Cheap New York: Affordable live-music concerts

Enjoying live music on the cheap in New York is easy—if you follow our handy, continually updated guide.

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Lia Ices live at Mercury Lounge

Lia Ices live at Mercury Lounge Photograph: wagz2it

Looking for a cheap New York City concert? Of course you are! Check out our genre-spanning list of inexpensive gigs going on around town—and don’t forget about these free venues. Who knows—you could catch the next big thing.


RECOMMENDED: Full list of cheap things to do in NYC


The Mandingo Ambassadors

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Guitarist Mamady Kouyaté formed the Mandingo Ambassadors in Guinea in the late ’60s. Now living in New York, Kouyaté leads a new version of the outfit through funky, festive West African tunes every Wednesday night at Barbès.

  1. Barbès 376 9th St, at Sixth Ave, 11215
  2. Wed Jul 30
More info

La Luz

  • Price band: 2/4

Seattle quartet La Luz plays pleasantly reverb-soaked, harmonized guitar pop at MoMA's elegant concert series.

  1. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 11 W 53rd St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 10019
  2. Thu Jul 31
More info

James Brandon Lewis

  • Price band: 1/4

Young saxist James Brandon Lewis gigs in support of Divine Travels, a new disc on the recently rebooted OKeh label, which finds him reconciling his gospel roots with post-Coltrane free jazz. Bassist William Parker and drummer Dominic Fragman round out the group, and poet Thomas Sayers Ellis guest-stars.

  1. Birdland 315 W 44th St, between Eighth and Ninth Aves
  2. Thu Jul 31
More info

John Early: Literally Me

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The hilariously fresh actor-comedian John Early (of Ars Nova's Showgasm) makes light of his time in the NYC showbiz trenches in this solo show of comedy, music and short films. The show features support from Yazan and the Gates Family Band, Jacqueline Novak and Ruby Roo.

  1. Joe's Pub at the Public Theater 425 Lafayette St, between Astor Pl and E 4th St
  2. Thu Jul 31
More info

Noothgrush

  • Price band: 1/4

Spiritual brethren of contemporaries such as Eyehategod and Buzzoven, Oakland's Noothgrush amassed a cult following in the ’90s with its feel-bad slo-mo doom-metal exorcisms. Reactivated since 2011, the band plays two local shows this week: Trenchgrinder and Uniform open at Union Pool on July 31; Ruine, Grudges and Show of Bedlam set the stage

  1. The Acheron 57 Waterbury St, at Scholes St
  2. Thu Jul 31 - Sat Aug 2
More info

Jeffery Self and Cole Escola: Postcards from the Edge 2

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Internet-comedy darlings Jeffrey Self and Cole Escola are back with a new collection of sketches inspired by Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and the ghost of Edith Head.

  1. The Duplex 61 Christopher St , at Seventh Ave South
  2. Thu Jul 31 - Fri Aug 8
More info

Broadway Sessions with Ben Cameron

  • Price band: 1/4

Ben Cameron hosts this weekly après-theater variety show, which begins with special guests from the world of musical theater at 11pm and then morphs into an open-mike show-tune night.

  1. Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Café 407 W 42nd St, between Ninth and Tenth Aves, downstairs, 10036
  2. Thu Jul 31
More info

Villain: DeBlanks

  • Price band: 2/4

This week's performers are Jennifer Cody, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, Hugh Hysell, Hedda Lettuce and TONY's own Adam Feldman.

  1. 54 Below 254 W 54th St, between Broadway and Eighth Ave, 10019
  2. Thu Jul 31
More info

Guardian Alien + Grasshopper + Raajmahal + Good Willsmith + Sugarm + Velvet Zombie

  • Price band: 1/4

Local DIY drum luminary Greg Fox, of Zs and (once again, after a break) Liturgy, heads up Guardian Alien, his blissed-out free-psych squad.

  1. Trans-Pecos 915 Wyckoff Ave, between Hancock and Weirfield Sts
  2. Fri Aug 1
More info

Mucca Pazza + M.A.K.U. Soundsystem

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Mucca Pazza is a deranged (read: great), 30-piece marching band from Chicago, offering zany, clap-along circus punk. Also on board is Queens' own M.A.K.U. Soundsystem, whose fearless fusion slams Colombian motifs against Afrobeat grooves, distorted guitars and ska basslines.

  1. Brooklyn Bowl 61 Wythe Ave, at North 11th St, 11211
  2. Fri Aug 1
More info
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