Not a night goes by in New York without at least one great show to attend, but this week, most of the events worth attending will take place on Friday and Sunday night. And on those nights the diversity of choice is mind-blowing: from a tropical bass party featuring Bronx rapper Princess Nokia, to the avant garde folk pop stylings of Vermont musician Ryan Power, to a fire techno DJ who also happens to be a particle physicist. Clear the decks.
Bang On A Can All-Stars
Ecstatic Music Festival
Merkin Concert Hall
7:30 p.m., $25
In 1992, Bang On A Can All-Stars was founded as a collaboration of artists who share a desire to explode the constraints of classical music performance, creating mesmerizing and fascinating art in the process. The six person ensemble works with an unusual variety of instruments, voices, and styles, freely moving between jazz, classical, world music, experimental and rock. This year, they’ll open the Ecstatic Music Festival, a multi-month celebration of innovation and experimentation in all genres.
Forth Wanderers, Half Waif, Trace Mountains, Stolen Jars
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m., $12 – $14
Forth Wanderers’ EP Slop, released last year, demonstrated that the Montclair, New Jersey group can hold its own in a musical landscape crowded with similar artists. Their take on sludgy, Built To Spill-esque indie pop angst is immediately likeable, stuffed with fuzzy riffs and laid back harmonies. They’ll play alongside the ambitious electro-acoustic singer-songwriter Half Waif.
BROOKZILL! With Prince Paul, Ladybug Mecca, Don Newkirk & Rodrigo Brandão
12 a.m., $10 – $15
Hip-hop isn’t often on the schedule at Blue Note, one of the city’s most prestigious jazz clubs, so this show marks a rare departure for the legendary venue. BROOKZILL! is a collaboration between hip hop artists from New York and Brazil, bringing together a rich fusion of cultures and sounds. An impressive roster of artists worked on BROOKZILL’s debut album, including hip-hop legends Ladybug Mecca of Digable Planets and Del tha Funky Homosapien.
Funeral Doom Spiritual: M. Lamar, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix (of Liturgy), James Ilgenfritz
7 p.m. and 10 p.m., $30
Performance artist M. Lamar takes over the Williamsburg venue National Sawdust for the New York premiere of his musical and theatrical performance piece, Funeral Doom Spiritual. The collaboration with Hunter Hunt-Hendrix (of the black metal band Liturgy; he is not appearing at the show, though) is an act of mourning and a reflection on the past and future atrocities visited on the African American community. The show, which takes place a century from now, fantasizes about the apocalyptic possibilities of white supremacy and oppression—as well as radical resistance—that our near future holds. Also 1/14.
Que Bajo: Princess Nokia, Geko Jones, Uproot Andy, Riobamba
10 p.m., $20-$25
Tropical bass party Que Bajo brings Bronx Afrofuturist rap royalty Princess Nokia as the special featured guest to Output, in Greenpoint. Resident DJs Geko Jones and Uproot Andy will provide their party’s signature mix of dancehall, Latin, digital cumbia, African electronic music, and more. Prepare to sweat.
Infinity Crush, Yohuna, gobbinjr, Swoon Lake
8:30 p.m., $10
After years of prolific lo-fi releases, the Maryland singer-songwriter Caroline White, known as Infinity Crush, buckled down to work on a full fledged album. Warmth Equation, a wonderfully intimate collection of lightly instrumented songs (more than a little reminiscent of the similarly lo-fi confessional artist Mirah) was the result. “Warmth” is indeed a good word to describe White’s songs, which are cozy and precious enough to curl up next to on a cold winter day. Then follow it up with…
Gunnar Haslam, Volvox
11:59 pm, $10
Rising DJ Gunnar Haslam is a truly intellectual performer: before launching his career spinning techno, acid, house, and all sorts of other interesting sounds, he was a particle physicist working on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Though it takes a bit of imagination to see the overlap between his life in science and his new career in the DJ booth, Haslam’s sets do seem to involve small but explosive shifts in energy, subtle reactions that play out slowly and satisfyingly. He’ll play alongside Discwoman’s Volvox, a techno powerhouse who knows how to keep sleepy ravers dancing well after the sun comes up.
Shannon and the Clams, Brooklyn Bluebirds
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m., $20
Oakland rabble rousers Shannon and the Clams are known for their John Waters-inspired aesthetic and wild shows. But their most impressive attribute is the power of bandleader Shannon Shaw’s vocals, a howl that is never lost in the raucous noise of her bandmates. The Clams’ surf punk songwriting, which is indebted to girl-group and doo-wop, is pure joy, and every ounce of it comes across live.
Old Wounds, Exalt, Lost Souls
7 p.m., $12
The New Jersey metalcore group Old Wounds is a pretty standard offering as far as that brutal, uncompromising genre is concerned. But the occasional melodic interlude and sung vocals offer their tracks breathing room and a more nuanced mood than some of their contemporaries. Lead singer Kevin Iavaroni’s live performance is notoriously riveting — if you’re looking for some hardcore headbanging fodder with a band that commits 100%, this is the show for you.
Ryan Power, Matt Mitchell, Birthing Hips, Spite House
8 p.m., $8
Vermont’s Ryan Power is a strange dude. The artist has released five full lengths on the boutique tape label NNA, and his music seems to do everything at once: It’s saccharine and dissonant, at times overwhelmingly manic, while other times simple and meditative. He cruises from R&B to spoken word to free jazz, sometimes in the course of a single song. Power’s bizarre, stream of consciousness lyrics add to his mystique. This can all be a lot, but whatever you think of Power, he’s absolutely never boring.