Marvel at the Music

The music scene this month in NYC has something for everyone

This May, New York City will be flourishing with live music from the greats to the next-big-things including the many global electronic stars playing Electric Daisy Carnival such as David Guetta, Kaskade and Eric Prydz as well as Danish soul-pop newcomers Lukas Graham. Pearl Jam captivates for two nights at Madison Square Garden on May 1 and 2, rockers Cage The Elephant delight May 16 at Central Park SummerStage and R&B’s brightest Keyshia Cole, Ginuwine and Avant cruise into Barclays Center on May 7. UK drum and bass group Rudimental are joined by UK garage duo Gorgon City at Central Park SummerStage on May 18, pop sisters Tegan and Sara groove May 9 at Le Poisson Rouge, indie-pop singer Verite smolders May 18 at Baby’s All Right and The 1975 create a frenzy May 17 at Barclays Center. Our other hot picks for May are selling out faster than you can say summer…

Justin Bieber has certainly turned his career around – the Canadian pop star and teen heartthrob smashed the Billboard charts last year when Skrillex and Diplo helped him usher in a new sound (tropical house) with the smash “Where Are U Now.” His most recent album “Purpose” found the Biebs landing his first of three #1s starting in September when “What Do You Mean?” ruled the airwaves, followed by the bouncy “Sorry” and the Ed Sheeran co-penned “Love Yourself.” Bieber’s “Purpose World Tour” electrifies Brooklyn’s Barclays Center May 4 and 5, for what is expected to be one of the major pop tours of the summer, with years of hits including “Somebody To Love,” “Baby,” “Boyfriend,” “One Time” and “Beauty and a Beat.” Having been discovered almost a decade ago, it’s likely Justin will do some stripped-down acoustic songs, to remind the long-time fans that he’s still just a young kid who made it big posting videos on YouTube.

Quirky North Carolina piano-pop musician Ben Folds has crafted his own brand of fun with relatable and clever songs like the angsty “Rockin’ The Suburbs,” the emotional “Landed” and “You Don’t Know Me” (which is a duet with Regina Spektor). Folds takes over the Beacon Theater May 4 for a special performance alongside Brooklyn chamber sextet yMusic for renditions with rich instrumentation and textures. Folds & Co. will play newer songs from his “So There” album as well as his “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.” Tunes from his previous alternative group known as Ben Folds Five should make their way into the set, like “Battle of Who Could Care Less” and the inescapable piano anthem “Brick.” Ben Folds has a way of making his off-the-cuff banter an enjoyable part of the show and the song’s stories, so listen up for some memorable one-liners as well as a stage of multi-talented musicians.

Hip-hop will forever be one of the dominant forces of the 90s, and Diddy is one of the champions of the culture, orchestrating a “Bad Boy Family Reunion” for two nights on May 20 & 21 in celebration of what would be Notorious B.I.G.’s 44th birthday. The Brooklyn rapper will be honored appropriately at his borough’s Barclays Center with star-studded performances from the likes of Jay Z, Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, Lil Kim, Mase, 112, French Montana and more including Puff Daddy & The Family. At the BET Awards last June, Puffy and his crew proved there is still a serious appetite for Bad Boy artists during his company’s 20th anniversary medley, so fans are in for a once-in-a-lifetime evening. With the roster of superstars, everything from “99 Problems” to “Real Love” to “Get Money” will be played with the hits continuing to flow. Multiple collaborations and special guests will surely be in the mix. The evening will certainly remind fans how hip-hop has “Been Around The World” and back and you can bet on one of the emotional peaks of the night with the timeless “I’ll Be Missing You” dedicated to Biggie.

UK progressive trance trio Above & Beyond has been going strong since 2000, and they take their futuristic sound to a cultural high note, playing an acoustic three-day residency at the Beacon Theater. The act consisting of Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness and Paavo Siljamaki will take their second Acoustic album (Acoustic II) for a spin, unveiling new material and new versions of favorite tunes like “Love Is Not Enough,” “Alchemy,” the striking “No One On Earth” and the ethereal “We’re All We Need.” This special acoustic evening is a chance for the three artists to showcase their musicianship and various talents and for fans to connect with the melodies and vocals in a deep and emotional way. Paavo will be at the grand piano, joined by his bandmates Jono on Rhodes (electric piano) and Tony on guitars and vocals with some of their frequent vocalists Zoe Johnston, Annie Drury, Alex Vargas and a 15-piece band for a musical event for the senses.

(Photo by / Above & Beyond)