The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Week, 1/12/15


Shake off the cold at one of these concerts happening in New York City this week. For more shows throughout the week, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

Monday, January 11:
Tanya Tagaq at Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street)
This Inuit Canadian who specializes in her culture’s traditional throat-singing techniques often sounds like the extremely vocal child of Björk and Janis Joplin. Tanya Tagaq takes the technique to the limit on her recent Animism, delivering a surprising assortment of pants, growls, purrs, snarls, and screams over strings, percussion, and electronics. The hills are alive with the sound of fucking in “Damp Animal Spirits,” and the hills are destroyed to the sounds of “Fracking.” Flight or fight? All options are explored. She performs here with contemporary-music string aces the Sirius Quartet. $22. 7 p.m. All ages. Joe’s Pub. — Richard Gehr

Dr. Dog at the Music Hall of Williamsburg (66 North 6th Street, Brooklyn)
Between those groovy guitar riffs, that blissful tambourine, and the wailing background add-ins, Dr. Dog make music that just plain feels good. It’s the kind of music that travels through your ears, into your body, and out through your inevitably dancing limbs. There is something undeniably psychedelic about the Pennsylvania-based folk-rockers, their music reminiscent of a bygone era. The band’s two main members, Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman, began jamming in the eighth grade, and over the years their sound has ripened and developed; through its seven studio albums, the band has traversed the lo-fi side, the alternative-indie side, and the folk and psychedelic side of rock. Dr. Dog are in New York City for a whopping eight days, playing four shows at the Music Hall of Williamsburg and four at the Bowery Ballroom, January 14–17. — Eleanor Lambert

Tuesday, January 12:
The Charlie Haden Memorial at Town Hall (123 West 43rd Street)
The late jazz bass giant Charlie Haden‘s splendid career — which spanned the invention of free jazz with Ornette Coleman to an especially sweet family folk ensemble — will be celebrated at a concert anchored by two fine bands he helmed: Quartet West (with Alan Broadbent, Ernie Watts, Rodney Green, and Scott Colley on bass) and Liberation Music Orchestra (with Carla Bley, Tony Malaby, Chris Cheek, Loren Stillman, Michael Rodriguez, Seneca Black, Curtis Fowlkes, Vincent Chancey, Joe Daley, Steve Cardenas, Matt Wilson, and Steve Swallow on bass). Guests will include Geri Allen, Kenny Barron, Jack DeJohnette, Denardo Coleman, Ravi Coltrane, Mark Fain, Bill Frisell, Ethan Iverson, Lee Konitz, Pat Metheny, Josh Redman, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Josh Haden, and the Haden Triplets. Free. 7 p.m. Town Hall. Tax-deductible donations to benefit the Charlie Haden CalArts Scholarship Fund to assist jazz students in need can be made at the venue or sent to: P.O. Box 520, Agoura Hills, CA 91376. — Richard Gehr

RJD2 at Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn)
The mad-scientist production style of RJD2 has been consistently intriguing: from his debut, the sample-based Deadringer, back in 2002; through the live instrumentation of 2007’s The Third Hand, all the way to the multiple collaborations of his fifth album, More Is Than Isn’t, released in 2013. He is probably still most recognized, however, for contributing the theme tune to Mad Men. The Philly-based producer begins two nights at the Brooklyn Bowl tonight: Brooklyn-based producer D.V.S* opens on the 13th, while on the 14th it’s young Houstonian rapper Fat Tony. — Karen Gardiner

Wednesday, January 14:
Destructo at Output (74 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn)
Serving as limbo between the two sails of Holy Ship!, Destructo is bringing his Ship2Ship tour to Output as the team gears up for a second round of debauchery at sea. Founder of HARD Events, the production company behind Holy Ship!, a wildly popular three-day dance music cruise, Destructo recently released his EP West Coast, featuring other West Coast-ers YG, Too $hort, and Problem. Alongside other Holy Ship! artists Anna Lunoe and Motez, Destructo will combine the high energy he and HARD are known for, with his new style he has dubbed “g-house,” an upbeat sound that led to him lending his electro flair to rap wordsmiths on his EP. — Lina Abascal

