April arrives with a batch of killer new concerts, and tickets for the choicest events are already on sale or will be soon. In addition to unmissable acts, this month also features a new addition to the city’s best live music venues: Williamsburg’s industrial-chic Brooklyn Steel, where you’ll find indie rock titan Mitski (who made it into our best albums of 2016) and deliciously nerdy crew the Decemberists coronating its opening. And if you're looking for some late-night music, be sure to consult our weekly list of New York's best parties as well.
RECOMMENDED: See our guide to concerts in NYC
Concerts in NYC in April
What hasn't Clarke played over the course of his four-decade career? He's proficient in mainstream jazz, of course, but has also taken on chamber-scaled projects of genuine delicacy and electric fusion of arena-rock proportions. This two week residency at the Blue Note features the veteran bassist in two settings: first, he turns up with the iconic Ron Carter for a jazz bass duet of legendary proportions (March 28 through April 2); the week after, the maestro brings his Stanley Clarke Band to the stage to celebrate the release of a new CD (April 4 to April 9). He hasn't released much info on the record, but we expect an extension of his funky 2014 effort, Up, which skewed toward fusion while plumbing a range of genre impulses.
“Tam bo li de say de moi ya!” Do you know what that means? Of course not! (Because it is actually gibberish.) Will that stop you from singing along and following up with a joyous “Hey, Jambo Jumbo!” in the middle-eight section of "All Night Long"? Oh, hell no! The Commodores singer with the voice as smooth as an eel in oil comes to town for a stadium gig with megawatt singer Carey.
Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac's gold-dust woman herself, plays a massive arena gig in support of her 2014 solo album, 24 Karat Gold. (Not to fear, Mac fans; recent gigs haven't been stingy with the hits.) Formative punk–new-wave crossovers, The Pretenders, warm things up in the opening slot.
You don’t have to listen to much more than a minute of a Xiu Xiu song to understand that Jamie Stewart is upset. Indeed, nearly everything in the Durham, NC, singer’s catalog represents a shot across the bow of calmness: his vocal histrionics, the ping-ponging of intense imagery and emo straightforwardness and the wailing electronics that cut through otherwise pleasant melodies. Luwayne Glass peddles simiarly erratic mayhem in the opening set as Dreamcrusher, doling out glitchy synth anarchy, blown-out speaker textures and sinister screeches behind pupil-debilitating strobes.
Here's a treat: New Order, the seminal English postpunk outfit spawned from Joy Division, plays Radio City in support of its latest album, Music Complete. Ranging from wistful airs to thumping disco, the record's polished songcraft proves that despite the unceremonious departure of bassist Peter Hook—he called frontman Bernard Sumner a "twatto" and sued the band for millions—the guys have still got it. Fingers crossed that they'll offer up some classics like "Ceremony" alongside the new material.
Portland, Oregon's Decemberists attract a nerdily passionate following thanks to their knowing (and, to some, pretentious) indie antiquarianism. There's no certain plans on new material this time around, though the band did just release a tenth-anniversary edition of its ambitious concept album, The Crane Wife, an expansive five-record set that includes outtakes, demos and bonus tracks. The band will, however, be ringing in the opening of Williamsburg's brand-spanking new venue Brooklyn Steel over the course of three nights.
Alt-rock icon PJ Harvey’s latest release, The Hope Six Demolition Project, is another singular statement. The record balances weighty tone and musical simplicity, as when Harvey builds tracks like “The Ministry of Defence” and “The Words That Maketh Murder” around ominously bellowing horns and eerie chanting. As ever, it’s unclear just what makes Harvey tick creatively, The Hope Six Demolition Project being just the latest example of her penchant for dark, compelling songwriting rooted in odd moods. Nevertheless, her output is always arresting. Her gig is one of the best excuses to check out Williamsburg’s new, long-awaited cavernous concert digs, Brooklyn Steel, a 20,000-square-foot, 1,800-person-capacity converted warehouse run by Bowery Presents, the folks behind venues such as Terminal 5 and Music Hall of Williamsburg.