The Best NYC Shows This Week: Africa Now!, Terry Riley, Kal Marks


Two of this week’s most exciting shows are yearly traditions. The Apollo Theater’s Africa Now! concert highlights electronic dance music talent from around the world, including Drake collaborator Black Coffee. Meanwhile, downtown at Le Poisson Rouge, the Darmstadt Ensemble celebrates the anniversary of legendary minimalist composer Terry Riley’s masterpiece In C for the fourteenth year running. With annual events this reliable, you can’t go wrong.

Natural Velvet, Weeping Icon, the Rizzos, Sludge Judy
Secret Project Robot
8 p.m., $10

This night at Secret Project Robot is filled mostly with righteous female-fronted punk bands, and will provide catharsis for anyone who’s having a tough week. Baltimore group Natural Velvet headline with their retro punk style, reminiscent of pioneers like Poly Styrene or the Slits, but with a psych-rock edge. Their ethos is summed up in a quote from guitarist Kim Te from an interview with the Baltimore Sun: “You don’t have to be a white boy from the suburbs to play rock ’n’ roll.” Natural Velvet will play alongside homegrown Brooklyn noise punks Weeping Icon.

Death Panel Night: Live Electronic Music
FBI Warning, Greem Jellyfish, A Pleasure, Solpara, X Harlow
10 p.m., $8

This night at H0L0 hosts a slew of live electronic producers churning out raw, unpredictable music. The most exciting act on the roster is FBI Warning, a duo composed of Beto Cravioto and Rogelio Ramos, both highly respected New York house and disco DJs. Together, they stray from the warmth of house and veer into spooky live techno. Another performer to look out for is the New York–based Korean DJ Greem Jellyfish, who weaves psychedelic, intricate house tracks.

Rann, pronoun, Sulene, Charles Fauna
7 p.m., $8

Brooklyn’s pronoun play classic pure indie pop that would sound right at home on a playlist next to tracks by the Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Stars. The band is a project of Alyse Vellturo, whose whispered vocals float above melancholy guitar riffs and delicate synth lines. Her 2016 debut EP, There’s no one new around you, was inspired by heartbreak, and named after a dispiriting notification on Tinder. This intimate show at Pianos will be a perfect way to experience her work.

Diet Cig, Great Grandpa, the Spook School
The Hall at Elsewhere
8 p.m., $17–$20

Brooklyn pop punk group Diet Cig are the main draw on this lineup, but their jangly guitars, LiveJournal-style lyrics, and giant hooks are far from all concertgoers will get. Seattle’s Great Grandpa are another young band on the rise, making bubblegum punk in the vein of peers like Tacocat. Another standout: the Spook School, a queer Scottish indie pop group who will appeal to fans of Los Campesinos! and American groups like Making Friendz.

Terry Riley’s In C presented by Darmstadt Ensemble
Le Poisson Rouge
7:30 p.m., $20–$30

Terry Riley sits alongside artists like John Cage and Philip Glass as one of the most influential experimental composers of the twentieth century. His 1964 composition, In C, is known as one of the earliest works of minimalist music. The piece is made up of repeating parts and can be played by any number of musicians, so how it sounds depends greatly on its interpretation by whomever is playing it. Brooklyn’s avant-garde Darmstadt Ensemble mount a version every year to celebrate the anniversary of the piece’s creation. This year, to enhance the music’s rhythmic elements, they’ll be joined by drummer Andrya Ambro, a former Talk Normal member currently of Gold Dime. If you’re curious about minimalist music, this is a great place to start.

Drawing Boards, Wild Pink, the Fluids, Cheekface
8 p.m., Price TBA

If you like melodic indie rock with catchy pop hooks and dissonant guitars, you’ll like Drawing Boards, a Brooklyn band made up of past members of many other much-loved local groups (TEEN, Darlings, Sisters). Fans of classic acts like Built to Spill should also enjoy these tunes. They’ll play a record-release show for their self-titled debut album at Alphaville. Backing them up are Wild Pink, another jam-friendly Brooklyn indie rock group whose moody songs build to epic climaxes.

High Waisted, Kitten, Suburban Living, Cold Fronts
Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m., $12

The local band High Waisted play buoyant surf pop that will remind you of groups like Tennis, whose wistful tunes sail atop glistening guitar riffs, and Shannon and the Clams, who turn Sixties girl-group aesthetics into high camp. They’ll be backed up by the excellent pop group Kitten, a Los Angeles synthpop band who are angling for a place beside newly minted superstars like Charli XCX.

Africa Now!
Black Coffee, Tony Allen & Jeff Mills, Ayo, Pierre Kwenders
Apollo Theater
8 p.m., $28–$59

The Apollo’s annual showcase of African music focuses this year on electronic work. To that end, the South African producer Black Coffee, whose illustrious career in dance music was elevated into the mainstream by his collaboration with Drake last year, will perform a set of his house jams and remixes. Jeff Mills, a legendary techno DJ and technical genius on the decks, will play with frequent collaborator Tony Allen, an Afrobeat drummer. It’s not often that electronic music comes to the Apollo — this is going to be a special night.

Kal Marks, A Deer a Horse, Baked, Maneka
Brooklyn Bazaar
8 p.m., $8–$10

Call Kal Marks sludge rock, post-hardcore, or, simply, “Boston’s loudest band” — whatever the label, the group makes an impression. With its latest album, Universal Care, the three-piece expands its palette of emotions from the anger and longing that dominated its past work, and its music benefits from it. Here, Kal Marks headline a show of local stalwarts, including gloomy grunge rockers A Deer a Horse and reverb-soaked garage rock group Baked.

Shopping, French Vanilla, Future Punx, Pickled Onion
Market Hotel
9 p.m., $13–$15

Last year, U.K. trio Shopping released their dazzling third album, The Official Body, on which the band manages to evoke post-punk pioneers while remaining innovative and experimental. These songs seriously groove, combining minimalist instrumentation with impressive writing and performance. Despite its protests to the contrary, the group is subtly political, addressing media bias, racism, and sexism without ever getting pedantic. But even without their lyrical content, these songs are mesmerizing jams that will get you moving.

Most Popular