The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Week, 3/25/13


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

B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
Monday, 11:30pm, $40-$45
If the Diplomats–for tonight’s purposes that’s Harlem rappers Cam’ron, Juelz Santana, Jim Jones, and Freekey Zeekey–celebrated every anniversary, they’d be performing shows like this every week. For half a decade, the group’s music, filled with streetwise tongue twisters and soul-sampling crescendos, ruled New York: While at one corner you might have found an enterprising small business owner attempting to hawk the group’s latest mixtape, at the next you’d be passed by a car giving the entire block a free listen. Tonight, for the sake of both convenience and still-played jams like “Dipset Anthem” and “I Really Mean It,” the group heads to B.B. King’s to honor the decade that’s passed since their joint Diplomatic Immunity double-album. — By Nick Murray

Kate Nash + Supercute!
Bowery Ballroom
Tuesday, 9pm, $20
Back in 2007, Nash found fans outside of her native London with “Foundations,” a track whose punchy keys and attitude-drenched vocals invoked Amy Winehouse and preceded Florence & the Machines. With a second album that channels both Diana Ross and Kathleen Hannah, the singer has slowly but surely help create a niche that takes hints from both pop and punk, and gives the audience much to both hairbrush-sing and fist-pump about. — By Sarah Madges

Chuck Ragan + Rocky Votolato + Dave Hause + Jenny Owen Youngs
Irving Plaza
Thursday, 7pm, $22.50
Somewhere between singer-songwriter and perfect-for-TV-scores status, Jenny Owen Youngs brings youthful charm to every song she sings, no matter the thematic depth involved. With infectious melodies narrated by her sweetly earnest vocals and happy mid-tempo percussion, Youngs’ music is catchy and completely inoffensive–the kind of thing you’d absentmindedly whistle. Think a folkier Regina Spektor with Zooey Deschanel bangs, Jeff Tweedy’s guitar, and the girl next door’s unassuming air. — By Sarah Madges

Bad Religion + Against Me! + Polar Bear Club
Terminal 5
Tuesday, 7:30pm, $28.50/$32
Career, Korea, whatever: Bad Religion never ceasing to exist seems, well, downright plausible. These California lifers are easing into decade number four with vigor and brio to spare, and unlike, say, Propagandhi, the tenor of their angst is immediately recognizable, a solid brand. That they’re a gateway to more radical fare makes them whipping boys for cynics who’ve long since soured on All Ages and Against The Grain, but hey, we’ve all gotta merge onto the road to revolution somewhere, right? — By Raymond Cummings

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds + Sharon Van Etten
Beacon Theatre
Thursday & Friday, 8pm, $39.50-$69.50
Now that the maestro of the morose has survived what we assume was one hell of a midlife crisis–the only evidence being the scabrous, virile declarations on songs like “No Pussy Blues” that he released with his noise-rock band Grinderman–Nick Cave has returned to his main gig: conducting the symphony of sadness that is the Bad Seeds. On their latest, Push the Sky Away, he paints in darkly muted tints, singing with delicate melodies songs about the trivial trappings of modern life and, in true Cave fashion, love. — By Kory Grow


Sigur Rós
Madison Square Garden
Monday, 8pm, $56
On last year’s Valtari, Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi Birgisson nervously waved his falsetto in front of molten strings, intertwining them until they became indistinguishable strands of twinkling lights dangling from the cathedral rafters. Lyrical abstraction hasn’t stopped his band from zeroing in on a stable identity over the past dozen years, but their newest round sounds mostly like the tracks you justifiably forgot from Ágætis Byrjun and Takk, simplistic gradients wherein all the warbling vowels and chirping consonants never quite turn into even a single memorable hook. — By Vijith Assar

The Breeders
The Bell House
Friday, 9pm, $20
For their first official “LSXX” concert, the Breeders are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Last Splash, reuniting that album’s lineup and relearning every minute of feedback, every curl-lipped coo, every harmony, and every overdriven “aaah-ooo-aahh” in order to play the entirety of its 39 minutes and 38 seconds. In 1993, the album stood out for twin sisters Kim and Kelley Deal’s easy-breezy delivery and proclivity for alt-pop hooks, with catchy singles like “Cannonball,” “Divine Hammer” and “Saints.” After 20 years, and with 20/20 hindsight, it all still holds up. — By Kory Grow

Park Avenue Armory
Monday – Wednesday, 8pm, $40
Installation wizard Rirkrit Tiravanija transforms the Park Avenue Armory’s cavernous Wade Thompson Drill Hall into a simulated lunar viewing platform for the New York premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s epic 1991 electronic work Oktophonie. Audience members, who are asked to wear white, will recline on the floor of the hall as 24-channel timbres volley horizontally, vertically, and diagonally between eight speakers arranged as the corners of a cube. A screaming is only the beginning of what comes across the sky in this digital sequel to the New York Philharmonic’s brilliant architectural performance of Stockhausen’s Gruppen for three orchestras last year. Part slow, sublime rave, part minimalist light show, Oktophonie mirrors a cosmic confrontation of Lucifer with the archangel Michael in the Tuesday entry of Licht (Light), Stockhausen’s seven-day opera cycle. — By Richard Gehr

Hey Marseilles + Young Buffalo
The Mercury Lounge
Thursday, 6:30pm, $10/$12
With their warm sound and rootsy sweetness, Hey Marseilles, a folky seven-piece from Seattle, have put themselves on the map as part of the next wave of important bands hailing from the Pacific Northwest. Following up 2010’s To Travels and Trunks, the group is currently bringing their many stringed instruments and lovely lyrics on tour in support of Lines We Trace. — By Brittany Spanos

Darkstar + Gobby
The Glasslands Gallery
Thursday, 8:30pm, $12
Crafting hip-hop contusions for UNO label mate Mykki Blanco as well as releasing a seemingly ceaseless churn of degraded dance music, local producer Gobby is defined as much by his prolificacy as the caustic material contained therein. He’s not always spot-on, but more often than not Gobby’s ideas as both a frantic percussionist and gauzy rap enthusiast make for a complex listening experience rarely filtered by commercial concerns. In the time it took to write this preview, he already released two new songs on his Soundcloud. — By Aaron Gonsher

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