The Best NYC Shows This Week: Vagabon, G Herbo, The Necks, Indie Pop Prom


It can be hard to tell what a concert is these days, when sound installations fill museums with quasi-live performances and DJs accompany visual art pieces. This week includes a few events that stretch over that border, including Roulette’s Mixology festival, where the venue’s 12-channel mixer takes center stage; MoMA PS1’s series exploring the intersections between gender, technology, and music; and Issue Project Room’s presentation of an avant-jazz band from Australia. And if you need something a little easier to grasp, there’s always the prom-themed indie pop show to fall back on.

The Banned 7 Benefit
le poisson rouge
7:30, $15 – $30

The Brooklyn Nomads are a multicultural ensemble of musicians from all over the world whose unique take on folk music from their various homelands comes to life in their spirited performances. This special benefit concert features musicians from all seven of the countries covered in the president’s Muslim ban. Funds raised will be donated to the International Refugee Assistance Project.

Telefon Tel Aviv, Xeno & Oaklander
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m., $15

Chicago IDM group Telefon Tel Aviv made their mark in 2001 with an album of contemplative, minimal and precise synth-based songs called Fahrenheit Fair Enough. They never quite reached those heights again, but the former Nine Inch Nails collaborators maintain their mastery of a specific style of eerie and complex beats. They’ll play alongside Ghostly labelmates Xeno & Oaklander, who make wispy, ‘80s-inspired coldwave.

G Herbo fka Lil Herb, Donmonique, Kemba
Brooklyn Bazaar
8 p.m., $3 with RSVP, $10 at the door

The latest edition of Red Bull Sound Select features G Herbo, the new moniker for the Chicago rapper previously known a Lil Herb. G Herbo’s rhymes are a dark exploration of growing up in the violence-stricken streets of Chicago, and a sense of despair runs through his songs that makes the rapper sound much older than his 21 years. His easy flow and aggressive beats demand to be noticed, and he seems to be on the verge of a breakthrough.

The Necks
Issue Project Room
6:30 p.m., $330—$1,030

Australian group The Necks, formed in 1987, are know for hour-long tracks that wend their way through repeated musical phrases in compositions that include drone, ambient and jazz. Their sound creates an immersive atmosphere that’s pleasant to hang out in. For the band’s 30th anniversary, they play a special benefit show at Issue Project Room. Tickets are far from cheap—they’ll run you a minimum of $330—but most of that price is tax deductible. Since we don’t usually list shows this expensive, best believe this one’s worth it.

Adventures In The Deep
Sven Weisemann, Norm Talley, Fahad Haider
Secret Location
11 p.m., $20 – $30

Representatives from techno capitals Detroit and Berlin meet for a night that showcases some of the best DJs working in the field. Seasoned Detroiter Norm Talley found acclaim through releases on a variety of European labels, a good symbol of the cross-pollination this event aims for. Sven Weisemann, a 32-year-old German DJ, spins his mix of jazz, deep house, dub and more. The highly regarded New York underground promoters BlkMarket are the curators here, so the secret warehouse space and vibes are sure to be on point.

Vagabon, Mal Devisa, Jelani Sei
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m., $10 – $12

Vagabon sounds like a lot of our favorite indie singer-songwriters: she has an almost-horse, emotional voice and confessional, poetic lyrics that create a melancholy present in much of her contemporaries’ work. But her sense of conviction in her music, and the well-constructed dynamics of each song on her new album, Infinite Worlds—where whispers often turn to yells and fingerpicking turns to the screech of feedback—sets her apart. This record release show will likely be her last in such a small hometown venue, since she’s already skyrocketing to the top of the local scene.

Mixology: Dance & Inspiration
Liz Gerring / Michael Schumacher, Leila Bordreuil, Ursula Scherrer
5 p.m., $15 – $25

The fascinating multi-day Mixology festival at experimental music venue Roulette hosts a variety of artists who will use the space’s 12-channel mixer as their medium. This night’s offering is a durational, unpredictable multi-media performance featuring dance, piano, cello, and video projection improvised around a composition by Michael Schumacher. The show lasts four hours, but the audience is encouraged to move around the space throughout, putting this show closer to the realm of installation art.

Indie Pop Prom
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Sad13, Sports, Half Waif, T-Rextasy
Brooklyn Bazaar
8 p.m., $12 – $15

Five years in, Indie Pop Prom is a Brooklyn tradition. The annual event began in 2012 at the now-shuttered 285 Kent, with a lineup that included this year’s headliners, the twee-revivalists The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Since then, Pains have only improved their brand of pure, perfect, sweet-as-cotton candy pop songs. Indie pop up and comers like the quirky-cute T-Rextasy and plaintive singer-songwriter Half Waif fill out the lineup. Bookers Ad Hoc are serious about the “prom” aspect of this event — if you show up in prom attire, you get three dollars off your ticket. But don’t worry: unlike your actual prom, this show should actually be a lot of fun.

Kool Keith
The Safari Room at El Cortez
7 p.m., $20

Kool Keith is one of hip hop’s strangest figures, an enigmatic genius whose music is baffling as often as it is mesmerizing. His 1996 album Dr. Octagonecologyst (released as Dr. Octagon) brought him to the attention of underground hip-hop fans with a fascinating mixture of Afro-futurist raps about space aliens and abstract, psychedelic rhymes, over inventive beats utilizing unexpected samples. For reasons we can’t explain, Kool Keith will play live this week upstairs at Bushwick tiki bar El Cortez, where you can drink tropical beverages in hurricane glasses and eat nachos when you’re not dancing.

Between 0 and 1: Remixing Gender, Technology, and Music
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Elysia Crampton, Dreamcrusher
3 p.m., $15

For the conclusion of MoMA PS1’s series on the convergence of gender nonconformity, technology, and music, they’ve enlisted someone who has decades of experience living outside of any binary constraints: Former Throbbing Gristle and current Psychic TV star Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, who brings their utterly unique perspective to a combination performance and lecture. Performing beforehand are producer Elysia Crampton, whose last album, Demon City, explored the brutality of imperialism, and confrontational Brooklyn noise artist Dreamcrusher, who considers Breyer P-Orridge a main influence on their work.