The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 5/27/14


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

Tuesday, 5/27:

Webster Hall
9:00 p.m., $25
Matthew Houck has been working under the moniker Phosphorescent for years now, but last year’s release Muchacho felt auspiciously removed from the rest of his expansive discography. Sure, it’s easy to group Houck in with the moderate folk revival that’s sparked amid the early aughts, but it’s the crisp electronic production melded to barren folk song bones that separates him from the flock. Add to that his knack for turning a bone-chilling phrase, and you’ve got the eerie draw of Phosphorescent. Plan to have something akin to a spiritual encounter at this concert, but to leave feeling oddly grounded.– By Caitlin White

Red Fang + Big Business + American Sharks
Music Hall of Williamsburg
8:00 p.m., $20/$23
At this point, Portland’s Red Fang are psych-metal veterans. In less than a decade they’ve signed to the biggest names in the genre (Sargent House, Relapse Records) and they’ve toured with the likes of Helmet, Black Tusk and Mastodon all around the world. If you’re looking for a stoner metal band to name drop without looking like a total doofus, it’s Red Fang. Alongside Los Angeles sludge heroes Big Business and the Misfits-worshiping American Sharks, you can rest assured that neo-grunge and the heavy rock riffs of you’ve grown to love, are still in full force. — By Maria Sherman

Adam Kolker Quartet
10:30 p.m., $10
The BK tenor player is one of those improvisers who makes you wonder “how did he choose to play that line just now?” That’s because he skirts clichés and dodges the norm while remaining a mainstream bandleader who cares about being heard. The key is lyricism. Whether he’s keening in the upper register or mumbling down below, you get the feeling he’s singing. Secret Weapon on this cozy Green-wood gig? Guitarist Steve Cardenas. — By Jim Macnie

Wednesday, 5/28:

Dinosaur Jr.
Music Hall of Williamsburg
8:00 p.m., free
The continued existence of Dinosaur, Jr. is as much a miracle as the fact that the trio’s three post-reunion albums are as solid as their underground and major-label offerings. J. Mascis’ nimble, thrilling guitar leads and wounded falsetto whine are the thread running from You’re Living All Over Me to Without A Sound to I Bet On Sky, even as the sound quality evolves from basement-pit cruddy to studio-pro crystalline. Having bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Murph back on board, however uneasily, has resulted in some intangible uptick in songwriting quality. Long may they bicker, rock, and reign. — By Raymond Cummings

Stage 48
9:30 p.m., $35-$150
Guitarists Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey wield the articulate lead-guitar tonguework that has always driven moe.’s unflagging improv-rock invention. Arguably, however, it’s percussionist Jim Laughner’s electric MalletKat vibe/marimba spiel that tethers fans’ attention to this quirky backwater spaceship of a quintet a quarter-century into its game. A genre unto itself, moe. plays cosmic Americana at its finest, and their new No Guts, No Glory shows no sign of surrender. — By Richard Gehr

Thursday, 5/29:

Ingrid Michaelson
Terminal 5
7:30 p.m., $35/$40
Ingrid Michaelson has been an indie darling since she her breakout album from, Girls and Boys. Michaelson has always been able to walk the fine line between emotional pop songs and catchy, radio-ready hits. One of her biggest hits, “The Way I Am,” embodies this dichotomy–it’s an extremely heartfelt song about being loved as you are, but the handclaps and lyrical flips that Michaelson incorporates turned this schmaltzy ballad into a massive pop track that helped usher some brand new sounds into the mainstream. Now, on her sixth album, Lights Out, Michaelson is a pro at balancing the deep feelings that made her a star right along the accessible, indie pop sound. Expect to laugh and cry with plenty of other earnest fans–sometimes even during the same song. — By Caitlin White

Frederic Rzewski
Roulette Brooklyn
8:00 p.m., $20
The 76-year-old Belgium-based contemporary-music giant will perform a pair of half-hour works for solo piano – one new, the other a classic. The glimmering and gorgeous Dreams, Part 1 (2012-13) was inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s film of the same title. Four Pieces (1977) is an epic reinterpretation of Rzewski’s earlier The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, 32 variations on Sergio Ortega’s famous resistance anthem. — By Richard Gehr

Friday, 5/30:

‘cOver the Pink: 20 Years of Tori Amos’ Under the Pink Live’
The Glasslands Gallery
11:30 p.m., $5
There’s been a recent flurry of Tori Amos re-appreciation thanks to this year’s excellent Unrepentant Geraldines, but surprisingly little attention given to the album celebrating its 20th anniversary, Under the Pink. The album itself is among Amos’ most sedate, but the Glasslands tribute promises curiously buzzy takes on Under the Pink tracks and a few of the singer-songwriter’s numerous B-sides. The lineup includes goth duo Azar Swan, Michael Graye, Prima Primo and Germans, organizer/performer Russ Marshalek (under his alias, a place both wonderful and strange) and bandleader Will Hanza. In keeping with previous Amos-themed events, all proceeds from the show will go to RAINN, the anti-sexual assault organization Amos has worked with since its founding. — By Katherine St. Asaph

Megan Hilty
Cafe Carlyle
Tuesday through Thursday, 8:45 p.m. daily; Friday, 8:45 p.m. & 10:45 p.m., $50-$120
When they were getting Bombshell ready for Broadway on the two seasons of NBC’s Smash, wasn’t the idea that an actual production would ultimately show up on the actual Broadway? If so, mightn’t this in-the-flesh bombshell, who played Ivy Lynn, be the one impersonating Marilyn Monroe? Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be, but here’s the consolation prize. At her first outing in this swanky uptown boite, she’ll sing some of the series songs, most of them written by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, as well as other hot numbers. — By David Finkle

Jamie Cullum
Howard Gilman Opera House
7:30 p.m., $69.50
Jamie Cullum tickles the ivories with Jerry Lee Lewis pyrotechnics and a jazz-pop aesthetic equally influenced by Thelonious Monk and Cole Porter. The latter’s salacious subtext reverberates on a synth-heavy cover of “Love for Sale,” featuring British rapper Roots Manuva on the fresh-faced crooner’s latest release, Momentum, a streamlined mix of springy originals that favor radio-friendly pop over jazz standard fare. Cullum exercises subtle restraint on “Pure Imagination,” channeling the impish chicanery of Willy Wonka with a saturnine Britpop edge, but otherwise, the analogue dream of the ’90s is alive and well; Cullum employed second-hand keyboards and cassette recorders for a vintage bubblegum backdrop. — By Aidan Levy

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