The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 5/12/14


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

Monday, 5/12:

Ahrens & Flaherty
54 Below
7:00 p.m. & 9:30 p.m., $55-$65
These songwriters wrote the great end-of-20th-century musical. It’s Ragtime, if your memory’s cloudy. Their track record since is less impressive, and includes the current Rocky, but they’ve still turned out some heavyweight ditties as they’ve toiled over the keyboard and the rhyming dictionary. Singing and celebrating selections from a 30-year collaboration that has produced favorites such as Lucky Stiff, Once on This Island, My Favorite Year and the later Seussical will be, among others, Mary Testa, Bobby Steggart, Andy Karl (Broadway’s Rocky Balboa), Liz Callaway and Julie Halston. — By David Finkle

Tuesday, 5/13:

Angel Olsen
Music Hall of Williamsburg
9:00 p.m., $16/$18
The danger of folk, and all its sub-genre, is of sounding dated, antiquated. If the revolution is coming, it’s probably not in the form of singer-songwriter melodies and acoustic guitars. Enter Angel Olsen, an enemy of the formulaic. The musician’s latest, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, finds itself steeped in the American tradition of the genre, but manages to complicate it. Her music is riddled with ghosts from the past and reverberations from the future while remaining free of sepia-toned nostalgia. A sight to behold. — By Maria Sherman

Santos Party House
8:00 p.m., $15
ODESZA is part of a group of Seattle bands leading a small, pretty-sounding revolution against the EDM bangers that have dominated the dance music scene for the past few years. The duo’s glitchy electro-pop goes down like candy for breakfast, the type of music you can move to all night long and still come down to in the morning. ODESZA’s irresistibly groove-inducing reputation has been selling out shows across the country, so be sure to catch them when they bring their gorgeous sound and light show to a pair of concerts in NYC. — By Harley Oliver Brown

Son Lux
Le Poisson Rouge
9:00 p.m., $13/$15
Composer extraordinaire Ryan Lott, aka Son Lux, has studied music his entire life, developing and experimenting with recording and production techniques long before DIY music software and laptops were placed in the hands of seemingly any old schmuck seeking a creative outlet and, god forbid, an audience. Son Lux’s background and career longevity set him apart as testaments to his rare ability to consistently create music that is catchy, approachable, and totally original. Most recently Sisyphus, his collaborative project with Sufjan Stevens and rapper Serengeti, released their full-length debut, while on the solo front, Son Lux released his third full-length Lanterns last fall. In the short time since, the equal parts composer-producer-beatmaker has re-imagined four of those tracks to produce a new EP, Alternate Worlds, with a corresponding tour kicking off in NYC with his LPR release show. This should be a rare presentation, given his plan to debut new arrangements while performing in-the-round with guitarist Ragiq Bhatia, along with a mystery lineup of special guest vocalists and instrumentalists. — By Erin Manning

Jolie Holland
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. — By Richard Gehr

Wednesday, 5/14:

‘The Music of Cole Porter’
Jazz at Lincoln Center, Appel Room
7:00 p.m., $55-$115
Michael Feinstein is turning himself into a significant Manhattan entrepreneur. Here he is honoring one of his favorite composer-lyricists. He’s joined by the also ubiquitous Marilyn Maye, Denzal Sinclair, Kate Davis and Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. There’s little new to say about Porter, with the possible exception that if you prepare for Feinstein’s evening by watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance to the man’s “Night and Day,” you’ll see a display of sophistication perhaps unparalleled in America’s 20th century. — By David Finkle

Owen Pallett
Bowery Ballroom
8:00 p.m., $20
Owen Pallett began his career under the moniker Final Fantasy, and the sci-fi-enthusiast and violinist quickly gained a following by sampling and looping string parts into indie pop structures that praised things like Dungeons and Dragons. Tonight, however, he uses his birth name, an indication of his increased dedication to “improve the relationship between creatives and consumers.” Perhaps his unabashed, quirky weirdness is part of this mission. His latest album, In Conflict, dips deeper into introspective and personal events. It often takes conflict to reveal the greatest aspects of our being, and it’s such lofty claims that Pallett’s music tackles. And if you’ve never seen anyone sample the violin live, watching that feels like a victory, too. — By Caitlin White

Thursday, 5/15:

Lily Allen
Highline Ballroom
8:00 p.m., $25-$30
Sassy, sharp-tongued, and strident, Lily Allen hardly minces words. It’s difficult to classify what, exactly, this British pop provocateur does – some switch-bladed compound of singing, rap, and cultural commentary set to production that’s fluid and intoxicating. In her music and interviews, Allen’s desire to rise to the Q-rating level of her peers is almost too palpable. Over time she’s at the very least decreasing her chances of ending up a Gestalt ghetto footnote; she won’t be Sheezus, but she won’t have to settle for being Uffie, either. — By Raymond Cummings

Friday, 5/16:

Terminal 5
9:00 p.m., $25/$30
Perhaps one of the grooviest live performances, electro-funk duo Chromeo is back in NYC. A harmony of syncopated, funky riffs and soothing and steady vocals, Chromeo’s songs evoke a genuine sense of delight. Recorded, their songs are obviously fun, but when experienced live, every song becomes its own personal party. The spirited nature of Chromeo’s sound is spunky yet soothing, which makes for a truly fantastic show. — By Eleanor Lambert

Bowery Ballroom
9:00 p.m., $12/$14
Woods just released With Light And With Love, the seventh and best record of their career. The Brooklyn-based band has been doing it right for nearly a decade and have now sharpened it to a point where you can actually understand what they’re saying, unlike their previous work, a gloriously garbled mess of DIY goodness. See their show at Bowery, their homecoming before jumping across the pond later this summer, and be sure to bring a date, because this is make out music, and making out to guitars is fucking sweet. — By Eric Sundermann

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