Music

The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 4/4/14

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

Friday, 4/4:

Kelela + Venus X + Shayne HBA
Rough Trade NYC
9:00 p.m., $12/$15
There’s a long, fondly cherished tradition of R&B divas pushing against the trends with their producers, and Kelela’s lucky enough to hang with an entire crowd of them: the Night Slugs and Fade to Mind dance collectives, whose members (including Girl Unit, Kingdom and Nguzunguzu) lent some of their spacious, showiest best to last year’s critical fave Cut 4 Me. But Kelela is no producer’s cipher; her debut’s as arresting for its tracks as for her blunt voice, limber yet restrained vocals and her knack of threading her way through Cut 4 Me‘s challenging terrain like it’s no work at all. She plays Rough Trade this April along with a rotating group of DJs. — By Katherine St. Asaph

Matt Mitchell Quartet
ShapeShifter Lab
9:30 p.m., $10
As a composer, Matt Mitchell is smitten with the kind of intricacy that takes a second to understand. When the kaleidoscope focuses, however, the payoff is big. He’s swung hard with Dave Douglas, waxed turbulent with Tim Berne, and dropped a killer duet album of abstract etudes called Fiction. This outing, with Chris Speed on sax, just might be an unholy combo of all three approaches. — By Jim Macnie

Jon Langford
The Bell House
8:30 p.m., $14
Jon Langford, charismatic anti-star of sainted rockers the Mekons, illuminates and mystifies in equal parts on his powerful new album with Skull Orchard, Here Be Monsters. Illustrated with his own painted iconography, Here Be Monsters is sometimes directly political — as in “What Did You Do in the War?” and “Drone Operator,” which concerns the guy who brings faceless death from behind his computer screen — but is also by turns mystical and realist. Langford is a rock journeyman with no time for self-regarding pretensions. He sings about life’s epic imbalances, both social and spiritual, and he’s well aware that no one’s getting any younger. “Aim too high and live in obscurity,” he sings in “Weightless.” “Live too long and die in poverty.” — By Richard Gehr

Saturday, 4/5:

Miley Cyrus + Icona Pop + Sky Ferreira
Barclays Center
7:30 p.m., $64.50-$94.50
Miley Cyrus is bringing her tongue-waggling, twerking and bear-centric show to town, and despite the backlash, it’s almost guaranteed to be an impeccable turn up function. Sure, she’s the most talked about pop star of last year, but listening to her Pharrell-assisted album Bangerz reveals moments of ballad and beats bliss. Lending her glamor and grunge, model-turned-pop star and opening act Sky Ferreira makes this bill even more compelling. It’ll be “Everything is Embarrassing” times two as these weird blondies remake pop in their own image. — By Caitlin White

Barbara Carroll
Birdland
6:30 p.m., $30
Hope springs eternal, and so does this fixture on the jazz piano map. The classiest woman in town, she’s played in local clubs and around the continents for about 70 years. The miracle is that with every passing set she gets better than she’s ever been. Classically trained, she also has the knack of turning every piece into a tone poem. Her partner in sublime is bassist Jay Leonhart. Miss them and be forced to admit you have no interest in the absolute best Manhattan has to offer. — By David Finkle

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Saturday, 4/5:

Fatoumata Diawara + Les Frères Guissé + Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars
Apollo Theater
8:00 p.m., $25-$65
Mali-born, Paris-based Fatoumata Diawara is young, gorgeous, and rocks out a little more than fellow Wassoulou-style singers Oumou Sangaré, for whom she has supplied backing vocals, or Rokia Traoré. Led by singer-songwriter Reuben Koroma, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have evolved into road-seasoned ambassadors of peace through reggae-inflected afropop. Les Frères Guissé, from northern Senegal, play Sahel music reminiscent of Ali Farka Touré and add close, sweet harmonies. — By Richard Gehr

Regina Carter’s Southern Comfort
Birdland
Friday & Saturday, 8:30pm & 11pm daily, $40
How down home is the virtuoso violinist’s new Southern Comfort? By the time the dust settles, she and her crack squad have moved through barndance tunes, graveyard laments, and Gram Parsons’ “Hickory Wind” – not exactly a jazz standard. Best part is that the band’s folkish inflections are all nuanced enough to be truly seductive, and the essence of interplay is everywhere in the music. They’ll take it even farther on stage. — By Jim Macnie

Sunday, 4/6:

Juan Gabriel
Madison Square Garden
7:00 p.m., $65.50-$195.50
Now in his sixties, Juan Gabriel still has what it takes to energize a stadium full of people. The Mexican pop singer is a vibrant performer with a personality as massive as his gorgeous, rich voice. He’s sure to brighten up the entirety of Madison Square Garden during the NYC stop of his Volver tour. As the tour’s name indicates, Gabriel is making his grand return and doing so in full force and with countless excellent tracks to choose from — after all, the prolific artist did release an album nearly every year for three consecutive decades. Though he hasn’t released anything new since 2012, there’s never a bad opportunity to sing along to “Querida,” and that alone is more than enough reason to experience a Juan Gabriel show. — By Brittany Spanos

Danny Brown
Bowery Ballroom
9:00 p.m., $20
You can’t confuse Danny Brown with any other rapper. His voice leaps from stereo speakers like a garish jack-in-the-box, half-mad and strangulated. Unconventional attire and fascinations aside, what’s refreshing about Brown is how at home he seems on varied musical terrain, from hard street cuts to Euro house hybrids, from guitar strewn bangers to straight up indie rock. There’s no reason to believe that this Michigan MC isn’t capable of literally everything. — By Raymond Cummings

Lady Gaga
Roseland Ballroom
Friday through Sunday, 8pm, $52-$202
What better way to close out Roseland Ballroom’s final week than a residency from one of pop’s most eccentric artists and proudest New Yorkers? Before it became a concert venue hosting some of music’s most popular acts, Roseland popularized marathon dancing, hosted some of the biggest names in hot jazz, and put on many a controversial disco night. Several years shy of what would’ve been its 100 year anniversary, the ballroom is closing its doors, but not without a final ball from the ever-theatrical Gaga. Before heading out on her stadium tour ‘ArtRave: The Artpop Ball,’ she’ll be giving a more intimate last stand and provide the last dances that floor will ever see. — By Brittany Spanos

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