Fall Forté

NYC is jam-packed with musical talent this September

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It’s back to the grind for most this month, bustling with things to do and see in the city. New York has a whole lot happening in the music scene as well, with Blues Traveler performing at Irving Plaza on September 9, the same night pop singer and New York native Bebe Rexha plays Terminal 5 (opening for Nick Jonas)—both are spotlighted acts in the coming pages. Elsewhere, dance music festival Electric Zoo roars into Randall’s Island Park September 4-6, Latin superstar Daddy Yankee shakes up Madison Square Garden on September 19, Eli Young Band swoons over Terminal 5 on September 20 and Ariana Grande belts her best at Barclays Center September 26-27. Newcomers like soul-pop singer Jess Glynne at Bowery Ballroom September 17, Charli XCX and Bleachers at Summerstage September 21, and folk singer Lianne La Havas at Terminal 5 on September 26 are not to be missed. As we do each month, here are the other hot concert picks for September:

One show in New York would never be enough for Madonna (she recorded a song called “I Love New York,” of course), so when she comes through town during her international “Rebel Heart Tour,” two stops will be made at Madison Square Garden September 16 and 17 followed by Barclays Center September 19. The Queen of Pop has stated that her tour will be about love and romance, and though she will include hits from the past 32 years, anything from “Holiday” to “Hollywood,” the superstar is likely to perform much from her recent release “Rebel Heart,” including the gospel-tinged “Living For Love” and her new daring song “Holy Water.” Madonna’s new introspective ballad “Ghosttown” gave the pop icon her 45th #1 hit, more than any other artist and surpassing George Strait’s record (“Bitch I’m Madonna” became her 46th). Madonna’s MDNA Tour was the top-grossing tour of 2012, so fans should expect high production value, lighting, costumes, and choreography from the “Like A Virgin” singer. From “Into The Groove” to “Vogue” to “Ray of Light,” concert-goers will be on their toes listening up for classics and will be thrilled at the theatrics for the duration of the spectacle. The “Material Girl” chose comedian and New York native Amy Schumer as her opener for all New York dates stating that, like herself, she is a role model for women and she wanted something different for this tour.

The worlds of soul, Southern rock, R&B, gospel, and blues collide in the music of Alabama Shakes, led by the energetic power of lead singer/guitarist Brittany Howard’s raw and alluring vocals. Joined by guitarist Heath Fogg, bassist Zac Cockrell, drummer Steve Johnson, and touring keyboard players Ben Tanner and Paul Horton, Alabama Shakes groove into Queens venue Forest Hills Stadium for a performance September 19 with Drive-By Truckers. The Shakes’ sophomore album “Sound & Color” debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, the first female-fronted band to land at the top without a Top 40 single. “Don’t Wanna Fight” ended up being a #1 hit this spring for the Grammy-nominated band (they received three nods including Best New Artist in 2013, the year following their debut record “Boys & Girls.”). With widespread and critical appeal booking top global festivals including Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Glastonbury, Montreux Jazz Festival, Austin City Limits, and with their second appearance as musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” earlier this year,” the band is on fire. Fans will surely be on the lookout for bluesy breakthrough song “Hold On” as well as the bright, twangy “Shoegaze,” not to mention some impressive guitar skills all around.

Global Citizen Festival, a free-ticketed event on the Great Lawn of Central Park returns September 26 for its fourth time with the best-of-the-best headliners: Pearl Jam, Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, and Coldplay (Chris Martin serves as curator of the event). The festival was created for change and the event coincides with the United Nations’ Global Goals to protect against inequality, protect the planet, and end extreme poverty by 2030. The world-class musicians set the stage for these efforts along with the public, who are urged to take action (online, by making phone calls, attending events, or volunteering) to receive admission to the big show. The fest can be watched worldwide via msnbc, YouTube, NBC’s one-hour special (Sunday, 9/27), iHeartRadio, TIDAL’s global stream, or BBC Worldwide. Bets are being placed high that the crowd will hear Pearl Jam hits like “Alive,” “Daughter,” and “Better Man.” From Beyonce, it would be a surprise not to hear “Halo,” “Irreplaceable,” and “Single Ladies,” and fans may get lucky with “Drunk In Love” and “Run The World (Girls)” as well. Ed Sheeran’s ballads “Photograph,” “Thinking Out Loud,” and “The A Team” are obvious choices, and he may throw in some tempo too with “Sing” and “Don’t.” Finally, Coldplay’s “Fix You” and “Clocks” are a favorite to count on, but they may also whip up “A Sky Full Of Stars,” “Paradise,” and “Viva La Vida.” Whatever the configuration of songs, fans are in for one of the biggest rallies of the season, being inspired by their favorite musicians all while fighting for peace and global well-being for all.

Though “Take Me To Church” is becoming his calling card, Hozier is much more than his Grammy-nominated hit, especially when it comes to a live setting. The Irish singer-songwriter plays Radio City on September 29 and offers a desirable blend of indie rock sounds, soul, blues, and folk. His break-out tune definitely solidified Hozier’s brilliance when Annie Lennox joined him for a powerful Grammys performance of the song. Back to Hozier’s debut self-titled record, the pop-leaning soul tune “Someone New” is a highlight during his live shows, as is the intensely passionate “To Be Alone” and gospel-ly “Sedated.” Hozier turns to classic rock on songs like “It Will Come Back” with muddy, swampy guitars and on the flipside achieves an angelic quality on folk songs like “Like Real People Do.” One additional treat is if he decides to bring out his cellist Alana Henderson to sing a duet on the peaceful and romantic “In A Week.” With appearances playing the 2014 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and “Saturday Night Live,” Hozier can really rock, and those lucky to see him perform live will truly get a grasp on his musical diversity and musicianship.

(Photo Credit: Coldplay /Anton Corbijn)