The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 4/18/14

Categories: Weekend

Courtesy of Vanguard Records
Catch the Indigo Girls at Tarrytown Music Hall this Sunday
For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

Friday, 4/18:

We Are Scientists + Paws
Bowery Ballroom
9:00 p.m., $20
The California-formed, New York-based band We Are Scientists may be the most indie-rock outfit of all of indie rock. Between their catchy lyrics, upbeat melodies, underlying fuzzy sound, and nerdy literary references, the band has been primed for success ever since their second album and major label debut, With Love and Squalor, came out in the early millennium, a prime era for the genre. Like contemporaries Arctic Monkeys and Hot Hot Heat, We Are Scientists belong to a time when rock focused almost entirely on making you dance without necessarily being "dance" music. In March, they released TV en Français, a continuation of their efforts to hold down the nerdy dance-rock fort. -- By Brittany Spanos

Saturday, 4/19:

Lila Downs
Town Hall
8:00 p.m., $45-$55
A flamboyant performer who illustrates her music with synchronized art, film, and photography, Oaxaca-born singer-songwriter Lila Downs specializes in dramatic transformations. Marvel as she becomes a deeply emotive mariachi, realist folkie, or shamanic priestess in rapid succession. Downs's equally malleable voice modulates just as suddenly from pop pep to tear-jerking operatics. Downs collaborated with Argentine singer Soledad and flamenco singer Niña Pastori on their forthcoming Raiz (Roots), which contains "La Cumbia de Mole," an appetizing ode to Oaxaca's tastiest feature, among deeper themes. She performs here with her longtime band, La Misteriosa, which deftly navigates ranchera, banda, corridos, and other Mexican styles. Raised in Mexico, California, and Minnesota, Downs is a child of the Americas who also happens to sing the best version of "La Cucaracha" ever. -- By Richard Gehr

B.B. King
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts
8:00 p.m., $55-$100
"I've had some weird troubles along my 88 years," B.B. King told an audience two weeks ago in St. Louis. He had some more that night when he got heckled for telling too many hard-earned stories and doing a sing-along version of "You Are My Sunshine." Would they heckle their grandpa? When he comes to New York, he better get the respect he deserves because King's a living legend. Anyone who gets to sing "You Are My Sunshine" with B.B. King and doesn't appreciate it will get theirs when they're permanently banned from Robert Johnson shows in hell. -- By Aidan Levy

Joe's Pub
11:30 p.m., $25
Somali-Canadian emcee K'Naan has fashioned quite a name for himself on the World Hip-Hop circuit with his brand of life-affirming music that takes from Mos Def and Nas as much as it does from Bob Marley, at his most uplifting, and Wyclef, at his most carnivalesque. Throw in the hippie politics of a Michael Franti and a production style that somehow sounds like a fusion of both pre- and post-"Where is the Love?" Black Eyed Peas, and you've got the ideal soundtrack for every international sporting event for the next 16 years. Anthems like "Wavin' Flag" must come easy to K'Naan--and how could you begrudge him this given the difficult childhood he survived in war-torn Somalia? This trauma is ever-present in his music, grounding the occasional cases of Bono-esque grandstanding in the harsh realities of post-colonialism and global capitalism. -- By Winston Groman

The Glasslands Gallery
11:30 p.m., $15-$20
In 2011 Omar-S released his third album, titled It Can Be Done But Only I Can Do It. What a surprise - the Detroit-bred, globally recognized founder of FXHE Records actually makes good on that self-aggrandizement, with a wonky and easily-identifiable mixture of heavy techno and jacking house in his productions. His DJing also retains a crackling physicality across genres, building off minimal yet powerful loops to create a strange and inimitable mass of movement. -- By Aaron Gonsher

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