The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 3/1/13


Here are 10 of the best shows to check out around the city this weekend, in no particular order.

Swedish House Mafia
Madison Square Garden
Friday, 8pm, $40-$125.50
Like all good blockbusters and brands, Swedish House Mafia have a bankable 
tagline: Goosebumps never lie. Of course, that old truism “numbers never lie” would be just as apt. Since first collaborating in 2007, the trio has sold millions of records and crossed six continents to play for 
millions of people at hundreds of festivals. Tonight at Madison Square Garden, they play for 20,000 more, with Pete Tong, the longtime host of BBC’s Essential Mix, and Armand Van Helden, the ’90s house and hip-hop fuser who converted a few generations of fans with his A-Trak collaboration Duck Sauce. — By Nick Murray

Mouse on Mars + Soft Circle + E. Vax
Santos’ Party House
Sunday, 7pm, $15
German experimental IDM artists Mouse on Mars are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, which means they’ve likely been laughing their asses off as the mainstream media has been trying to figure out what this newfangled electronic music actually is. Never the sort to milk wub-heavy drops or collaborate with nu-metal bands (though they’ve jammed with Mark E. Smith), the duo has simply stayed its course over its career, juxtaposing glitches with grinding synths and occasional krautrock rhythms with funky interpolations. — By Kory Grow

‘My Coma Dreams: Jazz Theater by Fred Hersch’
Columbia University, Miller Theatre
Saturday, 3pm & 8pm, $20-$45
Columbia University’s hip Program in Narrative Medicine presents the New York premiere of My Coma Dreams, a jazz-theater work based on dreams and nightmares the fine pianist experienced during a two-month near-death blackout in 2008. The patient ultimately triumphs in Hersch’s humanist collage of free improvisation, Thelonious Monk-ish compositions, and musical-theater tunes. — By Richard Gehr

Saint Vitus
Saturday, 8pm, $15
Musically, Torche sound like the legitimate sons of a union between Hüsker Dü and the Melvins, welding sleek, hummable, poppy hooks to hairy, bass-heavy sludge-rock riffs. Their latest album, Harmonicraft, is the sharpest snapshot of their brand of alt-metal, which can best be described as an unusually bubbly take on hard rock that has to be heard to be understood. Or maybe Harmonicraft‘s cover art captures it best: Cute, round dragons puke rainbows on meaner, darker dragons who expectorate lightning bolts. They sound kinda like that. — By Kory Grow

The Wood Brothers
Bowery Ballroom
Friday, 9pm, $20/$22
Bassist Chris Wood will always be inextricably tied to instrumental jam band royalty Medeski Martin & Wood, but when operating outside the firm, known for its avant-garde, improvisatory rendering of funk motifs, Wood’s voice, both on vocals and on the fretboard, stems from folksier origins. Brotherly love brings out the bluegrass harmonizing, and he and guitarist Oliver Wood certainly have a near-psychic fraternal bond that, though lacking in the type of sibling rivalry conducive to an edgier aesthetic, has an inborn lyricism and alpine fireplace familiarity that could transform the most cavernous venue into an intimate living room. — By Aidan Levy

Johnny Cash 81st Birthday Bash
The Bell House
Saturday, 9pm, $15
Even when Johnny Cash was a boy, it was evident he had something special. As the legend goes, after taking a few voice lessons, his teacher told him, “Don’t take voice lessons. Do it your way.” And so he did for an incredible 57-year career, singing in that rumbling, unmistakable bass-baritone about society’s outcasts and underdogs to win multiple Grammys and become a country hero. In honor of his birthday every year, Alex Battles and the Whisky Rebellion throw one of the biggest, most raucous parties in town. 
Tonight’s Johnny Cash 81st Birthday Bash includes performances of boot-stomping Cash hits and rarities all night as well as films and DJs spinning the classics. — By Angela Ashman

Daedelus + Salva + Ryan Hemsworth + Samo Sound Boy
Le Poisson Rouge
Saturday, 11pm, $15/$20
The Difference Engine, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling’ 1990 novel, spawned steampunk, thereby outfitting your local baristas with twirly mustaches and pocket watches. Surprisingly, it’s a delightful read regardless, envisioning a fantastical Victorian-era England where computers are invented a century early. Daedelus has been campaigning for his own spin-off since the early ’00s: Of Snowdonia, for instance, is a classic revisioning of the invention of hip-hop by Dickensian dandies. He’s since added UK bass & juke and to his bag of doo-dads, along with his tried-and-true ear tonics of twiddle-hop, snow punk, and old-fashioned IDM. Supporters Salva, Ryan Hemsworth & Samo Sound Boy are a dance music varsity squad–this one’s a value pack. — By Alexis Stephens

Mac DeMarco + Naomi Punk + Calvin Lore + Eola
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Friday, 9pm, $10/$12
Last year, Canadian Mac DeMarco popped up on several music critics’ “artist-to-watch” lists for last year’s CMJ Festival, and upon listening to either of the albums he released in 2012, Rock and Roll Night Club and 2, it’s easy to see why: They were hypnotized. Everything about DeMarco’s easygoing, Jonathan Richman-on-acid 
persona effortlessly transports you to some other realm where you’re floating. Lo-fi 
indie-rock songs like “Baby’s Wearing Blue Jeans,” off Night Club, seem to consist only of his low, pining tenor, some swishy drums, and his slightly warped take on 
David Byrne’s seductively texture-prone guitar picking. And on the best songs on 2, like the surfy “Ode to Viceroy” and fuzzily warm “Dreaming,” DeMarco’s through-the-looking-glass guitar tapestries are worthy of their own shimmery spotlight. It’s all so mesmerizing, it’s hard not to get swept away. With Naomi Punk, Calvin Love and Tonstartssbandht. — By Kory Grow

Freestyle Forever
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts
Saturday, 8pm, $45-$60
Though it was once called the next hip-hop (or Latin hip-hop, as if Puerto Ricans hadn’t been out jamming with Herc since day one), the success of freestyle music 
ultimately proved more fleeting. Though you might still hear Lisa Lisa getting the 
occasional spin on WBLS or note the freestyle influence in the breakdown of a Robyn song, the genre began to die out in the early ’90s. But for just one night, the seventh 
annual Freestyle Forever show attempts to apply the defibrillators, bringing together acts like TKA, the Cover Girls, George 
Lamond, Brenda K. Starr, and Shannon, 
the D.C. singer who said it best in her 1983 breakout single: “Let the music play.” — By Nick Murray

Webster Hall
Friday, 7pm, $30
American indie rock band Eels grew out of Mark Oliver Everett’s solo efforts, records that begat a long career spent making a sad sack music juxtaposed with whimsical yet profane wit–that, and soundtracks. Debuting in 1996 with the melancholy Beautiful Freak, Eels have since produced polished power pop that grasps at the orchestral but remains in the radio-rock realm. As one critic explained, they write catchy tunes about cancer and death. Their latest, Wonderful, Glorious, returns to the Souljacker-era formula of all-out rock riffs plus primal drumming and E’s cigar-wrecked gravel voice. — By Sarah Madges

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