The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 6/17/13


For more shows throughout the week, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which is updated daily.

Tuesday, 6/18:

The Roots + Jim James
Prospect Park Bandshell
7pm, $41
Jim James dialed down My Morning Jacket’s top-notch arena rockery for the more modest one-man-band sketches heard on the intriguingly odd (if portentously titled) Regions of Light and the Sound of God. Will the Roots let him get away with thinking “he’s really bein’ sincere”? Find out during what’s being billed as “State of the Union: An Evening of Collaborative Performances.” — By Richard Gehr

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Laurie Anderson
Rockefeller Park
Tuesday & Wednesday, 7pm, free
Anderson devotes June 18 to stories and June 19 to songs, celebrating her 1983 landmark opera United States, a song cycle that challenges the status quo through a series of multimedia vignettes–some spoken word, some sung in her inimitable style. Joining her are fellow avant-garde luminaries guitarist Gerry Leonard, multireedist Doug Wieselman, violist Eyvind Kang and keyboardist Yuka Honda, as well as other special guests. — By Aidan Levy

Wednesday, 6/19:

David Murray Infinite Quartet
Wednesday & Thurday, 7:30pm & 10pm daily, $35
“Be my Hannibal Lecter/Take a hot piece out of me,” rasps tonight’s featured vocalist, a distressed and vampiric Macy Gray, in the Ishmael Reed-penned title track of the tenor titan’s debut album with his new Infinity Quartet. Marc Cary (piano), Jaribu Shahid (bass), and Nasheet Waits (drums) fill out a formidable lineup that explores gospel, r&b, and postbop modes with strength and verve. — By Richard Gehr

The B-52s + The Go-Go’s
Roseland Ballroom
7pm, $50-$75
High camp, New Wave, and rank psychosexuality sushi-rolled into a pop institution, the B-52s persist, working the oldies circuits, teasing new material, and dipping toes into outside projects. Title track aside, 2008 comeback bid Funplex was no great strokes, but that’s no excuse to sit this show out: Like the Stones, Bob Dylan, or Public Enemy, these Athens, GA weirdos will leave the road behind, and you’ll wish you’d queued up. — By Raymond Cummings

Ben Wolfe Quartet
Jazz Standard
7:30 & 9:30pm, $20
The bassist is one of those cats who make everything fit together. Oddball time signatures? He swings it into place. Investment in silence? A crucial part of the soundscape. His new From Here I See concentrates on ballads and their inherent lyricism, putting the romance up front while seizing the opportunity to bend melodies myriad ways. The particular foursome he leads tonight knows plenty about messing around, too. — By Jim Macnie

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Thursday, 6/20:

LL Cool J + Ice Cube + Public Enemy
Roseland Ballroom
6:30pm, $59.50-$69.50
Overlooking the Hollywood careers of each of tonight’s performers, LL Cool J, Ice Cube, and Public Enemy are indeed the Kings of the Mic. And LL is a fitting headliner, since he emerged from Hollis in 1985 as a boombox-booming, be-Kangoled 18-year-old and just this year reaffirmed his role as a firebrand with a little help from Brad Paisley. Cube is responsible for some of gangsta rap’s best verses (including Eazy-E’s), and recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Public Enemy, with their dancing S1W’s and backing band, are undeniably rap’s best live experience. Today will be a good day. — By Kory Grow

Say Anything + Eisley
Irving Plaza
Thursday & Friday, 6:30pm, $21.50
With lead singer Max Bemis’ expressive, fire-throated vocals, SA has been a band worth watching since their 2001 debut. Anarchy, My Dear, their most recent LP, takes a more punk approach without losing the real emotions of their past records, and in support, the band is making the tour a family affair by featuring Bemis’ wife’s band Eisley. — By Brittany Spanos

Chance the Rapper + Dunson + Add-2 + Torae
8pm, $12
Chance the Rapper’s technicolor dreamcoat mixtape Acid Rap has taken 2013 by storm, pushing the artist from cult adoration in his native Chicago to out and out national fame: Despite its independent release, the album is polished enough to invoke the names Kanye, Kendrick, and Andre 3000. Expect a rap show that features as much squawking, grinning, and tooth-and-nail rhyming as it does slowed-down introspective cultural critiques. — By Caitlin White

Friday, 6/21:

Amadou & Miriam + Bombino
Prospect Park Bandshell
7:30pm, free
Amadou Bagayoko plays nasty vamping blues beside wife Mariam Doumbia, a pepper-voiced chanteuse. The fact that the blind couple from Mali has the onstage presence of stately Tiresias only adds to their allure. And among the many robed and scarved Tuareg guitarists to boogie their way out of the Sahara in recent years, no one plays a badder ax than Omara “Bombino” Moctar. — By Richard Gehr

Lord Huron
Webster Hall
7pm, $20
Proof that folk music isn’t just for the backwoods anymore, the LA-based group was built-out by Ben Schneider when his solo project grew too unwieldy for a single musician. In the capable hands of his now expansive band, Schneider and his cohort created a warm and soothing debut entitled Lonesome Dreams. It doesn’t break any new ground or tear down any walls, but the songs are warm and well crafted and Schneider’s voice has enough hues in it to make classic folk tropes sound colorfully modern. — By Caitlin White

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