The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 12/13/13


For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

Friday, 12/13:

‘Jingle Ball’
Madison Square Garden
8:00 p.m., $51-$451
Miley Cyrus! Robin Thicke! Pitbull! Enrique! Fall Out Boy! Selena Gomez! Fifth Harmony! Macklemore and that other guy! Must be Jingle Ball, Z100’s annual celebration of all things pop, a DJ Earworm year-end mix extended into a four-plus-hour concert. Austin Mahone and Jason Derulo start it off, but things get good when 20-year-old Ariana Grande, a Nickelodeon star turned teen-pop Mariah, performs her Big Pun-influenced “The Way.” Stick around, of course, for all of the above, with most artists staying onstage only long enough to play the hits and the headlining pair offering performances less controversial and more accomplished than expected. — By Nick Murray

Jazz Gallery
9:00 p.m. & 11:00 p.m., $15
Even though he’s a groove master, things can be a bit unsettled in drummer Johnathan Blake’s music — he messes with polyrhythms and turns the beat every which way while looking for fresh ground. This new band is notable for the two tenors up front, as a zig-zag session with Chris Potter and Ravi Coltrane just might be an end-of-the-year club highlight. Both are fully inventive when it comes to trading ideas. — By Jim Macnie

Yo La Tengo
The Bell House
Friday through Sunday, 9:00 p.m. daily, $30
What would December be without an epic Yo La Tengo run to warm the cockles of our cold hearts? With Hanukkah overlapping Thanksgiving and Maxwell’s succumbing to late-stage capitalism, Hoboken’s loss is Gowanus’s gain as the trio relocates to the Bell House for four nights (starting December 13) of historically informed eterna-pop; lustrous meditations on life, love, and mortality; and sturdy neoprimitive space jams. YLT presumably won’t be replicating their Hanukkah format, however, so expect nothing more (or less) than a couple of sets of mind- and heart-expanding music — and perhaps some memorable sit-ins — with these middle-aged rockers in their prime. As Ira Kaplan sings late in Fade, their gentle all-things-must-pass take on keeping faith in precarious times, “If we’re not so young, that’s the point of it.” — By Richard Gehr

Kendra Morris + Mother Feather
Mercury Lounge
10:30 p.m., $12
Soulful singer-songwriter Kendra Morris is something of a powerhouse. The New York based singer has been keeping busy the last couple years thanks to her 2012 debut album Banshee and this year’s collection of covers called Mockingbird. She’s been bringing her old-school but refreshed R&B sound and lush vocals across the U.S. and Europe and performing with some of the other most exciting acts in soul today like Charles Bradley. Tonight, she’ll be joined by local glam throwback band Mother Feather for a night that’ll make you feel like you’re in the 1970s in the best way possible. — By Brittany Spanos

Saturday, 12/14:

Knitting Factory Brooklyn
10:30 p.m., $15-$17
Perhaps you first met JD Samson when she replaced Sadie Benning in Kathleen Hanna’s Le Tigre, making the rare transition from stagehand to bandmember and writing songs like This Island highlight “Viz.” Perhaps you first heard her production work on Christina Aguilera’s Peaches- featuring electro album cut “My Girls,” or maybe you stumbled across recent performances by her new group, MEN, at Brooklyn Bowl or Union Pool. Perhaps you’ve never met her at all. No matter where you fit in, make sure you make it to this gig at Knitting Factory. — By Nick Murray

Saturday, 12/14:

Queens of the Stone Age + The Kills
Barclays Center
8:00 p.m., $49.50-$59.50
It’s not quite that calling them “stoner rock” is misguided or somehow objectionable — this is, after all, a band whose breakthrough single was called “Feel Good Hit of the Summer,” but whatever your state of intoxication, getting pummeled with power chords will eventually remind you that “stone” has another meaning — primal, heavy, and timeless. — By Vijith Assar

Unsilent Night
Washington Square Park
6:45 p.m., free
If you’ve ever wanted to participate in a mass musical mobile, here’s your chance. A glorious and chilly ritual since 1992, with only the technology changing over the ensuing years, Unsilent Night is composer Phil Kline’s annual electronic tribute to the joy of caroling. Tote your boombox to the Washington Square Park arch, where you will be issued a cassette or CD (apps also available) containing one of the minimalist work’s four interlocking parts. Hit your start button on cue (warning: miss it and risk being chastised mid-parade by the composer himself) and proceed eastward en masse. A single musical movement in literal movement, Unsilent Night is a spectacle of tintinnabulation to delight participants and bystanders alike. It all ends with a few magically meditative minutes in Tompkins Square Park. — By Richard Gehr

Mixpak vs. Thread
285 Kent Ave
9:00 p.m., $10-$15
Mixpak vs. Thread would be one of the month’s best parties without a single special guest: On the left, you’ve got the bass-loving label, started by Dre Skull in 2009, behind releases like Vybz Kartel’s Kingston Story LP and floor-packing singles from Jubilee and Dubbel Dutch, and on the right it’s Newark’s hottest all-ages party, where resident DJs Nadus, Reck, Ezrakh, and Sliink quick-mix their Jersey-centric, chopped-not-screwed adaption of Baltimore club. Tonight, however, patrons of 285 Kent will have the pleasure of sampling not only the above, but also Houston’s DJ Michael “5000” Watts, the Swishahouse mainstay whose slowed-down Southern rap should provide the perfect foil for the aforementioned crews. — By Nick Murray

Sunday, 12/15:

Small Black + Radical Dads
Brooklyn Bowl
11:30 a.m., $11/$13
Awash with ’80s synths and filtered electronic harmonies, Small Black’s second official release, Limits of Desire pushes the boundaries of reflective, digital yearnings. Never tilting the scales all the way toward emo, the album is still packed full of feelings and emotive, nostalgic tracks, with the band coming together as a cohesive whole, pulling off backwards-looking love songs with reverb-coated intensity. At this Brooklyn Bowl “KidRockers” concerts expect the whole famile to get a feel for dream pop that nods to rock roots and longs for past loves. — By Caitlin White

Lloyd Banks
Stage 48
7:00 p.m., $25
One of the guilty pleasures of the summer of 2004 was the Lloyd Banks crossover-rap ballad “Smile.” The fifth single from the then on-top-of-the-industry G-Unit’s Beg for Mercy album, the song didn’t last long on the charts, but it represented something of a high-water mark for the G-Unit lieutenant, who has never quite fulfilled his potential as a sort of thug-poet alternative to 50 Cent’s Signifyin’ Monkey persona or Tony Yayo’s clownish ex-convict shtick. “Smile,” to this day, remains the perfect Banks track — its smoothed-out beat soft enough to not overpower the quiet gruffness of his voice — a sort of verbal chiaroscuro that was perfect for modern loverman raps. Of course, 50’s incredibly simple hook ends up being the most memorable part of the song, but Banks always seemed content to play second fiddle, so the hidden efficacy of his “Smile” raps is pretty emblematic of his entire career. At least he can rest easily knowing that his two solid Hunger for More albums, in addition to his mixtapes and other semi-official “hood” releases, have kept his name in the mouths of East Coast rap purists who would take good series of punchlines over great songwriting or star power every day of the week. — By Winston Groman

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