The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 12/7/12


Here are the ten best concerts this weekend, in no particular order.

The Rolling Stones
Barclays Center
Saturday, 8pm, $99.50-$754.50
It may have taken the Rolling Stones until the end of 2012 to figure out how to celebrate their 50th anniversary, but there’s no question they’re doing it in style. On the heels of releasing the epic, 80-track greatest-hits comp GRRR!, they’ve already staged two raved-about live celebrations in the U.K. that featured ex-Stones like Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor and non-Stones like Mary J. Blige and Jeff Beck. As of press time they haven’t leaked any surprises for tonight or the coming week’s two New Jersey shows, but whatever they do, it will surely be big. — By Kory Grow

‘Jingle-Ball All-Access Lounge’
Hammerstein Ballroom
Friday, 12pm, free
Prep for Jingle Ball–or desperately search for tickets–this afternoon at Hammerstein Ballroom, where the pre-show all-access lounge hosts Ed Sheeran, Cher Lloyd, Olly Murs, and Bridgit Mendler. If you’re playing hooky, whether from school or from work, you could do a lot worse.

Billy Drummond Group
Smalls Jazz Club
Saturday & Sunday, 10:30pm, $20
It’s all about feel with this drummer: He makes sure that his mainstream fare takes chances, considers the textural, and proffers pleasure. Along the way rigor gets its fair share as well. This quartet, with saxophonist Jaleel Shaw out front, seems like it could walk on the exclamatory side of the tracks. Drummond is always up for a coordinated ruckus. — By Jim Macnie

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit + Communist Daughter
Bowery Ballroom
Friday, 9pm, $20
Don’t harsh the former Drive-By Trucker if the best thing on his gritty new live album with his tough trio is a surprisingly faithful cover of Neil Young’s “Like a Hurricane.” All the other finely observed hard-times tracks on Live From Alabama sound nearly as urgent, especially the boozy “Cigarettes and Wine” and noble DBT standard “Danko/Manuel.” — By Richard Gehr

Tom Wopat
54 Below
Friday, 7pm, $30
If you’re looking for rough-hewn masculine grace, this guy’s got it by the cartons. Yes, he was Luke Duke on the television series, but he’s driven a long way since then, having proved himself time and again as a Broadway leading man as well as character actor. Crooning doesn’t come as effortless almost anywhere else. Consider yourself lucky if he includes Jimmy Webb’s “The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress.” As always, Tedd Firth’s at the keyboard. — By David Finkle

Cyndi Lauper + Sarah McLachlan + Whoopi Goldberg + Adam Lambert + Rosie O’Donnell + Roberta Flack + St. Vincent
Beacon Theater
Saturday, 8pm, $50-$500
To cap off an eventful and likely “fun” year, which has included the release of her memoir and an appearance as the Grand Marshal of the city’s Gay Pride Parade, Cyndi Lauper is now making last year’s successful Home for the Holidays benefit concert an annual event. Tonight’s program, which benefits Lauper’s True Colors Fund–which raises awareness about homeless gay, bisexual, and transgender youth–features a star-studded lineup that includes Lauper, Sarah McLachlan, Adam Lambert, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Roberta Flack, St. Vincent, Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells, members of Counting Crows, and more. — By Kory Grow

Yo La Tengo
Maxwell’s (Hoboken, NJ)
Starts Saturday, 9pm daily, $35
Skipping their annual tradition only once since 2001, Yo La Tengo continue their 
enlightening eight-night Hanukkah benefit run this year at Maxwell’s in Hoboken. In the past, each evening has offered a different comedian (Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman, David Cross), opening act (Alex Chilton, Redd Kross, Sun Ra Arkestra), beneficiary (expect several Sandy-related donations), mixtape (by band and friends), and emotionally rocking YLT set. The secret lineups are a roll of the dice, tickets are tighter than Grover Norquist’s wallet, and you’ll probably be stuck behind what even the trio reckons to be “the world’s tallest audience.” But it’s all worth it to see an adult rock band at the top of their game, playing to friends and family in what only a few weeks ago was one of the world’s wettest towns. — By Richard Gehr

‘Z100 Jingle Ball’
Madison Square Garden
Friday, 7:30 pm, $50
With Ne-Yo, Justin Bieber, fun., Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Jason Mraz, The Wanted, Taylor Swift, Olly Murs, B.o.B., and Cher Lloyd.

Miguel Zenón + Laurent Coq
Jazz Standard
Ends Sunday, 7:30pm & 9:30pm daily, $20
On the new Rayuela the saxophonist and pianist take their cues from the characters of Julio Cortazar’s novel of the same name, a tome that urges its readers to absorb the chapters out of sequence to milk new meaning from them. The mild (and gorgeous) surrealism that crops in this quartet’s music does have its own POV. But mostly it’s churning interplay that consistently recalibrates the action. — By Jim Macnie

Traversable Wormhole + Material Objects + Gobby
Big Sky Works
Friday, 10pm, $10/$15/$20
Adam X is a certified New York techno legend, responsible for the early Storm Raves and founder of the Sonic Groove label. His conceptually rigorous Traversable Wormhole alias is a glory of psychedelic, sci-fi dance music, as hypnotic as it is propulsive. Material Object joins the lineup for his NYC debut, fresh off his contribution to Chris Liebing’s prestigious CLR Podcast. — By Aaron Gonsher