The Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 5/10/13
#FreeEarl Friday night at Element
These 10 concerts GOT THAT FIRE LIKE CAYENNE!* (ie they are the best.)
*No, Mystikal is not in town. That song's just on our minds, for some reason. Sorry for any confusion.
Earl Sweatshirt + Ryan Hemsworth + Antwon + Branchez Element Friday, 8pm, $25 Earl Sweatshirt wasn't the first rapper to blow minds before being able to cast a ballot--nearly 30 years ago LL Cool J was rocking bells at 17, and even he was far from the first--but few of any age have written songs as remarkable as "Earl," a two-minute-and-thirty-second mission statement dense with internal rhymes and high school vulgarity. Three years later, Sweatshirt can vote but not drink, and the rest of the world continues waiting for his sure-to-be-hype second album. Tonight he headlines a Downtown Music Festival show featuring sets from Ryan Hemsworth, the Main Attrakionz producer who has been remixing everyone from the Backstreet Boys to spaced-out dance producer Monolithium, and Antwon, a rapper with a strong voice and an ear for beats. -- By Nick Murray
Aaron Freeman Music Hall of Williamsburg Friday, 9pm, $25 Not a note of irony can be heard on Aaron Freeman's Marvelous Clouds, the artist formerly known as Gene Ween's glorious 2012 rediscovery of kitsch king Rod McKuen. While much mockery might be made of the 80-year-old's poetry (Listen to the Warm much?), McKuen introduced French chanson to America in the early '60s with translations of Jacques Brel, Gilbert Bécaud, and Pierre Delanoë. Produced with rich orchestral articulation by Ben Vaughan, Freeman's tribute to the 80-year-old super-selling romantic marked a transition from over-inebriated mutant rock singer to recovering seeker, or something. In the end, there's less difference than you'd imagine between Ween gems such as "Push th' Little Daisies" or "Roses Are Free" and McKuen's faux-French or country-pop confections. McKuen's flop of a 2002 comeback tour was as surreal as you'd imagine; Freeman's comeback remains a work in progress. -- By Richard Gehr
'The '90s Summer Jams Sing-Along' Union Hall Saturday, 10pm, $8 Never has there been an era in which you could easily go from wearing flannel and Doc Martens to neon windbreakers. The '90s were, indeed, a very special time, and the music was just as insane. The '90s Summer Jams Sing-Along will take us back in time with two hours of music videos from favorites like Ace of Base, Sugar Ray, Third Eye Blind, No Doubt, Notorious B.I.G., and Alanis Morissette. In case you can't remember all the words, the lyrics will be projected on the big screen. There's also a '90s costume contest and a dance-off--so you best start practicing the Tootsee Roll now. -- By Araceli Cruz
Gold Panda Knitting Factory Brooklyn Saturday, 11:55pm, $20 The London-based electronic musician has taken the old saw about sophomore albums being inspired by life on the road literally. Half of Where You Live consists of fluttery, haunted, dystopic, yet often lovely portraits of cities in Brazil, China, England, and Japan. The voice of a weary local emerges through the slippery house beats of "Community," while "Junk City II" draws inspiration from the films of Takashi Miike. -- By Richard Gehr
Hayes Carll + Warren Hood and the Goods City Winery Friday, 8pm, $20-$28 If you're looking for Hayes Carll, the singer-songwriter who was Americana before Americana was selling out the Garden and the Barclays, your best bet is to check either the Texas clubs where the 37-year-old first made his name or the top ten of the Nashville Scene's annual "Country Music Critics' Poll," on which any of his albums are certain to appear. Tonight, however, you should check City Winery and sip on a fine merlot while he plays tracks like "She Left Me for Jesus," the song that finds Carll heartbroken after his ex leaves him for a better man, and "Beaumont," the song that finds this troubadour doing what troubadours do best: traveling by their lonesome and looking for love. With Warren Hood and the Goods. -- By Nick Murray
Mudhoney + Pissed Jeans Music Hall of Williamsburg Saturday, 9pm, $20/$25 This October marks the 25th anniversary of the release of one of grunge's benchmark releases, Mudhoney's guitar-damaged declaration of disgust, Touch Me I'm Sick, but rather than celebrate the past, the Seattle iconoclasts are touring in support of their excellent new full-length, Vanishing Point. Moreover, the album contains one song that explains, a bit, why they band has stayed their course, with nasal-voiced frontman Mark Arm whines about the things he likes: "minimum production, low yields/intimate settings, limited appeal." Hey, whatever works. -- By Kory Grow
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