Other Lives Thwart Live Expectations at BAM For One Of This Weekend’s Best NYC Concerts


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It’s mid-October, and next week marks the official start of fall for all NYC music fans – the CMJ Music Marathon, in which thousands of emerging acts populate our myriad venues in a glut of industry buzz. But that doesn’t make staying in this weekend an option; in fact, the best antidote to future show fatigue might just be attending one of the two events on our Best Concerts rundown that re-imagine the live music experience altogether. At BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House, Other Lives’ already cinematic indie rock gets a theatrical revamp, with professional lighting and sound design as well as an animated audio-visual narrative created by Broadway vet Terry Kinney. Across town at experimental Queens institution Knockdown Center, filmmaker Derrick Belcham and choreographer Emily Terndrup transform the former door factory into an immersive sound-reactive experience featuring six unique music performances over two weekends. These include Blonde Redhead, Julianna Barwick, Prince Rama, Arcade Fire’s Sarah Neufeld, and more. And though other gigs might seem “normal” by comparison, sets from French-Chilean feminist rapper Ana Tijoux, classic psych-pop act The Zombies, and shoegaze stalwarts Lilys are sure to be show-stoppers as well. 

Friday, 10/9

The Zombies

New York Society for Ethical Culture

7:00 p.m., $55-$275

Rod Argent, the 70-year-old founder and keyboardist of The Zombies, is in a unique position to reflect on New York in the Sixties: His was the second British band after the Beatles to score a number one hit in America, with “She’s Not There,” in 1964. The Zombies’ new album, Still Got That Hunger, dedicates a nostalgic track (“New York”) to The Zombies’ first stateside visit. To celebrate its release on Friday, the band will play the New York Society for Ethical Culture Concert Hall near Lincoln Center. The evening offers more than songs from the latest release, as the four surviving members of The Zombies (Argent, Colin Blunstone, Chris White, and Hugh Grundy) will also perform their now-legendary 1968 album Odessey and Oracle in its entirety. – Linda Leseman

Reconfiguration: An Evening with Other Lives

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House

7:30 p.m.; $25-$40

It isn’t every day that a humble indie band from Oklahoma gets a full theatrical reimagining of their live performance – in fact, Other Lives may be the first. But if Tony-award winning director Terry Kinney has his way, they won’t be the last; he founded Mix Tape Productions with Rebecca Habel to pair the visual and storytelling elements of Broadway with live music performance, handpicking Other Lives as the project’s first muse based on the moody, dynamic swells and loops of the band’s latest record, Rituals, released in May of this year. Over three distinct acts, Kinney’s audio-visual narrative will feature animated illustrations and video projection within BAM’s lavish Howard Gilman Opera House, with a second performance on October 10. – Lindsey Rhoades


Knockdown Center

7:30 p.m., $25

Sleep No More alum Emily Terndrup and filmmaker Derrick Belcham bring indie rockers Blonde Redhead, Julianna Barwick, Prince Rama, Porcelain Raft, and more to Knockdown Center for six unique multimedia performances that combine immersive dance theater and art installation. With a floor-to-ceiling transforming light system and a huge sound-reactive enclosure set up in the 50,000 square foot, century-old former door factory, FABLE explores narratives around delusion and reality through articulately choreographed modern dance. Friday’s opening night performance gets a soundtrack from Arcade Fire violinist Sarah Neufeld; the five remaining shows over this weekend and next host a different act each night. – Lindsey Rhoades

Little Racer

Elvis Guesthouse

7:00 p.m., $5

Where do the surf rockers go when the swells subside and the warmth of the summer sun is replaced by a crisp, autumnal chill? For Little Racer, NYC’s self-proclaimed surf rockers who can’t surf, the wind-whipped streets of the concrete jungle spell home, and the bygone days of summer are celebrated only through music — which they bring to Elvis Guesthouse on October 9. Little Racer’s beachy sound stems from jangly guitars and booming, echo-y vocals, drawing comparisons to contemporary acts like Surfer Blood and the Drums, but their inspirations are steeped in nostalgia (their moniker is a Beach Boys reference). The irony is that they’re opening for a band cheekily called Surf Rock is Dead, but with Little Racer hard at work on a debut LP to follow up this summer’s Foreign Tongues EP, they’re sure to prove that notion wrong. – Shea Garner


Baby’s All Right

11:59 p.m., $15

Encore performance 10/11, 8:00 p.m.

