The Seven Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 5/2/14


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

Friday, 5/2:

Terminal 5
Friday & Sunday, 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, 11:00 p.m., $29.50/$30
There is something undeniably blessed about Chvrches’ sound. Bridging both the dark and light of synthpop, the Scottish trio can craft truly superb gems of pop that are as complex as they are danceable. Just look at their cover of Whitney Houston’s classic “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay”: They subdued the chorus and brought out the song’s sadder elements without compromising what made the original such a banger. Chvrches are still riding the wave of their successful 2013, a year that saw them release three EPs and their full-length debut, The Bones of What You Believe. To solidify that, the band tackles a three-show, sold-out run at Terminal 5, where their melodies will worm their way into your head so swiftly it’ll be sinful. — By Brittany Spanos

Grandma Sparrow + Megafaun
Baby’s All Right
8:00 p.m., $15
Before Joe Westerland helps create finger-picking orchestral magic in avant-folkie unit Megafaun tonight, he’ll give you a play date you won’t soon forget with no naptime. Enter the gloriously freaky show of the snazzy fedora, goofy paper nose and specs-wearing Grandma Sparrow (Wusterland’s bat-shit alter ego) and from his creative mind he’s dreamt up a narrative filled with magical music and bizarro characters. On the super-fun Grandma Sparrow & his Piddletractor Orchestra, Grandma immaculately colors a childlike song cycle for grownups in the form of a corny, yet inventive, conceptual epic. In Grandma’s neighborhood, there’s a children’s choir, horns, strings and ear-candied ditties that fill an eclectic psych-pop rainbow colored with improvisational weirdness while riding a 60’s-styled rock peace train. This playdate is some trippy, deep shit. — By Brad Cohan

Saturday, 5/3:

Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s
Bowery Ballroom
9:00 p.m., $15/$17
Perhaps the first post-Wes Anderson band, Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s take their name from Margot Tenenbaum of the 2004 Anderson film The Royal Tenenbaums. Formed in Indianapolis by Richard Evans, the band release their first record of twee chamber pop in 2006, The Dust of Retreat, and earned a small but loyal following. After a number of lineup changes and label issues, they return in 2014 with their fifth album Sling Shot to Heaven. Expect harmonies and tear-jerking lyrics with enough noisemaker symphonies to keep their songs dynamic. — By Caitlin White

Tommy Tune
Cafe Carlyle
Friday & Saturday, 8:45 p.m.; Saturday, 10:45 p.m., $70-$130
These days he’s 75, but he’s still smiling and youthful as he goes about singing, tapping (that’s right, he taps in front of you on the small stage) and telling anecdotes that’ll charm your socks off. The only mystery about the lanky guy is why he no longer directs and choreographs on Broadway, but that’s probably something he won’t go into. No matter. What you get is sheer performing magic. — By David Finkle

The Brothers Booth
The Players Club
8:00 p.m., $75-$125
The year is 1919, Prohibition is just coming into effect, and the statue of Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth is being unveiled in Gramercy Park. Don your best Roaring Twenties garb for a swanky party at the Players Club, founded by Booth 125 years ago. The Brothers Booth, your time machine for the evening, is an interactive theater experience made possible by the creators of the long-running downtown hit Speakeasy Dollhouse and director Wes Grantom. Your job tonight is to try and uncover what might have led John Wilkes, Edwin’s younger brother, to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, while you party it up in the home of the actor himself. Burlesque star Tansy welcomes guests into this mansion via a secret alley entrance and invites them to enjoy live music, experience a séance, and dance in the mansion’s grand ballroom. Guests are also encouraged to explore unlocked doors, be nosy, and talk to strangers. But be careful: The mansion could get raided. — By Araceli Cruz

Sunday, 5/4:

Suzanne Vega
City Winery
8:00 p.m., $40-$60
Chances are you know Suzanne Vega from 1990’s “Tom’s Diner,” her originally a cappella track that skyrocketed to radio ubiquity after British producers DNA set it to a dance beat. But it’s hard to understate Vega’s importance outside of that song: The intimate, accessible folk of her 1987 platinum breakthrough, Solitude Standing, opened up commercial avenues for female singer-songwriters like Sinead O’Connor, Fiona Apple, and the Indigo Girls. Though Vega’s popularity was arguably superseded by those that followed — especially after producer and ex-husband Michael Froom took her ’90s efforts in a more experimental direction — there’s no question that her wryly observational lyrics and pop-friendly arrangements are just as compelling now as they were 20 years ago. — By Harley Brown

Enrico Pieranunzi
Village Vanguard
Friday through Sunday, 9:00 p.m. & 11:00 p.m., $30
Whether he’s tipping the hat to Morricone or pin-balling around Monk, there’s a devilish attitude at work in the Italian pianist’s trio music. Every time he pulls into the Vanguard, we learn a bit more about his approach, and by switching up sidemen with regularity, the experience is constantly fluid. This time around he has a secret weapon. Bassist Scott Colley has a way of nudging the improv in novel directions that always puts eloquence front and center. — By Jim Macnie

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