The Best NYC Shows This Week: Priests, Shilpa Ray, Austra, Mogwai
This week features several concerts offering reconciliation with last year’s traumas, from the loss of Leonard Cohen to the ascension of Donald Trump. Multiple benefit shows, like one at Littlefield on Friday, will donate proceeds to causes that need support in this uncertain time. If you just need some time to unwind and dance in a safe space, the queer, people of color-focused party Papi Juice or Discwoman’s monthly showcase Technofeminism are where you should head.
Sincerely, L. Cohen: A Celebration of Leonard Cohen
Lee Ranaldo, Will Sheff of Okkervil River, Josh Ritter, and more
Music Hall of Williamsburg
7 p.m., $20 - $25
The onslaught of celebrity deaths at the end of 2016 made it difficult for the public to take the time to recognize one of our deepest losses: the singer, composer, songwriter, and poet Leonard Cohen, who died on November 7 at the age of 82. Cohen was certainly one of the most important artists of the 20th century, a master of modern folk music, whose deep baritone was instantly recognizable. His songs, many of which took more than a decade to write, were deep meditations on the nature of life and consciousness, love and loss. A diverse group of artists, from Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, to the singer-songwriter Josh Ritter, and Richard Thompson of the legendary folk group Fairport Convention, will honor Cohen’s memory at this show, playing covers of the songs they say influenced their careers and inspired them to play music.
Japanese Breakfast, Big Eyes, Long Beard
8 p.m., free
Brooklyn’s rising indie pop group Japanese Breakfast are the headliners for the second in a series of excellent free shows put on at Union Pool by the online magazine CLRVYNT. Japanese Breakfast, fronted by Michelle Zauner, released one of 2016’s most ebullient records, Psychopomp, an LP full of lush pop compositions that followed in the tradition of indie pop artists whose buoyant sound belies their lyrics’ emotional weight.
Nothing Changes: Pawns, Maudlin, Jose Frances (DJ), Kelsey Henderson (DJ)
Home Sweet Home
10 p.m., $8
Every Wednesday, the subterranean Lower East Side haunt Home Sweet Home hosts fringe music showcase Nothing Changes. From noise and underground techno to hardcore and experimental performance art, the night is often a chance to see acts who rarely make their way out of Brooklyn DIY spaces. This week Pawns, a smoldering post-punk band whose take on hardcore stays on the moodier side, will headline alongside Atlanta’s Maudlin, who perform a nostalgic hardcore punk reminiscent of ‘80s groups like Lost Cherrees and Legal Weapon.
The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid To Die, Forever Losing Sleep, For Everest, Take One Car
8 p.m., $15
Over the last few years, The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid To Die, the Connecticut emo band with a mouthful of a name, have released increasingly impressive work, expanding on their source material with thoughtful compositions and lyrics. On 2015’s Harmlessness, an album with quiet orchestration and melodramatic, cathartic climaxes, they demonstrated their full range. With this solid oeuvre, the group has earned a following of hyper-earnest young people who refuse to give up on emotional rock music.
8 p.m., $20
Katie Stelmanis, the force behind the transcendent electro-pop project Austra, has just released her first album since 2013. On Future Politics, Stelmanis imagines a world where we've left behind the many difficulties of modern life. Her hope is a soothing tonic in a time where it's often hard to see beyond the darkness of the present. She'll play alongside the fascinating Parisian singer and producer Lafawndah, who makes sparse, spiky tracks with abrasive samples.
Papi Juice: TT the Artist, Byrell the Great, Brujas, SCRAAATCH
Baby’s All Right
10 p.m., $12
"We would go to certain bars in the city and Brooklyn and feel invisible," DJ Adam R told Paste Magazine in 2014. He was one of the founders of Papi Juice, a Brooklyn party started that same year to provide a space for queer and trans people of color to celebrate in a safe space. Since then, the exuberant party has grown, often hosting queer stars like Julianna Huxtable and Princess Nokia. Their party this month with include the Baltimore producer and rapper TT the Artist and voguer Byrell the Great.
Before The Wall: A Benefit to Support Immigrant Communities
Shilpa Ray, The Kominas, Hearing Things
7 p.m., $12 - $50
New York's art community has mobilized beautifully in response to the threats presented by Donald Trump's presidency. This show is just one example: The proceeds will benefit immigrant communities through organizations that support women from Afghanistan and immigrants from South Sudan. Brooklyn's own sultry-voiced songstress Shilpa Ray will headline, with support from Pakistani-American group The Kominas, who are part of the rising Muslim punk movement, and Hearing Things, a sax-forward group who play self-described "Middle Eastern flavored surf rock."
Priests, Snail Mail
Brooklyn Night Bazaar
8 p.m., $13 - $16
It's hard to think of a better time for a new album from the D.C. band Priests, whose post-punk furiously dissects the overlapping injustices inflicted on marginalized Americans. Singer Katie Alice Greer's vocals growl and screech over her band's tight surf-rock; onstage, she dons high femme wigs and costumes to roam the platform, screaming, slamming the mic stand against her body, and staring malevolently into the crowd. She comes off as marvelously unhinged; Kathleen Hanna's early performances with Bikini Kill come to mind. A week after the inauguration, we're going to need all kinds of collective healing, and there are few bands better equipped to provide it.
Technofeminism: Juana, Johann Moon, Beta Librae, Umfang
Bossa Nova Civic Club
10 p.m., free before midnight, $10 after
Premier Brooklyn techno collective Discwoman’s monthly party Technofeminism is the perfect opportunity to go out knowing the whole night will be packed with fire sets. This month the party, which takes place at the intimate Brooklyn dance music spot Bossa Nova Civic Club, features Discwoman founder Umfang’s banging techno and Chicago house DJ Juana, whose love of prog rock and free jazz inspires wide ranging sonic adventures.
7:30 p.m., $29.50 - $39.50
Post-rock stalwarts Mogwai have played their meditative instrumental music for two decades now, releasing eight full albums and countless movie soundtracks and collaborations. Over the years, their compositions have sprawled further and further and provided less immediate gratification, requiring patience that their many hardcore fans are happy to provide. Last year, the band announced they’ll be working on their ninth studio album with Dave Fridmann, who produced their classic 2001 album Rock Action. It should be interesting to see the band as they work on their new material—fans at this show may get an early peek of this year’s release.
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