The Nine Best Concerts in New York This Week, 6/08/15
For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.
Monday, 6/08 Calexico Bowery Ballroom 8 p.m., $25 Frida Kahlo, Band of Horses' Ben Bridwell, the winged serpent god Quetzalcoatl, Neko Case, Mexico City, Iron and Wine's Sam Beam, the Virgin of Guadalupe, DeVotchKa's Nick Urata and Tom Hagerman, Pedro Reyes, Carla Morrison, Molotov, Gaby Moreno, Amparo Sanchez, Athens, Takim, Sergio Mendoza, Craig Schumacher, and Animals frontman Eric Burdon: In one way or another, all of these people figured into Calexico's richly textured new album, Edge of the Sun. Calexico, the veteran Tucson band whose creative core comprises guitarist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino, found inspiration and collaboration for their multifaceted record in Mexico City, Athens (of the Greek variety, not R.E.M.'s stomping grounds), and their hometown. Though the sojourn near Mexico City was a profoundly beautiful experience, the impact on the songwriting for the album wasn't direct, and this multicultural approach shines through their live performance of the new material. Gaby Moreno opens. -- Linda Laban
Blue Note Jazz Festival Blue Note Daily, 8 p.m., $20 - $55 Some jazz fests bet the farm on stylistic focus; some let a wide breadth carry the day. File this year's Blue Note Jazz Festival in the latter category and get ready for action. If you participate fully, you'll be bouncing around town (and genres). How else to describe a month-long confab that includes Bebel Gilberto and Kathleen Battle as well as Oliver Lake and the Rippingtons? Mainstream swing, old-school blues, swamp rock, classical refractions, and the city's first all-women mariachi outfit -- the BNJF curators aren't sweating the orthodoxy, and that alone is rather refreshing. Icons are invited, of course; saxophonist Lee Konitz, drummer Roy Haynes, and pianist Abdullah Ibrahim still have the power to amaze. You'll need to sketch your own must-see list, but be wise: That Bad Plus-Joshua Redman gig has to make the cut. -- Jim Macnie
Michael Eaton and Adam Minkoff Present John Coltrane's Ascension Shapeshifter Lab 7 p.m., $15 Coltrane's rip-snort, wham-bam, OMG opus was recorded fifty years ago this month, and it still packs the shit-just-got-real punch that it did back in the day. A collective roar from a feisty large ensemble, it embraced both political and spiritual overtones when it shook the world in the mid-Sixties. Saxophonist Michael Eaton and bassist Adam Minkoff have gathered their own mega-squad of improvisers adept at outcat exclamation, and from Michael Attias' alto to Briggan Krauss' bari, it should be intriguing to see where their pointed polyphony leads them. One thing's certain: the physical punch of the 14-member outfit will be its own reward. This is body music and head music. Fans of superb pianist Anthony Coleman might want to circle the date. He doesn't get his McCoy on very often. -- Jim Macnie
Tuesday, 6/09 Dave Matthews Band Nikon at Jones Beach Theater 7 p.m., $40.50+ The other day I was talking to a friend who informed me that he and his wife, parents of two children, would be making a four-hour roundtrip journey to the big city near their home because she JUST LOVES DAVID GRAY. Does anything say love like taking your date to hear "White Ladder?" Perhaps accompanying them to see the Dave Matthews Band. Every summer, friends and loved ones are dragged to concerts they wouldn't normally be caught within snarking distance of. The best thing to do is just lean into it. Embrace it. Ride the river of excitement around you. Pack a bottle and an enhancement if you need to. But, above all, show your friends and loved ones a good time. Odds are, it'll be reciprocated. -- Chris Kornelis
Bad Religion Music Hall of Williamsburg 8 p.m., $30 Whether you consider Bad Religion the thinking punker's choice or the soundtrack to undergraduate societal discontent, it's impossible to fault the band for encouraging considered dissent, sponsoring an annual college scholarship, or giving "21st Century Digital Boy" to a crumbling world that's emphatically tuned it's three-chord broadsides out (and there have been so, so many) since Day One. Along for the ride because, why not: California's next generation of punk rockers (and fellow Epitaph label champs) Plague Vendor. The show is sold out, but tickets can be found on the secondary market. -- Ray Cummings
Jana Hunter of Lower Dens
Photo by Frank Hamilton
Wednesday, 6/10 John Hollenbeck's Songs We Like A Lot Roulette 8 p.m., $20 There's no lack of flourish in the arrangements John Hollenbeck scripts for the Frankfurt Radio Big Band on his recent pair of albums, Songs I Like A Lot and Songs We Like A Lot. The pop nuggets he reimagines — "True Colors," "Close To You" and "Up Up and Away" among them — are snuggled into elaborate designs that deliver recognizable beauty even as they bet the farm on idiosyncrasy. For this celebration of the second disc's arrival, his own Large Ensemble (a who's who of NYC improvisers) put their own spin on the charts, with intrepid vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckmann out front riding the abstractions and balancing them with sentiment. Cyndi Lauper gets a dab of minimalism, Daft Punk the robotics they deserve; by the time Queen's "Bicycle Race" subsides, you'll know silliness is next to godliness. It's on par with the way the Fifth Dimension is whisked to the 5th dimension (in Hollenbeck's beautiful 20-member balloon). -- Jim Macnie
The Bad Plus + Joshua Redman Highline Ballroom 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., $30-$60 The best jazz cover of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" appears on the 2004 album Give by The Bad Plus. The Minneapolis trio's arrangement of the tune is crazily creative, and in pounding out the iconic Iommi riff, pianist Ethan Iverson proves how aurally heavy an acoustic instrument can be. Although this band doesn't trade exclusively in metal covers, they bring the same unconventional approach to all of their work, tackling material ranging from Igor Stravinsky to the Pixies, from Ornette Coleman to original compositions. At the double-header performances at the Highline Ballroom on June 10, they're joined by superstar saxophonist Joshua Redman, the new fourth member of the band, and will celebrate their collaborative album, The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, which came out May 26. -- Linda Leseman
Thursday, 6/11 Lukas Ligeti Austrian Cultural Forum 7:30 p.m., Free with reservation The virtuosic, culture-mashing, and technology-savvy Austrian composer-percussionist Lukas Ligeti celebrates his imminent fiftieth birthday and relocation to a SoCal teaching gig with a pair of premiere-studded farewell concerts (the second is Sunday 6/14 at Roulette). Tonight's program includes the kalimba solo Dust, Play Addict for toy piano and sampler, the Ghanian agogo bell-inspired Lakoni in Kazonnde for two drummers, and three works for Ligeti's indie-classical quintet Notebook, which features guitarist Eyal Maoz. -- Richard Gehr
Lower Dens Music Hall of Williamsburg 8 p.m., $17 Jana Hunter finally decided to release the small anxieties so she may truly fill the stage. Hunter, leader of Baltimore-based post-rock band Lower Dens, made a conscious effort to untangle her neck muscles and embrace a new definition of performer. This change is evident on the group's third full-length, Escape From Evil, out on Ribbon Music. Her raw, bold candor investigates less savory human urges and insecurities through a thick fog of upbeat synth. Escape keeps a quicker pace than the past two records. It's more warm, laid bare — and Hunter's lyrics seep out glittering but neatly contained in a clear cadence. Lower Dens will play songs off Escape at the Music Hall of Williamsburg as a part of the Northside Festival, and while tickets are sold out, they can be found on the secondary market. -- Beca Grimm
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