The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 8/29/14


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

Friday, 8/29:

‘Electric Zoo’
Randall’s Island Park
Friday through Sunday, 1:00 p.m. daily, $99-$369
Can Electric Zoo make a comeback this year? EDM fans will see how the fest holds up a year after having to cancel its final day following several reports of drug overdoses and two deaths. EZoo’s struggles are not abnormal for the narrative of outdoor dance concerts, but the news surrounding last year’s installment intensified a stigma that’s been difficult to shake. To make 2014 a little less dangerous, attendees will have to watch an anti-drug PSA, as well as a number of other preventative measures. Hopefully, this means that ravers can enjoy the three days on Randall’s Island with little stress while taking in the swoops and bass drops of artists like Armin van Buuren, David Guetta, Knife Party and Zedd. — By Brittany Spanos

Ed Palermo Big Band
Friday & Saturday, 8:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m., $30
The saxophonist-bandleader combines perfect pop with eccentric wizardry for the next two nights – think “Hello It’s Me” into “Black Napkins” – when he leads his dynamic 18-piece big band through “Zodd Zundgren,” a promisingly demented mash-up of music by Todd Rundgren and Palermo’s longtime focus, Frank Zappa. Expect brief stopovers in the halls of King Crimson and Paul Simon. — By Richard Gehr

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

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

Saturday, 8/30:

Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
6:00 p.m., $34-$52
When “My Vag” dropped in 2012, Awkwafina (aka Nora Lum) became a YouTube sensation. Tiny and bespectacled, the Forest Hills rapper has a brashness and ego to match the big guys, with subject matter that involves the superiority of vaginas (“50 times better than a penis”), racism, and stealing people’s iPads in Williamsburg. This year she released her first solo album, Yellow Ranger, and will appear in Salima Koroma’s upcoming documentary Bad Rap, about Asian-American rappers. Tonight she’s headlining the NYC edition ofKollaboration 2014, a touring, multidiscipline talent competition. Created by comedian Paul Kim in 2000, the annual showcase seeks to create opportunities for up-and-coming pan-Asian artists in the entertainment industry. A panel of judges, which includes Ellie Lee from VH1’s Big Morning Buzz and Ali Ewoldt from Broadway’s West Side Story, will evaluate the six finalists to declare a winner. — By Heather Baysa

Zac Brown Band
Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
7:00 p.m., $31.50-$77
Zac Brown helms his band — which has grown since its inception in 2002 to an eight-piece — with his rich, reflective baritone and un-egotistical approach to performance. The dream of the jam band is still alive in ZBB, despite three platinum records and eleven #1 singles, as well as the release of Brown’s cookbook of Southern cuisine. But the group’s signature is their penchant for emotive country rock songs, rooted deeply in nostalgic harmony and imagery of the Georgia landscape where Brown grew up. — By Carena Liptak

Garfunkel & Oates
Irving Plaza
7:00 p.m., $23.50-$39.50
L..A. funnywomen Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome have been performing as Garfunkel and Oates (“two famous rock ‘n’ roll second bananas”) for seven years now. Like a female Flight of the Conchords with a slightly cleaned-up Sarah Silverman sense of humor, they won the hearts of proud non-moms everywhere with “Pregnant Women Are Smug” and have commented on the absurdity of marriage inequality with surprisingly sweet ditties like “Sex with Ducks” and “Rainbow Connection.” An eponymous IFC show was probably inevitable, and with these ladies’ propensity for sight gags and sharp satire, we couldn’t have been happier when the Fred Savage-produced series premiered this month. Lindhome described the show as “Glee with dick jokes,” a characterization that probably needs no further embellishment. Count on hearing some new songs from the series, as they perform tonight, as well as favorites from 2012’s brilliant Slippery When Moist. — By Heather Baysa

Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo
The Paramount
8:00 p.m., $39.50-$89.50
Will “Love Is a Battlefield” ever get old? Never. Impossible. And Pat Benatar will never stop being impossibly badass. Which is why the singer’s 35th anniversary tour with her legendary guitarist Neil Giraldo is a can’t-miss opportunity to revel in every memorable hit from “Heartbreaker” and “We Belong” to “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” Sure, her fans have (gracefully?) aged, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still break out the leather, the big hair and the attitude that represent one of the ’80s’ best performers. — By Jill Menze

Mount Kimbie (DJ Set)
The Wick
11:00 p.m., $20-$30
English electronic duo, Mount Kimbie create reflective post-dubstep sounds utilizing dreamy compositions, mangled r&b samples and field recordings. After signing to the seminal British label Warp, the band released their second album Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, featuring contributions from King Krule, to critical acclaim last year. Sadly, Kai Campos seems to have run afoul of the U.S visa processing system and cannot travel to New York. Hence, their scheduled live show at The Wick will instead be a two-hour DJ set from bandmate Dominic Maker — his first in North America. — By Karen Gardiner

Sunday, 8/31:

Ron Carter Big Band
Jazz Standard
Friday through Sunday, 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. daily, $30-$35
A great bassist is like a great catcher, essential and often overlooked. Whether they know it or not, everyone has heard Ron Carter. It might be with the second great Miles Davis Quintet, or on A Tribe Called Quest’s groundbreaking crossover opus, The Low End Theory. Everyone else has heard him on Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly.” He’s been on about 2,500 others. In 2011, he released Ron Carter’s Great Big Band, the group’s debut album. Updated arrangements of standards by the Dorsey Brothers, Ellington, and Dizzy Gillespie meet more modern fare from old Carter collaborators Wayne Shorter and Freddie Hubbard. — By Aidan Levy

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