The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 3/21/14

Categories: Weekend

Courtesy of MBK Entertainment
SWV plays B.B. King Blues Club & Grill this Friday evening
For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

Friday, 3/21:

B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
8:00 p.m., $35/$40
If you want to really grasp how long Pharrell has been making music, think back to the 1993 "Human Nature" mix of SWV's "Right Here," the highlight of the trio's career, and remember that his voice was the one shouting "S, the double, the U, the V" over the song's intro. Twenty years later, the genius producer has the No. 1 single in the country, and the girl group that gave him one of his early breaks is playing B.B. King's a month after their reality TV hit, SWV Reunited, finished its first season. Off-screen, the music still slams, and if you're somehow sick of the group's early '90s hits, you'll likely get a kick out of I Missed Us, the excellent 2012 comeback album that preceded the show. -- By Nick Murray

Downstairs at Cornelia Street Café
9:00 p.m. & 10:30 p.m., $10
Royalty of Brooklyn's avant-garde jazz scene--slaytastic guitarist Mary Halvorson and octopi-armed drummer Tomas Fujiwara--have melded their extraordinary talents together before in myriad groups, but it is in Thumbscrew where the radical twosome may have reached their apex. A collaborative, composition-based fire-breathing trio rounded out by imposing bassist colossus Michael Formanek, Halvorson, serving as de facto leader here, wields and shoots off salvo after salvo from her punk-jazzified six-string like a woman possessed. On its eponymous debut Thumbscrew (Cuneiform), the barrage of riffs are both epic and melodic, the low end beefy and the percussion massive. Expect nothing less than magic from these three avant purveyors. -- By Brad Cohan

Webster Hall
7:00 p.m., $25
Warpaint have never been ones for the easy route. They namedrop hip-hop and nod to sonic trends and score commercials as well as the next buzz act, but when it comes to the music, the L.A. fourpiece makes neither the confrontational rock you'd expect from girl-group stereotypes or even just their name, nor the self-consciously poppy or retro work of their peers. They prefer to groove: building songs from happenstance jams (sometimes involving a couple Red Hot Chili Peppers), or letting songs and hooks gnarl themselves into knots that take time to grok. It's the kind of sound that translates well live, where the sonic chemistry's got space to catalyze; and there'll likely be a great deal of that on display when the band plays Webster Hall with the equally iconoclastic Cate Le Bon. -- By Katherine St. Asaph

7:30 p.m., $20/$25
The smart and tasteful Ethiopia-born singer toggles between jazz, pop, and traditionalism on her new We Are Alive, which follows the Police's "Bring on the Night" with the Amharic-language "Kemekem (I Like Your Afro)." She's a blithe-voiced daughter of Joni who considers music a path to higher ground, with rest stops for the likes of Talking Heads and Lou Reed. -- By Richard Gehr

Saturday, 3/22:

Asif Ali Khan
Carnegie Hall
8:30 p.m., $38-$44
Asif Ali Khan was only 13 in the mid-'80s when he began studying with the legendary Pakistani qawwali master Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (d. 1997), eventually becoming his premier student. Tonight, Asif brings his eight-piece "party" to New York for the first time. Like Nusrat, Asif is a powerful vocal improviser, whose voice ascends to the heavens bolstered by the harmonium, backing singers, hand-claps, tabla, and double-headed dholak drum that characterize the Punjabi Ang style of an 800-year-old sound. Singing deep Sufi devotional poetry in Urdu, Persian, Punjabi, and other languages, Asif will likely incite Islamic devotees into trance states and increasingly impassioned demonstrations of faith, possibly including, as at Nusrat's final Carnegie Hall appearance, forceful pounding of foreheads onto stage. -- By Richard Gehr

Location Info

B.B. King Blues Club & Grill

237 W. 42nd St., New York, NY

Category: Music

Downstairs at Cornelia Street Café

29 Cornelia, New York, NY

Category: Music

Webster Hall

125 E. 11th St., New York, NY

Category: Music


45 Bleecker St., New York, NY

Category: Music

The Gramercy Theatre

127 E. 23rd St., New York, NY

Category: Music

Carnegie Hall

W. 57th & Seventh Ave., New York, NY

Category: General

Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola

60th St. & Broadway, New York, NY

Category: General


74 Wythe Ave., New York, NY

Category: Music

St. Patrick’s Youth Center

286 Mulberry Street, New York, NY

Category: General

Baby's All Right

146 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY

Category: Music

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