The Top Ten Concerts in New York This Week, 1/5/15
Neneh Cherry plays New York for the first time ever on January 9.
For more shows throughout the week, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.
Monday, 1/5 Operators Baby's All Right 8 p.m., $12–$15 The ever-prolific Dan Boeckner, of Wolf Parade, Divine Fits, and Handsome Furs fame kept his latest project, Operators, under wraps for some time. But in August, the group — featuring Boeckner, Divine Fits drummer Sam Brown, and keyboardist Devojka — stepped out with its first recordings, EP1, one of the most surprising (and under-recognized) pop albums of the year. The throwback synthpop is an undeniably dancey and hook-heavy treat. Hints of Boeckner's time in Divine Fits make their way into "Cruel," a standout dance track sure to be one of the highlights of Operators' live set. — By Jill Menze
'Mobile Mondays' w/ Operator EMZ+Joey Carvello+Natasha Diggs+Just Blaze+Misbehaviour+$$$Mike Bowery Electric 10 p.m., FREE Anyone can queue MP3s through Serato, some can play sets with their collection of 12-inches, but a DJ night with only 45s? Until a backward-looking Brooklyn dive attempts to throw a party where DJs have to stick to wax cylinders, no one is going to touch Bowery Electric's Mobile Mondays, the weekly event where residents like Operator EMZ, Joey Carvello, Natasha Diggs, and (when he's not touring the world) Just Blaze, with guests like Biz Markie, Kenny Dope, DJ Scratch, and Spinderella, keep you moving without the help of any records bigger than seven inches. Whether it's your first time or fortieth, tonight's party is a must-attend, as the one and only Jellybean Benitez — resident at the Funhouse, producer for Madonna and Whitney, and solo artist behind 1984 freestyle classic "The Mexican" — makes his Mobile Mondays debut. — By Nick Murray
Photo by Monkeybird
Willie Watson City Winery 8 p.m., $45 After a fifteen-year stint as the frontman of modern-ramblers troupe Old Crow Medicine Show, singer/songwriter Willie Watson veered off on his own in late 2011, toward a performance style that favored traditional folk songs over his originals. These days, Watson's performances avoid flashiness: Each storied, old-sounding tune rolls naturally into the next, guitar lines unadorned and all the more arresting for their simplicity. Like Steve Earle, whom he will join onstage at City Winery as a guest in Earle's annual residency, Watson lets sincerity and his gravel-flecked singing style take the spotlight. — By Carena Liptak
Thursday, 1/8 Rustie Music Hall of Williamsburg 9 p.m., $25–$30 With the release of Green Language, the follow-up to dazzling debut Glass Swords, Scottish producer Rustie contributed to a particularly good 2014 for the seminal electronic label Warp Records. Green Language led with one of the year's most banging tracks, a collaboration with Danny Brown called "Attak," and now Rustie brings his distinctly weird Glaswegian style of hip-hop — call it wonk/aquacrunk if you must — to Brooklyn. The live show promises to feature "immersive 3-D visuals by A-Rock" including such trippy/potentially terrifying effects as lost Egyptian artifacts and swarms of birds. The show is open to everyone 18 and older. — By Karen Gardiner
Jazz Legends play for Disability Pride NYC The Quaker's Friends Meeting House 8 p.m., $100–$145 With Ron Carter, Renee Rosnes, Russell Malone, Brad Mehldau, George Coleman, Benny Golson, Jimmy Cobb, Peter Bernstein, Buster Williams, Mike LeDonne, Harold Mabern, John Webber, Joe Farnsworth, Bill Charlap, Kenny Washington, and more.
