The 11 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 12/19/14


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

Friday, 12/19
Barclays Center
7:30 p.m., $25 – $150
It’s a hip-hop heavyweight holiday this season as Queens natives Run-D.M.C. headline Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The gig marks one of the few times that Run-D.M.C. members Joseph Simmons, a/k/a Rev. Run, and Darryl McDaniels (read this week’s interview with D.M.C.) have played since group member Jam Master Jay died in 2002. Joining the legendary rappers on the bill is fellow hip-hop pioneer LL Cool J, as well as the likes of DJ Z-Trip and Lecrae. Expect some sick collabs and a fitting “Christmas in Hollis.” — By Jill Menze

RL Grime
Terminal 5
8 p.m., $20 – $40
The year is coming to an end, and it is uncertain whether EDM trap will live another. L.A.-based We Did It collective member RL Grime, also known under his big room house moniker, Clockwork, combines his street cred, like an official remix for Chief Keef, and rave reputation for a DJ performance that’ll have the crowd singing and dancing like a rap show. The young producer will combine the twerk high hats that spurred his rise to fame with the more mature dark techno sounds off his 2014 debut album, VOID, on this headlining tour. He’ll be joined by openers Lunice (known for his collaborations with Hudson Mohawke) and fellow L.A.-based producer Branchez. There’s reason why RL Grime has received cosigns from everyone from Diplo to Big Sean and Goosebumps author R.L. Stine; see for yourself at Terminal 5. The event is sold out, but you can find tickets on the secondary market. Doors open at 8 and the show is open to everyone 18 and older. — By Lina Abascal

Mat Zo
Pacha NYC
10 p.m., $10 in advance, $25 – $45 afterward
EDM producer Mat Zo is having a moment: After producing for three years and releasing music for the past one, he’s landed on a powerful signature sound at just 26 years old. Signed to Above & Beyond’s Anjunabeats label, Zo’s music is the exact kind Anjuna has come to love — emotional, melodically enticing, and funky, sometimes all at once. Tonight, catch Mat Zo’s solo show, a part of his Mad Zoo Winter Roadshow tour (Mad Zoo is Zo’s very own label) as it comes through NYC’s Pacha. Let those groovy beats fulfill nearly every musical need you have. The show is open to everyone 19 and older. — By Eleanor Lambert

Big Gay Country Holiday
8 p.m., $8 – $10
Wondering where all the queer country artists have gone? Back down — or over — to Brooklyn, of course! Tonight the borough will host a veritable hootenanny of LGBT crooners at Littlefield’s first annual Big Gay Country Holiday party. Four foot-stompin’, hand-clappin’, whiskey-shootin’ acts take the stage: Karen and the Sorrows unleash their haunting ballads of love and loss; Kings perform their political-humor-laced tunes (we interviewed them this week, too); and Small Talk yodel us on home. Indie folk-pop songstress Julia Weldon headlines, showcasing her vulnerable honesty as much as her brash, intensely American charisma. So put on your Stetson hat, or your Santa hat, and help reclaim the country genre. — By Heather Baysa

Saturday’s on the next page.

Saturday, 12/20
Mariah Carey
Beacon Theatre
Saturday & Sunday, 8 p.m., $59 – $250
“All I Want for Christmas Is You” is the only holiday song you are actually excited to hear the day after Thanksgiving. Thankfully, New Yorkers, the queen diva Mariah Carey is returning to her hometown to perform a week of shows at the Beacon Theatre. You won’t be shelling out up to $250 to hear songs off this year’s Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse, but rather a night full of hits off Merry Christmas (released 20 years ago this season) and Merry Christmas II You, approved by both you and your grandmother. Whether you’re looking for a holiday activity or need to see and hear Mariah for yourself after her recent controversial (read: bad) Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting performance, this is your opportunity. Another show has been added, too: Monday, December 22. — By Lina Abascal

The Glasslands Gallery
8 p.m., $12
It’s no exaggeration to say that the Massachusetts trio Quilt — fond of Eastern tonalities, flower-power vocal harmonies, and sneakily florid guitar figures — is aptly named. Released early this year, sophomore album Held in Splendor (Mexican Summer) overflows with freaky daubs of piano, strings, and chord-change hurricanes that flicker and melt in mid-flare. The miracle: how deftly the players’ druggy flotsam and jetsam hangs together, even when it sounds on the verge of disappearing into a jet’s afterburners. Opening are Widowspeak, What Moon, Things, and Shana Falana. The show is open to everyone 21 and older. — By Raymond Cummings

