Baby Shakes Lead This Weekend’s Top Ten New York City Concerts


Hard to believe it’s been six years since Brooklyn power-pop group Baby Shakes released their debut. But this weekend at Union Pool in Williamsburg, the group’s going to celebrate the release of that long-awaited follow-up, Starry Eyes. For more on what’s sure to be a sweaty show, and where you can find an impressive tribute to the riffs of Black Sabbath, dance music with ambient sounds, and a band that’s legitimately big in Japan, keep reading this top ten rundown of the best concerts this weekend in NYC.

Friday, 8/14

Pop. 1280
Friday, 8:30 p.m., $10

Brooklyn industrial-punk quartet Pop. 1280 are on the move. Over the past few months they’ve released video tidbits from inside the studio, and this upcoming gig at Aviv is their first show since March, indicating that new material will most likely appear on the setlist. Their 2013 sophomore effort, Imps of Perversion, released on Sacred Bones Records, was a continuation of their brooding style with menacing percussion and nightmarish lyrics courtesy of frontman Chris Bug (whose birthday is the day of this show). Opening bands are Bambara, Vowws, and Lubrication. — Silas Valentino

Baby’s All Right
Friday, 8 p.m., $10-$12

There’s enough buzz and need-to-hear Bandcamp profiles coming out of Chicago at the moment to suggest a scene is brewing. Twin Peaks lead the charge, with indie acts like the Lemons and the Boxers on their trail, but quickly gaining momentum and breaking out on their own are the lo-fi garage-rock four-piece Ne-Hi. Snatching elements of surf-rock harmonization and playing without fear of adding another enjoyable, jangling guitar riff, Ne-Hi is an emerging act worth investigating. — Silas Valentino

Baby Shakes
Union Pool
Friday, 8 p.m., $10

Resurrecting glossy power-pop and glam while charging forward is local group Baby Shakes. Six years have passed since their 2009 debut, The First One, and this upcoming appearance at Union Pool will serve as the release party for their follow-up LP, Starry Eyes. The album is a high-energy bash where classic Motown-recalling vocals collide with crunchy, Ramones-inspired guitar riffs. Opening are Brooklyn-based Bananamou, who specialize in a style of lo-fi pop suitable for a cassette player. — Silas Valentino

Saturday, 8/15

Donavon Frankenreiter
Bowery Ballroom
Saturday, 8 p.m., $25

Second only to his friend Jack Johnson for the title of chillest cucumber down by the seashore is the soft folkie Donavon Frankenreiter, who, ever since his 2004 self-titled solo debut, has been strumming up calm melodies that sway along with the hammock. Frankenreiter approaches music not as an innovator, but as an appreciator. He’s not doing anything new, but that shouldn’t discredit the easygoing, sun-kissed tunes he continually unravels. His upcoming sixth album is titled The Heart and details the family man’s decade-long career, both as a musician and as a professional surfer. Life is good for Frankenreiter, and it sounds like he wants to share it. — Silas Valentino

Cake Shop
Saturday, 8 p.m., $8

Keeps are a psych-pop band out of Nashville with sprawling guitar tones and a bundle of tight hooks that make their six-song EP Rift stronger with each revisiting. Their reverb-heavy guitars suggest an aquatic atmosphere, but it’s completed in a manner that’s both genuine and endearing. Rift saw its release in 2013 and Keeps have lain relatively low since, so let’s hope their current East Coast tour is a method for debuting and flexing new material. — Silas Valentino

American Sharks
Saint Vitus Bar
Saturday, 8 p.m., $10-$12

The legacy of Black Sabbath’s riff-rock shines in the Austin band American Sharks. This is a band that lives to party and thrash, as best heard in cuts “Overdrive” and “Cocaine” off their stellar 2013 self-titled debut LP. Lead singer and bassist Mike Hardin commands the trio with a pristine vocal ability that can sound heavy without sacrificing any quality. Guitarist Will Ellis sometimes dons a mullet, and the band aren’t afraid to remind fans to bring weed to their shows. But as soon as the amps come on, American Sharks sound like they’ve left the monkey business behind. — Silas Valentino

Rough Trade NYC
Saturday, 1:30 p.m., FREE

You could say Galactic actually are big in Japan, as outside the United States, and following Canada, Japan is second on the New Orleans’s funky jam band’s list of most visited countries to play. But Galactic bassist Robert Mercurio wouldn’t put it that way. “I would say we’re small in Japan, but they like us,” he says, humbly, a few days after Galactic return from playing Japan’s annual Fuji Rock Festival. “There is a strong connection with New Orleans music and Japanese people. We were one of those bands with a modern funk aesthetic they liked, and we were lucky to be brought over to Japan in 2000. I think that was our first year. We just clicked with them. Also, being mostly instrumental helped. If they don’t understand the English lyrics, they can connect with the instrumental side of our band.” — Linda Laban

Ricky Eat Acid
Riis Park Beach Bazaar
Saturday, 2 p.m.

The Maryland producer Ricky Eat Acid experiments with dance and ambient music to create angelic sounds, which he (née Sam Ray) describes on his Facebook as “music that sounds like it’s reaching upwards to God and falling short, over and over.” We’re fortunate he keeps missing that heavenly mark, because in return it means more of these beautiful electronic soundscapes can be recorded and released. In June he put out a mixtape through his Bandcamp showing more live-instrumentation efforts, proving that Ricky Eat Acid isn’t confined to the size of his bedroom studio. — Silas Valentino

Sunday, 8/16

John Hiatt
City Winery
Sunday, 8 p.m., $65-$85

Singer-songwriter John Hiatt found success in 1987 with his tender piano ballad “Have a Little Faith in Me,” but that’s been just one of many achievements he’s earned throughout his illustrious, 22-album-spanning career. His most recent addition, 2014’s Terms of My Surrender, received two Grammy nominations for its serene, bluesy rock. Hiatt has produced a steady flow of music for five decades and has done so by embracing adaptation. Early Seventies records dipped into new-wave pop, while the Nineties had him dabbling in country, but the driving force all along has been Hiatt’s sharp songwriting. — Silas Valentino

Col. Bruce Hampton
Brooklyn Bowl
Sunday, 8 p.m., $30

Sort of the jam band scene’s Captain Beefheart, Col. Bruce Hampton led the Hampton Grease Band and recorded one of the secret masterpieces of improv rock (Music to Eat) before forming this quirky jazz-rock-blues fusion outfit with guitarist Jimmy Herring, bassist Oteil Burbridge, and drummer Jeff Sipe in the early Nineties. These three virtuosos eventually went on to more lucrative gigs, but the quartet reunited earlier this year and recently hit the road again. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy a slyly eccentric slice of improv-rock history. — Richard Gehr

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