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The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 8/15/14

Blood Orange headlines a free show in Central Park this Saturday
Blood Orange headlines a free show in Central Park this Saturday

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

Friday, 8/15:

Thievery Corporation JBL Live at Pier 97 6:00 p.m., $45 If you're one of those people who has only heard of the Thievery Corporation from the Garden State soundtrack then shame on you, because, put simply, Thievery Corporation is world music at its finest. This DC-based group is one of the most eclectic artist and DJ collectives around, spanning a wide variety of genres, including dub, acid jazz, reggae, Indian classical and bossa nova. The group's members also speak a crazy number of languages; besides the requisite English, we've got Hindi, Persian, Romanian, Portuguese and Italian in the mix. They've released a steady stream of albums since their 1995 birth, their latest album Saudade embracing the collective's bossa nova roots. -- By Tara Mahadevan

Earl Klugh Blue Note Friday through Sunday, 8:00 p.m. & 10:30 p.m., $20-$35 Stamped early on with the smooth jazz genre marker, it didn't take long to clue people into the fact that Earl Klugh embodies a more holistic jazz tradition on acoustic guitar. Like legendary guitarist Joe Pass, the 60-year-old veteran opts for an earthy nylon sound conducive to a versatile fingerstyle technique. On his most recent album, Hand Picked, Klugh bridges the gap between avant-garde master Bill Frisell and Pure Prairie League frontman Vince Gill, featuring duets with both, but otherwise mostly plays solo standards and originals. It's an enlightened fusion, with simple yet sumptuous renderings of "Hotel California," "If I Fell," and "'Round Midnight." -- By Aidan Levy

Keith Urban PNC Bank Arts Center 7:00 p.m., $30-$63.25 Though overshadowed shadowed by several awful incidents at a recent Massachusetts concert, Keith Urban is still clocking dates for his Raise 'Em Up Tour. The Australian country powerhouse and American Idol judge is on the road in support of his latest No. 1 album, Fuse, an effort that finds Urban straying, successfully, outside the lines of traditional country. While Urban's likely to play it a little safe on the remainder of his tour, fans can still expect a rowdy good time alongside hits like "Somebody Like You" and "Cop Car." -- By Jill Menze

 

Celebrate the Queen of Pop at the 11th Annual Madonnathon
Celebrate the Queen of Pop at the 11th Annual Madonnathon

Saturday, 8/16:

Blood Orange Central Park, Rumsey Playfield 7:00 p.m., free Blood Orange is Devonté Hynes, a singer, songwriter and producer who has helped shape the careers of sultry pop wanna-be's like Sky Ferreira as well as more R&B-leaning artists like Solange Knowles. But when he's on his own? Hynes gets in a groove and stays there, carving out a space for love and heartache to linger and murmur to one another. His latest album is 2013's Cupid Deluxe, a critically acclaimed '80s-inspired disco affair that explores the underbelly of America's relationship to the LGBT community. He's a deft performer with a lot of soul, who will assuredly woo Central Park tonight. -- By Caitlin White

'11th Annual Madonnathon' Brooklyn Bowl 8:00 p.m., $15 Desperately seeking somewhere to party tonight? Express yourself at Madonnathon, Cathyland's 11th annual tribute to the Material Girl. Dress yourself up in your best Madge look (be it lucky star, cone bra, or Breathless Mahoney) and get into the groove as performers like Chris America, Tammy Faye Starlite, Erin Hill and Her Psychedelic Harp, and the Rhythm Knights Dance Troupe justify your love for the Queen of Reinvention in all her myriad forms. Want to live to tell about getting onstage and singing with the band? Just strike a pose, there's nothing to it. -- By Rob Staeger

Echo & the Bunnymen Irving Plaza 8:00 p.m., $39.50 Though far past their post-punk heyday of the '80s, Liverpool's Echo & The Bunnymen have managed to remain a relevant force on the rock scene over the years, steadily releasing solid material through breakups and various lineup changes. Today, vocalist Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant are the Bunnymen's only original members in tact, and the two are still at it. This June's Meteorites, the band's first album in five years, is among its best in ages, a spacey-sounding new trip anchored by a dose of nostalgia. -- By Jill Menze

Willie Colón Lehman Center for the Performing Arts 8:00 p.m., $30-$50 Summerstage's Fania All Stars concert celebrating Fania Records' first half century, may have been canceled, but you can still catch the label's biggest moneymaker in his middle-aged prime. Along with Rubén Blades, with whom he recorded salsa's best selling album, Siembra, Colón is a social activist with hits galore, style to spare, and little to prove other than his life-long ability to groove in front of a red-hot band. -- By Richard Gehr

DJ Sprinkles Cameo Gallery 11:59 p.m., $17/$20 Kawasaki-based DJ Sprinkles, aka Terre Thaemlitz, has long been outspoken on gender and identity issues and is credited with pioneering a politicized take on ambient in the early 1990s. Recently, Where Dance Floors Stand Still tackled Japan's anti-dancing law, which has been blighting the country's nightclubs over the past few years. The record, filled with deep house cuts, seemed to dare listeners to defy a law that could have them arrested for dancing after midnight. Lucky, then, for Brooklyn, that Sprinkles' Cameo Gallery appearance is part of their "All Night Long" series. -- By Karen Gardiner

 

Sunday, 8/17:

Eminem + Rihanna MetLife Stadium Saturday & Sunday, 7:30 p.m., $65-$250 For those of us who missed Rihanna's surprise appearance during Eminem's set at Lollapalooza, all is not lost. Eminem and Rihanna will be appearing on the same stage for the three shows during their "Monster" tour this summer, and one takes place in New Jersey tonight. Obviously, the tour takes its name from their recent collaboration on the song "The Monster," which works as sort of a follow up to their 2010 duet "Love The Way You Lie." They might be an unlikely duo, but between Rihanna's take-no-prisoners attitude and Eminem's brash, bold lyrical style, there's enough energy in this alliance to keep the awesome turned up to eleven. -- By Caitlin White

Fabian Almazan Village Vanguard Friday through Sunday, 8:30 p.m. & 10:30 p.m. daily, $25-$30 The promising young pianist celebrates the release of Rhizome, his inspired sophomore album and his first on Blue Note, with a six-night residency at the venerable subterranean club. Like Ahmad Jamal's 1994 album with the Assai String Quartet, Almazan augments his core ensemble with densely orchestrated strings, resulting in a chamber jazz aesthetic that explores the musical roots of his native Cuba, with a nod to the operatic zarzuela tradition. Cascading flourishes give way to pizzicato ostinato plucking, complemented by a rhythmic backdrop that uses tom hits and hand claps to maintain a percussive clave. At 30, Almazan is a pianist to watch. -- By Aidan Levy

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