If you're looking to fill out your August social calendar with cool live music events, we've curated a selection of must-see gigs that will delight your ears and spirits as you close out the summer.
- Tal National plays at The Half Moon in Hudson on August 6.
August 6. One of the most wonderful developments on the US indie circuit in recent years has been the enthusiastic fervor that's exploded for visiting African artists. Despite the xenophobia currently coming down from the White House, it seems like audiences here are at last making the connection and seeing the exchange between certain African acts' exotic, ancient rhythms and flavors and their Western descendants—funk, blues, psychedelia, soul—and they're loving it. One of the finest and most popular exponents of this recent wave of touring bands from Africa is Niger's Tal National, who always turn the Half Moon into a joyous, sweaty, marathon dance party. And here they are again. Go. You need this. 8pm. $12. Hudson. Thehalfmoonhudson.com.
Hudson Valley Jazz Festival
August 8-11. Celebrating its 10th year this month is the Hudson Valley Jazz Festival, which once again returns to venues throughout Orange County and the greater Hudson Valley. The 2019 lineup includes several new names as well as many returning favorites. Among the artists performing are the Hudson Valley Jazz Ensemble; Lew Scott with Mike Jackson and Jeff Siegel; the Jeff Ciampa Group; Perry Beekman with Lou Papas; Neil Alexander and Nail; the Judi Silvano Zephyr Group; the Tani Tabbal Trio; the Pete Levin Group; Eric Person; the Roland Vazquez Sextet; and a Billie Holiday/Lester Young Song Fest featuring Teri Roiger, John Menegon, and others to name a few. Free. Warwick area. Hudsonvalleyjazzfest.com.
Spirit Family Reunion
August 9. Based in Brooklyn with ties to our area, acoustic band Spirit Family Reunion references folk, country, gospel, and other traditional American roots styles. On the rails of their brand-new fourth album, Ride Free, the old-timey outfit hops a train bound for glory upstate to hoot 'n' holler about its release at this jamboree beneath the bigtop of the Bard SummerScape Spiegeltent. With guitar, banjo, washboard, fiddle, accordion, mandolin, drums, and tambourine, the group's richly layered sound has been going since 2010 and has appeared on NPR's "Tiny Desk Concert." They've toured with Levon Helm, Trampled by Turtles, the Felice Brothers, Dr. Dog, and Alabama Shakes. (The Boilermaker Jazz band swings August 4; Ryan Landry presents "A Night of Song" August 16.) 8:30pm. $25. Annandale-on-Hudson. Fishercenter.bard.edu.
FoldingAugust 11. The project called Folding brings together two highly innovative guitarists from the always-intriguing Drag City label for one night at Tubby's: Bill Mackay, who's also associated with Tompkins Square Records, and Mike Donovan, best known for his work in the San Francisco band Sic Alps. Fountain Fire, Mackay's newest album, flows freely between psych, traditional folk, and sonic experimentalism. Donovan's Exubrian Quonset, also just out this year, drinks deeply from his lo-fi garage/noise roots and hovers in the haze somewhere between Syd Barrett and Will Oldham. (Wombo, Ted Tyro, and Pasha and the Kindred Spirits rock August 12; Cheer-Accident checks in August 13.) 8pm. Donation requested. Kingston. Tubbyskingston.com.
Arrowhead Music and Art Exposition
August 16-18. Those looking for an inexpensive, less fussy way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock Festival might consider this three-day event at Arrowhead Ranch in the Sullivan County hamlet of Parksville. The outing opens on August 16 with a gong meditation followed by Aliza Hava performing the music of Janis Joplin, "funky troubadour" Fantuzzi, and a drum circle to close. On August 17, Wondrous Stories play The Who's Tommy; Ice Petal Flowers do the early Grateful Dead; Reverend Jefferson covers the Jefferson Airplane; and Uncle Shoehorn jams Sly and the Family Stone. August 18's bill is still coming together as of this writing. $19-$20. Parksville. Arrowheadranch.org.
August 17. In times like these, it's good to know that the legendary Fugs are back to rail against the evil powers that be. Formed on the Lower East Side in 1964, the irreverent, bawdy, politically radical folk/protopunk band were giants of the underground during the Vietnam War era, singing and recording songs like "Kill for Peace," "Group Grope," and "CIA Man." Fifty-four years down the line, author and Woodstock resident Ed Sanders is the group's only remaining original member (cofounder Tuli Kupferberg died in 2010), but their insurgent spirit burns bright nonetheless. Promised for this Byrdcliffe Barn performance is an "exorcism of the White House," with the audience invited to participate in a group chant of "Out, demons, out!"—reprising the legendary 1967 March on the Pentagon led by Sanders, Tupferberg, and others. 8pm. $30. Woodstock. Woodstockguild.org.To keep up with the latest live music and events, subscribe to our newsletter Eat. Play. Stay.