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The 25 best concerts coming to NYC in 2016

Mark your calendar with the year's best NYC concerts, from blues to post-rock and everything in between

The Cure, Austin City Limits Music Festival 2013
Photograph: Michael J. Chen The Cure at Austin City Limits Music Festival 2013
By Andrew Frisicano, Ro S and Kristen Zwicker |
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New Year's Eve in NYC means celebrating the future while reflecting on the past (check out our best albums of 2015 and most anticipated albums of 2016 lists)—not to mention, unwrapping all those shiny new tour announcements. For you forward-looking optimists, futurist indie gems like atmospheric dream-poppers Beach House and post-punks Savages are airing tunes from their new albums. And for the traditionalists out there, timeless favorites are playing massive comeback shows: Rowdy rockers AC/DC seek the title of "top-selling live act" for a second year and '80s sad-sacks The Cure take over the Garden for 3 nights. Whichever temporal bent you're taking in 2016, make sure to snap up tickets quickly before they sell out.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best of 2016

Best concerts coming to NYC in 2016

Photograph: Jon Klemm
Music

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

The Boss hits the road this time in support of The Ties That Bind: The River Collection, a box set that rounds up material surrounding his 1980 record, The River. Expect beer chugging and knee drops galore from the boss himself, and mass adoration and singalongs from the crowd at this guaranteed marathon show.

Muse
Photograph: Courtesy BB Gun Press
Music, Rock and indie

Muse

With theatrical, awe-inspiring live shows, it's easy to see why Muse is seriously massive worldwide. They hit town for a pair of shows behind last year's Drones, an incensed return to stadium-rock form for the English power pop trio.

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Flying Lotus
Photograph: Timothy Saccenti
Music, Dance and electronic

Flying Lotus + Jon Hopkins

Brainfeeder honcho Flying Lotus teams up with frequent Coldplay collaborator Jon Hopkins for an evening of lush, forward-thinking electronic sounds. All proceeds will benefit the David Lynch Foundation, which funds transcendental meditation programs for at-risk students, veterans with PTSD, domestic violence survivors and many others.

829.otc.wilco
Photograph: Autumn de Wilde
Music, Folk, country and blues

Wilco

Jeff Tweedy and his band deliver four shows behind last year's well-received effort, the laid-back, freewheeling Star Wars. Nashville's William Tyler opens Feb 2; Brooklyn-via-Philadelphia crooner Steve Gunn kicks things off Feb 3 and Feb 6; setting the stage Feb 5 is the Bill Frisell Trio.

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Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Fetty Wap + Post Malone

Breakout rap darling Fetty Wap hits Irving Plaza to deliver tracks from his sensitive-yet-anthemic self-titled debut—a solid effort that is chock-full of irresistible club-wreckers like "Trap Queen," "679" and "Again." Dallas MC Post Malone starts things off.

Nas
Photograph: Michael J. Chen
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Maxwell + Nas

Happy Valentines Day, indeed. R&B stalwart Maxwell takes the stage in NYC for the first time in five years, hitting two stadiums in as many days—and he's not doing it alone: sharing the spotlight is NYC hip hop icon Nas. Maxwell's superb debut, Urban Hang Suite, turns 20 years old this year, so count on two-stepping to classic joints like "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)" and "Sumthin' Sumthin.'"

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Music, Rock and indie

Best Coast + Wavves + Cherry Glazerr

Bethany Cosentino’s sun-soaked, ’90s-era-alt-rock-harkening outfit, Best Coast, reunites with melodic yet grungy surf rockers Wavves for their Summer is Forever II tour. The opening set comes courtesy of hazy L.A. garage trio Cherry Glazerr.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Photograph: Courtesy Fat Possum
Music, Rock and indie

Unknown Mortal Orchestra + Lower Dens

The groovesome quartet led by New Zealander Ruban Nielson, Unknown Mortal Orchestra makes colorful ’60s-style psychedelic rock with shades of the Kinks and the Zombies, as well as latter-day torchbearers such as Dungen. The four are joined by Maryland outfit Lower Dens, which has cycled through shoegazey dream pop, smoldering art rock and jittery postpunk on past releases, locking into an alluringly moody synth-pop groove on its most recent LP, Escape from Evil.

