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5 Must-See SummerStage Shows

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The City Parks Foundation has announced the lineup for the annual SummerStage series, which will offer more than 100 free performances at 18 of New York's public parks, starting with a June 6 performance by DJ Carter Van Pelt at Betsy Head Park.

SummerStage typically features a little something for everyone, and this year's batch does not disappoint in that regard, featuring some bluesy shuffle with Alabama Shakes, hip-hop with Danny Brown and Childish Gambino and a jazz odyssey curated by The Roots. There's a lot to pick from, and we don't want you to feel overwhelmed while looking at the schedule below, so here's our list of the five shows we think you should break out the SPF for. 

June 7, Bobby Womack, Willis Earl Beal at Central Park

Following his appearance on the 2010 Gorillaz album Plastic Beach, soul legend Bobby Womack went on to make a whole album produced by head monkey man Damon Albarn. Based on the first single "Please Forgive My Heart," working with Albarn has given Womack a taste for atmospheric beats and chopped-up keyboards that fit like a world-weary old coat on his ageless voice. Womack will be joined at this show by Willis Earl Beal, a Chicago folk-soul musician who has the world-weary troubadour thing impressively locked down for a guy on his first album.

June 12, The New York Pops with Ozomatli at Central Park

The Los Angeles Gods of Dance can take nearly any ingredient -- jazz, funk, salsa, ska, hip-hop, Drew Barrymore cameos -- and blend it in to a United Nations of Bounce stew. How their relentless groove will fare when paired with some orchestral accompaniment remains to be seen, but it will be worth it to see if any of the nicely dressed members of The Pops allow themselves more than just a polite head nod when things start to get stank. 

June 19, Araabmuzik,  Das Racist at Red Hook Park

The Queens-based kings of indie rap have been busy releasing solo mixtapes, such as Heems' eclectic (read: Strokes cover) Nehru Jackets and mentoring new artists via their Greedhead imprint. They've been so busy that it's been a minute since there's been a good, proper (read: ridiculous) Das Racist show. So it's a good thing they're dropping by Red Hook and bringing bliss-manipulator Araabmuzik along to make sure the vibes are properly daydreamy until Heems and Co. start making fun of you.

June 20, Brand Nubian, Game Rebellion at Red Hook Park

Every couple of years, Grand Puba, Sadat X and Lord Jamar quit squabbling to release a reunion album or victory tour. Though they don't quite have the status of their peers De La Soul or Tribe Called Quest, they've got enough classic songs ("Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down" like whoa) to make it worth showing up. Opening is Game Rebellion, a rap-metal band that seemingly exists out of time and trend but continues to truck along regardless.

June 21, Deer Tick, Jonny Corndawg at Red Hook Park 

The Rhode Island country punk band Deer Tick has developed a reputation for rambunctious live shows, and it's hard to see how a crowd full of people chanting "let's all go the bar" in unison won't be a worthwhile way to spend your evening.  

For the full SummerStage schedule, go here.

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