Music

The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 10/03/14

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

Friday, 10/03
Cro-Mags
Saint Vitus
8:00pm, $20.00-$25.00
There’s always been something scruffy about this on-again, off-again NYC crew. Ostensibly punk, Cro-Mags songs plow ahead with a not-inconsiderable weight – but these guys embrace ponderousness to the extent that they’re not hardcore, and three-cord riffage arrives outfitted with enough butt rock and metal flourishes that slotting them in a sub-genre bracket feels like a fool’s errand. Cro-Mags are still around and kicking 33 years after forming, so any amateur musicologists among the group’s fan base may ponder the incongruities while headbanging along to “Death in the Womb.” — By Raymond Cummings

Mary Halvorson’s Reverse Blue
Cornelia Street Café
9:00pm & 10:30pm, $10.00
Thanks to constant work, the guitarist’s ideas are boundless these days. She’s built this quartet around reed player Chris Speed, bassist Eivind Opsvik and drummer Tomas Fujiwara to enjoy textural gambits and counterpoint experiments. Abstraction is the welcome mat of their new album on the Relative Pitch label, but poignant moments and defined landscapes are always popping up. — By Jim Macnie

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Saturday, 10/04
Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks
Webster Hall
6:00pm, $30.00-$35.00
“Animal Collective on Halloween” is a reductive way of summarizing the vibe of Avey Tare’s new band with members of Ponytail and Dirty Projectors. Debut Welcome to the Slasher House leans on a decidedly more bumptious sense of rhythm, laying on greasepaint murk, dinky pop, and cheap sound effects thick. There’s a Haunted House silliness to the whole shebang – if you can’t crack a smile during “Little Fang,” get help – that makes it easier to digest than, say, anything on Centipede Hz or Merriweather Post Pavilion, which felt earnest almost to a fault. — By Raymond Cummings

Lykke Li
Radio City Music Hall
8:00pm, $36.50-$79.00
Lykke Li has had a busy fall: not only were her vocals featured on U2’s surprise new album, but the Swedish songstress is also making a stop on her current tour at New York City’s historic Radio City Music Hall. The show comes in support of her May-released third album, I Never Learn, her most fully realized, and most heartbreaking, effort. At its core, all of Li’s music has a particular beauty, be it through the pain of her latest album or heard in excellent electro-pop ditties like her breakthrough “Little Bit.” — By Jill Menze

Matt Wilson
Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola
7:30pm, $40.00
Pundits often celebrate how usually-discrete jazz camps sometimes morph, POVs and aesthetic attitudes melding to form a unique sound or test a pliable new lingo. These kinds of moves always need a linchpin to get off the dime — someone who has worked in various situations and sees value in the wealth of approaches. Long story short, that’s Matt Wilson. For the last two decades, the drummer-bandleader has been a poster boy for versatility, making sweet concoctions from old-school swing, hard-bop swag, and avant-skronk. He and his numerous ensembles grab everything they hear and find a use for it — they get the big picture. To celebrate Wilson’s 50th birthday, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola invited a handful of his groups to the stage. The aptly named Open House is the most emblematic of his catholic curatorial skills. Put Joe Lovano, Mary Halvorson, and Stefon Harris in a front line and you’re making a statement. Also this week: Arts & Crafts (his organ outfit), Topsy Turvy (quartet plus guest horns), and an inviting collabo with veteran bassist Buster Williams. Hit two or more gigs and you’ll get the big picture, too. — By Jim Macnie

Modern Sky Festival
Central Park, Rumsey Playfield
Saturday & Sunday, 5:00pm, $48.00-$150.00
East meets West at the Modern Sky Festival, an annual Beijing event since 2007 making its United States debut. Divided fairly equally between domestic and Chinese acts, the two-day event kicks off this afternoon with Deserts Chang, a poetic folk experimentalist akin to our own Cat Power, who headlines tomorrow’s lineup. Picks to click include Beijing’s self-critical postpunk funk group Rebuilding the Rights of Statues, Gang of Four devotees who really know from the Gang of Four. Seattle punk refugees and Brooklyn meta-rockers Liars fill out a bill topped by “Atomic Bomb!” The Luaka Bop label’s wonderful tribute to the brilliant Nigerian Afrofunk recluse William Onyeabor features Sinkane and the Mahotella Queens. Art-folkies Omnipotent Youth Society, surf-rockers Queen Sea Big Shark, and Peking-operatic glam fetishists Second Hand Rose open tomorrow’s day-long bill. — By Richard Gehr

La Roux
Terminal 5
8:00pm, $30.00-$35.00
In 2009, La Roux got stuck in our heads with hooks like “Going in for the kill, doing it for the thrill,” and “this time baby, I’ll be bulletproof.” After some time under the radar, the British singer/producer duo hit us with a new album this past July, Trouble in Paradise, reminding us of all of the dance music we used to know, pre-EDM. Funky, timeless, and genre bending, La Roux will be giving fans Chromeo-like realness and a performance as fiery as it’s vocalist Elly Jackson’s hair at Terminal 5. — By Lina Abascal

Big Freedia+Le Chev (DJ Set)+Friendly Ghost
The Glasslands Gallery
11:30pm, $25.00
We should thank Big Freedia for bringing the very spirited New Orleans style of hip-hop — bounce music — to the masses. Every Big Freedia show is an energized, raucous party with a lot of twerking. In fact, you probably won’t catch one of his shows without audience members twerking onstage to his playful rhythms. And even better than that, in 2013, Freedia set a world record for twerking by inviting 358 dancers to twerk for two straight minutes in Herald Square. And the whole thing was recorded on his reality show, Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce. — By Tara Mahadevan

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Sunday, 10/05
Grace Kelly
Iridium
7:00pm & 9:00, $27.50
Korean-American saxophonist, composer, and vocalist Grace Kelly celebrates the release of Working for the Dreamers, an impeccably produced smooth jazz EP that sails along with enough of a tailwind to avoid getting grounded in an elevator. Sade with a touch of mentor Lee Konitz, and boasting a stamp of approval from both Wynton Marsalis and Jack DeJohnette, Kelly’s diaphanous tone on alto and vocals maintains a lithe, effortless control with a lyrical approach that hints at harmonic complexity beneath the placid surface. Part of a young generation of nu-jazz that includes Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Kelly champions accessibility without sacrificing style. — By Aidan Levy

The Blood Brothers
Warsaw
7:00pm, $25.00-$30.00
You patiently waited through all of the cheesy 10 year anniversary tours and band reunions of the last year (Brand New, Senses Fail, really?), hoping for something a bit less whiny. You cursed at your computer when you saw the Blood Brothers announced they would be reuniting for the annual FYF in California. Living in New York finally, as it typically does, paid off when the band expanded their reunion and announced they would be hitting the East Coast at the small Warsaw in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. After 10 years of dueling screeching vocals, the band broke up in 2007. Hits (in their own right) like “Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck” and “Crimes” have carried us the past seven years, resurfacing when the DJ gets too drunk at a Bushwick or LES bar. Be ready to add a third voice (your own) to the mix amongst fans die hard enough to buy a $100 ticket off StubHub. — By Lina Abascal