The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 8/25/14


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

Monday, 8/25:

K. Flay
Brooklyn Bowl
8:00 p.m., free w/ RSVP
Often identified as rap’s resident smart girl, K. Flay’s got the brains and flow to put much of mainstream hip-hop to shame. K. Flay, real name Kristine Flaherty, grew up in suburban Chicago before attending Stanford University, where she began toying with her own brand of rap music as a response to the genre’s cliches. With a handful of mixtapes and EPs under her belt, she signed with RCA, which she left before putting out a full-length debut. Free from the major, she recently released the Life as a Dog LP, an intriguing mix of hip-hop, electronic and indie rock. — By Jill Menze

Taka Kigawa
Le Poisson Rouge
7:30 p.m., $20-$30
In honor of Pierre Boulez’s 90th birthday next year, Taka Kigawa performs the composer-conductor’s complete works for piano, an instrument with which this modernist’s modernist had a life-long, if intermittent, relationship. But Kigawa, who has already toured Elliott Carter’s complete piano oeuvre, has been getting rave reviews for his non-chronological approach to Boulez, whose first acknowledged composition was the seriously serial 12 Notations for piano (1946). The second and third of Boulez’s three piano sonatas are particularly badass. Moving beyond serialism, Boulez sought more elegant solutions to problems of control and freedom, adding flashes and fields of beauty throughout. Suffice to say that Kigawa brings both virtuosity and deep feeling to Boulez’s often convulsively gorgeous conundrums, radical restlessness, and temporal suspensions. — By Richard Gehr

Tuesday, 8/26:

The Polyphonic Spree
Brooklyn Bowl
8:00 p.m., $15-$18
A band whose staying power perhaps lies more in their gimmicks than content–twenty-plus members donning white choir robes to black militant getups producing oversized pop songs–the Polyphonic Spree have proven to still have a place in today’s indie rock scene, if only for their cult following. Since their inception in 2000, frontman Tim DeLaughter has underlined campy playground sing-alongs with sprawling orchestral arrangements whose cinematic qualities have landed Spree on countless soundtracks. Their 2013 studio album Yes, It’s True‘s toned down 70s psych rock, however, proves that even Spree’s unrelentingly optimistic pop may one day relent. — By Sarah Madges

Cheap Trick
The Paramount
8:00 p.m., $39.50-$99.50
Though classic rock heroes Cheap Trick have spent the better part of their career non-stop touring, the band’s show at the New York State Fair has the added bonus of unidentifiable fried fair food. Since the group’s heyday in the late ’70s and ’80s, Cheap Trick has been consistently producing solid albums and a stream of hits such as “Surrender,” “I Want You to Want Me” and “The Flame.” Expect guitar heroics, a finely honed production and plenty of sing-along opportunities. — By Jill Menze

Perfect Pussy
Shea Stadium
8:00 p.m., $10
With a sound as confrontational as their name, Perfect Pussy take no prisoners in their live shows, with vocalist Meredith Graves spitting out often incomprehensible lyrics in a speedballing burst of energy. Although her voice is almost obliterated by the thick wall of thundering noise from her bandmates, Graves’ blunt, honest lyrics — from releases with names as contradictory as “I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling” and “Say Yes to Love” — deal with sex, betrayal and body image. For this show they will be joined by rising punk band Potty Mouth, and Welsh melodic thrash five-piece, Joanna Gruesome. — By Karen Gardiner
Tuesday, 8/26:

Matt Mitchell Quartet
10:30 p.m., $10
The pianist is playing with everyone these days, perhaps one reason why he becomes more authoritative. Some of his music has a tendency to be knotty, but engagingly so. Consider it a puzzle of sorts, and consider drummer Dan Weiss a key decoder. Both he and Mitchell are dedicated to the kind of precision that eradicates haze in gnarly situations. — By Jim Macnie

Wednesday, 8/27:

Daryl Sherman
Peacock Alley
5:30 p.m., free
She’s back where she’s played so effortlessly for so many years. Not only that, but she’s evidently back tickling Cole Porter’s old piano as lightly as she knows how. Don’t expect much singing, or any, for that matter. Never mind. She’ll work her spell all the same, and what an entrancing spell it is. Will she play anything Porter? She’d better. — By David Finkle

Thursday, 8/28:

Heaven’s Jail
Baby’s All Right
8:00 p.m., $10
Chin-stroking cover art and an NPR co-sign are only two of the things Brooklyn’s Heaven’s Jail Band has going for it. Possessed of a tremulous voice and a laureate’s pen, singer Francesco Ferorelli is at equally at home squaring off with searing electric blues licks and folksy, finger-plucked acoustic guitars. Think a more populist, self-contained Mountain Goats. Great things lay ahead for this group, and for everyone willing to listen; Ace Called Zero, its non-Bandcamp debut, drops August 26. — By Raymond Cummings

Friday, 8/29:

Baby’s All Right
11:59 p.m., $5
The wad of ascending killer bands flooding from Brooklyn’s DIY punk pantheon truly is the shit. The stellar barrage is relentless, and now BOYTOY has joined the tribe. Like Potty Mouth and Amanda X, grungy co-ed trio BOYTOY–its moniker righteously swiped from the 80’s heyday of Madonna’s glorious Like A Virgin reign–melts the lo-fi godhead hook-centric indie pop simplicity made legendary by K Records with the contagiously sweet 90’s-era Boston rockin’ rollick sounds of Belly, Throwing Muses and The Breeders. BOYTOY’s debut EP, released earlier this year, slays with hooks galore, gushing with syrupy pogo-crazed riffers on its seven sun-soaked anthems, their bass-less tunes the sublime summer soundtrack. Plus they even have a rad vid featuring that SNL dude, Horatio Sanz. — By Brad Cohan

Jeff Bridges & the Abiders
The Paramount
8:00 p.m., $39.50-$74.50
With over 20 years of a film career under his belt, Jeff Bridges returned to his first love, music, in 2000 with the release of his first album. Following his Academy Award winning role as a grizzled country singer in 2009’s Crazy Horse, Bridges, together with his band, The Abiders, made his major label debut in 2011 with a self-titled album on Blue Note Records produced by long-time friend and Crazy Heart collaborator, T-Bone Burnett. If you’ve never heard his soulful music before, you might reflexively think the dude should stick to acting. But that’s just, like, your opinion, man. — By Karen Gardiner

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