11th Annual NYC Winter Jazz Fest The Winter Jazzfest (through Saturday, January 10, at various venues) is the jazz equivalent of CMJ, taking place over three nights at 10 intimate venues within walking distance of each other in the Village, with a hundred acts and five hundred performers. The leading lights and the young lions are all there, so for the price of one set at the Vanguard, catch Marc Ribot and the Young Philadelphians, Tyshawn Sorey, and Linda Oh, or dozens of others. The Saturday marathon has David Murray and Saul Williams, Meshell Ndégeocello, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Nicholas Payton on the lineup. It's impossible to catch everything, so jazz FOMO is in full effect. Begins at 5 p.m. on the day of show, passes available for purchase and pickup at Judson Church, 55 Washington Square South. Single Day Pass, $35; two-day pass, $55; three-day pass, $75, www.winterjazzfest.com — Aidan Levy
Billy Joel Madison Square Garden 8 p.m., $64.50–$124.50 Las Vegas was once the go-to spot for legendary musicians looking to settle down for a residency, but it looks like MSG and Billy Joel have found a way to bring that concept home to New York. After playing a New Year's Eve show at Barclays, the Bronx-born, Long Island–bred performer, who has provided the pop and rock canon with an endless list of iconic, timeless, and modern standards, is preparing a monthly residency at the Garden from now until we're sick of him. From the first seven sold-out shows, the end of this East Coast franchise isn't going to arrive for some time — the Piano Man's got us feeling all right. — By Brittany Spanos
Friday, 1/9 Slick Rick Brooklyn Bowl 9 p.m., $15 Everyone's favorite bad-boy storyteller, Slick Rick, is back in NYC this new year. Although he hasn't put out an album in more than fifteen years, he has guested on singles from Raekwon to Ghostface to Jay-Z, and his flow is as sharp as ever. Known best for his ceaseless dedication as a raconteur, Slick Rick, born Ricky Martin Lloyd Walters, is consistently creating roles and filling them with the most inventive yet relatable characters. From "La-Di-Da-Di" to "Hey Young World," the man's music is everywhere, and his infamous "Children's Story" has been sampled in over six hundred songs since its release. Despite his tumultuous past and history with the law, Slick Rick is focused on positivity, attending correctional facilities to mentor youths and advising high school and college music students. On January 9, Slick Rick performs a solo show at the Brooklyn Bowl where anyone 21 and over can catch the witty, eye-patch-wearing Brit spit fantastical stories that always resonate in reality. $15 at the door, cash only. Doors are at 6 and the show starts at 9 p.m. — By Eleanor Lambert
Neneh Cherry plays New York for the first time ever on January 9.
Neneh Cherry Highline Ballroom 7 p.m., $35 Neneh Cherry, the criminally overlooked trip-hop songstress whose 1989 dance-rap MTV sensation "Buffalo Stance" still reverberates to this day with its know-how 'tude and hardcore feminist raison d'être, remarkably plays her first-ever NYC show. The globetrotting Swedish-born punk disciple and stepdaughter of legendary trumpeter Don Cherry, she vanished from the limelight before her unlikely collaboration with Swiss avant-jazz skronkers the Thing on mind-blowing all-covers LP The Cherry Thing in 2012. Now Cherry is celebrating the titillating beats/poetry-driven, minimalist soul jazz of the Four Tet–produced Blank Project, her first record of originals since 1996. Fittingly, Cherry is joined by synth-drum duo RocketNumberNine as her backing band. DFA-signed world music stylist Sinkane and guitar whiz Kaki King open. This is a super-rare chance to see art-pop queen Cherry in soulful action. -- By Brad Cohan
Dr. Dog Music Hall of Williamsburg 8 p.m., $25–$35 Between those groovy guitar riffs, that blissful tambourine and the wailing background add-ins, Dr. Dog make music that just plain feels good. It's the kind of music that travels through your ears, into your body and out through your inevitably dancing limbs. There is something undeniably psychedelic about the Pennsylvania-based folk-rockers, their music reminiscent of a past era. Dr. Dog's two main members, Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman, began jamming in the eighth grade, and over the years their sound has ripened and developed. Over seven studio albums, the band has traversed lo-fi, alternative-indie, folk, and psychedelic rock. Dr. Dog are coming to New York City for a whopping eight days, playing four shows at the Music Hall of Williamsburg and four at the Bowery Ballroom — four of the eight shows are already sold out, so fans sixteen and older should grab their tickets before they're totally gone. — By Eleanor Lambert
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