The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 3/20/15
Kaki King performs Saturday at Merkin Concert Hall.
Publicity photo by Randy Gunter
For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.
Friday, 3/20 Miguel Zenón Hostos Center for Performing Arts, Repertory Theater 7:30 p.m., $15 / $7.50 for students/those under eighteen Last year's large ensemble effort Identities Are Changeable wasn't only a surging slab of big-band invention, it was a sociopolitical statement that unpacked the distinctions of Puerto Rican lives in all their ever-morphing variety on a single record. With snippets of interviews bubbling up at key points of the typically effervescent tracks, Miguel Zenón, killer alto saxophonist and MacArthur Fellow, supercharged his charts with firsthand testimony. This quartet gig should do the same, with multimedia visuals vivifying the personal reportage. Zenón's badass foursome is known for its precision and intensity (drummer Henry Cole, y'all), and the firsthand testimony that accompanies the work brings out the music's heart. The audience and artist will take the conversation even further during a question-and-answer session after the show. — Jim Macnie
Richard Bennett Rubin Museum of Art 7 p.m., $20 Richard Bennett is one in a select group of musicians, Eastern or Western, who have attempted to translate Indian classical music to the piano. The New York–based composer and performer adds a jazzy harmonic dimension to Indian ragas' horizontally inclined structure. It's fusion for sure, but it also often evokes the focused ferocity of the singers of Hindustani music, as on his latest solo album, Pure. Bennett will be joined here by Indrajit Roy Chowdhury (sitar) and Naren Budkhar (tabla). The show is all ages and begins at 7 p.m. sharp. — Richard Gehr
SBCR DJ Set (The Bloody Beetroots) and Peking Duk Webster Hall 10 p.m., $25 The Bloody Beetroots have evolved a lot in their nearly decade-long career. From leading the fidget-house movement with Crookers, collaborating with Dim Mak's Steve Aoki, and transforming into a live band, the Italian duo's frontman and now solo member, Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo — a/k/a SBCR — is bringing it back to his roots with a DJ set. The former Beetroot will bring his mix of electro that's hard enough for a rock fan to the legendary weekly Boys and Girls night at Webster Hall. If you're looking to do some headbanging at a rave, this one's for you. — Lina Abascal
Guy Klucevsek Residency The Stone Friday–Sunday, 8 p.m. & 10 p.m., $25 Put aside all your petty accordion prejudices. This show launches a six-day residency featuring composer Guy Klucevsek, who, having mastered the instrument in virtually all of its classical, modern, jazz, and international manifestations, has extended it into another dimension altogether. Following tonight's duets with fellow box squeezer Alan Bern, Klucevsek will return with the octet Teetering on the Verge of Normalcy (3/18), an evening of music for solo accordion (3/19), and a trio finale dubbed All Accordions All the Time (3/22) later this month. — Richard Gehr
Photo by Shervin Lainez
Saturday, 3/21 Vinnie Sperrazza Greenwich House Music School 7:30 p.m., $20 I doubt I've ever enjoyed guitarist Brandon Seabrook's outside playing as much as on the versatile and seemingly ubiquitous drummer Vinnie Sperrazza's terrific 2014 debut as a bandleader, Apocryphal. With saxophonist Loren Stillman supplying linear relief to Seabrook's atonal splashes and feints, this quartet exists in a provocative and ghostly zone of its own, with Sperrazza hovering over it all like time's immortal spider. Stillman will warm up during a duo set with pianist Russ Lossing. $20. — Richard Gehr
ETHEL+Kaki King+John King Merkin Concert Hall 7:30 p.m., $25 Guitars and strings glide and collide at this Ecstatic Music Festival event when the borderline-outrageous and ceaselessly adventurous string quartet ETHEL renews its recent collaborative acquaintance with young guitar virtuoso Kaki King while adding sophisticated fretsperimentalist John King to the mix. The program opens with John King's 1997 composition for the string quartet that would become ETHEL and then proceeds to juxtapose folk, Middle Eastern, Indian, and process-music tropes and strategies with old-fashioned stomps, grooves, blues, and "stank." — Richard Gehr
Cashmere Cat Webster Hall 7 p.m., $22–$25 Taking influence from Nineties pop, Newark's Jersey club, and r&b, Norwegian-born Cashmere Cat has recently dropped his anonymous SoundCloud act and hit the mainstream. Collaborating with Ariana Grande, Jeremih, and Ludacris, Cashmere Cat is known for his dreamy take on modern r&b while throwing in the occasional bed squeak or bubble pop sample as his signature. Headlining Webster Hall, he's diversifying the club's typical bottle service vibe and bringing along a worldly roster of his favorite producers to open, Night Slugs' L-Vis 1990 and Jersey club queen UNiiQU3. The show is eighteen-plus and $20. — Lina Abascal
Photo by Alex Lake
Sunday, 3/22 Necking and Talibam! Trans-Pecos 2 p.m., $7 Fresh off their wild communal gathering, which saw Brooklyn electro-dance/"no school" rap/free-improv institution Talibam! leading a noble effort to "Levitate VICE Media into the East River" through chants, prayers, and song, the DIY-or-die duo of Matt Mottel and Kevin Shea are back at it again. For this all-day bash, it will be a Talibam!-fest celebrating the release of their dancefloor-sweaty, techno-inspired Translition to Siriusness EP and what promises to be yet another apeshit appearance by Shea's dementedly horny solo project Sexy Thoughts. This spectacular also comes with a bittersweet taste: Mottel booked today's show to send off drummer Nick Lesley in style, a scene mainstay who, after enjoying a fruitful run as underground gig booker and serving as solid anchor for local psych-jamming noiseniks Necking, is departing our fair city. Aside from Necking, Lesley and Mottel will join forces to unleash their druggy space-jazzified rock assault as Alien Whale while Colin L (formerly of prog-punk unit TheUSAisaMonster) continues his mastery of Seventies-styled, finger-picking, countrified lite-pop as heard on the recently released Proven. Who knows when you'll see Necking or Alien Whale again, so get yo' ass to Trans Pecos and say farewell. — Brad Cohan
Björk Kings Theatre 3 p.m., $75–$100 With a new album (the heartbreaking breakup record Vulnicura), a MoMA retrospective, eight shows in New York, and an upcoming appearance at Governors Ball, this is the season of the ever-experimental Icelandic artist Björk. Joining her at these intimate shows will be a fifteen-piece orchestra and the percussionist Manu Delago. Arca, the Venezuelan producer and musician who collaborated with Björk on Vulnicura, will be joining her for the matinee shows. The shows are all sold out, but tickets are available on the secondary market. — Karen Gardiner
Hozier+George Ezra Hammerstein Ballroom 8 p.m., $39.50 Inescapable but irresistible, Hozier's hit single, "Take Me to Church," has over 222 million Spotify streams and more than 25 million YouTube views, and earned a Grammy nod for Song of the Year (losing to Sam Smith). Not bad for a 24-year-old Irish singer-songwriter who, less than two years ago, was a struggling pub/street musician in Dublin. The darkly emotive video for "Take Me to Church" struck a chord with its scenes/themes of gay oppression, but live, Andrew Hozier-Byrne will prove he has more than one haunting, eloquent song. (To wit, there's 53 minutes of them on his 2014 self-titled debut, including the stellar "Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene.") The show is open to all ages and starts at 8 p.m. with a set from George Ezra. — Katherine Turman
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