The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Week, 7/27/15


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

Monday, 07/27
Mas Ysa
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m., $13–$15
Many of the changes in the songwriting of Thomas Arsenault (who performs as Mas Ysa) over the past year or so came as a result of taking his insular process and forcing it to become more external, a thing of the world. Listen to his debut, Worth’s, largely ambient or amorphous tracks, punctuated by the cathartic gems “Why” and “Shame,” compared to his recent Seraph’s relatively straightforward run. “I had a lot of firsts between the two records,” he explains. “My first touring, my first festival, my first time mixing with someone else.” Still, the marks of success — larger and larger crowds coming to his shows, the steady rise of buzz surrounding Seraph’s release — haven’t left him with an inflated sense of self, even regarding his reputation-making live shows and their harrowing, visceral intimacy. — Corey Beasley

Tuesday, 07/28
Jazz in July
92nd Street Y
8 p.m., $52+
Whenever you come across the 92Y’s Jazz in July series touted in print, you’re likely to see the word “exquisite” attached. Artistic director Bill Charlap sculpts his programs and performer lists to stress the kind of grace that he himself brings to the stage when leading his piano trio. As usual, this year he peppers the repertory-slanted schedule with vocalists: Ernie Andrews gives Duke a smooch, Ann Hampton Callaway glides through Sondheim, and the mighty Kurt Elling embraces Frank Sinatra. Each will be bolstered by some of the city’s sagest improvisers. Vets Dick Hyman, Houston Person, and Bucky Pizzarelli are part of an ever-changing cast that includes skilled boomers Matt Wilson, Ken Peplowski, and Marcus Roberts. Mainstream jazz is full of finesse, and as the week-long fest puts its personal spin on history and unpacks the kind of splendor that tickles the button-down crowd, a distinct p.o.v. will emerge. You bet it’s exquisite. — Jim Macnie

Django Django
Webster Hall
7 p.m., $25
Equal parts art rock and psychedelic electronica form London’s Django Django, who can rub African rhythms and synthpop together with ease and confidence. Following the worldwide success of their 2012 self-titled debut comes their sophomore effort, Born Under Saturn, released in May. Django Django succeed in their ability to take experimental tendencies and present them in a catchy manner that’s both charming and excitedly odd. Drummer David Maclean is the younger brother of John Maclean — of the beloved Nineties experimental Britpop heroes the Beta Band — and the ability to make expansive pop appears to be a family thing. — Silas Valentino

The Appleseed Cast
The Studio at Webster Hall
7 p.m., $13
Fifteen years ago the Kansas emo rockers the Appleseed Cast released their sophomore record, Mare Vitalis, to dim reception. Though emo would see its rise in popularity a few years later through groups like Taking Back Sunday and My Chemical Romance, the bands that formed the genre’s bedrock were bleeding feelings into their microphones in front of a dismal audience. Now that Mare Vitalis is old enough to receive its learner’s permit, the band has decided to dust it off and take it back on the road. Maybe audiences are ready to catch up to its dark complexion and noticeably rich percussion. Feeling sad doesn’t always sound this good. — Silas Valentino

Wednesday, 07/29
Toad the Wet Sprocket
Irving Plaza
8 p.m., $32
Toad the Wet Sprocket‘s Glen Phillips may never escape the shadow of 1991’s “Walk on the Ocean” and “All I Want,” but that doesn’t mean this talented songsmith won’t give it a shot. After spending the majority of the Aughts on solo projects (including the formation of the Mutual Admiration Society alongside bluegrass innovators Nickel Creek), Phillips reunited with the original Toad lineup, and 2013 saw the release of their first album, New Constellation, in over sixteen years. TtWS are still going strong with their guitar-based pop rock — it sounds like they’re going to party as though 1999 never arrived. — Silas Valentino

8 p.m., $15
It takes gall to name your debut album Greatest Hits, but audacity is all part of British rapper and grime artist Skepta’s game. “I was in Paris, shut down l’Arc/New York, shut down Central Park,” he boasts in his recent single “Shutdown,” gathering up landmarks like a monarch rolling doubles in a game of Risk. Alongside Dizzee Rascal and Ghetts, Skepta rides at the forefront of grime, mixing a lo-fi, trap production with deep drum’n’bass. (Think Odd Future but with even more abrasive thrashing.) Sweat and moshing elicit excitement, and they’ll definitely do so during a night with Skepta. — Silas Valentino

Baby’s All Right
6 p.m., $12
There’s something to be said for a duo that can captivate an entire room with one guitar and one bass, and Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad have made a name for themselves as Girlpool doing just that. With bracing harmonies and unapologetic lyrics lambasting the world’s injustices (particularly those related to gender) delivered in raw and refreshing ways, Girlpool have easily cemented a reputation as an arresting live act. In support of their stellar debut record, Before the World Was Big, Girlpool return to New York to pack Baby’s All Right. — Lindsey Rhoades

Thursday, 07/30
Primus + Dinosaur Jr. + Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger
Pier 97
6 p.m., $45
Primus is the holy matrimony between metal and funk. What other band could blend two totally different genres in such a welcoming way? Since the late Eighties this triumphant trio have spun high-energy tales about a cat named Tommy and a fisherman named John, with each distorted bass-slap demanding even more headbanging. Throw indie rock inventors Dinosaur Jr and Sean Lennon’s Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger into the mix and you have an evening by the river that’ll definitely rock the boat. — Silas Valentino

Shea Stadium
8 p.m., $10
It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from the garage shoegazing trio Weekend, and this upcoming appearance at Shea Stadium — the first of a few dates this summer split between their home in Brooklyn and their roots in San Francisco — sounds promising. Weekend’s 2010 debut, Sports, summoned the ghost of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis in a way that was both mimicking and flattering, while their 2013 effort Jinx had them leaving the garage for a more fine-tuned production with sunnier guitars and lusher melodies. If they took that kind of leap over their three-year break, who knows where they might end up next. — Silas Valentino

Madison Square Garden
8 p.m., $35–$280
It’s oh so fitting that the world’s biggest band would play an eight-night residency at the world’s Most Famous Arena. Together they’re like peas in a pod, where the pod is regarded as one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most prestigious stages and the peas come seasoned with countless worldwide hits. U2 are currently surfing the success of their 2014 record, Songs of Innocence, which caused a tsunami of controversy due to its unconventional release (appearing unsolicited in every iTunes user’s cloud). But U2 are all about going big — otherwise they might still be home in Dublin. — Silas Valentino