The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 4/11/14


Friday, 4/11:

Cameo Gallery
11:59 p.m., $12-$15

In Darren J. Cunningham’s hands, beats splinter, frequencies seethe, melodies are rendered resolutely disconsolate. And while the energy level varies from release to release, there is always – amid the sloshing cadences and imitation ring tones and spiked samples – a very palpable edge to this British musician’s creations. His default sense of place lies somewhere between inescapable nightmare and club freak-out nightmare, and one gets the sense that that’s just how he likes it, whether we like it or night. — By Raymond Cummings

Dan Weiss
Jazz Gallery
Friday, 9:00 p.m. & 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m., $15

Rethinking the function of crescendo, giving a through-composed piece the oomph of polyphony, nudging monster-movie metal towards the academy – there are several unusual victories that make the drummer-composer’s new Fourteen so distinctive. With a shifting design that unites everything harp and glockenspiel to brass and reeds (don’t forget the three vocalists and their wordless chirping), Weiss puts intricacy in the foreground while assuring that grace has a spot at the table. The result is captivating large ensemble music that defines the term “sui generis.” It’s a beast – can he pull it off on stage? — By Jim Macnie

Saturday, 4/12:

Emmylou Harris
BAM, Peter Jay Sharp Building
8:00 p.m., $35

Nonesuch Records’ reissue of gray country goddess Emmylou Harris’s 1995 album Wrecking Ball — no relation to Miley Cyrus’s pop ballad — hearkens back to a more innocent time, when all it took for guaranteed artistic “reinvention” was Brian Eno protégé Daniel Lanois in the producer’s seat. Harris, then considered over the hill at 48, applied her unexpectedly imperfect voice to some damn fine songs by Steve Earle, Julie Miller, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Gillian Welch, and title-track composer Neil Young. An atmospheric and elegant downer of a production, Wrecking Ball turned out to be Harris’s last great album. She reprises it tonight alongside Steven Nistor (drums), Jim Wilson (piano), and Lanois, who also provide an opening set of ethereal-guitar-tinted Americana. — By Richard Gehr

PRISM Quartet feat. Rudresh Mahanthappa & Steve Lehman
Symphony Space
7:30 p.m., $17-$22

The eminent saxophonists Rudresh Mahanthappa and Steve Lehman bring their radically different styles to a chamber setting with works composed for the contemporary-classical PRISM Quartet, a boldly adventurous saxophone ensemble that expands the multicultural possibilities of an instrument that transcends limited genre conventions. Mahanthappa has integrated a jazz pedigree into his Indian heritage, situating the microtonal harmonies of Carnatic music in a Western context. Lehman employs mathematical analysis of timbre, appropriating composer Tristan Murail’s spectral music for a downtown audience. Part of the ongoing Heritage/Evolution series, PRISM repurposes Darwin’s theory, putting cultures in collision and watching what comes out of the horn. — By Aidan Levy

Joe’s Pub
11:30 p.m., $25

Somali-Canadian emcee K’Naan has fashioned quite a name for himself on the World Hip-Hop circuit with his brand of life-affirming music that takes from Mos Def and Nas as much as it does from Bob Marley, at his most uplifting, and Wyclef, at his most carnivalesque. Throw in the hippie politics of a Michael Franti and a production style that somehow sounds like a fusion of both pre- and post-“Where is the Love?” Black Eyed Peas, and you’ve got the ideal soundtrack for every international sporting event for the next 16 years. Anthems like “Wavin’ Flag” must come easy to K’Naan — and how could you begrudge him this given the difficult childhood he survived in war-torn Somalia? This trauma is ever-present in his music, grounding the occasional cases of Bono-esque grandstanding in the harsh realities of post-colonialism and global capitalism. — By Winston Groman

Death by Audio
8:00 p.m., $12

Detroit’s Protomartyr debuted in 2012 with No Passion All Technique, a title at once representative of the articulate post-punk band and not. Behind Joe Casey’s dead-eyed husk in the tradition of Mark E. Smith and Colin Newman, his bandmates’ pummeling drums and continually humming, often erupting feedback roil with the love and hate of living in a city Casey calls both home and a “hole” on their new album, Under Color of Official Right. Almost stately on record, Protomartyr find catharsis onstage, giving noisy vent to their frustrations. — By Harley Oliver Brown

Hassan Hakmoun
Joe’s Pub
7:00 p.m., $20

The Marrakesh-born master of the three-stringed North African bass lute known as the sintir sounds positively electrified on Unity, Hakmoun’s first album in 15 years. The Gnawa traditionalist’s new group combines high-level improv-rock communication skills with a diverse vocabulary of African tropes. Hakmoun, front and center, resembles a mysterious and mischievous ringleader. — By Richard Gehr

The Psychedelic Furs
The Paramount
8:00 p.m., $29.50-$65

Emerging from the primordial ooze of the Velvet Underground, the Stooges, and MC5, the Psychedelic Furs were the electrified, sax-inflected pulse that punctuated the heartbeat of the ’80s. Immortalized by the eponymous anthem that inspired John Hughes’s Pretty in Pink, the Furs shepherded Gen-Xers through the unchecked hedonism of Reaganomics and Thatcher-era malaise. Now, erstwhile guitarist John Ashton unveils Satellite Paradiso, a long-gestating all-star project that explores cosmological questions uniting science, nature, and temporality with a totalizing virtuosity. Distortion becomes a palpable electromagnetic field as Ashton embarks on a Dante-esque sonic journey through a rhythmic wormhole in space-time that leads somewhere between 1984 and a timeless utopian future. — By Aidan Levy

Wink Keziah
Hill Country
10:00 p.m., free

This self-described “urban hillbilly” survived a harsh North Carolina childhood to become one of the country’s hard-core honky-tonkers most deserving of wider recognition. His 2008 album Working Songs for the Drinking Class was simply terrific, and his new Cowbilly seals the deal with songs like loser anthem “When I Get Paid” and “A Hot Woman & a Cold Beer.” — By Richard Gehr

Sunday, 4/13:

Kevin Costner & Modern West
The Paramount
8:00 p.m., $39.50-$125

You know how Kevin Costner starred in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves? Do you remember the Bryan Adams song that was bigger than the movie itself? Of course you do! Now imagine that Kevin Costner somehow became Bryan Adams in real life, and you wouldn’t be too far off from the reality of Modern West, an Americana outfit founded by Mr. Costner and friends dedicated to churning out good ole Heartland Rock in the vein of Springsteen, Petty, Mellencamp, Henley and, yes, Adams. Three solid, unpretentious, albums and the hauntingly subdued soundtrack to the History Channel’s Hatfields and McCoys miniseries in less than a decade represent a pretty good yield for any band, making it clear that this is no mere celebrity novelty project. Check them out — with Costner’s daughter Lily as opening act — at The Paramount if you like your bar bands to sound exactly like a bar band sounded in 1988 — which is exactly how a bar band should sound. — By Winston Groman

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