Grrrl, Inturrupted

It’s Ladies First This Season

September 28-29

Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Avenue, 247-4777

Japanese trio Ex-Girl take over the Knitting Factory.
courtesy Fly PR
Japanese trio Ex-Girl take over the Knitting Factory.

Bennett, whose gruff enthusiasm for the songs he swings somehow blends meltingly with lang, whose poker-voiced delivery manages to deepen her emotions. The teaming may have started in the Unplugged format, but the guy and gal seem plugged into each other, so to speak, for the amusing nonce. (Finkle)

October 4-5

Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Avenue, 247-4777

Iceland's greatest export promotes Vespertine with a 54-piece Dutch orchestra, a Greenland girls' choir, a Canadian throat singer, the San Franciscan experimental electronic duo Matmos, and electric harpist legend Zeena Parkins. (Walters)

October 4-5

Beacon Theater, 2124 Broadway, 307-7171

Only recently has this elegantly wasted melodramatist figured out that you can lure far more victims by being courtly and understated than by frothing and lapel grabbing. Armed with a seemingly bottomless array of claret-soaked murder ballads and a baritone that gets more sepulchral with each passing year, Cave and his compadres slink stealthily towards the jugular. It's up to you to figure out if the threat is real or just a parlor game. (Sprague)

October 12-13

City Center, 131 West 55th Street, 581-1212

The second annual "Gypsy Caravan" begins with the fiery qawwali family Maharaja before heading north via huge-voiced Macedonian diva Esma, the dazzling 10-piece Romanian brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia, and the Antonio El Pipa Flamenco Ensemble from Spain. (Gehr)

October 25

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-636-4100

Each of the left-field torch singers on this bill has demonstrated a fine hand—particularly mood-indigo electro-thrush Beth Orton, who demands on-time arrival. Wainwright has grown into something of a local hero, delivering pull-my-heartstrings missives that you needn't be a Chelsea Boy to understand. N'degéocello may up the spice level with dashes of bass and bawd, but what lies beneath is sweet emotion and a passion that's hard to resist. (Sprague)

October 28

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-636-4100

This year's marathon looks a lot like last year's, a lot of non-Western performers sprinkled in amid the post-minimalist usual crew. They're good: the always interesting Elizabeth Brown, microtonal minimalist Arnold Dreyblatt, the ever electronically inventive Joshua Fried, the sterling Icebreaker Ensemble from England. Departures from the usual Bang on a Can aesthetic are in the direction of other continents: the ecstatic Bulgarian wedding music of Ivo Papasov, pipa player Wu Man, James Makubuya playing African lyre, and Burmese pat waing master Kyaw Kyaw Naing. Plus, Newband will bring us some Harry Partch, whose centennial hasn't been nearly celebrated enough. Not a wide range of new music, but undoubtedly an entertaining show. (Gann)

November 16

Roxy, 515 West 18th Street, 645-5156

S.M.'s closest poetic antecedent has to be James Merrill—they're at once self-possessed and self-subverting, snotty and yearning, ironic and blasé one moment but wistfully earnest the next. Stephen Malkmus is his McCartney, sure, but with more "Maybe I'm Amazed"s ("Church on White" = Merrill's eulogies for David Kalstone; discuss). Malkmus's obstreperously bored final shows with Pavement a couple years back ranked with the shoddiest stage-farts in recorded history, and his Bowery gig with the Jicks earlier this year indicated that he hasn't altogether shed his fatuous 'tudinizing, but perhaps the Roxy's sheer fabulosity will bring out his inner aesthete rather than his outer dilettante. (Winter)

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