The Eight Best Concerts in New York This Week, 4/27/15


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

Monday, 4/27
Ben Folds
Bowery Ballroom // Music Hall of Williamsburg // Town Hall
Monday, 8 p.m., $35 // Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., $35 // Thursday, 8 p.m., $50–$75
Before Ben Folds became a social-media butterfly and passer of judgment on The Sing-Off, he was responsible for some of the most interesting radio singles of the Nineties, from “Brick” to “Army,” via his inappropriately named trio, the Ben Folds Five. Much of his solo efforts and work in support of other artists — including William Shatner — has been just as intriguing. Onstage, he’s proven himself adept at entertaining with little more than a piano and a microphone, but tonight he appears with the six-piece string/wind/horn ensemble yMusic, with whom he’s collaborated on a forthcoming album. In a recent phone call, Folds told us the results lie “somewhere between a rock band and a chamber group,” which is, again, appropriately intriguing. — Chris Kornelis

Tuesday, 4/28
Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m.
Imagine, if you will, that David Bowie and Lil B had a baby. That baby would be iLoveMakonnen, now one of the hottest names in rap. The Atlanta rapper/singer emerged last summer with his hit “Tuesday,” and after it took over the internet, Drake jumped on its remix, offering his own spin on how to get the club goin’ up. Makonnen’s music is a weird alt-blend of progressive r&b that stays true to its ATL trap roots. Plus, it’s catchy as hell, with every hook inevitably getting stuck in your head for the rest of the night. Come for “Tuesday,” but stay for the deep cuts, like “Sarah,” “Maneuvering,” or “Tonight,” and let your new friend Makonnen teach you how to whip it. The show is sold out, but you can find tickets on the secondary market. — Eric Sundermann

Wednesday, 4/29
Benjamin Clementine
8 p.m., $15–$20
Born in London to Ghanaian parents, Clementine was discovered busking in the Paris métro. After two EPs and a new album, At Least for Now, Clementine is on track to become a major purveyor of the sort of proudly despairing poetics associated with Nina Simone and Édith Piaf, with a bit of Antony Hegarty on the side. The heroically cheekboned Clementine performs barefoot at the piano, kicking against pricks with fierce charisma. This show, which marks his American debut, could be a stunner. — Richard Gehr

Mike Pride’s I Hate Work
Greenwich House
9 p.m. & 10 p.m., $20 ($10 for students)
Jazz is all about imagination, so when the fierce percussionist morphs the speed blast of punk gurus like MDC (Millions of Dead Cops) into jaunty swing and graceful forward motion, there’s plenty of resourcefulness in the air. Mike Pride has previously sat in the hardcore heroes’ drummer’s chair, and improv-wise he’s an expert at the dynamics of calibrated assault. With pianist Jaime Saft and bassist Brad Jones on the case in I Hate Work, spewed broadsides like “Corporate Deathburger” and “Business On Parade” are not only refracted, they’re reborn. Part of the Greenwich House Sound It Out Series. — Jim Macnie

Thursday, 4/30
Kool A.D.
Santos Party House
7 p.m., $15–$20
Das Racist may have broken up in 2012, but rappers Himanshu Suri (Heems) and Victor Vazquez (Kool A.D.) are still putting out their signature brand of avant­garde hip­-hop. Heems released his first solo record earlier this year — snagging a Village Voice cover story along the way — to much fanfare and acclaim. But over the last three years Kool A.D. has been dropping solid mixtape after solid mixtape, continuing to spit his verbose, slightly absurdist flow over relaxed, backpack-esque beats. Heems hosted his record-release show at Santos Party House on March 10; it’s nice to know he and Kool A.D. can still share a stage, even if not at the same time. — Jackson Connor

Aaron Goldberg+Omer Avital
9 p.m. & 10 p.m., $20 ($10 for students)
The intimacy of the West Village’s new(ish) listening room will reveal each participant’s elegance of touch. Pianist Aaron Goldberg mixes nonchalance with virtuosity, which is why so many surprises leap out of his solos. He always sounds like he’s chatting when truly he’s delivering a well-scripted speech. Bassist Avital has a volcanic edge to his lyrical maneuver. With all sorts of thrust steering his moves, he has an invisible drummer by his side at all times. — Jim Macnie

Friday, 5/01
Sufjan Stevens
Kings Theatre
7 p.m., $45–$65
Sufjan Stevens, whether he intended it or not, has redefined the folk song in the context of the 21st century. The lines between myth and reality are blurred as personal accounts of family, love, and despair are intertwined between tales of Greek mythology, the animals of the Zodiac signs and the Bible. Stevens’s seventh studio album, entitled Carrie & Lowell after his mother and stepfather, is what Stevens himself calls “easy listening” due to its instrumental tranquility, which infectiously mirrors his hushed, silvery voice. Like many of his past albums, the subject matter is deeply personal, but this album does away with folklore and leaves the listener with a deeply compassionate understanding of Stevens, as it’s “…not my art project; this is my life.”Eleanor Lambert

Damian Lazarus+The Ancient Moons
11 p.m., $20–$25
From the vocals of Pakistan’s sacred qawwali singers and Egyptian master percussionist Hossam Ramzy to American jazz pianist ELEW (Eric Lewis) and a Guinean princess, Damian Lazarus & she Ancient Moons‘ upcoming Message From the Other Side is a musical melting pot. A brainchild of Lazarus and James Ford, the album (due out May 18) was produced with the intent of capturing those magical moments of making music in nature under the quilted night sky, or to the rising sun. The pounding rhythms and seductive melodies are as beguiling on the dance floor as they are through your earbuds. Lazarus & the Ancient Moons will be performing alongside Bedouin, Ashwin Khosa, and Akufen, which will, like their upcoming album, be an inclusive and extensive exhibition of global dance music — not to mention a really great dance party. — Eleanor Lambert