The Ten Best Concerts in NYC This Week


Here are the 10 best concerts around the city this weekend, in no particular order.

Keyshia Cole
Mon., 7pm. Best Buy Theater, $40.
As Woman to Woman drops, Keyshia Cole goes live with her sultry, old-school r&b take on strength in the face of duplicitous lovers. Few others are able to lay down soul power ballads that feature Lil’ Wayne without conceding any of the spotlight. — By Aidan Levy

METZ + Hunters
Mon., 9:30pm. Mercury Lounge, $10.
With an arsenal containing squealing feedback, hyper-charged cymbal crashes, and vocalist-guitarist Alex Edkins’s worn-ragged vocal chords, Toronto trio METZ turned heads at last month’s CMJ festival as they tortured various New York venues’ speaker systems. The secret to their appeal is the way their abrasive instrument abuse somehow comes across as accessible enough to have found them a home on Nirvana’s pre-fame record label, Sub Pop, but without compromising any of their gnarly, gritty, drooling primal paroxysms. Their self-titled debut seethes with the sort of electric charge that powered the best and dingiest acts to emerge in the mid-’80s pig-fuck music scene (Big Black, Pussy Galore) but never so much as to become utterly nauseating. It’s a delicate balance, and it’s one that METZ–capital letters and all–somehow maintains. With Hunters. — By Kory Grow

Del McCoury
Mon., 8pm. City Winery, $55 – $75.
Bluegrass elder Del McCoury, 73, offers a mainline connection to the sound’s origins in Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, whom he joined for a while in 1963. This short tour teams the guitarist with Sam Bush, the mandolin king of modern bluegrass (or “newgrass,” if you must), who plays the diminutive instrument in a percussive, jazzy, and yet highly emotive style while naturally reflecting its Monroe-vian legacy. — By Richard Gehr

Of Monsters and Men

Tues. and Wed., 8pm. Terminal 5, $25/$30.
The 2011 debut album from this Icelandic indie folk-pop band combined tricks culled from the Arcade Fire and the Decemberists but avoided the sprawl of either. Group singalongs are present, but only to mask a delicate and rewarding sensitivity. Hope you guys are having fun with the new Mumford & Sons album, but I’ll be off listening to this instead. — By Vijith Assar

Bob Dylan + Mark Knopfler
Wed., 7:30. Barclays Center, $45-$149.50.
The mythic perversity of Bob Dylan remains in full effect. Set lists for the four most recent shows (November 1 to 5) on the growling elder’s current arena tour reveal a grand total of zero songs from his autumnal September release, Tempest. Connoisseurs of the mystique, however, will argue that what Dylan sings is less important than how he sings it and that one’s appreciation correlates directly to familiarity with the text. So maybe he’s simply waiting for his audience to get Tempest‘s archetypal shuffles, ballads, blues, and Leo DiCaprio shout-outs under its collective belt. (Me, I show up for Dylan’s increasingly rare Coltrane-like harmonica solos.) Former Dire Straits leader Mark Knopfler opens with possibly more than enough material from his roots-reviving new Privateering; i.e., don’t hold your breath for “Sultans of Swing.” — By Richard Gehr

Conor Oberst + Ian Felice
Wed., 8pm. Carnegie Hall, $30-$44.
From Bright Eyes and Desaparecidos to his latest work with the Mystic Valley Band, Oberst’s work has almost always been a solo vision. On this tour, however, he’s even announcing himself as such–so prepare for a diverse set list. Now past the point of using his angst-ridden shaky vocals as a crutch, Oberst can offer a little bit of everything: Expect endearing self-hatred, folk-driven political rants, alt-country crowd pleasers, hazy electro-pop, and as always, that emotional extremism we hate to love (and vice-versa). — By Sarah Madges

Jeffrey Lewis + Juan Waters
Wed., 8:30. Knitting Factory Brooklyn, $10/$12.
Born on the Lower East Side, Lewis is both a fine cartoonist and an often-hilarious guitar-as-weapon folk agitator in the tradition of Woody Guthrie, the Fugs, and the Ramones. Expect amusing ruminations on boho love from his most recent album, A Turn in the Dream Songs, and consider politely requesting earlier masterpieces such as “The Last Time I Took LSD I Went Insane,” “Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror,” and “Complete History of Jeff’s Sexual Conquests, Vol 1.” With Juan Wauters of the Howard Stern-loving Beets. — By Richard Gehr

R. Kelly
Wed. and Fri., 7:30 and 8pm. Theater at Madison Square Garden, $49.50-$125.
Last time Kells came to town, he celebrated the release of Love Letter by reading one his mother had written to him before she died. Tonight, he’s here for the sequel Write Me Back, but as the holidays approach, don’t feel shy in requesting “Love Letter Christmas,” one of the highlights from that previous LP. Just let him play “Feelin’ Single” first.

Maria Schneider Orchestra

Wed. through Sun., 7:30 and 9:30pm daily. Jazz Standard, $35.
The visionary bandleader-composer arrives for her group’s annual Thanksgiving run here having recently recorded her fan-funded “Carlos Drummond de Andrade Stories” with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and soprano Dawn Upshaw. Schneider specializes in buoyant big-band music with classical aspirations, and she’s ably aided and abetted by the likes of Frank Kimbrough (piano), Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), and Ron Oswanski (accordion). — By Richard Gehr

Henry Threadgill + ZOOID
Fri., 8pm. Roulette Brooklyn, $25.
The constantly surprising, boundary-eluding composer and instrumentalist (flutes and alto sax) augments his regular quartet ZOOID–Liberty Ellman (acoustic guitar), Jose Davila (trombone and tuba), Elliot Humberto Kavee (drums), and Zachary Lober (bass)–with a four-piece horn section for the world premiere of the promisingly titled “Dimples.” Expect beautifully idiosyncratic sounds hinting at steadfast forms while elusively melting into a never-ending moment. — By Richard Gehr

Swans’ Most Terrifying Songs
On Odd Future, Rape and Murder, And Why We Sometimes Like the Things That Repel Us
How Not To Write About Female Musicians: A Handy Guide