May is officially upon us, and with that signifies the long-awaited arrival of summer here in New York City. However, it’s not just the fantastic weather that we New Yorkers have been waiting for, but the inevitably fantastic summer concerts and music festivals that every summer seems to bring to the NYC area.
2018 has already given us some AMAZING music this year - both in the form of concerts, and new releases from some of the most prominent artists in the industry. This May seems to be no different from past months this year, so let’s get right into it. Here is your official May NYC Concert Guide!
Camilla Cabello (May 4th @ Terminal 5)
Camilla is one of those artists that everyone seems to be talking about right now. You may remember her as one of the five girls of the hit girl group, Fifth Harmony, who left in 2017. However, her vocal range and undeniable stage presence gave no one any reason to doubt her success on her own.
She recently released her debut album, “Camilla,” as a solo artist, and it certainly lived up to all the hype and debuted at number 2 on the UK iTunes Top 100 Chart. Attendees of her live performances all seem to agree that despite her tiny size, her powerful vocals are captivating, and live up to those presented on her albums.
This is one of the first four shows kicking off her global 2018 tour, so be sure to join Camilla and start your May off right!
Jaden Smith (May 5th @ Highline Ballroom)
I don’t know about you, but when I was watching Jaden in the Karate Kid reboot from 2010, the last thing I was thinking was “he’s going to be the pop-culture icon I didn’t know I would NEED in my life.” Jaden went from a child actor alongside his father Will Smith, to a gender-bending fashion icon, to his present-day status of an R’n’B superstar.
His second album, “SYRE,” released at the end of 2017, and solidified his position as a young musician to be taken seriously. The chaotic beats and eclectic lyrics are a perfect symbol of his enigmatic personal style, and overall persona. The album took three years to complete. However, shortly after its release Jaden announced that he’s already planning to release the follow-up album, “EYRES,” sometime this 2018.
So while Jaden is preparing what’s sure to be another hit album, be sure to see him this May to see what all the hype is about.
Arctic Monkeys (May 9th @ Brooklyn Steel)
For the first time in years, the cult-classic band, Arctic Monkeys, are back and better than ever. They released their debut album, “Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not,” in 2006, and it became the fastest selling debut album in UK history. This, along with their later-released 2014 single, “Do I Wanna Know,” snagged them Grammy nominations for Best Instrumental Performance, and Best Rock Performance.
This May performance is a precursor for their first North American tour in years. The official tour will stop in NYC July 24th, and it’s sure to be epic. However, if you can’t wait that long to experience the high-energy atmosphere of an Arctic Monkeys performance, then this is a perfect teaser before the big tour.
Sum 41 (May 12th @ Terminal 5)
Arctic Monkeys isn’t the only band from our nostalgic, early/mid-2000s past to be making a comeback! That’s right, Pop-Punk icon, Sum 41 is back and heading out on tour as well. Some of us may remember them as that music that blared in Hot Topic, and others may recognize them as being the group whose lead singer, Deryck Whibley, married 2000s icon, Avril Lavigne.
However, for a lot of us, Sum 41 is the symbol of our rebellious, coming-of-age teenage years. It was songs like “All Killer No Filler,” “A.N.I.C,” and “Mr. Amsterdam” that helped us release all that pubescent rage, and ultimately defined an era. So if all the stresses of daily life seem to be getting to you, then maybe head down to Terminal 5 and get head-banging with a dose of Sum 41.
Madison Beer (May 17th @ Gramercy Theatre)
You may know her as just another Instagram model. But, this girl’s status as an up-and-coming artist is getting bigger and bigger by the second! So yeah, don’t let the idea of her being “just another model with an attempted singing career” fool you; this girl can SING.
Madison’s career skyrocketed after Justin Bieber tweeted a link of her cover of Eta James’ “At Last.” This, of course, led to a barrage of media coverage - Madison signed to Island Records, alongside Bieber, as well as being managed by Justin’s manager. Three years later, she released her debut album, “As She Pleases,” where she earned credits as both the singer and writer for a majority of the tracks.
This May performance is one of her many tour dates which began this past March. So be sure to check Madison out before tickets sell out because they are going fast!
21 Savage (May 20th @ Terminal 5)
If some hard-hitting rap and hardcore mosh pits sound like your cup of tea, then it’s about time you get yourself to a 21 Savage concert. If you’ve never been, expect some of the most die-hard fans with some of the most intense energy you’ve ever seen.
21 hasn’t been on the scene that long. In fact, it was only 2014 when he debuted onto the rap scene. But, with his immense popularity, you’d think he’s been around for years. He has worked with some of the rap game’s most prominent names from DJ Plugg, to Future, to Post Malone, and Cardi B, all of which have resulted in staples in our pre-game playlists.
His debut studio album, “Issa Album,” debuted last year, and reached number 2 on the US Billboard 200, securing his position as one of the biggest names in today’s rap world.
Billy Joel (May 23rd @ MSG)
He doesn’t even need an intro, ladies, and gentleman, get ready ‘cuz Billy Joel is back for more show-stopping moments at Madison Square Garden!
This is one of many shows at the venue for Billy since it is part of his ongoing residency at MSG since 2014. Fun fact: in 2015, Billy Joel obtained the record for the most shows played at The Garden, previously held by Elton John, amounting to a staggering 65 shows!
Billy has achieved 33 top 40 hits since the 70’s, has been nominated for 23 Grammys, and has won 6 of the esteemed awards. He has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, making him one of the most successful artists in history. So if you’ve never seen Billy live in concert, you have absolutely no reason not to!
Leikeli47 (May 25th @ Baby’s All right)
Chances are you may not have heard of this up-and-coming rapper JUST yet, but don’t feel sorry about it. Brooklyn Native, Leikeli47, carries quite a bit of mystery. Apart from her unique beats, and rapid-fire lyrics, one of her signature traits is her ski-mask! Like SIA, Leikeli47 makes it a point to uphold a certain level of mystery to her image.
However, as intimidating as it may seem, she is known for her ultra-friendly demeanor and dominating stage presence. She has described her past as lonely, and how she was commonly the picked-on outsider - the main driver behind her anonymous attitude. Her music is upbeat, but not antagonistic, and falls somewhere between ASAP Ferg, and Cupcakke The Rapper.
So don’t let the mask scare you off. Be sure to close your May off right in Brooklyn with Leikeli47!
Kendrick Lamar and SZA (May 29 @ MSG)
Could there be a PERFECT duo coming to NYC to help bring your May to the perfect close? Rhetorical question. NOPE, there is not! Kendrick and SZA are two of the most talked-about names of the past two years, not only in RnB/ rap, but music in general!
SZA’s 2017 album, “CTRL”, was labeled as the best album of 2017 by Time and was nominated for 5 Grammys. Kendrick, on the other hand, went on to win five Grammys, including Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, Best Music Video, and Best Rap/Sung Performance. Both artists also had a heavy hand in the creation of this year’s hit, “Black Panther,” soundtrack album, which debuted at number one on the US Billboard top 200.
So basically if you don’t go to ANY other concert this month, this is going to be the one you will NOT want to miss!!