Heems Heads Up This Weekend’s Best Concerts in NYC


Local rapper Heems came up as a member of hip-hop trio Das Racist but has ventured solo via the LP Eat Pray Thug, recorded while in India after Das Racist disbanded in 2012. “Imagine if a group like Das Racist was around for five, even ten years? That shit would be corny as fuck. We were a punk-rap group that exploded and imploded,” he said in his March Village Voice cover story. Expect to hear more about what influenced the album and what Heems plans to do next during his Livestream Public interview. Other hit shows for the weekend include a traveling EDM dance party and surf rock perfection out of the Pacific Northwest thanks to La Luz.

Friday, 8/28

Livestream Public
8:30 p.m., FREE

The most revealing track on Eat Pray Thug, the solo debut from Queens’ own MC Heems, is its most ostensibly celebratory and airheaded: “Sometimes,” the leadoff track and single. Over a cavernous beat from Gordon Voidwell, Heems sounds off on his paradoxes. “Sometimes I got game/Sometimes I’m mad shy,” he raps. “Being sad in the club / Weird when you’re this fly.” Even the most straightforward dullard can seem to host more than one persona. But Heems, like many second-generation Americans, negotiates worlds by the score. Heems will perform as well as partake in an interview at this Livestream Public’s Late Night Basement event. — Jay Ruttenberg

Brooklyn Raga Massive: In C
Rubin Museum of Art
7 p.m., $25

For the past couple of years, few musical hangs have been as dependably rewarding as the Brooklyn Raga Massive‘s regular Wednesday-night concerts and jam sessions at Bluebird on Flatbush, which feature the cream of the local Indian classical community. Tonight, however, the Massive will take Manhattan with a performance of Terry Riley’s seminal 1964 minimalist triumph In C played solely on (nearly two dozen) Indian instruments. Himself heavily influenced by Indian classical sounds, Riley caught the Massive’s first performance of the work on YouTube; he expressed his approval, and asked BRM to expand the work’s cellular structure this time around to include soloing aroused by its patterns. As with Indian ragas, no two performances of In C will ever sound alike. It’s music of the moment, and all the more magical for it. — Richard Gehr

City Hearts Brooklyn
Good Room
9 p.m., $15 – $30

The roaming EDM mini-festival City Hearts returns to the Good Room on its mission to provide “Infinite Love and Nonstop Beats.” The all-night dance party with a keen focus on house music has spent its summer dotting across the country, hitting Denver, San Francisco, and Toronto along the way. Headlined by a San Diego-centric crew featuring Mikey Lion and Lee Reynolds — with support from Marbs, Porkchop, and Deep Jesus — City Hearts aims to provide its fans an evening of open expression at a rate of 120 beats per minute. — Silas Valentino

Le Poisson Rouge
7 p.m., $13

New York by the way of New Zealand comes the dreamy noise pop powerhouse Tamaryn. This upcoming Le Poisson Rouge appearance serves as the release party for her highly anticipated third record Cranekiss, from the Brooklyn label Mexican Summer. Early singles such as “Hands All Over Me” came neatly packaged with a drilling synth hook and driving bass line — like an amusing montage scene from a popular flick circa ‘86. Her co-writer on the track is Shaun Durkan of the local glossy noise rockers Weekend and the duo’s collaboration is replete with tight coordination. — Silas Valentino

8 p.m., $10

The self-titled album by Solvey opens with a track by the same name, an immediate introduction into the fuzzy, sprawling pop this New York-based singer/songwriter carefully crafts. Off-stage she’s Jessica Zambri, of the currently inactive experimental project Zambri she fronted alongside her sister Cristi Jo, but on her own Solvey is a barrage of Nineties alternative guitar and crushing choruses with multi-layered vocals. She’ll be celebrating the release of her self-titled debut at Alphaville (out August 21 via Killer Wail Records) with Vomitface and Mazed sharing the bill. — Silas Valentino

Saturday, 8/29

La Luz
Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m., $15

Viva la surf rock. Since their 2012 debut, La Luz have been on a steady streak due in part to the focus of chief songwriter and guitarist Shana Cleveland, the doo-wop integrator who keeps finding ways to freshen up a style of music that’s matured well into the AARP subscription years. August 7 saw the release of their second LP Weirdo Shrine — garage rock titan Ty Segall assisted on its production and engineering — and its merry, often psychedelic vibrations suggests La Luz can remain on track even when tumbling down the rabbit hole. — Silas Valentino

7 p.m., FREE

Presented by Pitchfork and announced only a few days before the show’s date is this upcoming appearance by Protomartyr, the brooding Detroit foursome with a penchant for punkish art rock. Their deadpan vocals recall the blasé cool of Parquet Courts, and the fresh single “Dope Cloud” (released on August 25) has Protomartyr’s upcoming sophomore LP The Agent Intellect sounding even more promising. It’s a first-come, first-served show with indie pop act Deradoorian serving as opener but the unannounced headliner clocking in at 10 p.m. suggests just enough mystery to warrant an investigation. — Silas Valentino

Sunday, 8/30

The Gradients
8 p.m., $7

Brooklyn garage rock foursome The Gradients repurpose their new wave influence into an edgier outing that’s crunchy and biting, yet done without forfeiting a sporadic synthesized hook during a chorus peak — as heard in the track “Enemies” from their 2014 self-titled debut. They top the bill at this Sunday’s Summer’s End Music Festival at Palisades and are set to receive support from the local buzzing psych-rock outfit Fern Mayo, whose upcoming debut EP Happy Forever (out October 2) couldn’t arrive sooner so to hear more of Katie Capri’s passionate vocal screeches. — Silas Valentino

Flowers of Evil
Cake Shop
8:30 p.m., $8

Comprised of members from Crocodiles and Young Boys, Flowers of Evil play relentless punk with seething lyrics, best heard in the song “Until You Feel the Cut” ripped from their August 14-released debut LP. Sharing their name with the 1857 French poetry volume Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire, Flowers of Evil sound equally provocative and deranged — like they won’t stop until every beer bottle is shattered or the venue floor has at least some trace of blood. Joining them on the evening’s bill are OCDPP and recent 4 Knots billers Surfbort. — Silas Valentino

Mas Ysa
50 Kent
3 p.m., FREE

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

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