The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 12/28/12


We’re gettin’ an early jump on the weekend because you’ve probably already checked out anyway. So here are the 10 best concerts around the city this weekend, in no particular order.

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Biz Markie + Kid Capri
Saturday, 3pm, $25
For what’s sure to be the classiest way to say goodbye to 2012, rapper and beatboxer Biz Markie is appearing at this day party dubbed Holiday Heat. Although he hasn’t been much in the public eye much since his late ’80s hit “Just a Friend,” he’s been beefing up his resume with appearances on the kids’ show Yo Gabba Gabba! (check the “Biz 4 Da Kids” of his website) and recording parodies of “Hey Jude” and “Believe It or Not” to sell as outgoing phone messages. The dress code for lovers and “just friends” alike is “chic and fashionable.” — By Kory Grow

Cro-Mags + Sheer Terror + Rude Awakening + Brain Slug + Born Annoying
Highline Ballroom
Sunday, 5:30pm, $20/$25
A few months ago, the police shut down a Cro-Mags show before the hardcore legends even hit the stage. A stabbing kerfuffle had erupted backstage between the band’s current bassist and one of its former four-stringers. Even after two decades since the heyday of L.E.S. hardcore matinees, anything can happen. Regardless, the current lineup of the group, featuring John Joseph on vocals, has never sounded better. And with the addition of openers Sheer Terror and a bevy of like-minded bruisers (Rude Awakening, Brain Slug, Born Annoying) who go on early, some of that old energy may surface again tonight in a positive way. — By Kory Grow

The Punch Brothers
Bowery Ballroom
Saturday & Sunday, 9pm, $35
It’s been evident for a while, but now that mandolinist and bandleader Chris Thile has been officially designated a MacArthur fellowship-approved genius, perhaps you’ll finally go check out one of the meanest progressive bluegrass outfits working today. Who’s Feeling Young Now, the wonderful album they released back in February, finally carves out a space for their longtime fan-favorite junkyard-acoustic cover of Radiohead’s digital lullaby “Kid A,” but the real treasures are the originals, as ever, and this time they include one song dedicated to New York City. — By Vijjith Assar

French Horn Rebellion + Chrome Canyon + Haerts
Cameo Gallery
Friday, 11:59pm, $8/$12
The fraternal duo behind French Horn Rebellion fetishize ’80s new wave synth-pop way out of proportion, and without a trace of irony: They would be the quintessential hipsters if they were not so clearly a blast from the past. Yet their resistance to snarky, unqualified smugness makes Robert and David Perlick-Molinari a rare breed of band geek-cum-Williamsburg icon. Their recent EP, “Love is Dangerous,” features Jody Watley from Shalamar and some seriously tricked-out leopard-print cover art. — By Aidan Levy

Machinedrum + Sepalcure
Le Poisson Rouge
Sunday, 11pm, $20/$25
If there’s one upside to the way that the mainstream has grudgingly acknowledged EDM this year (notably with a new genre category in MTV’s VMAs and examinations of the genre’s big moneymakers in Forbes), it’s that a handful of innovative artists are starting to get more recognition. One such musician is Berlin-via-New York EDM producer Travis Stewart, who records as Machinedrum and serves as one half of the glitchy dance group known as Sepalcure–both of whom will be performing tonight, alongside Brooklyn Bass. In his solo persona, Stewart concocts giddy, undulating symphonies that owe debts to house, glitch, and funk, while with Sepalcure, he and Praveen Sharma (a/k/a Braille) add some Latin touches, making it a fun exploration of rhythm. But to Forbes figure-crunchers, calling it EDM or dubstep still seems to be sufficient. — By Kory Grow

Madison Square Garden
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 7:30pm, $65
Sort of like every classic rock act that’s played Barclays Center since it opened rolled into a single stunningly illuminated pleasure machine, popular Vermont quartet Phish continues to make a big, expertly performed noise without having broken any new ground for more than a decade. Which won’t stop thousands of bros of all ages, sexes, and creeds from packing MSG over four nights to relive the glory years and have at least as much fun as anyone else in town. — By Richard Gehr

Tom Rainey Trio
Downstairs at Cornelia Street Cafe
Sunday, 8:30pm, $10
It’s hard not to get a kick out of Rainey’s latest, Camino Cielo Echo, a disc that makes crossed swords generate the clangs of camaraderie. Saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and guitarist Mary Halvorson have found ways of interaction that give dissonance and wobble a certain exactitude. Their collective agility can be amazing, especially when you remember than much of the action is composed on the fly. — By Jim Macnie

Spanish Fly
ShapeShifter Lab
Saturday, 8pm, $10
Drummer Ben Perowsky curates a night of “reunions” that spotlights the always inventive guitar playing of Dave Tronzo, who helped make the local jazz scene of the early ’90s a much more fun experience. Tronzo’s trio with bassist Stomu Takeishi is all about pliability and wit. Spanish Fly, which some consider the precursor to Sex Mob, connects him with ever-entertaining brass man Steven Bernstein and is all about insouciance and groove. Both outfits have been deep-sixed for a while now. Here’s a chance to step back in time. — By Jim Macnie

Studio at Webster Hall
Friday, 7pm, $10
Eons after Mobb Deep’s sell-by date and 2007 high-water mark Return of the Mac, Prodigy stays strapped, gully, and weirdly preserved in early 1990s thug-rap amber. There’s something deformed, recalcitrant, and heroic about his doggedly sullen flow and sloe-eyed anti-punchlines: It’s like the man is just daring us to laugh at how comfortable he is in a lane he has no interest in transcending, how indifferent he is to anything resembling a resin-coated hook, how little he could give a fuck about self-promotion. You’ve gotta respect that, kinda, even if maybe you don’t want to spend an hour listening to the guy sleepwalk through yet another spiel about how deathlessly hard he is. — By Raymond Cummings

The Golden Palominos + Lori Carson + Robert Kidney & Lianne Smith
Le Poisson Rouge
Saturday, 7pm, $15/$18
In the 1980s and ’90s, drummer Anton Fier’s Golden Palominos, a loose collective of A-list players who combined stunning chops with sensitive accompanist skills, typified the downtown craze for stylistic cross-fertilization. For what is only the third Palominos live show since 1987, Fier has designed a two-part showcase highlighting his band’s conceptual yin and yang. Following an opening set by Levon Helms Midnight Rambles regulars Ida, the Palominos will flaunt their tougher side for a set with hard-boiled guitarist-saxophonist Robert Kidney, followed by a song-swapping session featuring singers Lori Carson and Lianne Smith. Other members of tonight’s Palominos lineup–which includes Karen Mantler (keyboards), Tony Scherr (guitars), Tony Maimone (bass), and Aaron Lee Tasjan (guitars)–should provide plenty of colorful contrasts and material of their own. — By Richard Gehr