The 10 Best Concerts in New York this Weekend, 1/16/15


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

Friday, 1/16
Golden Festival
Grand Prospect Hall
Friday–Sunday, 7 p.m., $35–$80
Led by Brooklyn middle school gym teacher Michael Ginsburg, the Zlatne Uste (“golden lips”) Brass Band is the country’s oldest Balkan combo. For 30 years, Zlatne Uste has hosted its annual Golden Festival, a pandemonium-inducing indoor Balkan bash that currently crams some 61 bands and 3,000 folk-dance fanatics into a Brooklyn bar mitzvah factory. The joyous, inclusive, and diverse four-stage lineup is anchored by a quintet of fine local brass bands augmented by dozens of Balkan, Turkish, Macedonian, and other Eastern European ensembles boasting varying degrees of authenticity and innovation, from a cappella to electronica. This year’s out-of-town surprises include Detroit Balkan-soul combo Ornamatik, New Orleans Balkan-funk stew Blato Zlato (“swamp gold”), and Washington, D.C., Balkan-glam group Black Masala. Come for the complimentary meze, stay for the eternal circle dances. — By Richard Gehr

Dillon Francis
Terminal 5
Friday-Sunday, 8 p.m., $47.50
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. — By Eleanor Lambert

See also: Our Dillon Francis interview

Umphrey’s McGee
Terminal 5
Friday–Saturday, 9 p.m., $29.50–$49.50
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, Josh 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 the icing on the cake. The show is all-ages. — By Richard Gehr

The Vaselines
The Bell House
Friday, 9 p.m., $22–$25
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. — By Raymond Cummings

Saturday, 1/17
Hand Job Academy
Shea Stadium BK
Saturday, 8 p.m., $8
All-female rap collective Hand Job Academy (or HJA, in polite company) made headlines late last year when Taylor Swift posted an oh-so-meta Instagram video of Lena Dunham dancing to their song “Lena Dunham.” But these girls, who straddle the worlds of comedy and hip-hop, have been rapping about periods, pop culture, and queerness, as well as more mainstream hip-hop themes, like getting money, since 2012. They first caught attention with 2013’s “Shark Week,” a track about Aunt Flo’s monthly visit. Tonight is a fundraiser for All Ages Press; the lineup also features garage popsters High Pop, Atlantic Thrills, and Heeney & Strange Kids. — By Karen Gardiner

Dr. Dog
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Friday & Saturday, 8 p.m., $25–$35
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. — By Eleanor Lambert

See also: Our Dr. Dog interview

William Parker and the Tone Motion Theatre
Roulette Brooklyn
Saturday, 8 p.m., $25
Four decades plus into a pioneering arc that’s shaped the avant-garde jazz landscape in NYC and beyond, jazz titan William Parker, the devastatingly creative, free-thinking eclectic, ushers in 2015 in a manner akin to previous years: with larger-than-life adventures. A smattering of Parker’s recent behemoth undertakings counts two-disc sprawl Love and Ghosts by longtime free-improv surgeons Farmers by Nature (his collaborative trio with Craig Taborn and Gerald Cleaver) and Wood Flute Songs: Anthology/Live 2006–2012, an eight-CD retrospective of unreleased live recordings. The bassist/composer extraordinaire’s latest thought-provoking opus may just be his apogee: a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, fittingly premiered on the civil rights icon’s holiday weekend. Titled Yes I Dream of Freedom (and Part Five of his extended work, Flower in a Stained Glass Window), the ace improviser imagines (through his own compositions and words, with additional text from Dr. King) a theatrical, spiritual journey where a medicine man encounters MLK’s spirit, seeking to revive his life through music, sounds, and movement. On hand to interpret Parker’s vision of revolution and freedom are a pair of holier-than-thou ensembles, one directed by altoist Keir Neuringer, the other featuring Hamid Drake, Steve Swell, Joe McPhee, Daniel Carter, Cooper-Moore, and Parker himself, choreography by Patricia Nicholson, voices including Fay Victor, and special guests. It promises to be the magically deep complement to Monday, as we honor Dr. King. Admission is $25; members/students/seniors, $20. — By Brad Cohan

Wild Child
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Saturday, 9 p.m., $15
Be warned: Austin-based Wild Child specialize in music of the ukulele- and whistle-filled variety, but look closely and you’ll find depth beyond the kitsch. Formed by Kelsey Wilson (vocals, violin) and Alexander Beggins (vocals, ukulele) and rounded out by a host of musicians, Wild Child’s true specialty is their folk-like storytelling. After releasing their first album, Pillow Talk, in 2011, Wild Child earned accolades from the likes of Ben Kweller, who produced the band’s adventurous follow-up, The Runaround. Wild Child’s live show has brought them to the stages of events such as South by Southwest, Bonnaroo, and Austin City Limits. The cover is $15 and the show’s open to anyone sixteen or older. James Tillman rounds out the bill. — By Jill Menze

Sunday, 1/18
DFA Winter Workout
Baby’s All Right
Saturday, 9 p.m., $25–$30
Have you heard? It’s winter. And it’s miserably cold. Thankfully, the fine folks at DFA Records are hosting a warm-up party with a roster of dance-inducing special guests. Sweat out those Sunday and winter blues alongside headlining act Johnny Hostile & Jehnny Beth (whom you may know from Savages) and Gavin Russom, who will perform a “live synth session.” Rounding out the bill is a notable DJ lineup including Holy Ghost!, Nancy Whang, Juan Maclean, Sinkane, Museum of Love, and Kris DFA. The DFA Winter Workout is open to everyone 21 and older. Wear your health-goth best. — By Jill Menze

Slim Twig
Cake Shop
Saturday, 9 p.m., $25–$30
Familial vibes will rule the Lower East Side as Max Turnbull (a/k/a Slim Twig) and Meghan Remy (a/k/a U.S. Girls) — the artpop-gushing husband/wife duo and DIY record label magnates from up North — team to sprinkle their popclectic ear-candy over downtown. “Heavy Splendour” — the title of the lush, bass-fuzzed, strings-streaking epic that kicks off Twig’s recently dropped album Hound at the Hem — just about sums up the gritty ‘n’ glistening electro-sleaze beast Twig sublimely intertwines on his umpteenth effort. It’s no wonder Twig has landed on James Murphy’s disco ball-gleaming DFA label for Hound: The glorious slab drips with New York Dolls–smeared glam, Suicide-like synths, and Bowie-sized arena-rock orchestral histrionics. It’s all topped by Twig’s schizoid lounge-crooning monotone. Meanwhile, Twig’s better half — Remy’s econo glitter-pop stylists, U.S. Girls — deconstructs Sixties doo-wop into DIY electronics-propulsive should-be radio hits. — By Brad Cohan