Whether you've spent too much time with the fam and need a break or you're just looking for something to do, we've rounded up the best live music happening in the city this Thanksgiving weekend:
RECOMMENDED: A full guide to Thanksgiving in NYC
If you want something...
Essential: Run the Jewels; Nov 29, 30 at Stage 48
Killer Mike and El-P's second album together as RTJ was released to much fanfare—and with good cause too. The disc highlights the pair's verbal dexterity and El's production while seamlessly blending their penchant for raunchy humor and razor-sharp political commentary. The latter takes on special importance given Killer Mike's vocal support for justice for Mike Brown, which culminated in a heartfelt reaction to this week's grand-jury news before RTJ's show in St. Louis. Expect to laugh and think at this pair of NYC shows.
Rocking: Death From Above 1979; Nov 28 at Terminal 5. Quintron and Miss Pussycat; Nov 29 at Baby's All Right. Sleaford Mods; Nov 29 at the Wick
This weekend has plenty of rock shows: These picks fall on the weirder end of the spectrum and are definitely worth checking out. For those who wanna rock out and dance, Canadian group Death from Above 1979 plays Friday on the heels of its latest groove-laden album The Physical World. On Saturday, New Orleans' Quintron plays some blown-out, punky organ with help of his puppet-wielding muse Miss Pussycat. Also that night, England's Sleaford Mods make their US debut, putting poet Jason Williamson's dryly witty words to a barbed postpunk backing.
Danceable: Robert Randolph and the Family Band; Nov 25–29 at Brooklyn Bowl. Jason Moran and the Bandwagon; Nov 25–30 at Village Vanguard
These multi-night runs start Tuesday and go through the weekend, so there are plenty of chances to see both groups. On the more soulful side is pedal-steel wiz Robert Randolph and his Family Band whose gospel-tinged funky jams are guaranteed to make you move your feet. On the jazzier side of the spectrum, catch polyrhythmic pianist Jason Moran and his trusty Bandwagon for bouncing, impressionistic jazz.
Heavy: GWAR; Nov 30 at Irving Plaza. Death; Nov 30 at Best Buy Theater
For those craving metal, Sunday is your day. Disgustingly hilarious shock-shred stalwarts GWAR hit town, recovering from the loss of founding member—bassist-vocalist Dave “Oderus Urungus” Brockie—and purveying their unique brand of over-the-top chaos, with support from legendary thrash-punks Corrosion of Conformity. Elsewhere, former members of the extreme-metal institution Death convene yet again to honor the band's late mastermind, Chuck Schuldiner, with a sampling of the group's primitive, pioneering early work, as well as its prog-minded later material.
Offbeat: John Zorn's Cobra; Nov 29 at Roulette. Bombay Rickey; Nov 29 at Barbès
If you're looking for something a little more...undefinable, there's the 30th anniversary performance of John Zorn's Cobra, a frantic, improvised work from the legendary downtown avant-garde composer that features 12 collaborators. Strap in: The "game piece" composition comes out differently each time it's performed. For something less experimental but just as eccentric, check out Bombay Rickey, who's music is a cinematic assemblage of sounds that draws on everything from Bollywood to Morricone.