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Valentine’s Day concerts for the perfect date night

If music be the food of love, stuff your face at our pick of lip-smacking gigs in NYC this Valentine’s Day

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Photograph: Andrew Zaeh
By Ro S |
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Planning the perfect Valentine’s Day outing comes with a lot of pressure. If you’re still at a loss for what to do, might we suggest one of the many NYC concerts in February? Whether you’re flying solo or taking a date, a night of live music will set the tone for a fun (and non-cheesy) holiday. To really make it a night to remember, make dinner reservations at one of the most romantic restaurants in NYC before the show. And while you’re booking your tickets—by the way, you better get on that—set the mood with our playlist of the 50 best Valentine's Day songs.

RECOMMENDED: Find more Valentine’s Day ideas in NYC

Best Valentine’s Day concerts in NYC

Dianne Reeves
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist
Music, Jazz

Dianne Reeves

Singer Reeves has covered the stylistic waterfront over the years, but mostly she’s an ace at singing standards. This will be her seventh year performing a Valentine's special at the Rose Theater, one of the city's most breathtaking concert venues, and it's sure to be heavenly.

Catherine Russell
Photograph: Stefan Falke
Music, Jazz

Catherine Russell & Her Sextet

It's no surprise that Russell sings jazz as if to the manner born: In a sense she was, given that her folks are composer-arranger Luis Russell and bassist Carline Ray. Here, the singer, who has also backed David Bowie, flaunts her big voice and old-school charm in a five-night Valentine's Day–themed residency. 

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The Lemon Twigs
Photograph: Courtesy Autumn de Wilde
Music, Rock and indie

Village of Love

This yearly benefit, hosted by Panache Booking and local dance party New York Night Train, raises money for Planned Parenthood while also raising the roof at Music Hall of Williamsburg. The dozen or so acts lean toward the danceable side of garage rock, with performances by the Lemon Twigs, Bush Tetras, Shilpa Ray, Reverend Vince Anderson and more.

Jackson Browne
Photograph: Virginia Rollison
Music, Rock and indie

Marc Cohn

Singer-songwriter Cohn made a name for himself with the breakout hit "Walking in Memphis" back in the '90s, and he'll serve up the same soulful croon at his fifth annual Valentine's Day gig at City Winery.

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ZAEH_DREAM_SHOT04-48gold
Photograph: Andrew Zaeh
Music, Funk, soul and disco

The-Dream

Atlanta native and one-man seducto-force Terius Nash may have made it big by writing Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Beyoncé's "Single Ladies," but the crooner has since carved his own niche via his silky-smooth solo work. While his own falsetto-flecked R&B slow-burners don't quite access the same enduring earworminess as those mega-hits, they have won the adoration of many a clubgoer and a slew of nerdy music-critic types—expect both crowds at this show, as well as a few teasers from his forthcoming album, Love Affair.

John Maus
Photograph: Courtesy Jennifer Juniper Stratford
Music, Rock and indie

John Maus

Former Ariel Pink collaborator and underground hero John Maus makes captivating, retro-leaning synth pop. It's tuneful, bright, consistently weird and, on his latest, Screen Memories, delightfully expansive. His charged stage presence only adds to the appeal.

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Gregory Porter
Photograph: Shawn Peters
Music, Jazz

Gregory Porter

Mighty-lunged vocal sensation Porter, who netted a well-deserved Grammy last year for his sharp 2016 set, Take Me to the Alley, takes his annual Valentine's Day show to a glitzier digs: Carnegie Hall. Expect tunes from his stellar third Blue Note album, Nat King Cole & Me, a fervent tribute to his idol released late last year.

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters
Photograph: Oli Powell
Music, Rock and indie

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters

We last heard from Led Zeppelin when the band put out a snazzy, full-catalog reissue a couple years back, but don't get your hopes up for much else in the way of reunion shows or releases. You can, however, find leonine lead man Robert Plant on the road performing solo or alongside his current cross-cultural concern, the Sensational Space Shifters, following 2017's sensuous new solo album, Carry Fire.

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C'Mon Everybody
Photograph: Courtesy C'Mon Everybody
Music

Sonnymoon + L'rain

Dream-pop, dusky soul, jittery beats and synthy grooves collide in the music of Boston's Sonnymoon. This week's edition of the duo's C'mon Everybody residency features the endlessly talented Taja Cheek brewing her totally singular atmospheric, soul-inflected soundscapes as L'Rain. Expect intricately arpeggiated jazz guitar, tight drumming chops and plenty of psychedelic tape loop ambience.

Brooklyn Bowl
Photograph: Courtesy Adam Kane Macchia
Music

The Wailers

In the absence of Marley, Tosh (may both R.I.P.) and Bunny, original Wailers bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett keeps the legacy going with a new musical crew performing those classic reggae grooves.

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Marc Anthony
Photograph: Mary Ellen Matthews
Music, Latin and world

Marc Anthony

The international pop star is serving up his vibrato-intense, knees-to-the-floor croon for tri-state audiences yet again at his fifth-annual Valentine's Day gig at the Prudential Center. Confirmed fans will sway along to Anthony's soap-opera-tastic ballads (of which there are many), impassioned salsa gems, midtempo pop hits and ravey dance numbers.

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