The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Week, 3/30/15



Monday, 3/30
Madison Square Garden
8:00 p.m., $39.50–$49.50
Since Alt-J released their magnificent album, This Is All Yours, to near-universal acclaim last year, the band has been pretty much ubiquitous. Standout track “Left Hand Free” has popped up everywhere from Spotify’s better-than-expected Happy Hipster playlist to advertisements for HGTV’s just-as-great-as-you-expected Rehab Addict. And therein lies the band’s accomplishment: writing riffs and melodies that resonate in Middle America as much as they do in Brooklyn, with the band celebrating this very triumph with a set at the world’s most famous arena. Phantogram open. — Chris Kornelis

Saint Vitus
8:00 p.m., $15
No matter where he goes, Nate Mendel will never be able to shake his Sunny Day Real Estate roots and Foo Fighters upbringing, but this doesn’t mean the bassist for America’s rock sweethearts can’t forge his own path where he’s weed-whacking brushes of lo-fi power pop and raspy vocals. Mendel, who must be accustomed to standing stage-left most of the time, plants his presence in the middle of Lieutenant, exchanging his bass for the guitar and playing songs that recall the rigged ambiance of SDRE. In support of their debut, If I Kill This Thing We’re All Going to Eat for a Week, and with only a few shows under their belt since SXSW, Lieutenant could just be another side project that rockets by unnoticed — or a bold statement from one of rock’s persistent shadow-lurkers. Yukon Blonde and Piers open; the show is 21+. — Silas Valentino

Tuesday, 3/31
Rough Trade NYC
8:00 p.m.
From New Albany, Indiana, the city found just across the river from Louisville, arrives the Americana foursome Houndmouth, a rock band with one foot in the big city while the other stays planted in the country’s riverbank. Houndmouth recall the mid-Seventies twang of Neil Young or the Band with their jangling electric guitars and Appalachian harmonies. Currently on tour in support of their sophomore album, Little Neon Limelight, Houndmouth’s rise is something out of a young band’s daydream (their booking agent convinced Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis to check out their set, and afterwards he signed them to Rough Trade’s label), so consider their show Tuesday night a homecoming of sorts. Folkie Parker Millsap is set to open, and while the show is sold out, tickets can be found on the secondary market. — Silas Valentino

Slavic Soul Party!
10:00 p.m., $10
Slavic Soul Party are Eastern Europe’s answer to the funk (and “Grunt”) of the J.B.’s or, more recently, the Budos Band. On their recordings, and every Tuesday at Barbès, the ten-person brass ensemble pins Gypsy melodies against the sort of jazzy r&b horn collages you hear in movies adapted from Elmore Leonard books. The best part, though, is how they interact with the audience at their concerts, sometimes breaking the fourth wall, and really making each word in their name — especially the last — pull its weight. — Kory Grow

Wednesday, 4/1
Milky Chance
Webster Hall
8:00 p.m.
A trifecta of German folk, reggae, and electronic music, Milky Chance are a harmonious cacophony of something you’ve never really heard before. Singer Clemens Rehbein has the voice of a long-lost friend, his raspy, sultry attitude enriched by dreamy beats from producer Philipp Daush. Their 2013 album Sadnecessary has become an international hit, and now the duo are on their first major tour, performing at venues and festivals worldwide. James Hersey will be the opening act, and while the show is sold out, tickets can be found on the secondary market. — Eleanor Lambert

Michael Blake Quartet
Jazz Standard
7:30 p.m. & 10 p.m., $25
The wily saxophonist’s Tiddy Boom popped up on several 2014 best-of lists, with most praise citing the lyricism and oomph Michael Blake brought to the table on a mainstream quartet date that had plenty of lefty leanings. That’s his way, of course. For the last two decades, his tenor has been keen on finding eloquence in both swing and skronk. The killer band from the record is on this gig, and expect the agility of bassist Ben Allison and drummer Rudy Royston to tickle pianist Frank Kimbrough into even more inventive territory than usual. — Jim Macnie

Thursday, 4/2
The Bowery Ballroom
8:00 p.m.

The women of Alvvays are living the dream: forming a band with your childhood best friend. Frontwoman Molly Rankin and keyboardist Kerry MacLellan go way back; maybe that’s why all of the band’s videos look like they were filmed in Super 8, with that foggy-but-sunny air of good memories. Their nostalgic music justifies it. Like a slightly more upbeat Pains of Being Pure at Heart, these Canadian indie rockers don’t shy away from reverb or daintily glum subject matter (boyfriends who never want to get married, a culture that never wants to grow up). But Rankin’s voice shines through like a beacon, strong and resonant. Though the show is sold out, you might have a chance of finding tickets via secondary outlets. — Heather Baysa

French Horn Rebellion
Irving Plaza
7:00 p.m., $29.50
The fraternal duo behind French Horn Rebellion fetishizes Eighties new wave synthpop way out of proportion, and without a trace of irony: They would be the quintessential hipsters if they were not so clearly a blast from the past. Yet their resistance to snarky, unqualified smugness makes Robert and David Perlick-Molinari a rare breed of band geek–cum–Williamsburg icon. They recently remixed a tune of Catey Shaw’s — yup, the “Brooklyn Girls” girl — and have been spending some time in the studio cutting their own, so expect some surprises on this tour. — Aidan Levy

Friday, 4/3
Billy Joel
Madison Square Garden
8:00 p.m., $64.50–$124.50

Las Vegas was once the go-to spot for legendary musicians looking to settle down for a residency, but it looks like MSG and Billy Joel have found a way to take that concept home to New York. After playing a 2013 New Year’s Eve show at Barclays, the Bronx-born, Long Island–bred performer, who has provided the pop and rock canon with an endless list of iconic, timeless, and modern standards, is continuing his monthly residency at the Garden from now until we’re sick of him. Judging by the first year of sold-out shows, the end of this East Coast franchise isn’t going to arrive for some time — the Piano Man’s got us feeling all right. — Brittany Spanos

Benjamin Booker
Music Hall of Williamsburg
8:00 p.m., $20
Benjamin Booker and his self-titled debut are what fans of straightforward, engaging, Guitar Hero gusto have been waiting for in contemporary rock ‘n’ roll. The New Orleans native doesn’t spend too much setting the stage on fire with glittery solos or displaying any flash whatsoever because he’s too busy configuring new ways to let his hollow-body electric guitar smash out a fit of powering blues chords. Fellow guitar gunner Olivia Jean opens the show, and while tickets are sold out, try your chances on the secondary market. — Silas Valentino


Archive Highlights