Hidden gems at Catalpa Festival
This has been a big summer for festivals in the New York area. We've already had the CBGB Festival, Governor's Ball and the Great Googa Mooga. Next up is Catalpa, which may be the most distinctive festival of the bunch, combining music with art installations and experiences like a DJ tower that shoots flames; VIP cabanas and hot tubs; and a something called "Frisky's Church of Sham Marriages" featuring a "pimp pastor."
Still, it's the more than 25 bands that's the main draw, headlined by blues-rockers the Black Keys and rapper Snoop Dogg, who will perform his classic "Doggystyle" album in its entirety.
Here are some other bands to check out
TV on the Radio
One of Brooklyn's most creative groups, TV on the Radio combines the funk of Prince and Curtis Mayfield with the noisy indie rock of bands like the Pixies and Sonic Youth. (Saturday)
Often lumped in with jam bands because of its improvisational skill, Umphrey's McGee has more in common with progressive rockers like King Crimson and Frank Zappa. They can play just about anything, from rock and funk to jazz, bluegrass and heavy metal. (Saturday)
Trained as an opera singer while growing up in the woods of Wisconsin, 23-year-old Zola Jesus' dark, haunting music mixes electronic, classical and goth rock sounds. (Saturday)
An incredible party DJ, Girl Talk creates mashups that combine samples from other people's songs into something completely new. His latest album, "All Day," had more than 350 samples ranging from Lady Gaga and Jay-Z to Steve Miller and Nirvana. (Sunday)
Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky got his big break opening for Drake on the strength of his mixtape "LiveLoveA$AP." His debut album is due out in September. (Sunday)
Matisyahu combines hip-hop and reggae with traditional Jewish sounds. While he was initially dismissed by some as a novelty, he has released four albums over the last eight years. His new one, "Spark Seeker," came out last week. (Sunday)
If you go: The Catalpa Music Festival is on Saturday and Sunday on Randall's Island from 12:30 to 11 p.m., $99.99 for one-day pass; $179.99 for weekend pass, catalpanyc.com.