The 9 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 12/1/14


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

Monday, 12/1
James Blake
Music Hall of Williamsburg
8:30 p.m., $35.00
James Blake was coronated as a wunderkind when he left behind roots in cut-up bass music and achieved massive success with his self-titled debut album, and his electronic soul reached an exponentially larger audience with 2013’s shuddering Overgrown LP. Blake’s performances are muted and can create an almost uncomfortably intimate atmosphere, but the record’s powerful and pristine productions (one of which features a guest verse from RZA) should hold up… — By Aaron Gonsher

Monday, 12/1
Bob Dylan
Beacon Theatre
8 p.m., $75.00-$190.00
Bob Dylan’s most recent release, The Basement Tapes Complete, lumbered into the spotlight a few weeks ago with a quantity and quality of critical approval it’s impossible to imagine any other contemporary artist occasioning. Recorded in 1967 with the Band, during a self-imposed sabbatical, the glorious American sounds captured on these six CDs is about as authentic and as innocent as it gets. So one can imagine Dylan, 73, seizing the opportunity to give this mightily fetishized material a final victory lap in the autumn of his career. Instead, expect Dylan to play pretty much the same glacially morphing set he’s been reworking with his crackerjack band for years. It’s what he wants you to hear during this five-night run, and it’s what will be delivered. — By Richard Gehr

Tuesday, 12/2
Talent Show for the Ally Coalition
New World Stages
8 p.m., $77.00
Lena Dunham and life partner Jack Antonoff made headlines last month when they swore not to get married until Dunham’s gay sister is legally able to. Now they’re taking their oath of solidarity steps further with this Talent Show for the Ally Coalition, an organization created by Antonoff and the band Fun to encourage entertainers to take a public stand for LGBTQ rights. Singer-songwriters Andrew McMahon and Ingrid Michaelson will perform along with Fun and other musical acts. Janeane Garofalo and Dunham will also perform sets at this one-night-only variety show to promote awareness about bullying of and violence toward gay teens. — By Heather Baysa

Tuesday, 12/2
The Head and the Heart
Hammerstein Ballroom
8 p.m., $50.00
OK, so the Head and the Heart might be the poster band for a particular type of Millennial whimsy that’s almost universally scorned, even among Millennials themselves: bearded young men and long-haired young women whose principal occupation seems to be taking long, introspective road trips punctuated by meditative wandering and bonfire parties…or at least that’s what every one of their videos seems to suggest. But navel-inspecting aside, it doesn’t change the fact that they’re a solid indie-folk sextet, and a beautifully melodic addition to the adult-contemporary scene. Since 2009, the Seattle band has released two albums on Sub Pop, as well as four successful singles, including the radio-ready and undeniably uplifting “Lost in My Mind.” Get in on the love-fest tonight as they play this
tour’s only New York show. — By Heather Baysa

Tuesday, 12/2
Mandingo Ambassadors
Every Wednesday, 10 p.m., $10.00
Guinean guitarist Mamady “Djelike” Kouyate came of age among such legendary 1970s guitarcentric combos as the Horoya Band and Bembeya Jazz, which blended Cuban rumba with traditional balafon-based sounds. Kouyate moved to New York in search of political asylum in 2004 and currently leads this suave weekly dance party featuring some of the city’s sweeter rhythm masters. — By Richard Gehr [

Thursday, 12/4
Music Hall of Williamsburg
9 p.m., $20.00
Watsky is truly one of a kind. Since 2005, George Watsky has been at the top of the slam poetry game, out-slamming the rest of his community in hometown San Francisco. Over the past few years Watsky has been blending his lifelong passion for words with music, producing a very thoughtful, self-aware, and genuinely hilarious kind of rap, and his live poetic-rap performances are just as unique as he is.– By Eleanor Lambert

Thursday, 12/4
David Guetta
Marquee NYC
11 p.m., $127.00
You may only know him because, well, he’s been all over the radio since 2009, when he (along with a few others) quite literally brought EDM to the mainstream; and you may hate him for that. Whatever. There is no denying his musical talent, his uncanny ability to get any crowd going, nor the enormous role he’s played in getting this music out into the world. Between his Fuck Me I’m Famous show, his 2009 album One Love, and his 2011 Nothing but the Beat, Guetta is one of the most recognized and successful EDM DJs in the world, so do yourself a favor and catch a performance when you can (how about this one?!). — By Eleanor Lambert

Thursday, 12/4
The 1975
Terminal 5
7 p.m., $30.00
The world, of course, will never have enough alt-rock groups eager to assume their own take on sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and the glory of youth. It’s been a minute since pop-punk had these topics on lock, and indie rock seems to have rescinded a bit, so in steps U.K.-based group the 1975. Applying a coating of pop on U2- or Coldplay-tinged guitar intricacy, along with catchy male falsetto and easy lyrics, the 1975 even work in a little r&b. There’s something here for everyone, except those who yearn for deeper meanings. Imagine the Killers, toothless and with more synthesizers. With CRUISR and Young Rising Sons. — By Caitlin White

Friday, 12/5
Flatbush Zombies + The Underachievers
Best Buy Theater
8 p.m., $23.50-$28.00
The word “Brooklyn” conjures up images of all types of illy shit — gold fronts (not grilles), bubble coats, designer “wears,” dreads smoking bud like it was legal. Newcomers Flatbush Zombies managed to incorporate all of the aforementioned BK traits into their music and its accompanying visuals while injecting some of their own brand of rap.
Though it’d be easy to dismiss the trio as gimmicky, you can always tell (least I can) when a group of friends organically form a group with a specific sound/style, as opposed to artists forming a contrived crew that will probably be defunct in a year’s time. Flatbush Zombies are without a doubt the former. — By J. Pablo