The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 9/15/14


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

Monday, 9/15:

Lake Street Dive

The Bell House
7:30 p.m., $15/$20
For a blast of retro soul, look no further than Lake Street Dive, the Boston-formed quartet of Rachael Price, Mike “McDuck” Olson, Bridget Kearney, and Mike Calabrese. Among the group’s strengths are Price’s soulful, familiar vocals, punctuated by jazzy horn bursts on playful tunes like the Beatles-riffing “Hello? Goodbye!”; and songs such as “Bad Self Portraits,” which mocks the selfie generation over a bed of piano thumps. Live, expect Lake Street Dive to toss in the occasional jazz-ified cover, like the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” — By Jill Menze

Joyce Manor
Bowery Ballroom
8:00 p.m., $15
How many times can we talk about that dang emo revival? If it’s real, Joyce Manor pre-date it, making them the godfathers of your beloved movement. The California band are equal parts punk and melancholy, marrying nasally shouts with melodic song construction — doesn’t this sound like a Taking Back Sunday CD booklet from way back when? All jokes aside, the band put on an impressive live show. It’s gonna get sweaty, so maybe leave that BANE hoodie at home. — By Maria Sherman

Tuesday, 9/16:

Public Enemy
Brooklyn Bowl
8:00 p.m., $45
Public Enemy grace Brooklyn Bowl tonight, bringing their revolutionary rap style to the heart of Williamsburg. Since their breakout in 1987 with Yo! Bum Rush the Show!, Public Enemy have been mixing their signature perspective on social-justice issues with hip-hop’s political and radical roots. Not only that, but Chuck D, Flavor Flav, DJ Lord, and the S1Ws (Khari Wynn and Professor Griff) brought to light important criticism of the media and American culture that was largely absent during the late ’80s and early ’90s. Gaining notoriety in America and abroad, Public Enemy have been a household name for nearly 30 years, and have accrued a number of commercial hits and underground cult classics to draw on as they perform live. A one-off performance like this is a rare thing for such a staple of New York’s foundational hip-hop scene, and one that should thrill diehard fans and brand-new listeners alike. — By Caitlin White

Evan Parker + Joe Morris + Nate Wooley
61 Local
8:00 p.m., $20
U.K. whirlwind Evan Parker has completed his residency at the Stone, but there are still more local characters to connect with. Two are as intrepid and resourceful as the saxophonist himself — Wooley’s extended techniques on trumpet bring a wealth of textures to the table, and guitarist Joe Morris’s radical attention to detail makes his flurries wildly pointillistic. Their mesh of sound will overwhelm the intimate BK space — a perfect setting for this idiosyncratic trio. Morris and Parker duet at the Sound It Out series at Greenwich House on 9/17 as well. — By Jim Macnie

Marco Benevento
The Mercury Lounge
8:00 p.m., $20
Multi-keyboardist Marco Benevento has long been a circuit-bending fixture on New York’s experimental-music and improv-rock scenes. He’s been a wild-styling duo partner to drummer Joe Russo and serves as the melodic fulcrum of instrumental Led Zeppelin deconstructors Bustle in Your Hedgerow. His new Swift is presumably titled after extra-textured, medium-fi production wizard Richard Swift (Damien Jurado, Foxygen), and on it, Benevento comes out swinging as a vocalizing party-starter alongside his excellent rhythm section of Dave Dreiwitz (bass) and Andy Borger (drums) — with a lyrical assist from Aaron “Dean Ween” Freeman. He extrudes sinister balladry and hustlin’ disco beats out of a — geek alert! — vintage Casio drum machine plugged into a Casiotone 8000 keyboard. Old sounds reinvented are his bread and butter. — By Richard Gehr

Wednesday, 9/17:

Jason Mraz
Brooklyn College, Whitman Hall
8:00 p.m., $25-$75
Jason Mraz is up there with Jack Johnson and Gavin DeGraw in the college-bro, “Should I be embarrassed I like this guy?” category, but, hey, dude’s got some good tunes. Most notably, the ubiquitous 2008 hit “I’m Yours” and his breakout “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry).” For his current tour, in support of his July-released Yes!, Mraz has a special treat for fans in the New York area: He’s playing shows in all five boroughs, a feat that’s only been accomplished by two previous artists. The city-spanning acoustic performances will showcase all-girl band Raining Jane, who were featured on Mraz’s latest album. — By Jill Menze

Slow Club
Bowery Ballroom
8:00 p.m., $15
Continuing Sheffield’s fine tradition of producing excellent music (Pulp, the Human League, Heaven 17), Slow Club released their third album this summer. Complete Surrender is a departure from the lo-fi indie pop of their earlier releases and, with its soaring strings, stomp, and melodrama, is heaped with the spirit of Northern Soul, Motown and sassy ’60s girl groups. The band’s power couple, Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson, create swooning harmonies together, but it’s Taylor’s vocals, criminally underutilized in the past, that represent the showstopper, as she belts out songs of heartache with the ambition of a diva-in-training. — By Karen Gardiner

Thursday, 9/18:

Sam Smith
United Palace Theatre
8:00 p.m., $35.50
Sam Smith is a 22-year-old British soul singer whose music throbs with pain and longing far beyond his tender years. Some of the chart-baiting of debut In the Lonely Hour lies in the depth-charging sincerity suffusing his voice as he begs a would-be paramour to ditch the lover or admits, forthrightly, that he totally isn’t in love with someone he nonetheless doesn’t want to let go of. It’s dramatic and complicated — the kind of performative meta-puzzle fledgling careers are built upon. — By Raymond Cummings

Friday, 9/19:

The Weeknd + Schoolboy Q + Jhene Aiko
Barclays Center
8:30 p.m., $39.50-$79.50
It’s next to impossible to make it through a Weeknd single without contracting at least one sexually transmitted disease. The confounding thing is, you’ll ultimately want more of what producer/singer Abel Tesfaye excels at: moreVIP-booth accoutrements, more narcotized r&b-pop deliriums, more sweat-soaked designer sheets teeming with groupies and strippers, more drugs. Tesfaye has the odd gift of rendering sexual exploitation (of self and otherwise) wholly seductive and alluring and thoroughly creepy, the orgasmic be-all-end-all of modern fame. At his best, Weeknd opens a portal into the emotional wasteland such abandon yawns into; at his worst, he’s another leering opportunist. — By Raymond Cummings

Jeff Goldblum & the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra
Cafe Carlyle
Tuesday through Friday, 8:45 p.m. daily, $65-$155
Though he gigs regularly with this aggregate in Los Angeles, we haven’t seen this side of the top-drawer actor on our coast. He plays jazz piano as if it’s his first love and gabs freely as well. Mildred Snitzer is apparently an old Pittsburgh family friend whose moniker he’s appropriated. She’s definitely not the band singer. He does most of the singing his own hip self, although occasionally he invites guests to warble and scat along with him. And there’s an added come-on for you. — By David Finkle

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