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Music, Classical and opera

Tibet House Benefit Concert

Composer-pianist Philip Glass's annual fete and fund-raiser for NYC Buddhist center Tibet House draws a characteristically diverse range of contributing artists, including soul belter Sharon Jones, continually-riveting British singer-songwriter-producer FKA twigs and Stooges frontman Iggy Pop.

Animal Collective
Photograph: Atiba Photo
Music, Rock and indie

Animal Collective

Avant-pop MVPs Animal Collective bring their spacey, jammy anthems to town, celebrating the release of their latest album, Painting With, the group's first since 2012's pleasantly perplexing Centipede Hz.

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Black Sabbath
Photograph: courtesy Live Nation Entertainment
Music, Punk and metal

Black Sabbath

The three-fourths of the original Black Sabbath lineup—Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, minus drummer Bill Ward—issued a highly impressive Rick Rubin–helmed comeback, 13, in 2013, followed by a multi-leg world tour. Now, the first and greatest heavy-metal band, plus fill-in drummer Tommy Clufetos, hits the road for what it claims will be its final trek. Prepare to tremble before immortal classics such as "Black Sabbath" and "Iron Man," and hear a few of the new joints as well.

Music

Future

Atlanta rapper Future released the hard-hitting DS2, as well as What A Time To Be Alive, a red-hot collaborative mixtape with Drake, last year—and both rank as two of 2015's best hip-hop albums. With such a big year behind him, Future is sure to be in a celebratory mood on his Purple Reign tour which features special guest Ty Dolla $ign.

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The Who
Photograph: courtesy of the artist

The Who

The Who—that is, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, some other musicians and two very prominent ghosts—hits the road as part of the group's 50th-anniversary celebration, digging into some deep cuts for their supposedly final stadium trek. The core duo is bolstered by a more-than-able supporting cast, including Beatle progeny Zak Starkey and bass wizard Pino Palladino, recently heard on D'Angelo's masterful Black Messiah.

Leon Bridges
Photograph: Tom Oldham
Music

Leon Bridges + Son Little

Twenty-five-year-old Leon Bridges’s clear, powerful voice and mastery of ’60s soul and R&B have already earned him the attention of Columbia Records, which signed the Fort Worth native at the end of 2014. This gig comes on the heels of last year's spirited, appealingly retro debut LP, Coming Home.

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Beach House 1 (2012)
Photograph: Liz Flyntz
Music, Rock and indie

Beach House

Delectably dreamy Baltimore duo Beach House, comprised of guitarist Alex Scally and husky-voiced singer Victoria LeGrand, had an unusually prolific 2015, releasing both its 5th and 6th albums, Depression Cherry and Thank You Lucky Stars. The long-awaited LP's retain the lush-yet-intimate synthscapes and glowing vocals the twosome are known for, but pare the instrumentation down from 2012's expansive Bloom to a more pointed kind of haze. Move fast because, yup, these dates are gonna sell out fast.

Tortoise
Photograph: Jim Newberry
Music, Jazz

Tortoise

Despite being one of post-rock's most foundational acts, Chicago experimentalists Tortoise have always demonstrated a penchant for stepping outside the genre's strictures, winding between electronica and improvisational jazz in its eclectic 10-minute epics. With its first album in nearly seven years, The Catastrophist, the group veers toward those latter influences, having developed the tunes from a project commissioned by the City of Chicago exemplifying its ties to the city's jazz scene. Here, the fusionistas returns to Manhattan for the first time in 4 years.

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Oneohtrix Point Never
Photograph: Courtesy Motormouth Media
Music, Rock and indie

Oneohtrix Point Never + Liturgy

Cosmically-inclined local synth whiz Daniel Lopatin, who records and performs as Oneohtrix Point Never, spun a bizarre narrative mythos around his latest release, Garden of Delete—one of 2015's best—involving an adolescent extraterrestial named Ezra who loves space grunge. Accordingly, the new ambient contortions sound like cybernetic 90s nu-metal. Those confoundingly exploratory vibes make it oddly fitting that he gigs here alongside fellow genre renegades Liturgy, known for its divisive black metal inversions.

