The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 8/18/14


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

Monday, 8/18:

Linkin Park + 30 Seconds to Mars + AFI
PNC Banks Arts Center
7:00 p.m., $39.75-$281
The newest album’s deliberate moves toward punk rock feel contrived coming from a band with this history of overproduction, but it does at least feature one song with a killer odd-time riff. That stuff is the point now, really: all the tiny weird flourishes have become considerably weirder, sometimes compellingly; the swirling spoken-word collage halfway through A Thousand Suns might have been a tipping point. Punching bag or not, Hybrid Theory has actually aged quite well as an artifact of its era, a pristine embalmed facepalm which reminds us that we once decided a nü-metal boy band deserved ubiquity for “In The End.” But hey, it’d still make a better Song of the Summer than fucking “Fancy.” — By Vijith Assar

Tuesday, 8/19:

Drake vs. Lil Wayne
Forest Hills Stadium
7:00 p.m., $69-$400
Very few students have surpassed their teachers quite like Drake has with Lil Wayne, but luckily for the man who discovered Drake as a post-Degrassi rap prodigy, he’s still very much a god in the rap universe. It’s been nearly 10 years since Wayne began the Young Money record label, and beyond Drake, he’s championed a number of successful young acts like Tyga, Lil Twist, Austin Mahone, and rap queen Nicki Minaj. Drake vs. Lil Wayne, the massive tour which began almost immediately after Drake’s annual Ovo Fest in Toronto, is a nice way to celebrate the success each has wrought. Though the “vs.” in their tour’s title makes it sound like the pair are ready to battle one another, both have made it clear that they continue to have nothing but love for each other’s career ventures. They’re just lucky they didn’t choose to include “vs. Nicki Minaj” because both would have been forced to relinquish their crowns. — By Brittany Spanos

Frontier Ruckus
The Mercury Lounge
9:30 p.m., $10
Frontier Ruckus performs with a fresh-faced, thrilled-to-be-there glow, though they’re hardly a rookie act: the Detroit folk group has released three studio albums since 2008, and is preparing to launch a fourth, appropriately titled 4th LP, in November. Effervescent and sweetly sincere, frontman Michael Milia and vocalist Anna Burch harmonize their way through each song, strumming commensurately heartfelt melodies that benefit from a bevy of acoustic instruments. Guitars, banjos and dobros are just the beginning for Frontier Ruckus–multi-instrumentalist Zach Nichols keeps ’em coming with horns, melodica and the saw. The band’s most striking feature, maybe, is its intimate performing style. — By Carena Liptak

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars
Highline Ballroom
8:00 p.m., $25-$45
Led by singer-songwriter Reuben Koroma, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have evolved into road-seasoned ambassadors of peace through music since coming together in a Guinean refugee camp toward the end of their homeland’s decade-long civil war. They blend Guinea-Bissau’s zouk-influenced gumbe rhythm, palm-wine guitars, gentle folk melodies, Congolese soukous, the lilting baskeda drum sound reminiscent of Jamaica’s nyabinghi drummers, and reggae redemption songs. Also: Morning Sun & the Essentials. — By Richard Gehr

Eric Comstock
8:00 p.m., $20
Here’s a piano man who not only knows every song ever written and included in the Great American Songbook. He also knows the story behind every song and is more than likely to tell you what he knows before he warbles. He’ll also be amiably witty about it. He’s frequently seen around town(s) singing with wife Barbara Fasano, and perhaps she’ll be on hand to sing a ditty or two with him or on her own. Easy, affable entertainment. — By David Finkle

Wednesday, 8/20:

Robyn + Royksopp
JBL Live at Pier 97
6:00 p.m., $55
Robyn has been active in the music business for two decades now, but it wasn’t until her 2010 dual album Body Talk that she truly broke through in the U.S. And it’s no wonder — both parts of the album were packed with instant dance classics that paired honest and often sad lyrics with fiery beats. Her songs have been part of iconic scenes and viral videos ever since, like the famous Girls bedroom dance to “Dancing on My Own” that all adventurous women do, as well as a full and faithful re-creation of the “Call Your Girlfriend” choreography by SNL‘s Taran Killam. Body Talk featured a slithering, sexy collaboration with Norwegian electronic music duo Röyksopp called “None of Dem” and now, four years later, Robyn’s first collection of new material is a mini-album with the same pair called Do It Again. In celebration, all three are touring together, performing both their own songs as well as their collaborations. You won’t be dancing on your own in this audience. — By Brittany Spanos

Rod Stewart + Santana
Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
7:30 p.m., $40-$150
This powerhouse odd couple gives new meaning to the word sexagenarian. Santana can still elicit ultrasonic banshee wails on his famously no-frills solid body, eschewing pedal effects for a more quintessentially “smooth” guitar sound, and Stewart can still croak more soulfully than anyone. “Oye Como Va” and “Black Magic Woman” meet “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy,” the Faces’ “Stay with Me,” and Stewart’s recent teenage love ballad, “Brighton Beach,” begging the question of whether Santana’s signature fedora and Rod’s mod rooster coiffe clash or complement. Yet any questioning ears should be satisfied by the pair’s keening duet on Etta James’s “I’d Rather Go Blind.” — By Aidan Levy

Ryan Leslie
Bowery Ballroom
9:00 p.m., $30/$35
Most people know Ryan Leslie for his work behind the scenes, namely as the producer of Cassie’s “Me & U,” which went on to become possibly the biggest cult R&B hit of the past decade. Since then he’s garnered a cult fanbase of his own, both for his music – often compared to The-Dream at his knottiest peak – and his joining the ranks of artists, usually indie and usually overlooked, who are quietly innovating in digital distribution; his Disruptive Multimedia fan platform has garnered the funding and praise of both VCs and Kanye West. — By Katherine St. Asaph

Thursday, 8/21:

All Them Witches
The Mercury Lounge
9:30 p.m., $10
For being the first American group to be signed to the German psychedelic/stoner rock Elektrohasch Records, All Them Witches sound pretty damn American. The Nashville-based group deals in doomy, heavy-hitting reverb and sludgy guitar work colored by bluesy Southern rock elements and the occasional wild card harmonica cameo. ATW released their debut and second albums in quick succession in 2013, establishing both the band’s wide net of influence–hard rock, the blues, and psychedelia enter into their configuration in about equal measure–and their ability to synthesize many styles into an engaging, headbang-ready sound. — By Carena Liptak

Friday, 8/22:

Dead Gaze
South Street Seaport
6:00 p.m., free
Dead Gaze’s Cole Furlow’s is a one-man noise-pop wrecking crew, pinching off distorted gems that lodge in memory as easily as they defy categorization. In his hands, abrupt punk melodies churn and roil under geysers of feedback and effects, but his effortlessly direct, bitter voice slices through the din. It’s as if the songs are skirmishes in an ongoing emotional war that Furlow is perpetually at grave risk of losing. — By Raymond Cummings

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