performance, his experience should shine through as he commands the stage and crowd in Queens.


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