Lots of live music awaits the summer crowd
It may lack the city’s sheer density of concert spaces, but by no means is there a shortage of live music in the Hamptons once the summer arrives. But first, forget you’ve heard that some of the world’s most celebrated performers – Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Billy Joel and Paul McCartney, inter alia – are known to have residences within the boundaries of the South Fork of Long Island – because, like you, these people are here to not work, so don’t expect any impromptu mega-shows.
Then again, fellow megabucks musician and Hamptonite Jimmy Buffet managed to make an unannounced appearance at Surf Lodge in Montauk back in 2013 – as part of a free show put forth by Willie Nelson. Yes – totally free – the same price charged to see fellow icon Patti Smith and rocker Courtney Love last summer. One of the most laid-back and approachable spots in the Hamptons, it also provides the breathtaking backdrop of Fort Pond shimmering in the background as bands play – unless the show takes place at night, when the torrid flicker of flames from within the large Lodge fire pit create a spectacle of their own. Just keep in mind: for the most part, the artists to be found working here are more along the lines of Brooklyn indie up-and-comers and critical darlings than celebrities (the 2014 calendar is yet to be announced, but 2013 saw acts such as St. Lucia, MS MR, Phosphorescent and Cayucas work, so the possibilities are intriguing). There are no tickets to buy — it’s first-come, first-serve — but try not to drive, as the parking can be downright nightmarish, and town constables will be on-hand to quickly penalize scofflaws. (183 Edgemere St.)
On the other end of the performance space spectrum, fans that enjoy seeing fairly famous musicians from organized seating can find satisfaction at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, a concert hall found down south of Montauk Highway in WHB. Also good for top comedians, tickets are limited and do regularly sell out, but can be purchased far in advance at whbpac.org. Look for 2014 shows from such beloved talents as Rufus Wainwright (June 20), Matthew Sweet (July 12), Natalie Merchant (July 20), Ziggy Marley (Aug. 2) and Lyle Lovett (Aug. 24). (76 Main St.)
Another option lies between “The Beginning” and “The End” (unofficial nicknames for Westhampton Beach and Montauk) in East Hampton at Guild Hall, perhaps the fanciest Hamptons spot to see a show. Usually reserved for theatre, readings and films, musical moments can also be found, with already-announced 2014 concerts from The Bad Plus with Joshua Redman (Aug. 9), Christine Ebersole (Aug. 17) and Ben Folds (Aug. 30), with tickets available at guildhall.org. (158 Main St.)
However, a few miles east over in Amagansett, perhaps the most legendary of all Hamptons live music venues awaits: the Stephen Talkhouse. A club and room that can draw hundreds and create long lines down Main Street – even when there isn’t a major live event – is, quite frankly, a Hamptons social scene landmark. Super-casual and generally affordable, the Talkhouse tends to book both older, 80s-90s artists and local favorites — but without fail there are usually frequent annual sightings of A-list singers and actors – some of which have been known to find their way to the stage, such as Jimmy Fallon, John Mayer and Jimmy Buffet (Yes, Buffet again! And when Buffet played that night in August of 2011, no less than Bill and Hillary Clinton were seated in the front row). 2014 big tickets (available at stephentalkhouse.com) include Buster Poindexter (AKA David Johansson of the New York Dolls; May 31), Marshall Crenshaw (June 14), the English Beat (June 27), Buckwheat Zydeco (Aug. 1) and Patty Smyth with Scandal (Aug. 23). (161 Main St.)