The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 1/10/14


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

Friday, 1/10:

Destruction Unit + Crystalline Roses + Cottaging + Ancient Ocean
Saint Vitus
8:00 p.m., $12
Destruction Unit wear their home geography on their sleeves — and in their music. Hailing from the desert dystopia of Tempe, Arizona, their last record, Deep Trip, drips with the residue of past acid trips in oppressively hot temperatures. Frontman Ryan Rousseau used to play in Jay Reatard’s the Reatards and brings with him a similar dependency on excellent musicianship. Destruction Unit’s art is found in their psychedelic escapism, punk rock for those into all things cosmic. — By Maria Sherman

Weekend + Nothing
Bowery Ballroom
9:00 p.m., $15
Oscillating between shoegaze and post-punk, San Francisco’s Weekend jumped from trio to quartet for their second album, Jinx. The additional bassline from Nick Ray helps the long stretches of unabridged guitar solos flicker with gloom while they lyrically mull over existence. Shaun Durkan has brought his band into a looser, slightly quieter iteration for their, and comparisons to Depeche Mode and even New Order are not entirely amiss. Expect droning goth rock that never escapes into self-pity but instead turns loathing into its own kind of loving. — By Caitlin White

Kurt Elling
Friday & Saturday, 8:30 p.m. & 11:00 p.m., $45
The eminent male jazz vocalist turns his impressionistic style of phrasing on Passion World, a long-gestating compendium of love songs that transcend borders and linguistic barriers. Elling enlists guest violinist Regina Carter for a requisite tug on the heart-strings as he navigates the Romance languages, Esperanto, and beyond with rhapsodic flair on classics running the lovestruck gamut. The result is a universal, timeless milieu that demonstrates the true meaning of swing, in which Brahms meets Sinatra and Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” gets lost in “Norwegian Wood.” With Gary Versace, Gerald Clayton, Bryan Carter, John McLean, and Clark Sommers. — By Aidan Levy

Saturday, 1/11:

Diane Coffee + White Hinterland + Isadora
The Glasslands Gallery
8:00 p.m., $10
Shaun Fleming served as the drummer for California nu-folk group Foxygen while they toured their sophomore album We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, but that didn’t stop him from releasing his own solo project under the moniker Diane Coffee. His debut album, My Friend Fish, rattles through three decades of organs and guitar riffs, culling the best of the past into an approximation of the future. On Fish, Fleming delights in harmonies, lo-fi meanderings, and noisy breakdowns that feel both familiar and fresh. — By Caitlin White

‘Let Freedom Ring!: A Concert to Benefit Free the Slaves’
Plymouth Church
8:00 p.m., $25-$150
Socially conscious soul group the Impressions headline this National Human Trafficking Awareness Day concert benefiting Free the Slaves, an organization devoted to ending slavery worldwide. The bill also includes Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens, the Inspirational Voices of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, and members of the Dap-Kings. Founded in 1847, the Plymouth Church was an express stop on the Underground Railroad and the site of some of America’s most important anti-slavery activism. — By Richard Gehr

See also: Win Tickets to ‘Let Freedom Ring: A Concert to Benefit Free the Slaves’

Saturday, 1/11:

Hailu Mergia and Low Mentality + Cheick Hamala + Feedel Band
8:00 p.m., $10
Former Walias Band leader Hailu Mergia, an Ethiopian keyboardist whose 1985 solo album was one of the year’s more significant international reissues, has begun to perform again a decade after moving to Washington DC, where he drives a cab for a living. Here he tops a top-notch all-night showcase, a co-presentation of the Barbès and Electric Cowbell labels, that includes Mali ngoni master Cheick Hamala Diabate and the band Feedel, which is led by another Walias Band alum, saxophonist Moges Habte. With Elikeh, La Mecanica Popular, Slavic Soul Party, La Sabrosa Sabrosura, Pitchblak Brass Band. — By Richard Gehr

Henry Threadgill’s Ensemble Double-Up
Judson Memorial Church
8:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m., $35-$95
The composer and multi-woodwinder debuts his new Ensemble Double-Up for a show that by definition marks a highlight in the ongoing Winter Jazz Festival. Doubled pianists Jason Moran and David Virelles, and alto saxophonists Curtis McDonald and Roman Filiu, along with Christopher Hoffman (cello), Jose Davila (tuba), and Craig Weinrib (drums) will perform Old Locks and Irregular Verbs, a work in remembrance of Threadgill friend and collaborator Butch Morris. — By Richard Gehr

Sunday, 1/12:

Jay Z
Barclays Center
8:00 p.m., $32.50-$175
I’ll be the first to admit that at the time of the Samsung-only release of Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail this summer, the record felt like — and I’m choosing my words judiciously here — a complete stinker. But though the fortysomething rapper’s flows have slowed to a standstill, calling more and more attention to their own supposed cleverness, the record itself has aged surprisingly well. Timbaland’s bracing percussive assault on “Tom Ford” makes for one of the best beats of the year and “Holy Grail” was a surprise radio hit, complete with Justin Timberlake at his most melodramatic and Jay himself sounding as agile as he has in years. Tonight and tomorrow, he comes home for two Barclays Center gigs. — By Nick Murray

Webster Hall
7:00 p.m., $40
The annual buffet of worldly sounds known as GlobalFEST returns to Webster Hall with the most diverse dozen acts you’ll see all year. This buzzing, schmoozy, triple-stage showcase introduces far-flung new names while reminding us of legacy performers — like true gypsy kings Fanfare Ciocarlia and Moroccan trance master Hassan Hakmoun — still delivering the goods. Flashy, Bollywood-inspired 11-piece The Bombay Royale and Jamaican guitar minimalist Brushy One String will make their local debuts alongside traditionalists, subversives, and everything in-between. Highlights include Congolese “rumba rapper” Baloji, Ukrainian post-punk folkies DakhaBrakha, Dutch-Antillean sampling synthesists Kuenta i Tambú, Daptone a cappella gospel trio The Como Mamas, Tucson-based mambo-neocumbia big band Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta, Mauritanian psych-folk siren Noura Mint Seymali, and Lebanese electropop chanteuse Yasmine Hamdan. — By Richard Gehr

The Cookers
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola
Ends Sunday, 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. daily, $35-$45
The oomph that emerges from this masterful septet’s beefy hard bop has an odd power, and the best way to feel its impact is to catch them live. From Billy Harper’s blowtorch tenor to Eddie Henderson’s lyrical trumpet the blend of voices works in a way that makes you feel like you’re being slapped one second, caressed the next. That might be due to the rhythm section’s consummate finesse. — By Jim Macnie

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