The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 6/2/14
Catch Janelle Monae for free in Brooklyn this week
Courtesy of Atlantic Records // Credit: Marc Baptiste
For more shows throughout the week, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.
Soundgarden Webster Hall 8:00 p.m., $19.94 Believe it or not, the '90s have ended. In fact, it's been three decades since Soundgarden formed and two decades since they released their most iconic album, the blistering Superunknown. This summer they plan to hit the road with Nine Inch Nails, who are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their breakthrough album, The Downward Spiral. Tonight, however, Soundgarden wallow in the bygone decade at their own album anniversary show, with tickets priced at the reasonable but not accidentally cheesy amount of $19.94. Yes, the '90s have ended, but did we ever want them to? -- By Brittany Spanos
Future Best Buy Theater 8:00 p.m., $30-$35 Just as the human body is always naked under its clothes, the human voice is always bare, even when covered in thick layers of rasp and Auto-Tune. Taking cues from the rapper-turned-singer pantheon of T-Pain, Kanye, Wayne, Drake, and Akon, ATL's Future often raps and sings "At the Same Damn Time," in an cadence that turns the old field holler of the African-American South into a syrupy shout from the heart of the turn-up generation. Ballad- bangers like "Turn on the Lights" from 2012's Pluto show exactly how Future can automate his voice without making it seem less human by using the pitch correction to emphasize the wide spectrum of emotion that resides in the gaps between pitch and timbre. This year's Honest further highlights the timber of Future's voice by dialing back on the Auto-Tune and trusting in the formula that says: a unique voice + slamming beats = hit music. For a rapper in 2014, that's about as honest as you can get. -- By Winston Groman
'Dance of Death Book Release Party' w/ Glenn Jones Ace Hotel 8:00 p.m., free Kindred spirits will join forces this evening when two monolithic champions from the music and literary orb celebrate the Godfather of steel string geetar wizardry, John Fahey. Rolling Stone scribe royalty David Fricke will introduce longtime New York scene staple, Swingset Magazine co-founder, VDSQ record label head and ultimate Fahey obsessive Steve Lowenthal reading from the his just-released biographical sprawl of the experimental iconoclast called Dance of Death: The Life of John Fahey, American Guitarist. For his exhaustive tome, Lowenthal embarked on a nomadic, years-long mission, heroically researching the trials, tribulations and life of the elusive and vastly influential Fahey. No better cohort for an evening of Fahey worship is Glenn Jones, who embodies the late legend's folk and blues finger-picking mastery, even collaborating with the guitarist back in 1997 as a member of Cul De Sac. Not to be missed. -- By Brad Cohan
Janelle Monáe Prospect Park Bandshell 6:00 p.m., free Celebrate Brooklyn! is lucky to have such a fabulous Q.U.E.E.N. to open its 36th season. Janelle Monáe, one of music's most compelling rising stars, hit refresh on 2013 with the release of her second album, The Electric Lady, an electric and star-studded android manifesto with guest spots from Solange, Miguel, Erykah Badu, and Prince. It's a credit to Monáe that she has managed to keep her performances and personal style just as lively and individual as her unique music. She has all the makings of a superstar and is fixed squarely on the path to icon status. Expect to be dazzled. -- By Brittany Spanos
Megan Hilty Cafe Carlyle Tuesday through Friday, 8:45 p.m. daily, $50-$120 When they were getting Bombshell ready for Broadway on the two seasons of NBC's Smash, wasn't the idea that an actual production would ultimately show up on the actual Broadway? If so, mightn't this in-the-flesh bombshell, who played Ivy Lynn, be the one impersonating Marilyn Monroe? Unfortunately, it wasn't to be, but here's the consolation prize. At her first outing in this swanky uptown boite, she'll sing some of the series songs, most of them written by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, as well as other hot numbers. -- By David FinkleWednesday, 6/4:
BANKS Irving Plaza 7:00 p.m., $17.50 Jillian Banks is a musician from the San Fernando Valley who creates dark electro-pop influenced R&B as BANKS and is poised to break out as one of this year's biggest stars. She released two initial EPs last year, Fall Over and London, and will to put out her full-length Goddess this September. She has toured with acts like The Weeknd, but where he delves into psychic, chilling layers, Banks remains more accessible and pop-oriented. Expect a set of songs that feel cohesive and emotional, while they easily channel sadness through addicting synths. -- By Caitlin White
Mark McGuire + Marissa Nadler + Delicate Steve Red Hook Park 7:00 p.m., free Former Emeralds guitarist Mark McGuire embarked upon a journey of self-actualization involving an architectonic tapestry of droning, looping, and layered sounds. Like a less-affected Joanna Newsom, Marissa Nadler uncovers the epic in the personal, with an occasional country twist. And "Delicate" Steve Marion translates the felicities of West African guitar pop into an inventive instrumental hodgepodge. Nothing overly heavy to ponder, unless you've got a problem with unalloyed joy. -- By Richard Gehr
Billy Hart Quartet Village Vanguard Tuesday through Friday, 8:30 p.m & 10:30 p.m. daily, $30 As the veteran drummer's foursome develops, the grace they broker becomes more essential to its personality. Can't say if it's the lithe horn lines of Mark Turner or the well-chosen asides of pianist Ethan Iverson, but the music on the newish One Is The Other has the kind of sweep that connects each passage to the next - it almost seems like one long piece. Of course Hart's mastery at keeping everything fluid has a lot to do with it. On stage they're a bit more tactile - and that physicality can be revelatory. Don't miss. -- By Jim Macnie
Disclosure Output 10:00 p.m., $15-$35 At the ripe ages of 20 and 25, brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence introduced the world to Disclosure. Hailing from Surrey, the duo released their first single in 2010, but gained their international success with the release of Settle in 2012. Their sound is mesmerizing, and despite its deep house roots, Disclosure's melodies bubble and pop in a way that has been not only accepted but revered. Their hypnotic vocals present a nostalgic vibe, while their funky beats are energetic and mellow all at once, offering the audience a truly unique live performance. -- By Eleanor Lambert
Christian McBride & Brad Mehldau Blue Note 8:00 p.m. & 10:30 p.m., $35-$55 The Blue Note Jazz Festival continues a tradition of unlikely collaborations with a series of duo performances by bassist Christian McBride and pianist Brad Mehldau, the latter replacing Andre Previn at the last minute. McBride has worked with Sting, Bruce Hornsby, and Renee Fleming; Previn has re-worked a number of classic pop songs ranging from Cole Porter to Radiohead within a career as an excellent bandleader. Outside of his rigorous touring schedule, McBride serves as the associate artistic director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem while Mehldau has been active in both his trio and an experimental duo with drummer Mark Guiliana. -- By Aidan Levy
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