The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 4/24/15


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


Friday, 4/24
Wadada Leo Smith — 44 Years: Retrospective
The Stone
Friday–Sunday, 8 p.m. & 10 p.m., $20
Incandescent Mississippi-born trumpeter-composer Wadada Leo Smith celebrates over four decades of radical creativity with a week-long residency that’ll take shape in a dozen different group configurations and two lectures. On April 21, Smith first leads a trio with venue proprietor John Zorn (alto sax) and Smith’s longtime AACM associate George Lewis (trombone) and returns later with Bobby Naughton (vibraharp) and Dwight Andrews (reeds). The week’s other highlights include a tribute to Ornette Coleman on April 24 and the Saturday-night return of Smith’s solid Golden Quartet. — Richard Gehr

Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll
City Winery
7:30 p.m. & 10:30 p.m., $28–$38
Director John Pirozzi’s years-in-the-making doc Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll — playing at Film Forum in a week-long run — pays tribute to the rock ‘n’ roll movement that arose after the country gained independence from France in 1953. Long suppressed in the wake of the Khmer Rouge’s 1975 takeover, the history of this music is revived in Pirozzi’s movie through both present-day interviews and rarely seen archival footage. As a special bonus, City Winery commemorates the theatrical release with a pair of evening concerts showcasing some of the surviving musicians from the period.

Webster Hall
10 p.m.
French funk-master Madeon has yet to turn 21, and yet he is already becoming a household name. After winning Pendulum‘s “The Island” remix competition in 2010, Madeon was launched into the EDM stratosphere, with Las Vegas residencies (that he’s too young to attend, mind you) and festival performances worldwide. Between his hit “Pop Culture,” his 2012 EP The City, and the brand-new Adventure album, it’s clear that the young producer has a knack for uplifting melodies, abounding synths, and weaving, pulsing drops. Start your weekend out right with some groovy beats and a charming Frenchman at Webster Hall alongside the M Machine. 19+. — Eleanor Lambert

Hurray for the Riff Raff
Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m., $15
Hurray for the Riff Raff‘s Alynda Lee Segarra grew up in a Puerto Rican neighborhood in the Bronx and would fiddle about in the early-2000s punk rock scene of the Lower East Side, absorbing ABC Radio’s Saturday-afternoon shows. At seventeen, she left the city and hopped trains before settling in New Orleans, where she formed her Americana/folk-rock outfit. Hurray for the Riff Raff have had a staggering climb (starting with a 2011 SXSW breakthrough), but it’s with their most recent offering, 2014’s Small Town Heroes, that America began to catch onto Segarra’s warm vocals spinning captivating tales of blues, love, and guns. Clear Plastic Masks and Gill Landry start the 18+ sold-out show, although don’t fret — tickets are available on secondary markets. — Silas Valentino

Marlin Room at Webster Hall
7 p.m., $30
Whether it’s a feature or his own track, Iamsu! has crept into hip-hop’s frontal lobe as both master producer and burgeoning rapper. His collaboration list is long and rich, filled with top dogs like Wiz Khalifa, Sage the Gemini, E-40, YG, Too Short, and 2 Chainz. Representing the HBK Gang (Heartbreak Gang, as well as production team the Invasion), Iamsu! banks on clapping high-hats and swirling beats with talk of girls wrapped in smoke, fast money, and “Real Shit Only.” Alongside a roster of other Bay Area boys, Iamsu! will be throwing verses and hyphy backbeats in the Marlin Room at Webster Hall with Rome Fortune, Dave Steezy, and Mani Draper. 19+. — Eleanor Lambert

Saturday, 4/25
Baby’s All Right
4 p.m., $5–$7
WRAY‘s self-titled release is a seven-track effort, but each installment is a variation on the same idea: How do you get the most out of a crescendo? On each track, the band effectively balls ups its favorite ingredients — a little bit of surf, expansive arena rock, catchy alt-rock riffs, a little bit of drone — into a mass and rolls it down a hill. Sometimes it ends abruptly (“Blood Moon”), like a fall from a cliff, and sometimes it sounds like it should be played incessantly on rock radio (“Swells”). Either way, you hope they keep pushing the idea forward. — Chris Kornelis

Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band
Zankel Hall at Carnegie
9 p.m., $44–$52
Few jazz groups do pastoral with as much panache as ubiquitous session drummer Brian Blade and his longtime, yet sparsely recorded, combo. A Southern melancholy informed last year’s Landmarks, which includes a haunting version of “Shenandoah” and the tart travelogue “Ark.La.Tex.” Following the departure of guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, saxophonists Melvin Butler and Myron Walden, bassist Chris Thomas, and the felicitously named Jon Cowherd on piano fill out the subtle percussion powerhouse’s all-acoustic quintet. — Richard Gehr

Sunday, 4/26
Trevor Dunn’s PROOFReaders
The Skinny
7:30 p.m., $10
After recent standout performances from Paradox Trio (featuring multi-instrumentalist maverick Matt Darriau) and saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo’s fire-breathing Gay Disco Trio, Acoustic Skinny Sundays continues its forward-thinking series with one of New York City’s most adaptable musicians. Since 2000, bassist Trevor Dunn has been a dynamo in these parts, an ace finger-hopper in a host of genres both across Brooklyn’s avant-jazz landscape and in the metal pantheon. On any given night, Dunn can be found on tour wielding his upright bass with sludge-metal kings Melvins (Lite) or at the Village Vanguard in one of John Zorn’s many ensembles. For tonight’s gig, Dunn (also a co-founder of Mr. Bungle, along with Faith No More’s Mike Patton) has assembled an avant-gardist supergroup made up of Darius Jones (alto sax), Nate Wooley (trumpet), and Ryan Sawyer (drums) on a quest to celebrate the legendary Ornette Coleman. A gig by Dunn’s PROOFReaders is a rare occurrence, so this is an event not to be missed. — Brad Cohan

Heartworn Subways: Short sets by Tall Firs, Lee Ranaldo, Sue Garner, and Alan Licht
Trans Pecos
8 p.m., $10

Presented as Heartworn Subways, Ridgewood’s Trans Pecos presents short sets from Tall Firs, Lee Ranaldo, Sue Garner, and Alan Licht in a showcase that provides an “intimate environment with a mellow, share-a-tune vibe.” The eclectic Brooklyn guitar duo Tall Firs headline the event along with Sonic Youth screwdriver Ranaldo. These five guitarists approach their instruments in various fashions, with Garner’s singer-songstress sensibilities and both Licht’s and Ranaldo’s command of feedback distortion, and all together you can expect an amusing game of six-string pass-around. — Silas Valentino

Shastra Festival 2015
Le Poisson Rouge
4 p.m., $20
Thanks to its ever-growing Indian community, New York City and its surrounding areas are experiencing a parallel surge in cultural crossover. Witness the annual Shastra Festival, a six-hour, twelve-act confluence of Indian and Western traditions. These range from tabla (Shawn Mativetsky) and drum (Dan Weiss) solos to traditional dhrupad singing (Payton MacDonald) and a string quartet performing raga-based music by organizer Reena Esmail. The bill also includes new work by Aakash Mittal, Michael Harrison, and Asha Srinvasan, along with Philip Glass’s Two Pages for voice and piano. The fest concludes with an all-hands improvisation. — Richard Gehr