The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 5/5/14


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

Monday, 5/5:

Beacon Theatre
9:00 p.m., $59.20-$128.25
Everything about Coldplay is patently ridiculous: the drippy lyricism, the wide-eyed songwriting, the album art, the dippy names of singer Chris Martin’s kids, the Brian Eno jones, the daft earnestness surrounding everything it does. But when a jukebox coughs up of the quartet’s better smashes – “Paradise” say, or “Clocks,” or even “Fix You” – if you happen to be in the right mood, Coldplay will lay your emotions flat; they will ride roughshod over your preconceived notions of what “middlebow” connotes. Hate them now, but popular anthemic pop-rock could do far, far worse. — By Raymond Cummings

Tuesday, 5/6:

The Glasslands Gallery
8:30 p.m., $10
Like her move from Nashville to Brooklyn, Mackenzie Scott (aka Torres) made a crucial shift in sound from acoustic to electric back in 2012 with her self-titled full-length debut. The 22-year old singer-songwriter’s acoustic roots are still there–intimate, rough-hewn and beckoning comparisons to Sharon Van Etten and Waxahatchee–but there’s a new intensity and darkness these days that draws her closer to artists like Angel Olsen, Savages or Widowspeak. The gritty city will do that to you, but Torres throws her heart into the spotlight, channeling heartache and uncertainty into deeply-felt, poignant lyrics profound enough to absorb the joys and sorrows she spills along the way. — By Erin Manning

RL Grime
Webster Hall
9:00 p.m., $20-$30
As custom, RL Grime will be making the walls vibrate. His music, primarily being a fusion of EDM with Trap that wants to bubble over and just bounce, is ripe with reworked vocals and staccato high-hat build-ups, leading to chirpy, pulsating drops. However, RL Grime, originally Henry Steinway of Los Angeles, is comfortable enough to mix in a synthy remix of an EDM classic or a more hollow, hypnotic version of his usual trap sound. Alongside opener Dubbel Dutch, RL Grime is sure to live up to his name and dirty things up in concert. — By Eleanor Lambert

Jolie Holland + People Get Ready
Union Pool
9:00 p.m., $10-$12
The mesmerizing Texas singer-songwriter sounds like she’s just barely weathering the elements on her emotionally turbulent new Wine Dark Sea. Flanked by an ominously skronking guitar and a yakety sax, Holland applies her distinctive plangent warble to songs about love, drink, and escape hatches of every variety. Benignly art-popping Brooklyn foursome People Get Ready open for the first of Holland’s three Tuesdays here. — By Richard Gehr

Wednesday, 5/7:

Mark Nadler
54 Below
9:30 p.m., $35-$45
Mark Nadler, a prodigiously talented fellow, is a New Year’s Eve blow-out every night of the year all by himself. He calls his latest escapade “Runnin’ Wild Songs and Scandals of the Roaring ’20s,” which seems oh-so-right for a room that has a picture of Texas “Hello, Suckers” Guinan on the wall. Incidentally, the song “Runnin’ Wild” is featured in the just-opened and disappointing “Bullets Over Broadway.” This incarnation is likely to be a notable Charleston-step up. And he can tap, too. — By David Finkle

Wednesday, 5/7:

Rough Trade NYC
9:00 p.m., $25
tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus is back with a new album that is, among other fantastically genre-subverting things, more grammatically off the grid than 2009’s BiRd-BrAiNs and w h o k i l l in 2011: Nikki Nack. Inspired by the Haitian drum and dance lessons she took in fall 2012, Garbus’s new record sparkles with ingenuity: There’s a song-poem about Tupperware and eating tots, the percussive anthem “Water Fountain,” and “Wait for a Minute,” a slinky, Fugees-reminiscent ballad. No matter which direction she goes with her inspired take on African polyrhythms, Garbus always puts on a magnificently raucous show it’s impossible not to move to. — By Harley Brown

The Wick
8:00 p.m., $25-$30
If you’ve ever had trouble taking Cam’ron seriously, that’s probably because Cam’ron doesn’t take Cam’ron that seriously. Solo and with the Diplomats, the Harlem MC is more enthralled by the absurd potentialities of language – runaway onomatopoeia, outrageous metaphors – than projecting the gruff surliness endemic to hip-hop. Increasingly, though Cam wants for laurels upon which to rest: his heyday is 8-10 years in the rearview, and while he can still draw a crowd, his legend is fading. In 2014, rap heads pose that now-perennial, almost rhetorical question: can Killa re-up, for real? We’ll see. — By Raymond Cummings

Wye Oak + Braids
Webster Hall
7:30 p.m., $22
This Baltimore indie rock duo have been making music since 2006, but it feels like they have really hit their stride with the release of their fourth album Shriek. Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack create fervent, layered shoegaze that previously leaned more toward the folk side of things. For this record though, the two opted for an approach that focuses more on glistening synthesizers and R&B riffs. Still, Wasner’s voice floats above everything, driving the songs with a clear insistence that propels them toward dream pop at times. Expect plenty of noisemakers and electronic production, but with the bones of a rock band moving under the sinuous synthesizers. — By Caitlin White

Thursday, 5/8:

The 1975
Terminal 5
8:00 p.m., $25/$30
The names of The 1975’s songs are easy to remember. Usually bearing a singular word (“Sex,” “Chocolate,” “Girls,” etc.), the Manchester band’s song titles are as quick, catchy, and cute as the tunes they’re attached to, which makes their self-titled debut from September of last year a taut collection of clean-cut and shiny indie pop that sounds like summer days spent in the sun from start to finish. Led by Matthew Healy, the son of British television personalities Denise Welch and Tim Healy, the quartet offset their sweet-sounding songs with their leather jackets, black-and-white videos and pouting like young Rolling Stones sans the rough-and-tumble effect of a blues influence, but that part is all-but forgotten by the time you’re singing along to the chorus. — By Brittany Spanos

Friday, 5/9:

M.I.A. + A$AP Ferg
Knockdown Center
Thursday & Friday, 7:00 p.m., $38
Remember M.I.A.? She released an album this past fall called Matangi that sounds exactly like you’d expect an M.I.A album to sound. Sonically, it’s kind of like walking into a weight room that’s also hosting a wedding reception — a scene that doesn’t make sense in your head but everything you hear is catchy-as-hell and makes you feel like bench pressing everybody. Speaking of bench pressing, A$AP Ferg is joining her, and he’ll provide all the cocaine-fueled-explosion music you’ll ever need in your life. Don’t believe me? Listen to Trap Lord. It’s in stores now. — By Eric Sundermann

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