The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Week, 2/4/13

Categories: Listings, Live

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Mumford & Sons + The Felice Brothers + Ben Howard
Barclays Center
Wednesday, 8pm, $39.99-$55
Last year their exquisite Babel received as healthy a reception as could reasonably be expected, but don't be fooled by the fact that Mumford & Sons are now superstars: Even when songs like "I Will Wait" and "Whispers In The Dark" bore by hitting their explosive climaxes like clockwork at the halfway point, and each side of that distressingly predictable apex is still as exciting as early 2009 gems like "The Cave" and "Little Lion Man," or the hundreds of years of traditional tunes which in turn preceded those. These songs will probably just end up buried in a shallow grave of CDRs and USB flash drives, but in another era we might have found among them a handful of all-time classics. -- By Vijith Assar

Chris Potter
Village Vanguard
Tuesday through Friday, 9pm & 11pm, $25
The tenor saxophonist's study of Homer's Odyssey pays off with The Sirens, a new album on which Potter approaches archetypal themes, including romance and homecoming, with a storyteller's patience. Expect epic narratives (including Potter mentor Wayne Shorter's "Penelope") to unfold when the lyrical powerhouse sets sail with Larry Grenadier (bass), Eric Harland (drums), and Bad Plus pianist Ethan Iverson. -- By Richard Gehr

Psychic Ills + White Hills
Bowery Ballroom
Thursday, 9pm, $15
There are only a little under half a million chord combinations in Western music, and over the past decade, NYC psych-rock tripsters Psychic Ills seem to have tested every one, holding it for as long as it takes to achieve full hypnosis. Of course, it helps that their instruments of choice are murky guitars, '60s hippie-dippie organ, a few drum beats here and there, and some authentically listless vocals. With likeminded turned-on, tuned-in dropouts like White Hills, Prince Rupert Drops, and DJ Mike Newman of Beyond Is Beyond Is Beyond. -- By Kory Grow

Rakim + Raekown +1Fifty1
Stage 48
Friday, 6pm, $38
Rakim is only two years older than Jay-Z yet from another era entirely, a time when raps could get you atop Mount Olympus but not seated next to Charlie Rose atop the Spotted Pig. Meanwhile, opener Raekwon's oeuvre left marks across the current rap diaspora, influencing Action Bronson and "new" New Yorkers as much as ascendant Atlantans like 2 Chainz. Still, the hyperbolic grotesquerie of today's cross-border drug trade renders his recent crime raps less compelling than his new, august love raps. -- By Rajiv Jaswa

Richard Thompson
Joe's Pub
Tuesday, 7pm, $35-$45
While not everything on Richard Thompson's new Electric fits the title, more than enough does to justify its underlying power-trio impetus. Based in Los Angeles, the British guitarist-songwriter has been honing his approach to what he calls "anglocana" since 1967, when he galvanized the seminal folk-rock group Fairport Convention with his Celtic-overdrive approach to electric guitar. A few perfect albums later--including Henry the Human Fly, Shoot Out the Lights (with former wife Linda Thompson), and his Grizzly Man score--Thompson continues to mine Britain's folk roots for ass-kicking hey-nonny-nonny as well as darkly amusing social studies such as "Stuck on the Treadmill" and heartfelt paeans like "My Enemy." Drummer Michael Jerome and bassist Taras Prodaniuk fill out his self-described "power wimp" trio tonight. -- By Richard Gehr

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