Here Are The Best Concerts in NYC This Week That Aren’t CMJ Shows


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

There are three letters that will haunt your periphery all week long, and they are C, M and J. Hundreds of bands are in NYC this week for the Music Marathon, and our continuing coverage at the Village Voice will be sure to let you know which ones you should actually stand in line to see. Even if you don’t have a badge, most of the shows are free or cheap, and there’s a handy CMJ app that tells you everything you need to know, so long as the showcase is official. For that reason, our best concerts this week will be ones that aren’t official, or aren’t affiliated with CMJ at all and happen to be going on at the same time.

Monday, 10/12
Kero Kero Bonito
8:00 p.m., $10-$12
As a teaser for their sold-out CMJ show (also at Palisades) the following night, London trio Kero Kero Bonito will grace the Bushwick DIY outpost with their eccentric blend of J-pop and video game soundtrack-esque anthems. Vocalist Sarah Midori Perry raps in both Japanese and English over a collage of dancehall airhorn and cartoony beats provided by producers Gus Lobban (who also performs with PC Music under the moniker Kane West) and Jamie Bulled, who found Perry via an ad posted on a message board. The unabashedly flamboyant pop of latest singles “Picture This” and “Chicken” wouldn’t be out of place slotted between the boisterous puppets and Technicolor adventurers of Nickelodeon’s daytime programming, making their two nights at the gritty Palisades a bright splash of graffiti on a decrepit wall. – Lindsey Rhoades

Jean Grae & Quelle Chris present The Sequels: The Goonies II
Union Hall
7:30 p.m., $10
Part of what makes Brooklyn-based rapper Jean Grae such a great MC is the humor that peppers her verses and her persona, and she’s always finding creative ways to bring laughs and rhymes together. Previously tackling Ghostbusters, Grae and her co-host Quelle Chris present live productions of “movies that never were;” this time around they’re taking on that classic tale of Truffle Shuffling and One-Eyed Willie wonderment, The Goonies. Quelle, himself a rapper and producer who released Innocent Country in July, works with Grae to create movie-themed drinking games and meld performances from comedians (Hari Kondabolu, Joyelle Nicole, Kevin Avery) with musical guests (Fresh Daily, MC Frontalot, Cavalier, Tone Tank, Shaka King, and more). The Sequels series proves there’s such a thing as treasure you don’t need a dusty old map to find. – Lindsey Rhoades

Tuesday, 10/13
The D.R.E.A.M Project: Reggie “Regg Roc” Gray feat. Helga Davis
National Sawdust
7 p.m. & 9 p.m., $15
Inspired by the multi-cultural East New York neighborhood where he grew up, Reggie “ReggRoc” Gray formed dance team HyperActive while still in high school, but it wasn’t until later, pausing and rewinding VHS tapes of the troupe’s award-winning performances on Brooklyn Public Access TV show Flex N Brooklyn, that he perfected his pioneering form of glitchy Bruk Up. Now the founder of dance competition D.R.E.A.M (a Wu-Tang referencing acronym for the phrase “Dance Rules Everything Around Me”), ReggRoc pairs his startling technique with the vocals of acclaimed performance artist Helga Davis, whose unique singing style merges jazz, soul, opera, and funk. – Lindsey Rhoades

The 26th Annual New York Cabaret Convention
Town Hall
5:30 p.m., $25-$500
Since French cabaret hit the shores of the United States in 1911, it has continued to thrive, especially in New York City, where off-broadway productions, dinner theater, burlesque, drag shows and the jazz scene have enriched the discipline greatly. Even Frank Sinatra admitted to copping British cabaret star Mabel Mercer’s phrasing and story-telling techniques, and a foundation dedicated to her memory honors cabaret tradition this week by presenting four unique shows featuring over 60 performers at the 26th Annual New York Cabaret Convention, hosted by Town Hall. Each night has a unique theme, with a show focusing on the music of Vernon Duke and EGOT-winner Marvin Hamlisch, another showcasing the songs of John Kander & Fred Ebb, and some enchanted evenings dedicated to World War II-era standards. – Lindsey Rhoades

