Dan Auerbach’s New Psych-Rock Outfit Makes This Weekend’s Best NYC Concerts Pop


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

At this point, we have to wonder if Dan Auerbach finds the time to even sleep. From producing records for Dr. John, Lana Del Rey, and Bombino to his successful 2009 solo venture — oh yeah, and fronting one of rock ‘n’ roll’s biggest bands, the Black Keys — Auerbach’s relentless work ethic is as straightforward as his riffs. He doesn’t skip a beat with his latest project, the Arcs, who delve deeper into psychedelic tones rather than riffing on the blues. This weekend is also home to the final concert from the local pop rock outfit Darlings and an opera in Queens inspired by Hurricane Sandy.

Friday, 9/25
Built to Spill
Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m., $30
If music scribe Michael Azerrad were to pen a sequel to Our Band Could Be Your Life with a focus on pioneering acts from rock’s Nineties underground, Built to Spill would undoubtedly warrant a chapter. As legendary a guitar godhead as Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis and Stephen Malkmus of Pavement, BTS frontman Doug Martsch has cemented himself as an indie rock fixture and hero of the six-string over the course of his band’s eight-album, twenty-three-year stretch — all without a clunker in the bunch. Martsch and Co.’s latest, Untethered Moon, is classic BTS: face-melting guitar solo jammage in the vein of Neil Young and playfully simplistic and ridiculously catchy melodies à la Beat Happening, crowned by His Royal Beardness’s heavenly whine-sing. While BTS will dip into their endless catalog of pop-centric anthems like “In the Morning,” expect covers galore, as Martsch is known to tear into cuts by Dylan, the Dead, New Order, Blue Öyster Cult, and Metallica. Whoa. — Brad Cohan

Jack + Eliza
Knitting Factory
7 p.m., $10–$12
Childhood friends who strip things down to a pair of electric guitars, Jack + Eliza are New York millennials who play Sixties-inspired, harmony-rich psych-pop. Their electric folk is endearing, the minimal instrumentation allowing for the songwriting to flourish. (Eliza Callahan received the 2011 John Lennon Songwriting Contest award when she was fifteen.) On August 7, Jack + Eliza released their debut album, Gentle Warnings, highlighted by the tender “Quarter Past the Hour” and “Hold the Line.” They don’t look to be older than a pair of NYU undergrads, so expect plenty more from this delightful duo. — Silas Valentino

The Internet
Highline Ballroom
6 p.m., $25–$28
Of all the various offshoots of the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All behemoth, it’s the Internet that get the acid-jazz toes a-tappin’. Spearheaded by OFWGKTA’s resident DJ, Syd tha Kyd, and Georgian producer Matt Martians, the Internet have released three steamy batches of soulful electronica, late June’s Ego Trip being their most recent achievement. Spacey single “Girl,” featuring Haitian-Canadian electronic producer Kaytranada, swirls in clouds of lounge smoke, all spare instrumentation and Syd’s whisper-soft vocals. For being part of OFWGKTA, a crew known for its brash aggression, the Internet offer a refreshing addition to the collective’s amusing repertoire. — Silas Valentino

Saturday, 9/26
The Arcs
Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m., $45
If you’ve ever wondered what the Black Keys would sound like if those Dan Auerbach blues got doused in spooky soul, well, it would be pretty damn close to new ensemble the Arcs, who are flying high after the September 4 release of their debut LP, Yours, Dreamily. Auerbach fronts the five-piece, but it’s the rhythm section that delivers the psych-rock side project’s most surprising and vibrant elements. Leon Michels, Homer Steinweiss, and Nick Movshon — all players affiliated with the soul bands of the Daptone Records family — lend a steady groove to the proceedings, while multi-instrumentalist/frequent Keys collaborator Richard Swift of the Shins provides an anchor with his indie-pop technique. The trippy “Put a Flower in Your Pocket” and ballad “Stay in My Corner” soar in particular, and propel this side band firmly onto center stage. — Silas Valentino