Thursday, January 15:
Metalachi at The Gramercy Theatre (127 East 23rd Street)
Metalachi are exactly what their name suggests: metal mariachis. Yes, you read that right. They are a mariachi band playing classic metal covers like “Crazy Train,” “Run to the Hills,” and “Raining Blood.” (The YouTube video where Dave Lombardo of Slayer joins in on drums is worth five and a half minutes of your time.) And it gets better — all the sombrero-wearing band members go by aliases and have wild (fictional) histories. Take, for instance, violinist Maximilian “Dirty” Sanchez, who claims to have found his first violin in an abandoned Bennigan’s in East L.A. and alleges himself to be a person of interest to Homeland Security. According to the band’s bio, they are all “bastard sons” of one Consuela Espinoza from Veracruz, Mexico; legend has it they discovered a Black Sabbath record while illegally crossing the border into the U.S. on a dehydrated burro. All jokes aside, these guys are truly excellent mariachis, stirring up mosh pits with a fury of violin, trumpet, acoustic guitar, bass, and blast beats. They come to New York by way of their hometown Los Angeles on January 15 at the Gramercy Theatre. — Linda Leseman

Sam Smith at Madison Square Garden (Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street)
Who knew that someone who’s just 22 could go through so much heartbreak, excitement, and downright real shit before they can even rent a car (actually, maybe everyone who has ever been 22 — Ed.)? And beyond that, who knew someone could do it as eloquently and sincerely as Sam Smith has? Making his debut on Disclosure’s 2012 song “Latch,” Smith has left his own imprint on the music scene with his unbelievably soulful and honest In the Lonely Hour, released in May 2014. Between the chart-topping singles, the six Grammy nominations, and the tales of heartache, Sam Smith is invigorating a very stagnant pop-music scene with his candor. His voice has the power of an entire gospel choir and the cadence of someone who’s seen (and been through) enough. For inspiration, Smith has looked to leading ladies like Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston, telling the BBC they were “all I listened to. I actually didn’t listen to male vocalists until about two years ago. I just listened to Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan. Massive voices.” And it’s clear he’s the next “massive voice” for the masses. Having arrived, Smith will perform at Madison Square Garden along with George Ezra. (Tickets are sold out but you can find them on the secondary market.) — Eleanor Lambert

Friday, January 16:
The Vaselines at The Bell House (149 7th Street, Brooklyn)
The Vaselines‘ on-again-off-again songwriting partnership of Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee has survived decades of strife, skewered pop glee, and Kurt Cobain’s raw-throated patronage. What last year’s V for Vaselines lacks in terms of the sexually frustrated ickiness that characterized the group’s best-known singles, it makes up for in impeccable hooks, mid-tempo buoyancy, and sweet microphone-swapping payoffs. The crush of organs and barroom pianos on “Inky Lies” is worth more than twice the price of admission. Opening is Amanda X. The show is open to everyone 21 and older. — Brad Cohan

Umphrey’s McGee at the Beacon Theatre (2124 Broadway)
Hear the one about the world-class jazz tenor saxophonist who suggested a short run with the jam band scene’s most deliriously virtuosic improv-rock combo? That happened back in 2004. A decade later, Joshua Redman returns — everyone a decade older, wiser, and simply better — for another short local run with the most ferociously tight psych-prog sextet around. The tunes from Umphrey’s McGee are head-spinning displays of riff-oriented chrome and lightning, embracing everything from Pink Floyd acid-prog to titanium-strength hard rawk. Expect Redman to navigate the twisting time signatures and seamless segues with masterful aplomb. Umphrey’s dazzling lights will provide icing on the cake. The show is all-ages. — Richard Gehr

Dillon Francis at Terminal 5 (610 West 56th Street)
Dillon Francis, known and loved for his insane Instagram account (check out “Drunk Cooking With Dillon Francis”), has created an array of alter egos that seem to capture his eclectic essence: There’s Becky, the fun-loving, egocentric blonde who’s always ready to party (or throw something); #Treva, the classiest, most confused Australian there ever was; and everyone’s OG favorite, DJ Hanzel, the deep-house-loving, Francis-hating German who’s either as grumpy or as giddy as one could ever be…the list goes on. As diverse as this group may be, it takes but a second to hear a Dillon Francis song and recognize that same hyper, vigorous bounce that adorns nearly every one of his tracks. Since his first EP, 2010’s Swashbuckler, all the way to his first studio album, Money Sucks, Friends Rule, which just came out in October, Francis has been making bangers that oscillate with bass and beats that force you to move. His energy is undeniable, whether it’s coming through a speaker or through a very bizarre yet intriguing character. Francis is finally bringing his Money Sucks, Friends Rule tour to Terminal 5, where he will be accompanied by Bro Safari each night and Anamanaguchi for two of the three shows, all of which are eighteen and older. — Eleanor Lambert