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The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 7/21/14

Richie Sambora honors Les Paul on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at Iridium
Richie Sambora honors Les Paul on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at Iridium
Courtesy of Press Here // Credit: James Minchin III

For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

Monday, 7/21:

'An Evening Honoring Pete Seeger' Central Park, Rumsey Playfield 6:00 p.m., free The five-day, multi-venue Seeger Fest commemorating the full and inspiring lives of Pete Seeger, who died last year at age 94, and wife Toshi Seeger, who died earlier in 2013, culminates in "New Songs of Justice," a free four-hour hootenanny featuring politically engaged rock, folk, and hip-hop artists. Singers and strummers predominate, not unexpectedly, and include Steve Earle, Rusted Root frontman Michael Glabicki, the Chapin Sisters, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, Aurora Barnes, James Maddock, and Mike & Ruthy. A solo performance by the irrepressible Amanda Palmer, an acoustic set by civil-rights and union activists Anti-Flag, and hip-hop hell raising by Rebel Diaz and State Department-sponsored hip-hop ambassador Toni Blackman should also rouse the rabble. Another folk-culture original, hip-hop founder DJ Kool Herc, mans the wheels of steel. -- By Richard Gehr

Ted Nugent The Paramount 8:00 p.m., $35-$60 Ted Nugent may be a conservative gun-toting Republican womanizer who has impressively managed to create an outdoor sports and hunting empire for himself--while still finding the time to lambaste animal rights activists and drug and alcohol users--but that doesn't mean the Motor City Madman doesn't still put on a good show. We're talking about the same multi-platinum guitar icon with the one-time Tarzan persona who recorded "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Jailbait," as well as "Wango Tango" and "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" back in the sleazy '70s and '80s. He's still the same old Nuge, just hiding behind a grizzled beard and a mossy camo cowboy hat with overly curved side brims. Even exceptionally vocal, politically insensitive celebrities can still churn out ultra high-energy, pure Motor City rhythm and blues and rock'n'roll, it's just a question of whether or not a new generation of listeners has the stones to hammer down and head into the danger zone. And no, we're not talking about a PETA conference filled with animal rights freaks with their lies and scams! We're talkin' a gen-u-ine star spangled, whammy barred, NRA-approved, Fox News coverage-worthy, Whackmaster camo rock'n'roll show. Gitcha some beef jerky and a crossbow by July 21, and you're officially ready to get Nugentized. -- By Erin Manning

Tuesday, 7/22:

Juicy J Terminal 5 7:00 p.m., $30 As a founding member of Three 6 Mafia, it is a marvel that Juicy J's real fame and recognition has come as a solo artist. Juicy J has stayed true to his syncopal, rhythmic flow while being unafraid to answer the public's call for more electronic beats. Playing alongside older brother and Mafia co-founder Project Pat, Juicy J's show will likely be a satisfying mix of old and new, all while maintaining that same simple yet engaging, rapid-fire tone J has so fluidly mastered. Trippy as always, Juicy J has managed to master the fusion-genre of hip-hop with trap and pop and keeps both his rap game and his double cup filled to the brim. -- By Eleanor Lambert

Jaojoby + Razia Said + Charles Kelly Joe's Pub 9:30 p.m., $30 Jaojoby headlines a reprise of "Wake Up Madagascar," a terrific package that played here a couple of years ago. The reigning king of salegy, whose tikita-tikita rhythm underlies the island's most popular musical style, is joined by the environmentally conscious singer Razia Said and a remarkable acoustic guitarist, Charles Kelly, who combines the piano-derived ba gasy style of Madagascar's highlands with classical technique. Also: Saramba. -- By Richard Gehr

Phox Knitting Factory Brooklyn 7:00 p.m., $10 There's something easy-breezy about the sound of a town like Barbaroo, WI, so it's only fitting that whimsical folk-pop sextet PHOX hails from the town they've fondly described as a circus hamlet. Their first single, "Slow Motion," layers clarinets over R&B grooves as laid-back and mellow as the cartoon Wind in the Willows movie. (Does anyone remember that?) Partisan Records issued PHOX's eponymous debut LP earlier this year, showcasing a fragrant bouquet of psych-scented art-rock and sweetly soulful pop. Check out the new single and music video released last week for "Kingfisher"--a swooning, sun-shiney mid-tempo track whose moody music vid was directed by band guitarist / banjo player / film school graduate Zach Johnston--and everything will make sense. -- By Erin Manning  

