Critics’ picks: Best live music in NYC

Find this week's best live music events in New York City, as chosen by Time Out's critics.

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Miley Cyrus + Icona Pop + Sky Ferreira

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

While some pegged Miley Cyrus as the black sheep of pop in 2013, the foam-finger-sporting, Terry Richardson–approved former Disney starlet seems to be having the last laugh. The media backlash that followed her twerktastic VMA performance quickly flamed out, only to be replaced by a chorus of "Leave Miley alone" pleas. Plus, the stupendous "Wrecking Ball" continues to live up to its title, laying waste on pop radio. Expect trashy sensory overload here, as Cyrus plays a trio of area gigs on her Bangerz tour, abetted by fellow edgy pop sensations Icona Pop and Sky Ferreira. (Prediction: If all three acts end up onstage together for an encore, Instagram will crash nightly.)

  1. Nassau Coliseum 1255 Hempstead Tpke, at Meadowbrook Pkwy
  2. Thu Apr 24
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Delicate Steve + Dustin Wong + Deradoorian

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Delicate Steve, a project spearheaded by New Jersey home-recorder Steve Marion, churns out charming, mostly wordless tunes that can feel like the psychedelic equivalent of soft rock—mellow but also teeming with life. Ex–Ponytail member Dustin Wong (who offers sparkly, loop-driven guitar collages) and Angel Deradoorian (formerly of Dirty Projectors) open.

  1. Baby's All Right 146 Broadway, at Bedford Ave, 11211
  2. Sun Apr 20
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Slothrust + Weaves + Amanda X + Video Daughters

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Punk’s not dead, and with Brooklyn trio Slothrust, it just got a lot more fun. On their Ba Da Bing debut, Of Course You Do, the three jazz musicians celebrate loudness with furiously danceable tracks (and the odd love song) that inhabit a realm of ennui and the weird. Drums, guitar and bass evoke both Sonic Youth and death metal, but front woman Leah Wellbaum’s androgynously droll deadpan is the main attraction. She has the melodic melancholy of Nico, Karen O’s sultry growl and the ghoulish cackle of the Cramps’ Lux Interior. In “Beowulf,” she muses at the literary “sick puppy” with his penchant for murder sprees and the persecution of woodland creatures. “No Eye Candy” finds her lovelorn for a sweaty man with a snake. This is not the punk of protest, or even the garage. Rather, Wellbaum and crew craft playful, tightly instrumented visions of psychic dysfunction, inflatable lovers, worm regurgitation, cat appreciation and Satan. It’s music for long-haul road trips in busted cars, where the destination is a club that smells awful but the crowd is cool.—Kate Crane

  1. Shea Stadium 20 Meadow St, between Bogart and Waterbury Sts
  2. Sat Apr 19
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Mingus Big Band

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The city’s hardest-working big band holds forth in Gramercy, serving up Charles Mingus’s unique combination of lofty ambition and bluesy holy-roller soul.

  1. Jazz Standard 116 E 27th St, between Park Ave South and Lexington Ave
  2. Mon Apr 21
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Lonnie Holley

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Visionary Alabama folk artist and arrestingly lucid songsmith Lonnie Holley brings his timeless, transporting tunes to town for a trio of gigs.

  1. Studio Museum in Harlem 144 W 125th St, between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd (Seventh Ave) and Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave), 10027
  2. Sat Apr 19
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Holly Golightly

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

English roots-punk doyenne Holly Golightly is a favorite of Jack White (she appeared on Elephant) and shares his appreciation for dirty, earthy recordings. All Her Fault, her latest LP with the Brokeoffs—really just one guy named Lawyer Dave—delivers plenty of her patented twangy sonics and offbeat themes.

  1. Mercury Lounge 217 E Houston St, between Essex and Ludlow Sts, 10002
  2. Sun Apr 20 - Mon Apr 21
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WBAR-B-Q

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Barnard's college-radio station presents the 2014 installment of its all-day outdoor spring fling. This year's lineup features L.A. alt-R&B types inc., Brooklyn MC Ka and local indie-rock faves Darlings. Oh, and free food!

  1. Barnard College, Lehman Lawn 3009 Broadway, at 117th St
  2. Sat Apr 19
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Playing for Jim Hall

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Magisterial guitarist Jim Hall, who died in December, had virtually no peers when it came to mixing improvisational finesse, harmonic sophistication and abundant heart. No imitation at these tribute gigs, then; just a number of friends and collaborators paying their respects by being themselves. Hall's trusty rhythm section—bassist Scott Colley and drummer Joey Baron—anchors the proceedings, and all-star soloists on hand include Bill Frisell, Julian Lage and Greg Osby.

  1. Blue Note 131 W 3rd St, at Sixth Ave
  2. Fri Apr 18 - Sun Apr 20
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Ronnie Spector

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Charismatic queen of the Ronettes Ronnie Spector stages her multimedia extravaganza, Beyond the Beehive, at City Winery. Spector says she’ll set the record straight at these shows: “Whether I’m talking about girl groups, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, you will hear the truth.” She’ll also belt out the hits, accompanied by a full band. That means “Be My Baby,” folks—need we say more?

  1. City Winery 155 Varick St, at Vandam St
  2. Sat Apr 19
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Bobby Bare Jr. + Cory Branan

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Bobby Bare Jr. was only eight when he joined his country-singer father on the Grammy-nominated "Daddy What If," but it wasn't until two decades later, in the ’90s, that Junior began carving out a career as a solo star in his own right. The Nashville native brings his rootsy, grizzled, rocked-out alt Americana to Mercury to herald the release of a new full-length, Undefeated.

  1. Mercury Lounge 217 E Houston St, between Essex and Ludlow Sts, 10002
  2. Sat Apr 19
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NYC Concerts
NYC Concerts

Australia's HIATUS KAIYOTE play Brooklyn's Knitting Factory on 8/12. Should be an awesome outing. Knitting Factory never disappoints!

Robert
Robert

Jillette Johnson hits Pianos on thursday, 8/8!