Free Music in New York City: Bryant Park Picnics Emerging Music Festival August 17 & 18 2018

From a media release:

Free Music in New York City:
Bryant Park Picnics
Emerging Music Festival
August 17 & 18 2018

The event is rain or shine and free to the public.

Returning for its fourth year, Emerging Music Festival (EMF) features ten on-the-rise indie rock, pop, blues, and soul bands performing for thousands on the Bryant Park lawn. Almost all artists hail from the greater New York area, making EMF one of the city's largest celebrations of young local bands. Between sets, attendees can purchase beer and wine, eat food from local vendors curated by Hester Street Fair, borrow a free picnic blanket, learn to juggle, and play giant lawn games.
Bryant Park Picnics by Ryan Muir
This year's EMF takes place over two days, on August 17 and 18. Artists slated to perform on August 17 include high-level pop-rockers EZTV, neo-afrobeat from Underground System, psych and soul band Palmas, Chicago post-rock from Ohmee, and and New York City mainstays Evolfo. The August 18 lineup will spotlight spellbinding a capella from Madison McFerrin, the cinematic pop-nostalgia of Plastic Picnic, traditional acoustic blues from Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton & Terry Waldo Rum House Jass Band, classic four-piece rock from Native Sun, and exciting fuzz-pop from Katie von Schleicher.

"New York City is an incredible hotbed for what's next in music" says Dan Fishman, series curator and Public Events Manager for Bryant Park Corporation. "Come listen to these new and electrifying bands from the comfort of a summer picnic."

Friday, August 17 at 5pm
EZTV, Underground System, Palmas, Ohmee, and Evolfo

EZTV has a lot of affection for Midwest power poppers like Shoes and Dwight Twilley, but also a definite love for left-of-the-dial bands from across the pond like Orange Juice and The Go-Betweens. Ezra Tenenbaum's chiming guitar riffs ring perfectly within classic pop song structures, while Shane O'Connell and Michael Stasiak provide groovy, dynamic rhythm and keep the sneaky hooks and riffs clicking like the gears of a fine watch.

Underground System is a quintessential New York City band. A convergence of musical and cultural influences, the unstoppable female-fronted group of neo-afrobeat deconstructionists have cultivated a sound as inimitable as its members. Owing their foundations to traditional afrobeat (and named after a Fela Kuti song), the band has built a national reputation around a seamlessly executed stage show, astonishing wherever they go, and compelling crowds to move with unbridled verve. 2018 is a big year for the band; September will mark the release of their debut LP What Are You on Soul Clap Records, the much-loved New York City imprint known for their coupling of party-ready DJ culture and shapeshifting live acts.

Psych and Soul band hailing from Philadelphia and NYC, Palmas is hitting their stride with their eyes on the bigger picture. Following the release of their well-received EP, To the Valley, the five-piece has been deep in writing, developing and evolving their songs inside their Fishtown studio. With influences ranging from Phoenix to The Mamas and the Papas, Marvin Gaye to Tame Impala, Palmas has crafted a unique blend of modern-retro that critics and fans alike are loving.

Already celebrated as the "Heart of Chicago's Music Community" (Noisey) by both fans and tastemakers alike, Ohmme (aka the duo of Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart) amalgamate the aggressive and the meditative on their bold debut full-length album, Parts. Stewart and Cunningham are both classically trained musicians and are established players within the Chicago music scene. They are especially involved in performing and working for venues within the local experimental music scene. With Parts, Ohmme "wanted to capture a moment in time instead of something perfect." With Parts, Ohmme manage to organically marry a breadth of divergent styles into an album that is cohesive, daring, and distinctly their own.

Evolfo is the sound that breaks through the fuzz on the low end of your radio dial and echoes out the back door of a pink neon lit bar. Mainstays of New York City's clubs and DIY spaces, as well as the finest basement venues coast to coast, Evolfo has cut adventurous tracks through the U.S., gaining initiates and devotees every time they cram onto a stage and deliver their raucous live show. Last of the Acid Cowboys, the band's debut LP, melts down decades worth of eclectic and bizarro records and puts on wax a house shaking mix of garage rock, psych soul, spiritual funk and ecstatic freakout.

Saturday, August 18 at 5pm
Madison McFerrin, Plastic Picnic, Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton & Terry Waldo Rum House Jass Band, Native Sun, and Katie von Schleicher

Madison McFerrin is a singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, NY. Her 2016 solo debut EP, Finding Foundations: Vol. I, introduced her soulful take on a cappella to the world. Critics and crowds quickly took note. Leading up to her sold out show at Joe's Pub, The New York Times remarked how her sound "shows wonderful vocal dexterity, deftly swerving from sharp, clearly enunciated staccato bursts to fluttery, free-form melismata." She followed that up with Finding Foundations: Vol. II, which gave her listeners more of what they love and earned her more critical praise.

Plastic Picnic is made up of four Pacific Northwest transplants who were brought together by a mutual friend after moving to New York. In 2017, the four-piece teamed up with producers Ted Young (Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth) and Ariel Loh (Yoke Lore) to record their debut self-titled EP released late last year. Described as an "indie post rock project soundtracking a John Hughes movie," Plastic Picnic achieves the cinematic pop-nostalgia of the 1980s with their atmospheric synth and guitar work.

Although still in his 20s, Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton has earned a reputation for transporting audiences back to the 1920's and making them wish they could stay there for good. Blind Boy Paxton may be one of the greatest multi-instrumentalists that you have not heard of. Yet. This young musician sings and plays banjo, guitar, piano, fiddle, harmonica, Cajun accordion, and the bones (percussion), and has an eerie ability to transform traditional jazz, blues, folk, and country into the here and now, and make it real. He mesmerizes audiences with his humor and storytelling. He's a world-class talent and a uniquely colorful character that has been on the cover of Living Blues Magazine and the Village Voice.
Bryant Park, New York City by Ryan Muir
Native Sun is a four-piece rock n roll band from New York City. Loud and urgent, their music breeds a beautiful chaos evocative of each member's experiences. Frontman Danny Gomez first met lead guitarist Jake Pflum while growing up in Florida. After years without contact they reconnected by chance on a random evening in the city, rekindling their friendship over their mutual obsession for The Rolling Stones and Velvet Underground. They immediately forced their best friend Alexis Castro to play drums (who had only just recently began teaching himself how to play). Bassist Mo Martinez uprooted to the city from Monterrey, Mexico. In hopes of playing music he reached out to Danny through mutual friends and naturally completed the band's lineup.

Katie Von Schleicher rose from intern to artist on Brooklyn label Ba Da Bing with Bleaksploitation, a self-recorded 2015 mini-album of irreverent, fuzz-laden tunes. On her debut full-length Shitty Hits, Von Schleicher strikes again on the magic that comes from her warped and uncompromising sound. Shitty Hits channels the bright, sunny radio burners of the 1970's, songs you drive to, carefree, and songs you can cry to, which The Guardian describe as "Portishead meets the Beatles," and NPR's Bob Boilen calls "one of those constant repeat records for me." Inhabiting the roles of producer and engineer, Von Schleicher cements her voice as one to be reckoned with, parsed and pored over, on an album that is "never less than beguiling" (Pitchfork).