Wednesday, 7/23:

Neutral Milk Hotel Prospect Park Bandshell Tuesday & Wednesday, 6:00 p.m., $39.50 Every summer, the wonder of Celebrate Brooklyn reappears, a seasonal bevy of incredible shows at Prospect Park which seem too good to be true. In keeping with that tradition, the bandshell is graced by indie rock royalty, none other than Neutral Milk Hotel. After releasing their one-off, intensely adored In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and just one other record, Jeff Magnum and his crew pretty much disappeared. But last year, the group resurfaced and has been touring with a newfound verve. Although most of the Celebrate Brooklyn shows are free, this concert is doubling as a benefit to raise money for the concert series itself and for Children of the Blue Sky, an organization aimed at helping homeless children in Mongolia. -- By Caitlin White

Schoolboy Q + Danny Brown + Action Bronson Best Buy Theater 8:00 p.m., $40-$45 Our man of the year Schoolboy Q returns to New York City for the second time this summer. If you haven't seen this swagged out bucket hat sportin' rapper in concert yet, we're just not sure what you're doing with your life. The Top Dawg Entertainment MC is thriving in the return of gangsta rap, a wild, rabid sound that makes you want to bench press the earth. As a friend of the leaders of the New York City rap movement, this show promises to be full of Q--and probably some of his peers (French Montana, we beg you to make an appearance). Let's hear it for the Man of the Year. BOUNCE! -- By Eric Sundermann

Richie Sambora Iridium Tuesday, 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, 8:00 p.m. & 10:30 p.m., $85-$215 New Jersey native and famously mullet-ed Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora has been a hair-metal mainstay for more than 30 years. His success, as well as the band's, was not only the result of his co-writing with frontman Jon Bon Jovi, but also his game-changing axe skills and solos. On the occasion of the great electric guitar innovator Les Paul's birthday, Sambora plays at the club where Paul performed regularly until his death in 2009. Over the course of two nights and three performances, Sambora will celebrate Les Paul, the electric guitar, and rock 'n' roll's history. If you miss these performances live, Wednesday's pair will be taped for the public access performance series Front and Center, but for the same reason Paul invented the solid-body electric guitar, this performance is better experienced live and very loud. -- By Brittany Spanos

Thursday, 7/24:

Teenage Fanclub Pier 84 6:00 p.m., free Along with quirky popcentrics The Vaselines, melody masters Teenage Fanclub sit atop the perch as both Scottish royalty and Kurt Cobain faves. Twenty five years after TF's indie rock life-changer, the grungy A Catholic Education, and its ultimate reinvention as rightful heir to the Big Star and The Byrds throne as purveyors of triple-teamed sublime, harmonious pop stylings, the Glaswegian gents are still going strong after eight records of majestic glory. Two of those sweet sounding platters--2005's Manmade and 2010's Shadows--are receiving the vinyl reissue treatment via the Fanclub's Merge Records label in conjunction with its own silver anniversary series celebration. Catch TF tonight--not only is it free but these legends don't come around these parts too often. -- By Brad Cohan

The Wytches The Mercury Lounge 9:30 p.m., $12 Hailing from Brighton, UK, the psych-rock trio formed in 2011 and only just recently embarked on their first North American tour in support of Metz and Cloud Nothings, taking their doom-drenched stoner grime with them in preparation of the release of their debut album out this August via Partisan Records. Based on what we've heard so far--the feral, hair-flinging delivery of "Wide at Midnight"; the punky aggressive fuzz of "Wire Frame Mattress"--Annabel Dream Reader demonstrates the wide scope of influences bubbling in this cauldron of doom, swallowing surf-toned guitar bends and spy movie scores in grunge and metalcore. Cast in the greasy shadows of Jack Black's hair and the premise of Nick Cave composing a musical theme for Professor Snape, frontman Kristian Bell's lyrics are mechanized poetry, savagely doled out across a lurid, inebriating soundscape that embraces the works of Poe and the Dark Arts as much as it does the darkest corners of rock music. The Wytches admit their need to erase and transform their sound with each album though, so be sure to witness this witchcraft before it's too late. -- By Erin Manning

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