Rihanna
Photograph: Melissa.T.L. Forde
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Rihanna + Travis Scott

Seeing as the defiant Bajan popstrel's trek is dubbed the Anti tour, it'd make sense that her eighth album of that name drops before she hits the road. There's still no release date in the books, but look for an album-shaped present (possibly including her 2015 singles like "Bitch Better Have My Money") before the roadshow kicks off.

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Savages
Photograph: Kevin Pallier
Music, Rock and indie

Savages

Thirllingly intense postpunk revivalists Savages, led by riveting frontwoman Jehnny Beth, return to NYC for a pair of shows behind their sophomore effort, Adore Life, the follow-up to 2013's scorching Silence Yourself.

Iron Maiden
Photograph: John McMurtrie
Music, Punk and metal

Iron Maiden

In any discussion of rock acts that have improved with age, English heavy-metal institution Iron Maiden has to come in somewhere near the top: Even if Bruce Dickinson can't hit every screeching high note of his prime (cut him some slack, the guy just overcame tongue cancer), he deploys his resources for maximum impact, something that could be said equally for his restless bandmates. It's yet to be seen if the crew will be dipping into its voluminous canon of hits in its setlists as it gigs behind its new album, The Book of Souls, so make sure to scream for "Run to the Hills" before the encore.

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AC/DC
Photograph: courtesy of the artist
Music

AC/DC

The Australian classic rock hooligans hit somewhat of a rough patch leading up to the release of their 2014 album, Rock or Bust. First, Phil Rudd was arrested in New Zealand and charged with—there's no delicate way to put this—attempting to hire a hit man. And this debacle came just months after word arrived that guitarist Malcolm Young was suffering from dementia. But AC/DC is nothing if not resilient: the comeback tour in support of the album the following year won the guys the title of "Best Selling Live Act of 2015" (narrowly beating out T-Swift). With the new tunes, the guys are to sticking to their meat-and-potatoes hard-rawk formula, and clearly it's a case of "ain't broke don't fix it." So say it with us: For those about to rock with Angus Young & Co. here, we salute you.

Justin Bieber
Photograph: Courtesy PMK BNC PR
Music

Justin Bieber

Pint-size pop idol Justin Bieber hits the Prudential Center in support of his latest one, Purpose, which sees him veering into tropical house and hazy R&B territory via production from MdL and Skrillex. But that's not his only change of course: Biebs has also reportedly vowed to clean up his act and tone down the bad-boy antics. Could his days of monkey smuggling and peeing in buckets be behind him? Go ahead Justin, make Beliebers out of us.

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Mac DeMarco
Photograph: Brad Elterman
Music, Rock and indie

Mac DeMarco

The reigning hooligan king of indie pop, Mac DeMarco released a mini-album of love songs last summer that revealed, in addition to the nuances of his heart, his home address, complete with an invitation for coffee. If you haven't had a chance to make it out to Mac's Queens apartment, you can also enter a chance to win a Meet n' Greet through his new fan club, the Mac DeMarco Fan Club, run by none other than his mom, Agnes. Or for an alternative route to a face-to-face with the impish outsider–lite rocker, you can ambush him here at this Webster Hall gig as he returns home to New York to air his pouty, surreally stylized lo-fi tunage.

The Cure performs at the 2013 Austin City Limits Music Festival on October 5, 2013.
Photograph: Michael J. Chen
Music

The Cure + The Twilight Sad

Aside from sporadically headlining festivals, we haven't seen much from goth rock legend the Cure since the band performed its first three albums in full at Beacon Theatre four years ago (leave it to the doomed romantics to bring a sense of extravagance to the seemingly obligatory custom of playing classic LPs live). But pause that 2013 Lollapalooza YouTube video! The band embarks on a 25-date North American tour (the first since 2008) with three MSG stops.

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Music

Adele

Adele is a one-word answer to people who think they just don't make them like Dusty Springfield anymore. But the preternaturally self-possessed young English singer-songwriter is not just some retro knock-off: She's a genuinely soulful vocalist whose lyrics reflect a rare emotional maturity, as you can hear on her chart-busting second album, 21.

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