The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, Feat. Tom Waits's Right-Hand Man
For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.
Friday, 1/23 Sufjan Stevens Howard Gilman Opera House Friday–Sunday, 7:30 p.m., $30–$65 Remember when Sufjan Stevens vowed to make an album about each of the union's 50 states? Ultimately he got stuck somewhere around the Great Lakes, only making it as far as Michigan and Illinois, but the grand ambition of the project was enough to convince us of his love for Americana in all forms. Tonight, the indie singer-songwriter-composer serenades another U.S. tradition: the rodeo. In "Round-Up," a new multimedia performance commissioned by BAM, Stevens presents an electronic score about the bull-wrangling American phenomenon, with members of the Yarn/Wire ensemble on percussion and piano. A film by Alex and Aaron Craig, composed of footage from Oregon's 2013 Pendleton Round-Up, will provide the appropriate atmosphere. — By Heather Baysa
Girls & Boys: Knife Party w/ Alex English, Dali & Hiyawatha Webster Hall 10 p.m., $40–$50 Girls & Boys is a weekly dance party thrown by the guys at Webster Hall, and with rowdy, simple fun, it never disappoints. This week it plays host to Australian EDM group Knife Party, a duo known for their filthy bass drops and all-around loudness. Their 2011 track "Internet Friends" introduced music fans to a hilarious, well-produced, and musically suspenseful kind of sound, and their 2012 hit with the Swedish House Mafia, "Antidote," solidified their skill in and commitment to the craft. The duo will be playing alongside New Jersey boys Cash Cash, progressive-house wonder Pierce Fulton, and a few newer guys like Alex English, Dali, and Hiyawatha. — By Eleanor Lambert
Vijay Iyer Residency at The Stone The Stone Friday–Sunday, 8 p.m., $20 He's made his name with his jazz trio, a flagship enterprise that will drop its best album yet in early February, but pianist Vijay Iyer has been involved in several improvising outfits, and a handful of them are part of this six-night run and its ever-changing cast of characters: a duet with trumpet icon Wadada Leo Smith, collabos with Open City author Teju Cole and poet Himanshu Suri, experimental ensembles both electric and acoustic, and overt instrumental nods to his Indian heritage. Iyer's is an art of integration that takes chances and flies high as a matter of course. Put a circle around the "Intuitionists" date, which finds him in cahoots with guitarist Liberty Ellman, bassist Reggie Workman and percussionist Tyshawn Sorey. There'll be magic there. — By Jim Macnie
Ferry Corsten Space NYC 10 p.m., $20–$50 After recently highlighting his musical evolution as a producer, Ferry Corsten retains that same, beloved trance flavor in most of his music. Since he broke onto the EDM scene under pseudonyms like System F and Gouryella, Corsten has been developing his sound — and has allowed it to follow the trends for the time being. More recently, Corsten teamed up with fellow trance-man Markus Schulz to create duo New World Punx, and between these varying musical personas Corsten has traversed the world of EDM subgenres. Tonight, Corsten will perform at Space NYC with a Full On Ferry show, a staple of his since 2007, and will feature a wide array of his music, from the deep-trance hits off L.E.F. to newer, harder songs like "Hyper Love." Corsten will be performing with fellow producers Max Vangeli and Mike Saint-Jules. — By Eleanor Lambert
Courtesy Mark Ribot
Saturday, 1/24 Northern Spy Presents at Sugarcube South Street Seaport 2 p.m., FREE Ever wanted to attend avant-guitar school and learn to shred from a six-string-wielding godhead? Well, here's your shot, and it won't cost you a dime (just a simple RSVP). Marc Ribot — the pride of downtown avant-garde jazz, John Zorn stable royalty, Lounge Lizard under John Lurie, Tom Waits's right-hand man, leader of Ceramic Dog, Y Los Cubanos Postizos (a/k/a "The Prosthetic Cubans"), and his Trio (with legendary bassist extraordinaire Henry Grimes and drummer Chad Taylor), and hardcore activist — will conduct his very own "How to Jam With Marc Ribot" workshop, sure to be an epically noisy jam-fest. No parameters or pro status required — just bring your instrument, an amp, or whatever you need to play along and shoot over to Sugarcube, an inflatable performance space at the South Street Seaport. After Ribot teaches you to slay, punk-jazz style, you'll be treated to a performance by another guitar luminary, Loren Connors. Here, Connors will create his atmospheric blues-damaged guitarscapes under his Haunted House moniker, accompanied by vocalist Suzanne Langille. To cap off the festivities, Ribot's Ceramic Dog (bassist/multi-instrumentalist wizard Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Ches Smith) will truly display a fret-hopping shred clinic as they dive into cuts off their excellent LP from 2013, Your Turn. — By Brad Cohan