Best Buy Theater
8 p.m., $29.50 – $35
Matisyahu has a vibrant style that reflects an unorthodox background for a pop musician. Born Matthew Paul Miller, he gave himself the stage name of Matisyahu, which means “Gift of God,” and his alternative-rock-reggae-fusion style raps are rife with Orthodox-Jewish motifs. Since his 2005 Top 40 Hit “King Without a Crown,” the New York-based rapper has released a number of albums, four of which are actually live recordings, for which Matisyahu is celebrated. His songs, while similar to reggae in their mellow quality, have an undeniable rock influence that keeps the energy vivacious and loud. This Saturday, catch the rapper (and downright jaw-dropping beat-boxer) with opener Judith Hill at the Best Buy Theater. The show is open to everyone 16 and older. — By Eleanor Lambert

Sunday’s on the next page.

Sunday, 12/21
Metal for Toys for Tots
Saint Vitus Bar
7 p.m., $15
‘Tis the season for giving, and nothing says holiday generosity like death metal and donations. Mosh away your winter blues at Saint Vitus on December 21 with half a dozen local bands, including Malignancy and Alekhine’s Gun. All door proceeds will be given to Toys for Tots, and you can bring an unwrapped toy to get $5 off your ticket. If that doesn’t inspire you to support the cause, take note of this fun fact: The lead singer of hardcore band Alekhine’s Gun is Jessica Pimentel, better known as Maria Ruiz on Orange Is the New Black. See her ditch the prison jumpsuit and dominate the mic with her scary-sick screams. — By Linda Leseman

Tyler, The Creator
Terminal 5
8 p.m., $35
The ultimate guy’s-guy and leader of Odd Future, Tyler, The Creator brings his in-your-face combination of humor and morbidity to the stage of Terminal 5 tonight. Transforming the large concert hall into what feels like a backyard skate party, Tyler will be joined by Taco, fellow Odd Future member and unlikely friend of the Jenner sisters. A jack-of-all-trades, the rapper, producer, designer, and businessman once landed himself a spot on the homepage of and started the crew that jump-started the likes of Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt. Heavy on the lyricism, his show is unlikely to be filled with chin-stroking hip-hop snobs, and rather with a sweaty and diverse crowd of fans screaming swear-words while wearing tie-dye OF Records merch. The show is sold out, but you can find tickets on the secondary market. — By Lina Abascal

The Gaits High Line Sound-Walk
The High Line
5 p.m., FREE
Visitors to the High Line can get a multisensory experience during “The Gaits.” Composers Lainie Fefferman, Jascha Narveson, and Cameron Britt have created a score that will turn a walk on the elevated railway turned public space into much more than just a stroll in the park. With the help of portable speakers and a smartphone app, visitors will tune their footsteps into metallic sounds, guitar chords, zen gongs, and sounds like water splashes and car horns. The first 100 people can borrow a free wearable speaker; everyone else is encouraged to bring their own. — By Alyana Alfaro

Make Music Winter Festival
Washington Square Garden
11 a.m., FREE
The shortest day of the year will be long on a Portlandic sort of cultural whimsy when the fourth annual Make Music Winter Festival unfurls tentacles of paraders around the city. It begins with “Winterize,” a participatory version of Franz Schubert’s Winterreise song cycle, in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden at 11, and concludes at the Metropolitan Museum, at 6:30, with “Pilgrimage,” a march of early-music singers. In between, a dozen parades of kalimbas, bagpipes, bells, drums, carolers, cellists, tap dancers, and a makeshift gamelan will gently disrupt various environments. Of special note is percussionists Amy Garapic and Clara Warnaar’s Washington Square Park circumnavigation, constituting New York’s contribution to A Worldwide Day of In C, a global celebration of Terry Riley’s minimalist masterpiece. — By Richard Gehr

See also:
The 19 Best New Year’s Eve Concerts and Dance Parties in New York