Wednesday, 10/14
Catfish & the Bottlemen
Terminal 5
6: p.m., $24
Catfish & the Bottlemen have spent the past year solidifying their reputation as a live band not to be missed. To wit: In just a few short months, the group graduated from a sold-out Bowery Ballroom show to, now, the vast halls of Terminal 5 for this October 14 gig. Relying on a ragged Strokes-esque garage-rock aesthetic with radio-ready melodies akin to Phoenix, Catfish & the Bottlemen make for an electric live presence, a rock ‘n’ roll refresher that keeps getting stronger. The band’s fall run comes in support of debut album The Balcony, which was released via Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett’s Communion Records. – Jill Menze

All Vows: Maya Beiser with Jherek Bischoff
7:30 p.m., $25
Hailed as the Queen of Contemporary Cello, Maya Beiser was raised on an Israeli kibbutz and went on to study music at Yale University, and her playing style continuously defies convention. Collaborating with avant-garde composers like Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and Brian Eno among others, she doesn’t stop short at drawing a bow across some strings, instead preferring to create multimedia works with her music as a centerpiece. She’ll present a survey of her work with bassist Jherek Bischoff at BAM that spans four nights beginning Wednesday; these will range from atypical spiritual devotionals composed by Michael Gordon (the program’s titular All Vows) and Michael Harrison’s Just Ancient Loops set to films by Bill Morrison to more contemporary takes on alternative and classic rock hits from acts like Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, giving them bold new arrangements with electronic flourishes. – Lindsey Rhoades

Saint Vitus
8 p.m., $18-$20
Miami-based sludge metal purveyors Torche released their fourth studio album, Restarter, in February, proving to the world that it is entirely possibly to make some of the heaviest, harshest songs around and yet still somehow root them in pop sensibilities. Promoted with a videogame called “Torche Vs. Robots” in which band members were pitted against blood-thirsty androids, Restarter debuted on Billboard’s Top 200 at 133; their show at Saint Vitus is something of a victory lap after selling out the venue last spring. Primitive Weapons and Chain Gang Grave will likely have a circle pit going before the headliners even hit the stage. – Lindsey Rhoades

Thursday, 10/15
Kamasi Washington
BRIC Arts Media House
7:30 p.m., $25-$30, 3-day pass $60
Presented in conjunction with CMJ but far off its beaten path of emerging indie rock acts, BRIC Arts Media will hold a weeklong jazz festival that culminates in a two-night marathon of their own. The first night of that marathon features Brooklyn-based experimental electronic outfit Dawn of Midi, soul jazz trumpeter Takuya Kuroda, neo-Ragtime vocalist Dessy Di Lauro, classical harpist Brandee Younger, genre-bending pianist Kris Bowers, “whiz kid” guitarist Nir Felder, and more, but the headliner, Kamasi Washington, has made the biggest waves of late. The tenor sax player did more than just lend brass notes to Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly – he composed many of the album’s arrangements. In May, he dropped his own aptly-titled, three-hour-long record Epic via Brainfeeder, featuring a 32-piece orchestra, 20-person choir, and his own virtuostic flair that’s drawn comparisons to none other than John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders. Washington also plays a CMJ show at Le Poisson Rouge early Friday evening. – Lindsey Rhoades

Dan Friel
Secret Project Robot
8 p.m., $10
Former Parts & Labor frontman Dan Friel began releasing solo records via Thrill Jockey shortly after the noise rock outfit disbanded in 2012, and while he deploys the same synth squall that made tracks like “Rest” pop, his forthcoming LP, Life, recorded in his Brooklyn studio and mixed by engineer Jonathan Schenke, is likely to be a whole a different beast. Pummeling beats come courtesy of a drum machine, anything remotely resembling vocals is obliterated by distortion, and yet, the mélange still manages to sound warm and even uplifting. With his clear love for effects gear, Friel gives new meaning to the term “pedal to the metal,” and this record release show promises to be as triumphant as “Life (Pt. 1)” feels. ETHEL and Sunwatcher open. – Lindsey Rhoades

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 12, 2015

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