The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 5/30/14


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

Friday, 5/30:

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

‘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
Friday & Saturday, 8:45 p.m. & 10:45 p.m. daily, $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

Saturday, 5/31:

Sheila E.
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
8:00 p.m., $37.50
The Sheila E. of the mid-80s continues to linger in the mind as an image of the future. Back then, she dazzled as the perfect mouthpiece for throwaway Prince tunes like “Erotic City,” “A Love Bizarre,” and “The Glamorous Life,” perfectly suited for the robotic exoticism of E.’s post-racial beauty, flimsy (but tuneful) voice, and impeccable Latin drumming. In fact, these slices of metronomic funk draped in chintzy keyboards still sound like transmissions from the yet-to-come, hitting a sweet spot of pop, electro and lite-soul that no subsequent artist has since been able to achieve. Fortunately, Sheila continues to be a phenomenal drummer and bandleader. — By Winston Groman

The Strokes
The Capitol Theatre
8:00 p.m., $30
The Strokes are back in a big way. Before they play Governors Ball, a performance being presented as their long-awaited hometown reunion following years of internal conflicts — we’re thinking about those solo efforts from frontman Julian Casablancas and guitarist Albert Hammond Jr., as well as a slew of records that didn’t live up to their early reputation as saviors of post-punk LES glam rock — you can catch the New York fivesome at an intimate engagement in Port Chester tonight. Considering that the presale tickets were gone in less than a minute, it’s clear fans of the band haven’t been deterred by anyone who dares to say the Strokes are over. Don’t miss the chance to hear classics like “New York City Cops” and “Last Nite” performed in one of the nation’s most iconic venues. — By Harley Oliver Brown

Shubha Mudgal and Bombay Jayashri
Town Hall
7:30 p.m., $38-$117
In Indian music, a jugalbandi (Hindi for “entwined twins”) signifies two solo musicians performing together as equals, trading songs and improvising. The first American appearance by Shubha Mudgal and Bombay Jayashri, who’ve been getting rave reviews across the pond, also marks a meeting of India’s two classical traditions: the northern Hindustani and southern Carnatic styles, respectively. You may already have heard Jayashri: She sang “Pi’s Lullaby” which played over Life of Pi’s credits, but is better known as part of a new wave of young Carnatic specialists. Mudgal, who has been performing classical music since the 1980s, is one of India’s most recognized vocalists. Embar Kannan (violin), Aneesh Pradhan (tabla), J. Vaidhyanathan (double-headed mridangam drum), and Sudhir Nayak (harmonium) accompany, and should bring plenty to the party themselves. — By Richard Gehr

Vulture Shit
The Gutter
9:00 p.m., $7
Hardcore’s default setting is a sort of heightened disaffection, a harried revulsion that – if done properly – doubles as a rallying cry for audiences. Vulture Shit ride this particular wave well, breaking off vaguely catchy, stop-on-a-dime fits of pique that clock in (usually) at less than two minutes and don’t feel yoked to the present. A “grand opus”, for this Brooklyn trio, is something like “Dinnertime”: four minutes of singer Randy Vandal dry-humping dining convention while the band grinds its teeth behind him. — By Raymond Cummings

Sunday, 6/1:

David Torn + Tim Berne & Matt Mitchell
Friday through Sunday, 8:30 p.m. daily, $15
Three nights of precision and excursion. Torn, the intrepid string experimentalist, seldom plays unaccompanied, so this solo shot is a treat. Check his one-man TEDx Talks guitar and oud combo and you’ll know that there are more textural string sounds around than you ever figured. Berne and Mitchell have a deep rapport at this late date; the pianist boasts a definite affinity for his mentor’s swoops and gallops. Dessert features a trio romp that should show a novel simpatico. — By Jim Macnie

The Eels
Apollo Theater
7:30 p.m., $35-$55
The Eels have been around for a while, making a name for themselves as one of those iconic movie soundtrack bands, playing reflective, scuzzed out, multi-genred interpretations of alternative rock jams that have shown up in popular films ranging from American Beauty and all three of the Shrek movies, to Holes and Jim Carrey’s Yes Man. Their sound is a recognizable one, yet after releasing 11 albums since their debut in 1996, they can’t be pinned down to one style, phase, or production approach. Keeping things even more exciting are the weirdo characters frontman Mark Oliver Everett portrays with every album, singing through the perspective of others as a means to share with listeners the lessons people usually have to learn the hard way–until now, that is. Eels’ recent release, The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, is a character-less, more transparent approach, revisiting mistakes of Everett’s youth while exploring obligation and indebtedness, regret and denial, and ultimately hope as an after-effect of learning from his poor decisions. They just embarked on their North American tour, so be sure to catch them at one of their upcoming performances and enjoy wallowing in Everett’s enlightening, electrifying misery. — By Erin Manning

‘Joe Lovano’s Village Rhythms Band’
Blue Note
Friday through Sunday, 8:00 p.m. & 10:30 p.m. daily, $20-$35
A chance meeting with Fela back in the ’80s planted a seed in the saxophonist’s head. Fans know he’s got big ears, and the opportunity to dance towards the nexus of Nigerian grooves and jazz improv has finally arrived. He’s an investigator, so this quintet with Matt Garrison’s cagey electric bass mixing with the kora strings of Abdou Mboup is unlike any Lovano configuration of late. Here’s to new horizons. — By Jim Macnie

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