The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 9/22/14


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

Monday, 9/22:

Jason Mraz
Radio City Music 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

Jason Derulo + Becky G + Wallpaper.
Best Buy Theater
7:30 p.m., $39.50/$45
If 2014 is the year of the booty, that’s thanks in part to Jason Derulo and his sexed-up, virtually inescapable presence with songs like the horn-trotting “Talk Dirty.” While Derulo initially hit the scene with slightly less overt hits like “In My Head” and “Watcha Say” (that one with the Imogen Heap sample), his latest release, April’s Talk Dirty, is chock full of back-end praising strip-club-primed jams (see his duet with Snoop Dogg, “Wiggle”). Derulo’s out to prove he’s got the swagger to hang with the best of them. — By Jill Menze

Shovels & Rope
Bowery Ballroom
9:00 p.m., $22/$25
In the five years that Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst have been performing as Shovels & Rope, the married musical duo has distilled their songwriting into a musical embodiment of their relationship. As is common with wizened folk singers versed in story telling, their lyrics are filled with tales of love-gone-wrong and enough hardened insights to make them come off as worn out and rusty as the found objects they use to make their music. But contrary to their toughened sound, they’re young and spry, easy on the eyes, and surely not to be missed on this tour as they promote their album Swimmin’ Time, released last month via Dualtone. Touching on hard blues, folk revivals, and early soul, their “ragged but right” looseness directly translates everything into a fluid, water-themed body of work. Roots music fans and critics love them alike, so anyone planning on seeing STOMP while visiting New York should just plan on trading in their ticket to see Shovels & Rope and call it a day. — By Erin Manning

Tuesday, 9/23:

Fifth Harmony + Meghan Trainor
The Paramount
7:00 p.m., $29.50-$49.50
American girl groups are hard to come by, but Fifth Harmony are holding it down. After winning the much coveted Artist to Watch VMA–they even beat Aussie boy band heartthrobs 5 Seconds of Summer, but we’ll let that one slide–they have proven themselves the badass feminist Spice Girls of 2014. Oh, and “Miss Movin’ On” might be the most underrated pop song of 2014. All that plus “All About That Bass” up-and-comer Meghan Trainor, and you’ve got yourself a night of young, powerful female performers. There really isn’t anything better. — By Maria Sherman

Carla Bozulich
Le Poisson Rouge
8:00 p.m., $15/$17
Joining no wave goddess Lydia Lunch and Sonic Youth co-founder Kim Gordon atop the holier-than-thou perch of avant-garde brutarians is Carla Bozulich, a vanguard on a deconstructionist mission for the last two-odd decades. Throughout her trailblazing arc, Bozulich has sliced and diced alt-industrial with Ethyl Meatplow and art-cow-punk with Geraldine Fibbers, dabbled in free-improv experimentalism with Wilco’s Nels Cline in Scarnella and Evangelista and has even covered an entire Willie Nelson record note for note. This year’s Boy (under her own name) is smoky and haunted noise-blues doom, and tonight, Bozulich’s worn, hoarse-throated bark will gloriously fill LPR. Ace twang-guitar jammer William Tyler opens. — By Brad Cohan

Tuesday, 9/23:

Nada Surf
Rough Trade NYC
8:00 p.m., $25
Unfortunately if you slept on buying your tickets to Nada Surf’s show, then you’ve missed out–the show is sold out. However, if you did buy your tickets early like a true stan, then you know what you’re in for: a heartfelt performance by one of rock’s most beloved indie groups. Though they have been around for over two decades, the quartet hasn’t lost its passion for touring and continues to do so with full force. Nada Surf’s show at Rough Trade is actually the record release show for their B Sides album, full of b-sides and acoustic versions of their songs. — By Tara Mahadevan

Howard Gilman Opera House
8:00 p.m., $35-$55
BAM’s month-long Nonesuch Records tribute continues with an especially timely booking. It’s release day for Sukierae, Jeff Tweedy and his drumming son Spencer’s duo debut. They’ll perform it with a full band during the evening’s first set, followed by Dad’s solo set of Wilco tunes. Feel free to lament your own father issues throughout. — By Richard Gehr

Wednesday, 9/24:

Rokia Traoré + Toumani Diabaté + Sidiki Diabaté
BAM Harvey Theater
8:00 p.m., $25-$55
Mali’s renowned Diabaté lineage of praise singers, epic-poetry reciters, and kora players — hereditary musicians known as griots — extends several dozen generations into the past. Its most recent maestros are the late Sidiki Diabaté, who introduced Western audiences to the harplike, 21-stringed instrument; his son Toumani, the instrument’s current master, who released the world’s first solo kora album (Kaira) in 1990 and subsequently expanded its possibilities in groups like Ketama and his syncretic Symmetric Orchestra; and Toumani’s own 23-year-old son, Sidiki, who is a successful hip-hop producer in Mali, as well as the family’s latest kora ace. Released this spring, Toumani & Sidiki is a glorious collection of traditional kora music performed by father and son, whose brilliantly cascading notes complement one another like tributaries flowing into a common river. See them perform with singer and multi-instrumentalist Rokia Traoré tonight. — By Richard Gehr

The Black Keys
Barclays Center
Tuesday & Wednesday, 8:00 p.m., $35-$95
Gene Simmons can say that rock is dead all he wants, but that hasn’t stopped the Black Keys from keeping the spirit of the genre kicking. Since their formation in the the early aughts, the Ohio duo has slowly risen to become rock ‘n’ roll’s foremost act. Albums like Brothers and El Camino have churned out hits like “Tighten Up” and “Gold on the Ceiling,” as well as a string of ad themes that you can’t seem to escape (they famously poked fun at themselves on an episode of The Colbert Report with fellow admen Vampire Weekend). This past spring, the Black Keys released Turn Blue, a bluesier-than-ever set that is sure to spawn more than a few festival and stadium favorites. Determine which ones will take the crown tonight. — By Brittany Spanos

Thursday, 9/25:

Kronos Quartet & Laurie Anderson
BAM Harvey Theater
Tuesday through Friday, 7:30 p.m. daily, $20-$60
Part of the BAM 2014 Next Wave Festival, the boundary-breaking Kronos Quartet demonstrates the breadth of its scope with two separate collaborations. On September 20, they join 10,000 Maniacs frontwoman-cum-folk chanteuse Natalie Merchant, Carolina Chocolate Drops lead singer Rhiannon Giddens, and rising folk stars Sam Amidon and Olivia Chaney to premiere classical crossover settings of folk standards. On September 23, Laurie Anderson reunites with Kronos for Landfall, a digital multimedia song cycle inspired by Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, performing an act of excavation and rebirth that floods the senses with not only the pastness of the past, but of its presence. — By Aidan Levy

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