The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 6/19/2015


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

Friday, 6/19
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
The Warsaw
8 p.m., $20
Enough has been said about what went into the creation of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s most recent, third record Multi-Love. Sure, bandleader Ruban Nielson was partially inspired by the polyamorous relationship he experienced with his wife and a fan, but that’s just headline fodder and it takes away from the awe-inducing brilliance of Multi-Love. UMO were once lo-fi darlings but now they’re giving Tame Impala a run for their sound quality money. The best parts of James Brown funk and Stevie Wonder soul are represented, but the blending and mixing is all Nielson. He recorded this album during late night stints of insomnia in his Portland, OR basement, and by the sound of it he’s created a psychedelic soul of a monster. Though tickets have sold out, this show is worth scavenging the secondary markets. – Silas Valentino

Third Eye Blind + Dashboard Confessionals
JBL Live at Pier 97
6 p.m., $49.50
What makes an album stand the test of time? If it’s insanely popular in the late Nineties the question is, can it stay afloat today? Third Eye Blind‘s 1997 self-titled debut is as strong as it was when “Semi-Charmed Life” ruled the radio two decades ago and the reason why is because it’s jam-packed with timeless alternative rock tunes. This week the band released their fifth album, Dopamine, which means that a smooth mix of yesterday’s favorites and today’s updates will be present at the show. Throw in Dashboard Confessionals and you have a near-perfect night of catchy pop songs riddled with angst. – Silas Valentino

Saturday, 6/20
Falu’s Bollywood Orchestra
Highline Ballroom
7 p.m., $20 – $40
If you’ve want to hear Bollywood music live but can’t hack those all-star arena events, consider Falu’s Bollywood Orchestra a relatively intimate introduction. Falu (born Falguni Shah) mixes Hindustani classical music, Punjabi bhangra, jazz and pop into some of the more pleasurable pastiche around. Trombonist Chris Washburn and his SYOTOS (See You on the Other Side) Band is a long-running institution that blends Afro-Cuban, salsa, funk, jazz, and even some outside improvisation into a distinctly deep New York dish that makes for a perfect opener to the evening. – Richard Gehr

Jaga Jazzist
Webster Hall
8 p.m., $25
Oslo omnivores Jaga Jazzist followed band co-founder Lars Horntvet to Los Angeles to record Starfire, their seventh album of experimental jazz-rock since 1994. The progressive Seventies sounds of Todd Rundgren, Pink Floyd’s space rock, Weather Report’s organic synthetics, ECM bliss-outs, and symphonic Afro-rock permeate the nine-piece band’s constantly zig-zagging, ecstatic suites. It’s dense stuff for people who like smart sounds. Taylor McFerrin (Bobby’s son) opens; he released his bubbling freak-soul debut Early Riser on Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label last year. 18+. – Richard Gehr

Billy Joel
Madison Square Garden
8 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 bring that concept home to New York. After playing a 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, will be rocking his monthly residency at the Garden from now until we’re sick of him. Judging by the residency’s constant sold-out status, 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

Sunday, 6/21

Blue Note Jazz Festival
Blue Note
Daily, 8 p.m., $20 – $55
Some jazz fests bet the farm on stylistic focus; some let a wide breadth carry the day. File this year’s Blue Note Jazz Festival in the latter category and get ready for action. If you participate fully, you’ll be bouncing around town (and genres). How else to describe a month-long confab that includes Bebel Gilberto and Kathleen Battle as well as Oliver Lake and the Rippingtons? Mainstream swing, old-school blues, swamp rock, classical refractions, and the city’s first all-women mariachi outfit – the BNJF curators aren’t sweating the orthodoxy, and that alone is rather refreshing. Icons are invited, of course; saxophonist Lee Konitz, drummer Roy Haynes, and pianist Abdullah Ibrahim still have the power to amaze. – Jim Macnie

Bang on a Can Marathon
Winter Garden Theatre
12 p.m., FREE
Summer in the city means a cornucopia of free music, and nothing beats this epic annual shindig. The 18-set day kicks off with the Crossfire Steel Orchestra playing Lord Nelson and concludes ten hours later with the Glenn Branca Ensemble’s megalithic Ascension Three. In-between you can hear the Bang on a Can All-Stars play selections from their terrific new Field Recordings, the Asphalt Orchestra play the music of Bulgarian wedding-band star Ivo Papasov, percussionist Cyro Baptista’s Forró for All, and a new piece by drummer Bobby Previte featuring guitarist Nels Cline, So Percussion and Bryant Park’s Sousapalooza! All ages. – Richard Gehr

D’Angelo and the Vanguard
Forest Hills Stadium
6 p.m., $42.50 – $122.50
After (finally) releasing the R&B equivalent of Chinese Democracy late last year – only, you know, risky, enigmatic, and rather brilliant – soul survivor D’Angelo proceeded to walk the talk with a series of equally pleasurable, loose, and funky live performances. Expect music as sweaty, reflective, and assured as you hope it’d be. Blues-guitar prodigy Gary Clark Jr. was built for the stage as demonstrated by last year’s live double album, a neotraditionalist take on precedents set by the likes of Lowell Fulson and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Meg Mac opens for the guitar gods. – Richard Gehr

Make Music NY
Grand Army Plaza Memorial Arch
10 a.m., FREE
Make Music NY, the biannual, free-floating festival, promises a thousand performances in hundreds of locations over twelve hours across the five boroughs. Best bets include Concerto for Buildings for orchestra and 24 percussionists in Soho, an all-accordion version of Terry Riley’s In C in Brooklyn’s Carroll Park, Honk 210Hz’s compositions for Highline traffic patterns, Loop 2.4.3’s army of gongs in Grand Army Plaza, hundreds of tablas on Central Park’s Dairy Lawn, ten straight hours of punk rock just off Staten Island, and a throng of Theremins on Roosevelt Island. All ages. All over town. – Richard Gehr

River to River Festival
Governors Island
12 p.m., FREE
Yanira Castro’s a canary torsi revamps Court/Garden, a triumph last fall at the Danspace Project, for the financial district’s historic Federal Hall. A three-act spectacle of dance and live music performance inspired by the imperial ballets of Louis XIV’s French court, it kicks off the dance offerings at this year’s River to River Festival, which also include ten more choreographers ranging from African master Souleymane Badolo to American classic Twyla Tharp (the others are Rachel Tess, Eiko Otake, Trisha Brown, Michelle Boulé, Wally Cardona, Jennifer Lacey, Catherine Galasso, and Emmanuelle Huynh) presenting spectacular dances, new and repurposed, at startling sites all over downtown (Federal Hall, the Fulton Street transit hub, Pier 15, Battery Park City, Peck Slip) and on Governors Island, courtesy of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Various times and locations. – Elizabeth Zimmer


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