Kayo Dot Coco 66 7 p.m., $8–$10 In Brooklyn's vast metal pantheon, few inhabit the distinct spectrum chamber-metallists Kayo Dot roam. As a constantly evolving left-field experi-metal beast who've recorded for both John Zorn's Tzadik imprint and über-metal label Hydra Head, bassist/vocalist Toby Driver's collective, despite being polar opposites, fit neatly alongside Psalm Zero, Dysrhythmia, and Krallice, with an entrancing post-metal fusion of ethereal heaviosity and labyrinthine melodies. Guided by Driver's coiled bass grooves, caressing monotone, and high-pitched wails, Kayo Dot's mind-bending Coffins on Io was like no other record released last year, as its apocalyptic dreamworld was set against a sonic backdrop of proggy jazz, Eighties goth, and darkwave that flashed nightmarish images of a Blade Runner–esque dystopia. Driver, also of hooded instrumental outsiders Secret Chiefs 3 and unclassifiable metallers Vaura, said it best when asked what vibe Kayo Dot went for on Coffins on Io: "The sound is kind of like a sexy combination of Type O Negative, Peter Gabriel, and Sisters of Mercy." Right on. Rounding out the bill are Gnaw and the Glorious Revolution. — By Brad Cohan
Joe Russo's Almost Dead Brooklyn Bowl 9 p.m., $25–$30 Joe Russo's Almost Dead: Don't you dare slag them off as a mere cover band. The group, otherwise known for its experimental Led Zeppelin instrumentals as Bustle in Your Hedgerow, here works its high-octane magic on Grateful Dead material, taking the improvisations to wild new realms. Keyboardist Marco Benevento and guitarist Scott Metzer (who's been raising the ghost of Danny Gatton in his other group, Wolf!), are the special sauce. On Friday, the lanes will be energized by the annual Freaks Ball, thrown by a local group of rabid live-music connoisseurs. — By Richard Gehr
Savages Saint Vitus Bar 8 p.m., $12–$15 (SOLD OUT) There's a ferocity to Savages that can't be denied. After forming in 2011, the all-girl London band made waves in the U.K. and U.S. with its early releases, peaking in popularity with 2013's Silence Yourself. The music is quintessential post-punk, recalling the greats like Siouxsie and the Banshees and Joy Division. Live, the room is fully charged with emotion: There's no escaping the raw power of singer Jehnny Beth's howls. On their current string of New York club dates, Savages are previewing new material. It's a hot ticket — all shows are sold out — but tickets are available on the secondary market. Rounding out the bill on January 31 is black-clad New York rocker Nick Zinner. — By Jill Menze
We Are The Music Makers NYPL Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center 12 p.m., FREE The Music Maker Relief Foundation, in association with Lincoln Center Out of Doors and Americanfest NYC, has put together a multimedia exhibition dedicated to the cultural history of Southern traditional music. "We are the Music Makers" features photo and audio documentation of Southern roots musicians active in the past twenty years, all photographed and recorded by Tim Duffy, Music Maker Relief Foundation's founder, in his quest to preserve Southern traditional music by partnering with the artists who make it. The multimedia materials will highlight questions of how poverty, geography, and age have limited the exposure of these artists, causing the widespread idea that the musical traditions they perform have "died out."
Sunday, 1/25 Zola Jesus Saint Vitus Bar 8 p.m., $15–$18, SOLD OUT Just about everything Zola Jesus does is epic in scope, and that includes last year's expansive LP, Taiga, written in isolation on a woodsy island in Puget Sound. Though an earlier leg of her tour in support of the album reflected those grandiose tendencies, Zola Jesus returns to NYC to play a much more intimate venue: Greenpoint's premiere (and only) metal bar, Saint Vitus (1120 Manhattan Avenue). With a capacity of around 350, the venue sold out of both scheduled Zola Jesus shows quickly, but fear not! Tickets are available via secondary markets like StubHub and Craigslist. We recommend snapping some up for Sunday's show, because opener Deradoorian (as in Angel Deradoorian, formerly of Dirty Projectors/currently in Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks) is likely to share stunning new solo material. — By Lindsey Rhoades
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