Shea Stadium
8 p.m., $8
Brooklyn-based pop rock outfit Darlings are no more. This Shea Stadium gig will be their final show and serve as an end to the band, which began releasing lo-fi tunes in 2009 on their debut LP, Yeah I Know. In those six years, Darlings recorded three full-lengths; the January-released Feel Better goes down as their final moment. It’s a satisfying swan song that hits a peak during single “Mein the Sky,” which features surf-rock riffs over lead singer Peter Rynsky’s deadpan vocals. New York–based acts Flower Girl, Lightning Bug, and CVS at Night open and will help send Darlings gently into the night. — Silas Valentino


Sunday, 9/27
Mac Miller
Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m., $30
Mac Miller refuses to remain confined to the style of hip-hop that sparked his rise. Ditching frat-house rap for a more ambitious goal, the Pittsburgh MC swings for the fences on his new studio album, GO:OD AM, enlisting Ab-Soul, Lil B, Miguel, Chief Keef, and Swedish electro-poppers Little Dragon for assistance. Track “Brand Name” condemns the 9-to-5 lifestyle before fading out into saxophonic tranquility. (Miller was spotted at the recent Kamasi Washington gigs, and the jazz predilection might just signal some growth in the “Donald Trump”–famed rapper.) Mac Miller is trying hard, and you can hear it in these results. — Silas Valentino

8 p.m., $8
Boston-based Vundabar play their jangly guitar pop with mounds of sludge layered on top, giving the lo-fi rock an edgier appeal as they steer their melodic, hook-filled tunes. The guitar lines aren’t restricted to simple strumming (so often heard in similar indie bands), but they tend to opt for jagged riffing to fill their polyrhythms. This past July, Vundabar released their satisfying sophomore album, Gawk, featuring dynamite moments “Cotton Boy” and “Smile Boyo.” Rounding out the bill are Vagabon’, the Hemlines, and Bethlehem Steel. — Silas Valentino

Arto Lindsay
1 p.m., $12
Since the late Seventies, Arto Lindsay has been exploring new methods to make experimental art rock sound both accessible and smooth. A sometime New Yorker who’s performed in various bands, including the no-wave champions DNA and underground favorites Ambitious Lovers, Lindsay led a successful solo career recently honored in the 2014 retrospective Encyclopedia of Arto. The collection highlights his songwriting blend of Brazilian bossa nova guitar structures with dashes of irregular electronic rhythm. Lindsay’s warm vocals have cuts “Ridiculously Deep” and “Simply Are” evoking a pleasant autumn rain in the city streets when the tea is perfectly lukewarm. Zs, Miho Hatori, Mayo Yamaguchi, and Tygapaw join Lindsay for a serene Sunday afternoon in Ridgewood. — Silas Valentino

Ann Hampton Callaway
6 p.m., $30
The one-off evening has been tagged “This Is Cabaret.” Apparently, the extremely good cabaret and jazz thrush thinks the genre needs some explanation. She may be right, considering the current marginalized status of the great intimate-room entertainment category. Ann Hampton Callaway will sing items of the wide sort that can be heard on an average cabaret night. The extra-special guests tonight are Christine Ebersole and Curtis Stigers. — David Finkle

This Takes Place Close By
Knockdown Center
8 p.m., $15–$30
One of the city’s more tuned-in avant-garde musical ensembles, ThingNY premieres its experimental opera This Takes Place Close By close to the third anniversary of its chief real-life inspiration, Hurricane Sandy. Since forming in 2006, the six singing instrumentalists (who cite Robert Ashley and John Zorn as strong influences) have zapped themselves with information overload and taken to the streets of the Lower East Side during a blizzard to perform every response to a spammed email request for new work, no matter how outlandish. Taking advantage of an industrial-strength, 50,000-square-foot performance space, ThingNY’s latest work will find audiences wandering through a live sonic landscape to explore six characters’ reactions to the $75 billion catastrophe. — Richard Gehr

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 25, 2015

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