The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 11/17/11


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

Monday, 11/17
Lucinda Williams
Beacon Theatre
8:00pm, $40.00-$75.00
Before Rob Christgau and the then-Voice staff voted Lucinda Williams’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road Pazz& Jop’s best album of 1998, we can remember picking up the CD (from Walmart, no less) and being blown away by this woman with a conservative’s twang and a liberal’s feminism, or at least that’s how she seemed at the time to a pre-teen just becoming aware of America’s coastal vs. heartland binary. But politics weren’t important then, and this kickass lady who wore dramatic eyeliner and sang about heartbreak in a way that still made her seem strong reminded us of our aunts and big sisters and various late-night diner waitresses — those beautiful, whiskey-dunked, and gracefully hardened women who had, to boil it down, been through some shit. We wanted to be like Lucinda then and we still do now, just after the release of her 11th studio album, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone. Hear her, as confident in her rage and grief as ever, as she performs it tonight. tonight. — By Heather Baysa

Tuesday, 11/18
TV on the Radio
Apollo Theater
8:00pm, $40.00-$45.00
Though they’ve been shaking up the alt-rock scene since the early aughts, TV on the Radio really hit their breakthrough in 2006 with the release of the universally acclaimed Return to Cookie Mountain. Led by the epic single “Wolf Like Me,” the album ushered in a new era of NYC indie. Prior to this year’s Seeds, out the same day as their Apollo Theater show, TV on the Radio had been off the musical radar since 2011’s Nine Types of Light; their break may have been slightly encouraged by the tragic death of bassist Gerard Smith. Following a few years of grieving, and with the memory of their beloved bandmate still lingering in all they do, TV on the Radio are back and as eviscerating as ever, showcased by the LP’s lead single, “Happy Idiot.” — By Brittany Spanos

Slavic Soul Party!
10:00pm, $10.00
Slavic Soul Party are Eastern Europe’s answer to the funk (and “Grunt”) of the J.B.’s or, more recently, the Budos Band. On their recordings, and every Tuesday at Barbès, the 10-person brass ensemble pins Gypsy melodies against the sort of jazzy r&b horn collages you hear in movies adapted from Elmore Leonard books. The best part, though, is how they interact with their audience at their concerts, sometimes breaking the fourth wall, and really making each word in their name — especially the last — pull its weight. — By Kory Grow

Chris Gillespie
Bemelmans Bar
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday + Friday, 5:30pm, $15.00-$25.00
No one plays piano quite like Chris Gillespie. He’s coined his own music “jazsical” as a creative genre name for the at times classical, at times jazzy compositions he plays. He will mesmerize any audience with his impeccable playing ability, and will enliven them with his very unique musical sound. — By Eleanor Lambert

Gutbucket & JACK Quartet
The Stone
8:00pm & 10:00pm, $10.00
The fearless 15-year-old Brooklyn jazz-prog quartet will record a live album over the course of its six-day, 12-set residency at John Zorn’s drab corner club. The JACK string quartet joins them for both of tonight’s sets, the second of which will be devoted to reedsman Ken Thompson’s chamber music, including his clarinet quintet Perpetual.By Richard Gehr[

Wednesday, 11/19
Doctors Without Borders Benefit Show
Irving Plaza
7:30pm, $60.00-$110.00
Do we even need to explain why the brave physicians and nurses of Doctors Without Borders are in need of our support, now more than ever? Instead of getting spooked by media fear-mongering, actually do something about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa: Laugh. Tonight, comedians Fred Armisen, Janeane Garofalo, David Cross, and others come together with Ira Glass and Regina Spektor for an epic gathering of cool people. New Yorkers, especially, have a lot at stake when it comes to world health, so this is one benefit we can all, well, benefit from. — By Heather Baysa

St. Lucia
Terminal 5
9:00pm, $25.00
These days the term “pop music” conjures up images of country music munchkins and glitter-soaked club avatars with tracks produced by people with names like Neo, Morpheus, or Scott Blackula. But just a few years ago the term meant catchy and well-written and -produced music of just about any genre. Just in time for nice weather, St. Lucia is here to redefine micro-genre tags and rescue “pop” from four-letter-word status among certain people. The group might be named after a sleepy subtropical refuge for lovers, but their music is peppy and alive. — By Chris Tarantino

Thursday, 11/20
“Bowl Train” w/ DJ Questlove
Brooklyn Bowl
Every Thursday, 11:00pm, $7.00-$10.00
Brooklyn Bowl is already well-known for hosting a weekly Questlove DJ night called, wait for it, Bowl Train. For five hours, Questlove blares his signature setlist of soulful tunes. So get into the spirit and dance the night away. Thursday is the new Friday anyway. Never been to Wythe Avenue’s hottest club before? Don’t take our word for it — Questlove himself adores the joint: “I love Brooklyn Bowl so much I’d put a ring on it,” quotes the event’s flyer. — By Caitlin White

Friday, 11/21
Madalyn Merkey+Battle Trance
Issue Project Room
8:00pm, $15.00
Accompanied by violinist Dylan Neely, California electroacoustic composer Merkey will apply her computer-synthesized live vocals to a real-time exploration of Issue Project Room’s resonant space. Expect special “inner-ear occurrences” to occur. Battle Trance tenor saxophonists Travis Laplante, Matthew Nelson, Jeremy Viner, and Patrick Breiner will perform their physically demanding album-length work, Palace of Wind.By Richard Gehr

“Orchestra Underground: Monk’s Sphere
Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall
7:30pm, $43.00-$50.00
Otherworldly voiced singer-composer Meredith Monk has long been a cutting-edge old master. Tonight she celebrates her 50th year as a performer with the America Composers Orchestra amid a love fest featuring some of her most inventive acolytes. Singer-composer Theodore Bleckmann premieres My Brightest Garment, about death; Battles guitarist Ian Williams premieres Clear Image, about artificial reality in music; A. J. McCaffrey premieres Motormouth, about parenthood; and the Meredith Monk Vocal Ensemble will perform Night with the composer herself. — By Richard Gehr