Wednesday, May 23
Steve Winwood is probably best known for his polished, soulful pop hits from the 1980s — think "Higher Love," "Valerie," "While You See A Chance," "Roll With It" and "Back In The High Life Again." Winwood also dominated the charts with a string of top five platinum albums, including "Arc Of A Diver" (1981), "Back In The High Life" (1986) and "Roll With It" (1988). But these albums were just one chapter in an influential musical career. Born in Birmningham, England, in the late 1940s, Winwood was well placed to participate in the UK's 60s blues boom. As a teenager with his Hammond B-3 organ and guitar, he backed touring artists such as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker, Howlin' Wolf and B. B. King during their UK tours.
As a 14-year-old he joined his brother's band, The Spencer Davis Group, and had a hand in creating several big hits including "Keep On Running," "Gimme Some Lovin' " and "I'm a Man." As a session player, he played the organ on Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile" and also played on albums from Lou Reed, George Harrison and Billy Joel. Winwood was a key member in the supergroup Blind Faith (alongside Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Ric Grech) and also Traffic, which enjoyed a string of top 5 albums in the early '70s in both the UK and the USA. Catch him at Beacon Theatre.
Thursday May 24
Former Moldy Peaches singer Adam Green, Fabrizio Moretti of The Strokes, '70s icon Boz Scaggs, and Jody Porter from Fountains of Wayne, are just a few names on the massive bill for Dylan Fest 2012 — where the musical legacy of the great Robert Zimmerman will be celebrated. The evening will also feature a tribute to The Band's Levon Helm, who passed away recently. At Irving Plaza (also Friday night).
Friday May 25
The Blip Festival celebrates the sounds and culture surrounding "chip music" — synthesized electronic music produced with the sound chips of vintage computers and video game consoles. Entering its sixth year and fresh from sold out events in Japan and Australia, Blip Festival organizers will bring together performers whose work mines the entire landscape of popular music from pulse pounding dub-step, rave and rock, to the experimental, avant garde and classical worlds, all while working under the constraints of, and often defying the limitations of, vintage machines such as the Commodore 64 and Amiga, the Nintendo Game Boy, and the Sega Genesis. At Gramercy Theatre (through Monday).
Saturday May 26
A&R executive and TV personality Simon Cowell was savvy enough to sign One Direction to his Syco Records label after they performed on TV's The X Factor. The young, British-based boy band sing classic pop and are rapidly becoming one of the biggest acts on the planet. Their debut album "Up All Night" was released earlier this year in the U.S., hitting the number 1 spot. An enormous world tour is planned for 2013. At the Beacon Theatre.
Sunday May 27
Into bright new musical sounds? Today is the final day of The Deli Magazine's "Best of Emerging Artist's Fest." The festival is linked to Deli Magazine's latest year-end Best of NYC Emerging Artists Poll, a contest influenced by many NYC scene makers, bloggers and venue promoters. The festival is being hosted in 4 Williamsburg venues, all within a few blocks (Brooklyn Bowl, Public Assembly, Cameo Gallery and Spike Hill). Stages are defined by genres: there are electronic, songwriters, avant pop, psych rock, rootsy, indie rock and alt-rock stages.
Monday May 28
Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Afrika Bambaataa's landmark recording "Planet Rock" at the Highline Ballroom. Although "Planet Rock" was only a minor hit, it helped change the foundations of hip-hop and dance music, developing the electro style and building on the work of Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra. The track helped pave the way for other genres such as techno, house, and trance.
Tuesday May 29
Music's back in the park! Must be nearly summer! Psychedelic popsters Foster The People play Rumsey Playfield, Central Park (also Weds May 30).
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