Everyone plays in New York. This is a good thing for music fans, but it can also be overwhelming—there’s at least one show worth seeing every night of every week. But are they worth the schlep downtown (or further) to attend? Are they worth skipping a meal or two to afford the tickets? For these upcoming shows, the answer is yes.
Using loops of her (extremely powerful) voice, Merrill Garbus—a.k.a. tUnE-yArDs—creates music that’s both precise and messy, accessible and weird. Her current backing band includes a bassist and saxophone section, which allows her to flesh out the songs from her recent album "w h o k i l l" perfectly. Garbus is one of the most dynamic performers working today, and her music is some of the year’s most acclaimed. She will be at Le Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker St., between Thompson Street and LaGuardia Place), Sept. 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.
Swans’ current live show runs upwards of two-and-a-half hours. They claim to be the loudest band in the world. Band leader Michael Gira has physically assaulted show-goers on more than one occasion. But even if Swans’ shows aren’t exactly fun, they’re what many reviewers call “religious experiences.” The band is powerful, focused, and expressive in ways most modern, jaded artists never are. Swans is one-of-a-kind, and will be at the Music Hall of Williamsburg (66 N. 6th St., between Kent and Wythe avenues) on Sept. 27 and 28 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $30.
Chris Brown with T-Pain
The public may still see reason not to support Chris Brown. Regardless, students should brave the hike to Nassau Coliseum (1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale) to see Brown’s opener, T-Pain. Though he hasn’t been burning up the charts as much lately, T-Pain might be this generation’s most influential auto-tuner. He has a well-stocked canon of infectious hits sure to fill his opening slot at 7 p.m. on Sept. 30. Kelly Rowland and Tyga will also appear. Tickets range from $75 to $750.
Neon Marshmallow Music Festival
This festival first touched down in Chicago last year and makes its New York debut this fall. It will showcase some of experimental music’s biggest acts including Rhys Chatham, Tim Hecker, and Grouper, as well several promising lesser-known acts. People looking to get their groove on should definitely keep their distance, but those looking for forward-thinking music should catch one (or more) of these shows at Brooklyn’s Public Assembly (70 N. 6th St., between Kent and Wythe avenues). Passes are $60 for all three days or $25 for one day of the Oct. 14 to 16 festival. Ticket-buyers must be 21+.