Flight of the Conchords & Kristen Schaal
April 14–15

It is the distant future. Flight of the Conchords, "New Zealand's fourth-most popular folk parody duo" (as they tell it), are onstage at Radio City Music Hall, treading the hallowed boards of Ella Fitzgerald and the Count Basie Orchestra. The scruffy pair (Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement) are either bleating in robospeak about poking humans or cradling guitars on their laps and booming like Barry White about their hot "business socks." Off in the corner, opening act Kristen Schaal is nonchalantly stripping down to a superhero costume, as she is wont to do in her Daily Show segments. This is an entirely possible outcome for the evening, people. Anything is possible. Radio City Music Hall, radiocity.com

The Roots
April 14

Would-be pterodactyls: Metric’s Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw
Daniel S. Neuner
Would-be pterodactyls: Metric’s Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw

Two decades strong, and the Roots are still one of the best live hip-hop acts in the world. Fitting, as they crafted the very idea: By using live instrumentation on their albums, they bypassed the difficulties of re-creating samples and pre-recordings onstage. This innovative energy also translated to wax, inconsistently but sometimes gloriously (spin 1999's Things Fall Apart). Currently, these rap leviathans sock it every night as The Late Night With Jimmy Fallon house band, a truly dubious honor. Catch them live, for the sanity of all involved, on a stage of considerably bigger ideas. Madison Square Garden, thegarden.com

Herb Alpert
April 21

"Top brass" was never so apt: A&M Records head Herb Alpert cofounded the label with Jerry Moss in his garage in 1962, then, over the next two decades, shot it to worldwide prominence with a roster that included Joe Cocker, Cat Stevens, and the Carpenters. But the flagship act was always his own: The trumpeter's Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass was the most successful instrumental jazz-pop outfit of the era, known for their crisp, playful No. 1 hits "A Taste of Honey" and "Spanish Flea." Since then, he's fashioned more successes as a recording artist, producer, and philanthropist—and made a few zillion pennies when he sold A&M to Universal—but he's happily kept a zeal for the stage. He remains an extraordinary musician with a gold-mine ear to the ground. Rose Theater at Lincoln Center, jalc.org

April 27

An uncommon evolution: Angry young earthniks retreat to the North Carolina woods, record distressed folk harmonies about modernity and sin, and dispatch accordion liberally. They name themselves after small avians that attract mates by building nests of colorful debris, and their debut album, Hymns for a Dark Horse, entices the much shinier prize of an East Coast tour with the Mountain Goats. Frightened by the neon lights and indoor plumbing, Bowerbirds hightail it back to the woods and gratefully embrace their stained copies of Walden. Two years later, they're creeping back into the big city—no sudden movements, y'all. Mercury Lounge, mercuryloungenyc.com

Boyz II Men
May 7–8

You know what your problem is? You don't like anything recorded after 1997 or any musician Brandy didn't date. The world is a horrible den of iniquity nowadays—you should see what passes for a bag of M&Ms, and why aren't pants baggy anymore? Also, you have too much money. Too bad there isn't an insouciantly reassuring nostalgia act coming through town, a group of palms-up crooners who just happen to be the most commercially successful r&b act of all time, whose ranks have diminished slightly, but not their tear-stained poetry of unyielding love. And too bad they can't perform in a venue that serves oysters. Oh, wait . . . Righteous! B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, bbkingblues.com

Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra
May 12–17

Many people insist they defy categorization, and most of them are in R.E.M., but Ottmar Liebert actually does. A German-born guitarist and composer raised in Asia and Europe, he was born to a Hungarian mother and Chinese-German father and is ordained as a Zen monk. His Grammy-nominated, revolving ensemble Luna Negra performs Nouveau Flamenco rhythms with elements of Hindu meditation chants, salsa, bossa nova, and jazz-pop. All this, and he gets shelved in the "New Age" graveyard—now that, truly, is beyond words. Blue Note Jazz Club, bluenote.net

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