The Nine Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 4/17/15


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

Friday, 4/17
Ava Luna (record release)
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m., $10–$12
Cut from a similar stylistic cloth as fellow Brooklyn indie electro-rockers Grooms, local coed quintet Ava Luna pile on the silky, groove-centric art-pop on their just-released third album, Infinite House. From its glossy and occasionally crunchy get-go, the perpetually spicy Ava Luna — with mixing help from Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, MGMT) — fashion minimalist psychscapes featuring bass-heavy groovage plied with the experimental weirdness of Dirty Projectors. But it’s Ava Luna’s low-end-driven, swinging jazziness that should spark serious DIY dance action at these record-release shows, especially when smooth singer Carlos Hernandez hits those heavenly falsetto notes while co-vocalists Becca Kaufmann and Felicia Douglass get the indie boys swooning with their magical voices. Catch Ava Luna at these intimate shows before they hit the big time. — Brad Cohan

Brooklyn Folk Festival
St. Ann’s Church
Friday–Sunday, 8 p.m., $20–$80
Avert your eyes from the urban mirage and contemplate more rooted sounds during the seventh annual Brooklyn Folk Festival. Highlights of the three-day, 30-act event, which is co-produced by local folk epicenter the Jalopy Theatre and Down Home Radio podcaster Eli Smith, include tonight’s rare local appearance by Oregon rural-boho avatar Michael Hurley on a bill with country bluesman Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton and New Orleans jazz-piano preservationist Terry Waldo’s Rum House Band. Following tomorrow’s banjo-hurling contest (impress your date!), youthful old-timer Frank Fairfield plays sets devoted to American and Italian string music, respectively, and Daptone recording artists Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens raise the roof. Downtown punk-psych folkies Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel will bring it all back home on Sunday. — Richard Gehr

MATA Festival 2015
The Kitchen
Friday & Saturday, 8 p.m., $20 – nightly pass // $15 – student
The brainchild of Philip Glass, Eleonor Sandresky, and Lisa Bielawa, the nonprofit MATA stages a yearly week-long festival showcasing the work of composers under 40. For its seventeenth installment, the MATA Festival received nearly a thousand applications from across the world. These young contemporary composers work less with genre than with form, blurring the line between sound and music and drawing from sources as disparate as Billy Joel (David Broome’s Ominousty), the mourning of the Gorgons (Tomi Räisänen’s Stheno), and the beginning of the universe (Carlos Guittiérez Quiroga’s Jintili). Many deconstruct rigid binaries: human and posthuman, improvised and inevitable, nature and technology. In this sonic world, table lamps on transducers seem to sing, a prepared piano choreographs a dancer’s performance, and drums magically beat themselves. As the candlestick once said, “Be our guest.” — Aidan Levy

Ana Tijoux
Friday: Bowery Ballroom // Saturday:
Rough Trade NYC
Friday: 9 p.m., $15–$18 // Saturday: 11 p.m., $12–$18
Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux delivered a storming LP last year. Vengo, her fifth solo record, makes refreshing use of Andean musical elements such as the pan pipes and charango, and led with the spine-tingling “Somos Sur,” featuring a verse from Palestinian rapper Shadia Mansour. The Grammy-nominated album revisits many of Tijoux’s preoccupations, namely colonization, occupation, and resistance, and continues to showcase Tijoux’s impressively complex and crisp flow, which is worth brushing up on your Spanish to really savor. Both of her NYC dates are sold out, but tickets are available on the secondary market. — Karen Gardiner

Blitzen Trapper
City Winery
7 p.m., $25–$32
Portland, Oregon, country-rockers Blitzen Trapper have been storming and burning barns since 2000 with a heady blend of acid-rock, indie-bricolage, Lynchian mystery theater, and other fuzzy brown touchpoints. At City Winery, they’re acknowledging a particularly direct influence with an album-length cover of Neil Young’s 1972 Nashville-meets-Cali patchwork, Harvest. Its mix of hit singles (“Old Man,” “Heart of Gold”), cosmic missteps (“A Man Needs a Maid”), and psychedelic-caveman jamming (“Words (Between the Lines of Age)”) should inspire both players and nostalgists. — Richard Gehr

On the next page: Record Store Day and more

Saturday, 4/18
Charles Lloyd
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
8 p.m., $70
Seventy-six-year-old composer-saxophonist Charles Lloyd will rock the Temple of Dendur with the North American premiere of his six-part “Wild Man Dance Suite.” The location-appropriate work straddles antiquity and today, with Sokratis Sinopoulos (lyra) and Miklós Lukács (cimbalom) joining Lloyd’s trio of Jason Moran (piano), Joe Sanders (bass), and Eric Harland (drums). In recent years, Lloyd has been exploring the classical tradition in works like “Hagar’s Suite” (a five-part duet with Moran) and 2011’s “Greek Suite” with singer Maria Farantouri, which isn’t to say he can’t also wail the blues with the best of them. — Richard Gehr

Record Store Day
Rough Trade NYC
12 p.m., FREE
For many in the business, and for even more civilian enthusiasts, indie record stores were our first teachers. Whether your town’s outlet provided you with alphabetized stacks, shelves arranged by genre, or haphazard bins, it amounted to a dusty browse through rock ‘n’ roll’s complex lineage that no Amazon or Spotify search can ever reproduce. Enter Record Store Day: This nine-country celebration was created in 2007 as a time for staff, customers, and artists to come together in support of independently owned record stores and their unique culture. This year’s ambassador is the appropriately grungy Dave Grohl, who has long supported RSD. As usual, expect a ton of exclusive releases by a ton of artists like Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, A$AP Rocky, St. Vincent, and many more. There are twenty-one participating locations in Manhattan, nineteen in Brooklyn, one in Queens, and one in the Bronx. — Heather Baysa

Howlin’ Rain
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m., $10–$12
Ethan Miller of Howlin’ Rain turns toward the acoustic-confessional mode on his latest album, ­Mansion Songs. His starting-from-scratch reinvention follows a handful of delirious electric albums, including The Russian Wilds, a Dostoevskian epic of a record. Expect Miller’s loud and soft sides to mingle tonight. Chris Forsyth and Solar Motel Band play ye olde double-guitar acid rock with punkish passion (think Quicksilver Messenger Service meets Television). Together, Forsyth and fellow guitarist Nick Mellevoi heave and sway and ultimately transcend their influences. The Golden Grass open, and patrons 21 and older are welcome to attend. — Richard Gehr

Sunday, 4/19
Webster Hall
8 p.m., $30–$35
Just a few days before Warp drops his fourteenth album, Damogen Furies, boundary-pushing electronic master Tom Jenkinson (better known as Squarepusher) brings his heavily jazz-influenced experimental drum’n’bass to Webster Hall. The latest album’s tracks were made in a single take without edits and his aim, he says, is “to explore, as forcefully as possible, the hallucinatory, the nightmarish, and the brutally visceral capacities of electronic music.” The aggressively thumping opening track “Stor Eiglass” outlines that vision quite effectively. The show is 18+. — Karen Gardiner