Island Riddim

Yuh bwoy! A night of coochie-popping, booty-shaking reggae takes over Radio City this May


NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE
March 17, 18, and 20
Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Avenue, 212.247.4777

With Crazy Horse, which indicates without establishing that his Greendale period is over. Not a bad record at all, he should keep the keepers in the repertoire—but stage concepts are not why you go see him. You go see him to rock out on "Like a Hurricane," or whatever he does on the good nights with Crazy Horse. CHRISTGAU


KID KOALA+AMON TOBIN
March 18
Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place, 212.777.6800

Kid Koala's never matched the exuberance of his 10-inch debut, Scratchhappyland, but that doesn't mean his live show suffers. On record, the oddball assortment of junkyard sounds he cobbles together and manipulates can sound flat, but seeing the work he puts in live puts it all in context. CARAMANICA


SIMON SHAHEEN & THE NEAR EAST MUSIC ENSEMBLE
March 27
Zankel Hall at Carnegie, Seventh Avenue and 57th Street, 212.247.7800

Egyptian songwriter Mohammed Abdel Wahab—who infused Oriental classical music with romance, poetry, Western pop, romance, and nationalism—was the region's preeminent songwriter until his death in 1991, just as singer Oum Kalthoum, who died in 1975, was the Arab world's ubiquitous galvanizing voice. Palestinian oud virtuoso Simon Shaheen and his ensemble pay tribute to these icons with guest vocalist Rima Khcheich. GEHR


METHOD MAN
March 29
B.B. King Blues Club and Grill, 237 West 42nd Street, 212.307.7171

Once was a time when Method Man threatened to be the most dominant rapper, like, ever. He had lyrics for days and more charm than the rest of the Wu put together and squared. All the years of weed, one assumes, dulled his potential, leaving a string of merely competent songs in his wake, as well as a promising career woozily shucking and jiving on TV and in film. CARAMANICA


THE THRILLS
March 29
Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place, 212.777.6800

The bouncy listlessness fueling the Dublin-based Thrills' "Big Sur" summed up last year's urban-twee ennui, with lead singer Conor Deasy exhaling over wistful Cali-pop chords and pizzicato plucks, "So much for the cit-eh . . . " His delivery admits that leaving would be worse. But why leave, when you can swoop up into '70s lite-rock falsetto, commune with Byrds, and imagine amid the drear that Santa Cruz is really not that far? SINAGRA


SQUAREPUSHER
April 2
Southpaw, 125 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718.230.0236
April 28
Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place, 212.777.6800

His pneumatic post-d'n'b doesn't sound quite as raw as it once did, what with the takeover of the gabba kids and the ragga jungle mash-ups and the 'ardkore, or whatever they call the stuff that really makes your ears bleed. So it's time to understand Squarepusher less as a spree killer and more as a serial assassin—precise, meticulous, focused, and still deadly. CARAMANICA


LIZ PHAIR+KATY ROSE+WHEAT
April 3
Roseland Ballroom, 239 West 52nd Street, 212.777.6800

When she Matrixed out with the radio-pop scientists who centrifuged Avril Levigne, our indie It Girl seemed exiled from Criticville. But some saw her new Xbox-boy lust, single-mom anxieties, and sane-psycho-supergoddess self-talk as bold thirtysomething candor. She's still bedroom-groggy onstage, but I'll take her hot, white Oscar Wilde references any way she likes it. "I'm Not Avril" songstress Katy Rose and indie-poppers Wheat open. SINAGRA


BRITNEY SPEARS+KELIS
April 10
Continental Airlines Arena, Meadowlands Sports Complex, 50 Route 120, East Rutherford, New Jersey, 201.935.3900

Our favorite not-a-girl, not-quite-a-human is still in the damage-control zone after her shotgun divorce, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that all her lip-synched porno-technix proceed as planned this night, with no stage malfunctions (à la last year's Justin-Xtina fiasco) or "costume malfunctions" (à la Justin-Janet's rough-sex superboner dumbshow). But it's Kelis whose shook-up r&b, Afrocentric space-freak, get-me-off-this-ice-cream-cone milk shake brings us all, not just the boys, to the yard. We love her so much right now!! SINAGRA


AIR
April 13
Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street, 212.307.7171

On their newest album, the two French aesthetes behind Air ditched the humorless cocktail lounge of earlier records for sound-effect-laden paeans to the stargazing rock of yesteryear as well as their own smart, easygoing selves. Not danceable any longer, but spacious and pretty enough to make you swoon a little. HOARD


N.E.R.D+BLACK EYED PEAS
April 15
Roseland Ballroom, 239 West 52nd Street, 212.777.6800

Having proved they can score a hit with any MC who can afford their services, the Neptunes forged a new sound with their N.E.R.D side project: hook-filled bangers and rock-star role-playing, slightly dumb but as fulfilling as ear candy gets. L.A. alt-rappers Black Eyed Peas beefed up their silly conspiracy theories with bright, pop-friendly production and a cavalcade of dope rhymes. HOARD


ORCHESTRA BAOBAB
April 23
Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place, 212.992.8484

These legendary West African musicians flourished in Senegal during the '70s, made a notable 2001 comeback, and sound as though they never parted. The multinational combo delivers a lush and languid take on the Afro-Cubanism grooves that overwhelmed West Africa then, a sound almost Ellingtonian in its sophisticated syncopations and addictive accessibility. Drink, dance, make sweet love, or simply ponder its rhythmic perfection. GEHR

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