The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 5/23/14


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

Friday, 5/23:

Guided By Voices
Bowery Ballroom
8:00 p.m., $40
Who said that climate change couldn’t be useful? Certainly not Robert Pollard and his Guided By Voices brethren! It turns out that the chilling temperatures and unprecedented snowfall of the Polar Vortex practically forced them indoors in order to churn out infinite amounts of laundry-room lo-fi, just like they did in the halcyon (and warmer?) days of their mid-90’s peak. Pollard, Tobin Sprout and company are certainly older than they were when Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes dropped, but they’ve never been more prolific, releasing six new studio albums since 2012. This month’s Cool Planet plays like a whiskey-spiked toddy: warm and soothing on a sub-zero day and slightly intoxicating. — By Winston Groman

Trans Am
Knitting Factory Brooklyn
8:00 p.m., $12/$14
Trans Am, overlords of futureworld synthesizer-streaking groovage, pulverizing riff-rocking anthems and Vocoder-warped, robotic speak-sing histrionics are fast approaching the twentieth anniversary of its 1996 post-rock movement-defining self-titled first record and they are celebrating the milestone early with spanking new LP, Volume X. Back in the 90’s indie rock glory years when Tortoise and The Sea and the Cake were meticulously post-jazzing it up, Trans Am were the electro-batshitalternative, reconfiguring weirdo Devo-esque booty shakers and sound manipulating Kraut-rock through an Atari console and spitting out a dancified, sci-fi alien music. That fuckery is manifested once again on the return-to-planetary-form of Volume X, Trans Am’s first record in four years. Expect a similar space-rock mind-meld this evening as Trans Am embark on a rare tour. — By Brad Cohan

Karrin Allyson
Friday & Saturday, 8:30 p.m. & 11:00 p.m., $40
Karrin Allyson is widely considered one of the eminent jazz vocalists on the scene today, imbuing the American songbook with a Midwestern breeziness and a mellow alto range, as comfortable rendering Sondheim’s “Send In the Clowns” as she is on Thelonious Monk’s sultry “‘Round Midnight.” Her recent Christmas album Yuletide Hideaway recasts familiar carols with a clear-toned freshness and subtle artistry in the tradition of Vince Guaraldi. Yet Allyson works in many moods, waxing nostalgic on Simon and Garfunkel’s “April Come She Will” and pulling no punches when tackling hard bop standards such as Art Blakey’s propulsive “Moanin’.” — By Aidan Levy

’90s Summer Jam Sing-Along’
Union Hall
9:30 p.m., $10
Now that the worst winter of all time is finally a distant memory (sort of), let’s rejoice under the sun and sing songs that make us nostalgic for those carefree days of our youth. Tonight’s Summer Jam Sing-Along promises an escape to the tackiest era of all: the ’90s, in which flannel, neon windbreakers, and chokers lived in harmony. For two whole hours (could you handle more?) sing along to music videos by Sugar Ray, 2Pac, Sublime, LEN, Third Eye Blind, and many more. Naturally there’s a dance-off, ’90s-themed giveaways, and a costume contest, so don’t forget your slap bracelet. — By Araceli Cruz

Saturday, 5/24:

‘Electric Daisy Carnival’
MetLife Stadium
12:00 p.m., $99.50-$399.50
Get out your crocheted bikini tops, fuzzy multicolored boots, and sealed bottles of water for the Electric Daisy Carnival, the annual EDM festival that drops the bass on the MetLife Stadium this Memorial Day weekend. As usual, EDC covers all the bas(s)es, bringing in industry vets like techno mastermind Carl Cox and global hotshot DJ Tiesto along with up-and-comers such as 19-year-old Martin Garrix, brothers-in-arms Cash Cash, and a live set from UK garage revival champions Rudimental. Complete with fireworks and amusement park rides, not to mention giant glowing owl decoys and at least one octopus float. — By Harley Oliver Brown

Iceage + Uniform
The Glasslands Gallery
8:00 p.m., $12/$14
A year after releasing You’re Nothing and a almost three since New Brigade, the (post-)punk boys are back in town. The young band managed to do the unthinkable: combine hardcore and experimental goth in a way that was accessible and frightening. That ideology hasn’t gone anywhere. This time Iceage are joined by New York’s own industrial Uniform (featuring Michael Berdan of Puerto Rico Flowers, York Factory Complaint.) This gig is a million times heavier than Glasslands is used to hosting; here’s hoping kids jump off the balcony into a pit below. Proceed with caution! — By Maria Sherman

Mobb Deep
Irving Plaza
7:00 p.m., $17-$50
What was hip-hop like without Mobb Deep? It wasn’t nearly as dark, that’s for sure. The world had to survive eight whole years without Prodigy and Havoc’s contributions after the Queens power duo parted ways following a Twitter spat. However, this year the pair released their eighth album together, which was kind of expected, since they reconciled in early 2013 with a tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of their critically acclaimed career. The Infamous Mobb Deep is a perfect ode to the gritty NYC sound that made them such a classic act whose presence we genuinely missed. Let’s hope that their next break is not nearly as long. — By Brittany Spanos

The Mercury Lounge
10:30 p.m., $10
Nashville misfit-rocker Daniel Pujol reportedly recorded his magnificently messy new Kludge in a suicide-prevention center for teens – and have to say, it sorta sounds like it. The Jack White-endorsed postgrad is a superb thrasher whose lyrics about life, death, otherness, alienation, etc., have the ring of dorm-room conversations you wouldn’t want to forget the next morning. Theory rocks! Also: Dirty Fences. — By Richard Gehr

The Cutting Room
7:00 p.m., $15/$20
Expect jaw-dropping, mind-bending instrumental adventures when former Frank Zappa stunt guitarist Mike Keneally teams up with superdrummer Gregg Bendian (noted for his Mahavishnu Orchestra tributes) and ace bassist Doug Lunn. The evening will focus on witty and cunning Keneally originals and vintage psych-pop from the Beach Boys, XTC, Elvis Costello, and more. — By Richard Gehr

Sunday, 5/25:

Tectonics Festival
Issue Project Room
Friday through Sunday, 7:00 p.m. daily, $20
Eighty-three-year-old psychoacoustic innovator Alvin Lucier’s Criss-Cross, performed by doom-metal guitar spelunkers Stephen O’Malley and Oren Ambarchi, is the centerpiece of the three-day Tectonics Festival. This unique occurrence, curated by Icelandic Symphony Orchestra music director Ilan Volkov, is debuting in the U.S., and without a symphony at its disposal; instead, the festival focuses on works for soloists, duets, and other small configurations. Tonight’s program offers works by younger composers including Eyvind Kang and Iancu Dumitrescu, alongside pieces by venerable avant-gardists Lucier and Italy’s Giacinto Scelsi. On Saturday, the late composer Harley Gaber, who committed suicide in 2011, is remembered with a rare performance of his 100-minute minimalist monument The Winds Rise in the North. Tectonics wraps up Sunday with a solo set by cellist Hildur Ingveldardottir Gudnadottir. — By Richard Gehr

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