04/09/15 9:00am
Ain't nobody quite like Chaka Khan, who will certainly bring down the bandstand when she opens  the Celebrate Brooklyn! outdoor concert series at Prospect Park on June 3. Photo: Chaka Khan

Ain’t nobody quite like Chaka Khan, who will certainly bring down the bandshell when she opens the Celebrate Brooklyn! outdoor concert series at Prospect Park on June 3. Photo: Chaka Khan

Things are starting to heat up musically in Brooklyn. This spring features a diverse array of shows that offer a little bit of everything, from icons like Stevie Wonder, Crosby Stills and Nash, and Chaka Khan to major alt-rock acts The Pixies, Bad Religion and Spoon to up-and-comers such as Tennis, GABI and Ex Hex. A few of them, including San Fermin and Sufjan Stevens, whose new album (his first in five years) we reviewed last month, are touring behind new records. All the above acts and more are performing at the ever-expanding field of Brooklyn venues, including the newly re-opened Kings Theatre in Flatbush, which has booked an interesting blend of established pop acts and indie rock artists over the next few months–typically the first big touring cycle of the year.

“There are so many great artists coming through Brooklyn this spring,” says Michael Jaworski, a booker for The Bell House. The Gowanus venue has always been a prolific performance space, but this year, Jaworski says, “In particular, I am stoked for so much that’s on the calendar including Ty Segall, a JD Samson DJ night, The Feelies, Damon & Naomi, The Duncan Trussell Family hour, and so much more. My sleeper pick is Beauty Pill, Grooms and The Flag on May 8. That show is going to rule.”

We couldn’t agree more. With so much fine music coming through Brooklyn over the next few months, finding 50 acts to comprise a spring music preview wasn’t a problem–narrowing down the field was–so without further adieu, here are our picks for who’s playing here through mid-June, and a Google Calendar to help keep the dates straight.

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01/22/15 11:15am
Facade of the Kings Theatre (photo courtesy of Kings Theatre's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KingsTheatreBklyn/photos/pb.308936483947.-2207520000.1421524233./10152763915118948/?type=3&theater)

The newly restored facade of the Kings Theatre. Photo: Kings Theatre

Yes, there’s been a sad trend lately in which beloved live venues shut down because of lease problems and rent hikes–the latest casualty being Glasslands in Williamsburg. There is however, a flip side to all that. As The New York Times recently reported, the historic Kings Theatre, a once-grand movie palace located in Flatbush that has been closed for nearly 40 years, is making a comeback. On Feb. 3, the Kings Theatre will reopen with an already sold-out inaugural concert by Diana Ross. and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held this Friday, Jan. 23, followed by a free performance on Jan. 27 featuring the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and the Brooklyn Ballet. (Scroll down for a full list of scheduled performances.)

The Kings Theatre (Matt Lambros)

The Kings Theatre was restored with its original interior color scheme. Photo: Matt Lambros

There’s been a good deal of ink devoted to the city’s nearly $95 million restoration of the theatre–but what kind of venue will this be? With 3,000 seats it’s nearly a third bigger than BAM’s 2,090-seat Howard Gilman Opera House. (For further reference, there are about 18,000 seats at Barclays Center, though not all are in use during musical performances due to the dead zone behind the stage.) The theatre has been restored to its original color palette and the carpeting and light fixtures that once lined its aisles and walls have been recreated. The venue has also been upgraded for the 21st century with the expansion of the theatre’s footprint from 86,000 square feet to 93,000 square feet–along with improved sight lines, lighting and acoustics. While the architectural elements are all vintage or painstaking recreations, the sound and lighting systems and backstage facilities for staging productions are all state-of-the-art, and designed to attract world-class performers.

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