The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 12/21/12


Here are the ten best concerts to check out around the city this weekend, in no particular order.

Dum Dum Girls + Crocodiles

The Glasslands Gallery
Friday, 8:30pm, $10/$12
What began as a scuzzy lo-fi one-woman show run by Kristin Gundred (“Dee Dee”), expanded to a noise pop project that added textured harmonies to the grittiness. With a classic Motown girl-group feel underneath layers of dreamy distortion, Dum Dum Girls pair unlikely sounds with unflinchingly likeable results. Think Siouxsie and the Banshees’ aesthetic with the Ronettes’ hooks–what’s not to love? — By Sarah Madges

‘A Swinging Birdland Christmas’
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 6pm, $30
Christmas may not recover when this bunch gets through with it. You may not either, but you’ll be glad you were under their mistletoe. This time, “they” refers to Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch, who play off each other like red and green, and Klea Blackhurst, who’ll sing here and be heard at the North Pole, but they’re nothing without bow-tied violinist/arranger Aaron Weinstein, guitarist John Hart, bassist Paul Gil, and drummer Carmen Intorre. — By David Finkle

Fucked Up
Friday, 7pm, $20
Earnestness has never come easily to the five smarmy imps who make up Toronto’s prog-punk collective Fucked Up, and now that they’re celebrating “Human Deadline Day,” they’re not showing any signs of late-hour introspection. The group’s members–who have become critical 
darlings for evolving from gravel-throated Black Flag sound-alikes into a quirky, heavy prog group capable of writing smart rock operas like last year’s David Comes to Life–have said they booked today’s show in “Earth’s capital” to ensure that it would be “wherever the party is when the shit all hits the universal fan.” But since Fucked Up’s singer has a reputation of charging the audience like a cannonball and throwing cereal on his fans, who’s to say it won’t all start here? Joining them for the apocalypse are indie-punks Lemuria, punks Night Birds, and indie rockers 
Parquet Courts. — By Kory Grow

Le Zhang Quintet
The Stone
Sunday, 10pm, $10
This adventurous Shanghai native specializes in deeply nuanced modern-jazz adaptations of well-known Mandarin folk songs, Buddhist sutras, and poetry. Le Zhang’s pop aspirations went haywire when she studied at the New England Conservatory, and she later worked with Kate Bush interpreter Theo Bleckmann. The singer’s quintet includes Sebastien Ammann (biano), Russ Flynn (bass), Max Jaffe (drums), and Jacob Teichroew (saxophone). — By Richard Gehr

Ben Rimalower
The Duplex
Friday & Saturday, 9:30pm, $15/$20
Oh, that Patti LuPone! She sure started something. Think of those Evita fans, or even tonight’s star, the one who calls his show “Patti Issues” and talks about being so diva-gone that he eventually found a way to work with and for her. Here, expect the 36-year-old writer/director to blend his attachment into the story of a life with (and too often without) a gay father. A sui generis cabaret event, directed by Aaron Mark. — By David Finkle

Sufjan Stevens + Sheila Saputo
Bowery Ballroom
Friday & Saturday, 8pm, $20
The ultimate Renaissance man of the indie scene, Sufjan Stevens creates folk of epic symphonic proportions. Now with a pair of Christmas albums under his belt, he is touring with a five-piece band in support of the second, Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas Vols. 6-10. Officially called the “The Sirfjam Stephanapolous Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Spectacular Music Pageant Variety Show Disaster,” the night will be a mix or reverent hymns, pop carols, and cheap holiday props. Song sheets will be provided, so there’s no excuse not to sing your holiday heart out. — By Sarah Madges

Vivian Green
Highline Ballroom
Sunday, 7:30pm, $26/$30
In the early part of the 2000s, r&b singer Vivian Green’s soulful crooning was inescapable, as singles like the sinewy “Emotional Rollercoaster” and the explosive slow jam “Gotta Go Gotta Leave (Tired)” seemed to be on the radio (and stores’ PA systems) everywhere. The five-year gap between her tour de force Vivian and 2010’s Beautiful seems to have been detrimental, though, as she hasn’t had a top 100 album since. That’s not to say, though, that her latest LP The Green Room, the record she’s supporting at tonight’s Fusicology Christmas Spectacular, isn’t as enchanting as its predecessors; it just needs the right platform. — By Kory Grow

‘Girls&Boys’ w/ Zed’s Dead + UZ
Webster Hall
Friday, 10pm, $20
As silly as all the hype around the supposedly impending apocalypse might be, if it offers us an occasion to drink top-shelf liquor and dance around like fools, then why not pretend? Tonight, Webster Hall’s Girls & Boys party offers perhaps the city’s best place to do just that, celebrating (?) the occasion with sets from Toronto bass DJs Zeds Dead and the mysterious UZ, whose pseudonymous productions have done as much as any to define the sound of 2012’s trendiest genre, trap rave. Of course, if the world is supposed to go up in flames at 11:11, then why are they waiting until 10 to start the party? — By Nick Murray

Kevin Saunderson + Rem Koolhaus
Cameo Gallery
Saturday, 11:59pm, $15/$20
In the creation myth of Detroit techno, Juan Atkins is the Godfather, Derrick May is the Innovator, and Kevin Saunderson is the Elevator. Now pushing 50, Saunderson revived seminal side-project Inner City earlier in 2012 and continues to gig tirelessly, with a highly-regarded reputation as a DJ despite a barely-there release schedule. This post-Mayan apocalypse bash is a rare opportunity to see Saunderson work his magic in an intimate space. — By Aaron Gonsher

‘The Holiday Guys in Happy Merry Hanu-Mas’
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church
8:30pm, Friday, $59.50-$74.50
The holiday guys of the title are Broadway beaus Marc Kudisch and Jeffry Denman, the former Jewish, the latter Gentile. This month, they find myriad ways to celebrate the season, both warbling some of the tunes Santa has stuffed onto their just released CD tie-in and pulling a special guest or two from the stocking he left hanging over the fire. — By David Finkle

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