Through rotating line-ups and shifting sonic paradigms, Kurt Heasley’s epic dream-pop project Lilys has remained severely underrated. The band’s most widely regarded album, Eccsame the Photon Band, was released over twenty years ago and while Lilys’ two shows this weekend at Baby’s All Right aren’t necessarily scheduled to follow the tradition of a reunion tour – Heasley will be backed by a host of current-day indie rockers, including members of MGMT, Sea & Cake, Ducktails, and others – the newly minted ensemble will revisit “never before or rarely performed early material” from its first five years. Friday’s midnight performance sold out quickly enough to add an encore for Sunday evening, which starts at 8 p.m. This period in Lilys’ output was heavily indebted to My Bloody Valentine and skews noisily toward shoegaze, so don’t forget the earplugs.  – Lindsey Rhoades

The Growlers

Irving Plaza

7 p.m., $20

Upon releasing last year’s Chinese Fountain, their most polished, hard-hitting album yet, The Growlers — merchants of psychedelic, surf-tinged rock — have been moving full steam ahead. After selling out a five-night run at Baby’s All Right back in March, they organized and curated the fourth annual “Beach Goth” Festival, set for the end of the month in Orange County, featuring Grimes, Julian Casablancas, Fidlar, Diiv, and more. But those that can’t make it to the West Coast aren’t at a total loss, because Growlers ride the tide back to NYC for a show at Irving Plaza with Australian psych-rockers The Babe Rainbow in tow. – Dan Hyman

Satuday, 10/10

Yo La Tengo

Kings Theatre

8:00 p.m., $20-$70

For Yo La Tengo — staunchly independent rock stalwarts, human-jukebox monolith, proud wavers of the Hoboken flag for three decades, and one of the last of the elder statesmen left standing in the wake of Sonic Youth’s dissolution — 2015 has been a year of both sea change and reminiscence. Their newest record, Stuff Like That There, is an eclectic set of cover songs, reworked tunes from their sprawling catalog, and a couple of fresh originals, re-creating the harmony-driven beauty, ghostly textures, and back-porch-jam vibes of their breakthrough record Fakebook. Their show at Flatbush’s majestic Kings Theatre on October 10 promises to be a bash worthy of those much-missed Hanukkah shows; they’ll tap into a healthy swath of songs from their pioneering 31-year arc, offering covers galore and re-imagined originals in an all-acoustic format, with guitarist Dave Schramm rejoining Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew, who learned to play upright bass for the occasion. – Brad Cohan


Baby’s All Right

8 p.m., $10-$12

When Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon began turning up as a special guest in White Fence sets, her blistering guitar riffs were almost shocking; they fit surprisingly well in the band’s garage rock repertoire, but signified a departure from the measured baroque pop on her own releases (like 2012’s Cyrk and 2013’s Mug Museum). Though these appearances seemed like one-offs at the time, Le Bon’s blossoming relationship with Fence frontman Tim Presley led to their collaborative effort as DRINKS, and the duo released Hermits on Holiday earlier this year, their sensibilities sharing equal space. For the most part, the LP features quirky pysch-folk forays into their reclusive mindsets, with jagged no-wave numbers cropping up here and there. They’ll be back next week for a round of CMJ appearances as well, and with two visionary artists at the helm of one somewhat bizarre project, it’s hard to tell exactly what they’ll pull out of their sleeves. – Lindsey Rhoades

The Aquabats!

Gramercy Theater

6: p.m., $24

Last year marked two decades of fighting “Fashion Zombies,” pool partying, and pizza eating for Orange County’s resident skankin’ superheroes The Aquabats!, and though they haven’t released an album of new tracks since 2011’s High Five Soup! they’ve kept pretty busy, touring to celebrate twenty years of cult icon status with their legendary live show. Part theater (in which battles are staged against ridiculous foes) and part social experiment (audience participation is expected during spontaneous venue-wide volleyball competitions), The Aquabats! borrowed elements of their zany gigs for their Emmy-winning variety show for cable network The Hub, sadly cancelled after two short seasons. But! There’s no need to mourn The Aquabats! Super Show!; the band brings their goofy stunts back to Gramercy Theater on October 10. These days they’re exploring more synth-oriented new wave sounds, but the jokes will remain the same ‘til the world runs out of exclamation points. – Lindsey Rhoades

Sunday, 10/11

Ana Tijoux

Webster Hall

7:00 p.m., $20

When French-Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux released a revolutionary video for “Antipatriarca” in May, it was a feminist call-to-arms. Declaring herself in its chorus as a “mujer fuerte,” or strong woman, she not-so-subtly states that ladies, too, can be the protagonists in stories of rebellion, just as they can be care-givers and confidants. It shouldn’t be an earth-shattering statement, but it’s certainly one that deserves to be heard round the world. Tijoux’s huge Latin American fanbase first became familiar with her work via a stint in hip-hop group Makiza in the late Nineties, while her intro to American audiences came with a Breaking Bad montage featuring “1977.” On each of her solo records, including 2014’s Grammy-nominated Vengo, she blends political commentary with sensual, soul-searching verses while sonically incorporating elements of her Andean heritage (like pan flute) into a jazzy flow. Her show at Webster Hall isn’t just an excuse to brush up on the Spanish language she so expertly spits – it’s also a great opportunity to see why the New York Times referred to her as South America’s answer to Lauryn Hill. – Lindsey Rhoades

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 9, 2015

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