The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 5/8/15


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


Friday, 5/08
David Torn
7 p.m., $20–$25
“It was just me, an amp, and my guitar,” says David Torn of his latest album, only sky. It was also a looping device, a signature fuzzbox, a compressor, and about a dozen other pieces of electronic equipment that Torn has customized and mastered to create an otherworldly Zen ambience with the perfect alchemy of glitch, stutter, feedback, and reverb to just get you there. Somewhere between Terry Riley, 20 Jazz Funk Greats, Ry Cooder, and Bowie at his most atmospheric (due to Torn’s own contributions), he improvises it all live, solo, and with lots of whammy in what promises to define unpredictability for artist and audience alike on the first stop of a twenty-city tour. — Aidan Levy

NYU Strawberry Festival
LaGuardia Place
12:30 p.m., Free with NYU student ID
NYU’s Strawberry Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and will continue its tradition of throwing a street fair featuring live music, carnival games, and the — self-proclaimed — longest strawberry shortcake in New York City. Four musical acts will play the afternoon celebration, with lo-fi dominators Cloud Nothings serving as headliners. Cloud Nothings were recently in Brooklyn, and their live performance is replete with pulse-racing joy, with lead singer Dylan Baldi offering invigorating takes on his much-tested material (perk up your ears and notice how he reinterprets fan favorite “Stay Useless” right before leading into the song’s chorus). Also on the bill are Field Trip, Celestial Shore, and local up-and-comers LVL UP. — Silas Valentino

The Pluto Moons
Nola, Darling
8 p.m., $7
Isn’t it amazing, the amount you can pack into an event’s About Me section on Facebook, where brevity is key and intrigue is so delicately sought after? This show’s initial explanation begins, “We receive seismic vibrations that inspire movement and conjure telescopic visualization,” before quickly summing it up: “Come prepared to dance.” The cultural zine Slackgaze hosts this evening of seismic vibrations and features an all–New York cast of groovy styles from “bass-based music” fiends the Pluto Moons, Throw Vision, SoftSpot, Little Shaman, and Trak Joy all tumbling into Chelsea venue Nola, Darling. — Silas Valentino

Oh Land
Music Hall of Williamsburg
9 p.m., $20
Known by her stage name Oh Land, Danish songstress Nanna Øland Fabricius started her performance career as a ballet dancer before shifting gears to establish herself as a solo recording artist. As Oh Land, she made her mark on the States with indelible indie pop hits like “White Lies” and “Son of a Gun,” which helped pave the way for her most recent album, Earth Sick, a moodier affair that’s still floated by Oh Land’s light-as-air vocals. I Am Strikes open. — Jill Menze

See also: Our interview with Oh Land

Showgirl Showdown
Le Poisson Rouge
8 p.m., $15–$25
A seductive and flashy display, this one-night burlesque cabaret is coming to Le Poisson Rouge. The Pink Chardonnays, Apathy Angel, Essence Revealed, Candy Applebottom, Boots LaMae, Miss Ivie League, Tina Tassels, and Munrow Lilly will be performing, and the evening will be hosted by Sweetie. This means a night filled with tantalizing dances and sexy, creative stories. Throughout the night, expect to see both ensemble and solo performances that unite the striptease with the pirouette, the twerk with the twirl. The show is produced by Burlesque Bikini Productions, and is (obviously) for those eighteen and over. — Eleanor Lambert

Concert picks for Saturday and Sunday

Saturday, 5/09
Pacha NYC
10:30 p.m., $19–$100
It’s always a comfort when a DJ has a certain sound, when 30 seconds into any track you can, more or less, tell exactly who it is. That’s one of the best elements of Arty‘s music, simply because it is consistently uplifting, suspended in a kind of melodic, thumping serenity. Arty has released music on some of EDM’s most respected labels (including Armada and Anjuna Beats), and his enchanting sound is already globally adored. With another album on its way, Arty has just released his second single, the Ray Dalton–featuring “Stronger,” and is now bringing his tour to NYC. Everyone nineteen and older is encouraged, not just by the event itself, but by the very nature of this exceptionally inspired sound, to come see Arty perform this Saturday with support from Gazzo. — Eleanor Lambert

Rough Trade NYC
2 p.m., FREE
Close your eyes and hit play on Superheaven‘s recent Ours Is Chrome and, if you let yourself fall for it, you just might transport back to 1997, when alternative rock was king. Pennsylvania’s Superheaven recall acts from the TRL past like the Flys, Tripping Daisy, and maybe even a little Puddle of Mudd (sans the eye-rolling) but do so without seeming as if they’re some nostalgia-seeking, carbon-copied gimmick. Could Superheaven have worked eighteen years ago? Definitely. But what makes them worthy is that they’re here today. — Silas Valentino

Chris Brokaw
8:30 p.m., $8
Protean composers galore invade Trans-Pecos tonight in the latest installment of Chaos Bodies, the musically adventurous concert series presented by Charlie Looker and Andrew Hock, also the brains behind local metal outliers Psalm Zero. Solo sets are on the docket as a small army of guitarists, headlined by forward-thinking heavyweight Chris Brokaw, will shred to otherworldly heights. After his days as six-stringer in Nineties indie-rock-defining, blues-oozing postpunks Come and as drummer in slow-rock godfathers Codeine, Brokaw has since reinvented himself as a genre-defying guitar wizard, as evidenced by The Periscope Twins, his newish double LP (comprising twin 45-minute compositions). Setting the stage for Brokaw are a pair of pliable locals: Toby Driver of metal-damaged goths Kayo Dot and show co-curator Hock, whose solo debut, the recently released Crystalline Privative Opulence, is an ecstatic yet nightmarish journey of finger-picking intricacies. — Brad Cohan

Pissed Jeans
Baby’s All Right
Saturday, 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m., $15
Get a double dose of aggression out with not one but two Pissed Jeans shows at Baby’s All Right on May 9. The Pennsylvania punk rockers are notorious for their raucous and very (very) loud live spectacles, throwbacks to the DIY punk movement of yore. (Sideline hipsters, these shows aren’t for you.) The early show with VEXX and Big Ups is sold out, but tickets are available on the secondary market. Spots at the late sets of Pissed Jeans, VEXX, and Honeysuck are still for sale. — Jill Menze

7:30 p.m., $8
Packing a fuzzed-out indie-pop punch are Brooklyn’s Shark?, once again bringing summer jams perfect for cracking open a cold one as the boombox blasts and the waves crash. In the last couple of years, these Pixies/GbV torchbearers and DIY obsessives have blessed noise-pop cravers with beer-soaked ear candy like “California Grrls” (from ’13’s excellent Savior) and last year’s shoulda-been smash hit “Big Summer,” found on the fittingly titled Summer Ale EP. Now Shark? — led by bearded and burly pophead Kevin Diamond — have returned just in time for the imminent NYC heatwave with another addictive batch of surf-rock fist-pumpers. Becky and Debbie is full of grungy anthems, and the tasty “Hate Crime Girl” is yet another hooky gem just as good as the rest Shark? keep effortlessly churning out. — Brad Cohan