The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 12/8/14


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

Monday, December 8
Holiday Cheer for WFUV Benefit Concert
Beacon Theatre
8 p.m., $45-$300
With the death of East Village Radio this year, there has never been a better time to support local radio stations. WFUV, noncommercial and operating out of Fordham’s Rose Hill campus in the Bronx since 1947, makes it very easy. Their annual Holiday Cheer for WFUV benefit concert, 10 years strong, continues its tradition of consistently excellent lineups; this year is headlined by Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes — and his own solo — fame. Various-degrees-of-folk artists Natalie Merchant, the Felice Brothers, Suzanne Vega, Laura Marling, the Lone Bellow, and Jonathan Wilson — whose accolades and critical acclaim spill over the space we have to recount them — join Oberst at the picturesque Beacon Theatre to celebrate the holiday season and WFUV’s legacy of music plus personality. — By Nikkitha Bakshani

Smashing Pumpkins
Webster Hall
8 p.m., (sold out, check the secondary market)
Seeing the Smashing Pumpkins now isn’t like seeing the Smashing Pumpkins in 1990. Or 1995. Or 1998. Or pretty much any other time in their 20-plus-year history. Seeing the Smashing Pumpkins now is a bit like randomly running into your first love from high school; the one who has now put on a little weight, talks about “big” concepts like “love” and “hate” and “other bullshit” that just all sound pretentious, and still, despite being the one who broke up with you, unashamedly references the past and how good things were back then. You remember those moments of angst and frustration and love and happiness and how the Smashing Pumpkins were there for it all. And still are. — By Eric Sundermann

Angel Olsen
Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m. Monday & 9 p.m. Tuesday, $18-$20
Her video for “Hi-Five” reminds us of the weird My So-Called Life Halloween special with the gym full of sock-hopping ghosts, minus the Claire Danes monologue. And this is only one reason we like her. Angel Olsen has managed to produce this vintage, ever-reverberating sound of what seems like all current indie pop, but still stays true to her St. Louis roots. She sports a haircut and style similar to what seems to be worn by all Urban Outfitters catalog models, but still makes it look consistently cutting-edge. In short, she knows this scene and she wears it well. But the songs on this year’s Burn Your Fire for No Witness speak, or rather sing, for themselves, glowing, opulent testaments to lost love. Wallow with her, and fellow heartland band Lionlimb, tonight. — By Heather Baysa[

Tuesday, December 9
Spank Rock
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m., $12-$15
Get ready to booty shake. To mark the release of his newest EP, The Upside, Baltimore rapper Naeem Juwan — better known as Spank Rock — is celebrating with a wild, friend-filled club show tonight at Baby’s All Right. As an artist at the forefront of the dirty dance-rap scene of the mid-’00s (see 2006’s YoYoYoYoYo and his work with the likes of Santigold), Spank Rock’s latest output leans more experimental while retaining the rapper’s signature underground Baltimore sound. Live, look for the red-hot banger “Assassin,” featuring show opener, Amanda Blank. Also on the bill are Cunt Mafia, Eli Escobar (DJ Set), Roxy Cottontail (DJ Set), Viki Villainess, Mike Q (DJ Set), Lil Internet (DJ Set), Nelleke (DJ Set), Blu Jemz (DJ Set), Noah (DJ Set). — By Jill Menze

Wednesday, December 10
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Terminal 5
7 p.m., $35 in advance // $40 at door
Whether a jazz connoisseur or a novice, there’s no better way to enjoy a modern take on the genre than Trombone Shorty. With his band Orleans Avenue, Trombone Shorty (real name Troy Andrews) blends jazz, funk and R&B into irresistible good-time jams, most recently heard on the group’s 2013 studio album, Say That to Say This. Andrews got his start early, picking up the trombone at age 6, and has since toured the world and played on stages from the Grammys to the White House. A staple on the live circuit, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue are guaranteed to have the crowd on its feet every time. — By Jill Menze

Tyshawn Sorey
Roulette Brooklyn
8 p.m., $10-$20

Thursday, December 11
Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood
Terminal 5
7 p.m., $30 in advance // $35 at door
In September, Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood released their third studio album, Juice, a textured, funk-driven assemblage of Latin and pan-African grooves, Dylan and Doors covers, and blistering originals. Organ trio MMW straddles the avant-garde while preserving their status as jam band royalty, periodically bolstering their ranks with jazz guitar god John Scofield, one of their most fruitful, and yes, juiciest collaborations. Juice mixes the cerebral with the danceable, inflecting Ornette Coleman’s harmolodic philosophy of group unity with acoustic piano and B-3 grease; whatever the song calls for. Yet the pulpiest squeeze comes from Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love,” reimagined as an 11-minute dub vamp. — By Aidan Levy

Parquet Courts
Webster Hall
7:30 p.m. (Sold out, check the secondary market)
Though on a touring break following a whirlwind, critically acclaimed 2014, Parquet Courts celebrate the holidays with a one-off homecoming show at Webster Hall. The gig marks the band’s biggest New York show to date — and the 1,500-capacity venue is sold out (check the secondary-market or the Webster Hall Facebook for updates). The fete feels well-deserved: this year’s Sunbathing Animal, a collection of Pavement-esque punk-Americana, and the slightly weirder Content Nausea , earned Parquet Courts buckets of praise as well as new fans. Catch them before the inevitable hipster backlash and/or selling-out begins. — By Jill Menze

Bilal+Dragons of Zynth
Brooklyn Bowl
8 p.m., $15
A rare opportunity to hear a couple of great acts that hit above their weight – when they hit at all. Cerebral smoothie Bilal’s Salvador Dali-inspired A Love Surreal mixed art and angst and was one of last year’s better underheard R&B albums. Distracted by their own art and acting side projects, Brooklyn ADD rockers D.O.Z. are playing their first local show in three years. — By Richard Gehr

Friday, December 12
Sakishima Meeting
Asia Society
7:30 p.m., $25
This popular Okinawa folk-pop duo consists of guitarist Isamu Shimoji and Yukito Ara, who plays the sanshin, a three-stringed, snakeskin-covered relative of the banjo. The pair’s mellow, often sentimental music employs the so-called “Okinawan scale,” which seems to split the difference between Japanese and Hawaiian styles. Find out more during a pre-performance talk about Okinawan music and culture. — By Richard Gehr