The Imagine Dragons tune “Radioactive” has enjoyed numerous reinterpretations, most notably a version featuring Kendrick Lamar rapping over it. But what more than 300 guitarists do with the song on Saturday in Union Square could top that.
The song is one of many that will be played as part of Make Music New York’s Mass Appeal project, where anybody who has a guitar is invited to play along with a plugged-in band.
“It’s incredible,” says Amy Garapic. “It’s a totally surround-sound experience. Because acoustic guitar is not the loudest instrument, it’s never obtrusive.”
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Garapic is the National Association of Music Merchants Mass Appeal fellow and special projects coordinator for Make Music New York. She is also involved with the Rhythm on Rikers project (see story here). Mass Appeal events take over the city on Saturday (see map above, with approximate number of participants last year included), as amateurs and pros join together to create the biggest one-day music fest in NYC.
There are more than 1,200 free concerts happening across New York as part of this solstice celebration. The tunes begin at 10 a.m. and last well into the evening, inviting players of all persuasions to more than 400 public spaces throughout the five boroughs. Metro is an exclusive media partner of Make Music New York. Here are a few of our favorite events.
Coast Guard plaza and pier
Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
More than 90 punk bands inhabit this stretch of land near the Ferry Terminal in St. George, Staten Island, for this seventh annual event. To be clear: That does NOT say ’90s bands. You can see 90 bands in the span of 10 hours. It’s punk; the songs are short.
Saturday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
For bluegrass and roots fans, 30 performers play the porches of Nolan Park. You can bring an instrument and get involved in one of the hootenannies that’s sure to break out.
Privia Piano Bar
Saturday, noon- 1 a.m.
This is kind of like the ice cream man for fans of the Piano Man. Pianist Simon Mulligan plays live music to accompany singers willing to belt out Billy Joel songs. Also, if you do have the guts to do piano karaoke and you drop your business card in a bowl, you just may win tickets to see the man whose songs you sang, as Billy Joel is playing Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. After the concert, Mulligan and his piano will be at the Local (W. 32nd St. and Eighth Ave.) for an after party sing-along.
And Death Shall Have No Dominion
Saturday, 11 a.m.
Even if you don’t know that this title comes from a Dylan Thomas poem, you’ll still dig participating in this Pete M. Wyer composition where you download an app and form a synchronized headphone choir [read: flashmob-type thing that is likely to freak out/intrigue uninformed passersby] that eventually converges near Poets House in Lower Manhattan.