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The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 3/7/14

The supergroup Broken Bells plays Webster Hall this Friday evening
The supergroup Broken Bells plays Webster Hall this Friday evening
Courtesy of Nasty Little Man PR // Credit: James Minchin

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

Friday, 3/7:

Demi Lovato + Little Mix + Fifth Harmony IZOD Center 7:30 p.m., $26-$66 Former Disney kid turned very mature face of self-help Demi Lovato has taken her X-Factor judge duties seriously. For her third headlining tour, "The Neon Lights Tour," Demi is bringing along faces from both the US and UK versions of the show, including the girl group she championed during her season, Fifth Harmony, with Britain's Little Mix and Cher Lloyd taking turns for different legs. With how upbeat and fun her self-titled fourth album had been, the show is sure to have audiences on their feet and dancing in the neon lights all night long. -- By Brittany Spanos

Dave King ShapeShifter Lab Friday through Sunday, 8:15 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. daily, $15 Watching the Bad Plus drummer shift gears while constantly recalibrating tension is one of jazz's more reliable joys. For this Gowanus hit, King matches wits with formidable NYC improvisers Tim Berne, Matt Mitchell, and Craig Taborn. He also brings his Trucking Company quintet, whose gnarled bop always manages to dispense a smile or three. Also on the bill: the Gang Font, his mildly mathy outfit that gives iconic bassist Greg Norton plenty of leeway for expression. -- By Jim Macnie

Robin Thicke + Jessie J + DJ Cassidy Theater at Madison Square Garden 8:00 p.m., $69-$125 Last time Robin Thicke came to Madison Square Garden, on the occasion of Jingle Ball, the 36-year-old singer donned a leopard-print sport coat and serenaded an arena of teenagers with songs about blurred lines and giving it 2 U. But breathe easy, potential ticket-buyer; in a longer set -- and one for a crowd that's more WBLS than Z100 -- such sleaze is tempered by the romantic charms of songs like "Pretty Lil' Heart," "When I Get You Alone," and that other Pharrell-featuring hit, "Wanna Love You Girl." Hopefully he even displays some of the self-aware charm we saw on the first season of Real Husbands of Hollywood, a show to which his recent divorce might make him ineligible to return. -- By Nick Murray

Broken Bells Webster Hall 8:00 p.m., $39.50 After Garden State turned the Shins into a cultural force, there was only one thing left for lead vocalist James Mercer to do: Form a supergroup. Pairing with renowned producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) in 2010, Broken Bells was born. The perfect mash-up of Danger Mouse's DJ skills -- he rose to fame for The Grey Album's celebrated Beatles x Jay-Z combination -- and Mercer's chilly, stringent tenor, their self-titled debut was critically celebrated. Following that up with this year's After the Disco, the two continue to meld and fuse space age production with alt-rock vocal yearning, when their schedules allow the effort. -- By Caitlin White

New Stew Review 54 Below Friday & Saturday, 8:00 p.m., $45-$55 With Nellie McKay brightening the Carlyle last month, and Stew parking himself into this tony boite for a couple of nights as the New Stew Review, could Uptown be the new Downtown? Not yet, Muffy. And in any case, the larger-than-life bandleader-playwright has already earned his Broadway bona fides with a little musical masterpiece called Passing Strange. A punk-rock Sondheim with a glorious gospel-rock voice, Stew has recently been working with a hot and horn-heavy band that turns on a dime at his sometimes salty whim. Look for new material from upcoming musicals, gems from the Negro Problem catalog, and some of the funniest between-song banter since Paul Stanley's KISS heyday. So head north and pay the sucka, 'cause few do the hoodoo that Stew do so well. -- By Richard Gehr

 

Cibo Matto play Brooklyn Bowl this Saturday evening
Cibo Matto play Brooklyn Bowl this Saturday evening
Courtesy of The Windish Agency

Saturday, 3/8:

