The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 11/21/14


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

Friday, 11/21
Chicha Libre
Pioneer Works
7:00pm, $13.00
Nearly every Monday night for six years, Barbès house band Chicha Libre smushed together surf guitar, acid accordion, and Afro-Caribbean rhythms into some of the city’s most intelligently entrancing live dance music. After two wonderful albums and the satisfaction of having almost single-handedly revived the Peruvian cumbia variation known as “chicha” from ghetto obscurity, the sextet founded by club owners Olivier Conan and Vincent Douglas are hanging up their collective güiro for the foreseeable future (one percussionist moved to India, the accordionist to Virginia). The band’s going out with a bang, however, and tonight’s “last cumbion,” in one of Brooklyn’s best new performance spaces, will feature sets by Los Crema Paraiso and Sonido Chichadelico in addition to Chicha Libre’s suavecito swan song. — By Richard Gehr

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 Trace 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
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 American 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

Waka Flocka Flame
Pacha NYC
10:00pm, $25.00-$100.00
Waka Flocka concerts are already experiences of near-religious implications, the type where people speak in tongues and throw snakes at each other. Flocka is the best at a very specific brand of rap, one where energy and charisma are foregrounded, and the only brush strokes worth even making are the broad ones. In other words, yeah, the dude screams a lot. Live music is meant to be an experience, and this surely will be. — By Sound of the City

Saturday, 11/22
Aurelio Martínez
Symphony Space
7:30pm, $35.00-$45.00
The first black member of Honduras’s National Congress, Martínez got his start fronting tribute concerts for the late Andy Palacio, a Belizean musical figurehead of the region’s Garifuna people. Aurelio’s new Lándini (Landing) conveys the complexities of life in a small Garifuna fishing village through a sweet, seductive blend of Afro-Caribbean rhythms and peppery steel-guitar twang. — By Richard Gehr

TV on the Radio
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Friday & Saturday, 8:00pm, $35.00, SOLD OUT
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

Escort + Naomi Shelton + The Gospel Queens
Brooklyn Bowl
8:00pm, $20.00
Dan Balis and Eugene Cho’s Escort — a 17-member live disco fantasia — snuck up on New York’s dance scene a few years back and haven’t let go. Hard-working fab frontwoman Adeline Michèle is the perfect focus for a group dedicated to aural excess. Raw-voiced Shelton and the Queens prove that gospel-soul’s righteous retroactivity only improves with age. — By Richard Gehr

Diana Krall
Beacon Theatre
8:00pm, $75.00-$125.00
Peel me a grape, indeed. Now married and spawning with Elvis Costello, jazz chanteuse Diana Krall is at the top of her game. Though The Best of Diana Krall was released in 2007, Cy Coleman would contend that the best is yet to come. 2009’s Quiet Nights has Krall’s hickory-smoked vox take on Burt Bacharach’s “Walk on By,” Cole Porter’s “Everyday We Say Goodbye,” and the Bee Gees’ “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” among others. Though Krall may never match her new-wave husband in cool points, her Q-factor rates high. The female Michael Bublé’s never looked, nor sounded, so suave. — By Chandler Levack

St. Lucia + The Knocks
Terminal 5
8:00pm, $25.00, SOLD OUT
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

Sunday, 11/23
Susana Baca
Highline Ballrooom
8:00pm, $28.00-$60.00
Africa’s influence on Peruvian music went virtually unrecognized until this Afro-Peruvian scholar-performer — and her homeland’s national minister of culture — emerged in the ’80s on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label. Baca delivers her shadowy spiritual séances with the help of a subtly simmering band; one member plays a small guitar called a requinto, another a percussive donkey jawbone. Baca works the stage like a priestess, invoking eternal truths and troubles in a dark, lustrous voice. — By Richard Gehr