The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 9/12/14


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

Friday, 9/12:

Chromeo + Big Freedia
Central Park, Rumsey Playfield
6:00 p.m., $35
Summer coming to a close means one very important thing: The time left to catch outdoor concerts in NYC is almost up. With that in mind, Summerstage hosts a pretty spectacular dance party for one of its final dates this season. Disco duo Chromeo is joined by the queen of bounce, Big Freedia, for a show that’ll be dripping in sweat by the end. Expect mostly cuts from both acts’ 2014 releases — Chromeo’s funky, guest-heavy White Women and Big Freedia’s exhilarating, twerk-heavy Just Be Free. No matter what, expect a memorable evening in the park embellished by two of the club scene’s most compelling performers. — By Brittany Spanos

Luke Bryan
Madison Square Garden
7:30 p.m., $49-$89
New York-area country fans are so hungry for Luke Bryan, he’s bringing his That’s My Kind of Night Tour back to the Big Apple for even more sold-out dates. It’s easy to see what they’re excited about: trucks, pretty girls, beers — you name the country trope, Bryan’s got it. Plus, he’s got the swagger and star power to make even the most mundane dirt road sound like a party. “Bro country” criticism be damned; Bryan knows how to pack stadiums for one helluva good time. — By Jill Menze

Brooklyn Masonic Temple
9:00 p.m., $25
Oh, Darkside, we hardly knew you. The atmospheric, genre-blending collaboration between Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington began life in a Berlin hotel hallway, which led to one EP in 2011, a debut album, Psychic, last year, and a well-received Daft Punk remix. Now the project will draw to a close at Brooklyn Masonic Temple, their final show. The news that the band was “coming to an end, for now” was announced with a short but bittersweet statement on their Twitter account last month. As a parting gift, the duo released two songs, one of which was aptly named “Gone Too Soon.” — By Karen Gardiner

Trampled By Turtles + Hurray for the Riff-Raff
Terminal 5
9:00 p.m., $25
Hailing from Duluth, Minnesota, Trampled by Turtles are an alt country band caught between Dylan and Nirvana: plaintive bluegrass songs and speed-picked covers of indie rock. With old world Americana instrumentation (banjo, fiddle, harmonica, etc.), Turtles are open to interpretation as a strictly bluegrass band. However, their unconventional bouts of shredding and occasional use of drums invite people who don’t necessarily like bluegrass to, well, like bluegrass. Wild Animals, their seventh studio album, landed them on Letterman this July — a well-earned time slot thanks to songs like the expansive and melodic title track, and the melancholic waltz, “Repetition.” — By Sarah Madges

Karen O.
Le Poisson Rouge
7:30 p.m., $35
Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman, Karen O released her full-length solo debut, Crush Songs, on September 9, the same day she began a three night run at the McKittrick Hotel. She follows that run with a show at LPR, small spaces for a star of her stature, but Karen has specifically chosen more intimate venues to showcase an album that is made up of 15 songs from her personal library, written and recorded when she was 27 and, she says, crushing “a lot.” — By Karen Gardiner

White Denim
Music Hall of Williamsburg
9:00 p.m., $20
Gripping virtuosity on the edge of anarchy is a compelling rockist strategy, and that’s what you get with White Denim. The Texas-based retro-futurist prog-boogie quartet kick off an unusual (for this venue) three-show run tonight. Jeff Tweedy lent a hand with Denim’s most recent album, Corsicana Lemonade, and the Wilco leader’s winning blend of classic-rock moves with an avant-garde tinge works even more successfully for guitarist-songwriter James Petralli’s crew. Experimental traditionalists, or vice versa, Denim easily numbers among the best of the post-jam band bunch. Children of both Beefheart and Beatles, the quartet whips it up like a sonic cyclone, with a pair of monster guitarists up front, and is much more fruitfully experienced than explained. They’re on tour with Clear Plastic Masks, Brooklyn expats now making a big bluesy noise in Nashville. — By Richard Gehr

Saturday, 9/13:

Phantogram + Action Bronson
JBL Live at Pier 97
6:15 p.m., $35
While pairing Phantogram and Action Bronson seems a little odd, both acts hail from New York — Phantogram from the upstate town of Greenwich and Bronson from Queens. Phantogram’s sound borders on electronic-rock-psych-pop, inspired by the eerie sounds of Sonic Youth and the quirkiness of the Flaming Lips. Conversely, Action Bronson is all hip-hop, inspired by the likes of Wu-Tang Clan, Cam’ron and Mobb Deep. Prior to hip-hop, Bronson was a beloved gourmet chef in New York City and even created an online cooking show called Action in the Kitchen. Prior to Phantogram, Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter were both highly involved in the arts and music. You can’t deny though, that for both acts, music and New York are inextricably linked. — By Tara Mahadevan

Bob Mould
Music Hall of Williamsburg
9:00 p.m., $25
With the release of his brutally honest autobiographical tour de force See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody in 2011, Bob Mould–legendary noise-pop architect behind Amerindie rock gods Hüsker Dü and alt-pop gurus Sugar, as well as ventures under his own name–experienced the ultimate liberation. Following a string of underwhelming solo slabs, Mould’s revealing memoir propelled him deep into another anthemic post-punk stratosphere conjuring the vintage Hüsker and Sugar years. Mould’s tenure with Merge Records has produced a pair of insanely inspired and melodious buzzsaw sonic epics (2012’s Silver Age and the recent Beauty and Ruin) and for these shows, he and his killer band–Jason Narducy (ex-Verbow) and Jon Wurster (Superchunk)–will rip through a wealth of tunes from his seminal catalog. — By Brad Cohan

Sunday, 9/14:

JBL Live at Pier 97
6:00 p.m., $60
Nearing the age of 18, Lorde has packed more into her teen years than most do in their twenties and beyond. At 13, she was signed to a major-label record deal; by 15 she had unleashed her first EP. The following year, “Royals” had not only hit but demolished the charts and inspired comparisons likening the New Zealand singer-songwriter to past heralds of the youth revolution like Nirvana. Last year, Pure Heroine demonstrated that she was more than a one-hit wonder and has launched a new era of pop that she may ride even longer than those who preceded her. Along with her brilliant and deeply personal insights on being a teen, Ella Yelich-O’Connor has an undeniable stage presence, proving that star quality is something you’re born with, not taught. She performs tonight with Majical Cloudz. — By Brittany Spanos

Gary Lucas
Baby’s All Right
4:00 p.m., $16-$20
On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, the whiz-bang guitarist will provide a musical afterward to a spinning of the late Jeff Buckley’s Grace on this venue’s ultra-high-end sound system. Lucas — who will also perform — co-wrote and played on Buckley’s only full release, a gorgeous accommodation of the sacred and the profane even David Bowie considers a desert-island disk. — By Richard Gehr

Sorry, But Kanye Is the GOAT
The 50 Most NYC Albums Ever
NYC’s Top 10 Rising Female-Fronted Bands