Cibo Matto Brooklyn Bowl 8:00 p.m., $20 Hotel Valentine, Cibo Matto's third studio album, dropped on Valentine's Day, the avant-garde synth-pop duo's first release in 15 years. Here, a funk backbeat and lithe, reverb-heavy horn lines featuring the likes of multi-reedist Doug Wieselman and Nels Cline (of Wilco) deflect diaphanous vocals and existential murmurings off the dense concept album's echo chamber of seamlessly multi-layered lounge music designed for the starship-themed boutique hotel with the transient lobby bar of your unconscious desires. It's a Zen meditation on the tropes of housekeeping attendants, deserted hotel pools, and check-in protocol that examines the liminality of experience and the modalities of checking out without the frustration. -- By Aidan Levy

Jungle + Wet Knitting Factory Brooklyn 9:00 p.m., $10 There's a new soulful, sensual J and T in town besides Justin Timberlake. Those initials are the noms de plume of the two men that make up mysterious UK duo Jungle, who took the internet by storm while rollerskating in matching green tracksuits in the viral video for "The Heat." Though the two childhood friends are Jungle's nucleus, they've alluded to being part of a larger collective and perform as a seven-piece, which explains the fluidity of all the moving parts driving their funky Cold, Bold, & Together-indebted r&b. -- By Harley Oliver Brown

Traxx + Powell + Torn Hawk Baby's All Right 11:59 p.m., $12/$15 London producer Powell surged in popularity with just a handful of sonically tempestuous releases on his Diagonal label and some inescapably abrasive online mixes, flexing against perceived genre limitations without falling into lo-fi self-parody. His New York debut comes as part of an inspired lineup from nascent experimental electronic promoters Industry of Machines. Powell's aggressive sampling skills are pitted against outspoken Nation label founder and superlative DJ Traxx plus local L.I.E.S. affiliates Torn Hawk at Baby's All Right, which continues to take over taken over medium-sized electronic shows in 285 Kent's absence. -- By Aaron Gonsher

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Best Buy Theater 8:00 p.m., $26.50-$35 A three-word preview for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's Nanda Collection World Tour 2014: CANDY CRUSH SAGA. The Japanese pop star's sickeningly sweet blend of kawaii ("cute" in Japanese) and offbeat goth won the obsessive hearts of her equally quirky fans when she debuted in 2011. Imitation art poppers Lady Gaga and Katy Perry probably wish they had music impresario Yasutaka Nakata on their team. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's Nakata-penned singles, like "Candy Candy" and "PonPonPon" off 2012's Pamyu Pamyu Revolution, are exquisite, grotesque, and addictive explorations of infantilized innocence. Reviews of earlier stops on her tour allude to teddy bears, bunnies, and Muppet-like creatures making prominent appearances. It's hope that Halloween without sexy outfits could still be an affair of strange theater -- or that Miley minus twerking could still be entertaining. -- By Alexis Stephens

'The Legendy Tunnel Party' w/ Funk Flex + Cipha Sounds + DJ Riz + Big Kap B.B. King Blues Club & Grill 12:00 a.m., $45 Good thing that Cristal came wrapped in cellophane. There is no better metaphor for the nostalgia that has been cultivated around the now-legendary Tunnel: gold-tinted memories of a rebellious, adolescent hip-hop growing up from jumping turnstiles, eating ramen, rocking Fubu, drinking E&J and André to sitting in black Towncars, eating sushi, wearing shiny suits, and sipping on Hennessy and Cristal. The Tunnel represented a journey, and it took NY hip-hop out of the Golden Age and into the Bling Era as rappers, hustlers, and round-the-way girls all followed the Cristal-colored light towards the Millennium with its promise of Benjamins for all. Vivid memories, like cellophane, never disintegrate, and it's easy to envision Funk Flex and Cipha Sounds unwrapping a 1996 vintage of Cris as they decided to uncork the Tunnel just so they could make their memories real again -- and make a few Benjamins in the process. -- By Winston Groman

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