For me, summer in New York City is synonymous with music.  A music lover such as myself has some real scheduling issues this go ’round, especially with two really strong seasons fielded at Central Park Summerstage and Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell.

On the indie tip, the other event that I look forward to is the Urb Alt Festival, having been introduced to it last year.  Last year’s event featured a wonderfully eclectic mix of established and emerging artists such as Kyp Malone from TV on the Radio, Res, indie darling Kaki King, Harriet TubmanOtto Fischer and Nerdkween, to name a few.  Also, where last year’s event took place in Harlem, this year the festival splits it’s time between Harlem and Brooklyn.

Thanks to sponsorship support, producers Boston Fielder, Shena Verrett and the crew are able to present two weekends of FREE music.  The first is

Saturday, June 21
noon – 7pm
Harlem Stage Gatehouse Terrace
150 Convent Avenue @ 135th Street

  • Tay Zonday – "Chocolate Rain."  Nuff Said.
  • Melvin Gibbs – Avant-garde bass master bangs one out solo(Rollins Band, Harriet Tubman).
  • MuthaWit Orchestra – Futuristic 10-20 piece cosmic soul/rock/classical big band and whatnot. 
  • Marla Turner, Freedom Rockstars – Lower Eastside power trio with origins in the Wax Poetics electronic music world.
  • Millsted – Latin rock/punk experimentalism with an irreverent Bronx, NY edge.  Umm…yeah.
  • Kendal – Smooth soul vocals over an angst filled lovers rock groove.
  • Devi – Funky tantric power trio fronted by a bluesy guitar shredding Jersey girl.
  • Waberi Jordan – Smokey jazz/soul vocal stylings out of Los Angeles by way of Saturn.
  • Micah Gaugh – Sensual electronic melodies with a bite of the avant garde.
  • Amanda Ray –  Downbeat ambient funk goddess rides the the 0s and 1s.

followed by

Friday, June 27 and Saturday, June 28
8pm start
BAM Cafe
30 Lafayette Avenue in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn

Sorry, no witty notes here.  You all have Boston to thank for the ones accompanying the performances on 6/21.

I’d tell you more about the festival, but thought that I’d let Boston and Shena do the talking:

URB Alt 2008: Interview with co-producers Boston Fielder and Shena Verrett from Rob Fields on Vimeo.

One last thing: While I won’t be at the opening weekend due to a business trip that couldn’t be rearranged, there’s talk that I might actually grace the decks at one of the BAM Cafe show.  More on that, so stay tuned.

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