Expert Picks

On the Beat: The Best Live Music in NYC This November

Noise rock. Indian flute. Afro-Cuban sounds. WSWD’s music experts pick the shows to see this month.

The falling leaves aren’t the only sounds of autumn. Our go-to concert connoisseurs, John Seroff and Meera Dugal, will be listening to live music from around the world. Their picks for the next few weeks have it all, from avant-garde bass and post-bop jazz to Senegalese tunes in a subterranean lounge on Bleecker Street. Dig it!

John Seroff

An early music blogger whose website received millions of visits, John has gone on to run his own boutique live-performance PR and marketing company, supporting many of NYC’s biggest and best-known venues and festivals. To keep up with what’s going on in the field, our music expert attends at least 200 live shows a year. When he’s not at a concert, he’s obsessively listening to one of his dozens of ever-changing playlists.

Tredici Bacci: Soundtracks to Italian Silent Films
Classically trained avant-garde bassist and bandleader Simon Hanes juggles a number of wildly creative, polyvalent projects and eccentric performance groups, including his (often in-the-buff) live shows with punk rockers Guerilla Toss and more button-down sets with Italo-lounge collective Tredici Bacci. The latter was featured as a New Artist You Need to Know in Rolling Stone, and their new album, Amore Per Tutti, scored high in its Pitchfork review. The 14-piece combo will be playing songs off that latest LP tonight.

fall concerts nyc

509 Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Hill
Wednesday, November 1, 7 p.m.
Tickets start at $15

Swans With Carla Bozulich
1980s noise-rock pioneers Swans’s calling cards are experimental compositions, confrontational style, and earsplitting live volume. Lead performer Michael Gira, currently touring in support of the band’s new album, The Glowing Man, has stated that this will be the last set of shows by the group in its current lineup. On their way out, Swans will be joined by a special opening act for each performance, and Bozulich will be onstage tonight.

261 Driggs Avenue, Greenpoint
Thursday, November 2, 7 p.m.
Tickets start at $35

The Raincoats: Gina Birch and Ana da Silva
Post-punk London band The Raincoats was founded in the late ’70s by guitarist da Silva and bassist Birch. With an emphasis on noncommercial sound and unconventional instrumentation, the band became very much a specialty act, but one that helped inspire a young Kurt Cobain. The Raincoats’s first self-titled album is the subject of a new book (The Raincoats’ The Raincoats) by Jenn Pelly; she’ll be talking with the band’s core members about their history and the making of the seminal LP. This event may not include live music, but it’s a must-see for all fans of live punk.

fall concerts nyc

The Kitchen
512 West 19th Street (between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues), Chelsea
Thursday, November 2, and Friday, November, 3
7 p.m.
General: $20; members: $15

Tori Amos
Iconoclastic pianist Amos was the artist of choice for the too-cool-for–Lilith Fair ’90s set. Her first two albums went double platinum and set the standard for a generation of solo singer-songwriters. Amos’s just-released 15th major-label LP, Native Invader, is her first in nearly four years and one of her darkest and most introspective yet. Tori Amos fans are often reverent to the point of worship; I imagine these somewhat pricey shows at the Beacon Theatre are likely to feel like a church service.

Beacon Theatre
2124 Broadway (between West 74th and 75th Streets), Upper West Side
Tuesday, November 7, and Wednesday, November 8
8 p.m.
Tickets start at $75

Ravi Coltrane Quartet
Post-bop saxophonist (and, not incidentally, the son of jazz giants Alice and John Coltrane) Ravi Coltrane has done a solid job of maintaining the family name. In addition to his work covering Blue Note classics as a member of the Blue Note 7 septet, he has performed as a sideman with such greats as Wallace Roney, Elvin Jones, Steve Coleman, and Terence Blanchard. He’s also an able bandleader whose skills will be on display with his own quartet for this weeklong run at the Village Vanguard.

Village Vanguard
178 Seventh Avenue South (between Perry and West 11th Streets), Greenwich Village
Tuesday, November 7–Sunday, November 12
Sets at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
$20 in advance; $25 day of show 

Meera Dugal

As programming manager of the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, this arts enthusiast has her ears tuned to the eclectic sounds of the city.

One of the most explosively famous duos to come around in a while, Ibeyi—the name means “twins” in Yoruba—has gone from 0 to 60 in the past two years. Drawing from their Cuban and Yoruba roots, sisters Lisa and Naomi Diaz’s bewitching music is a blend of indie sounds and ancient Afro-Cuban tradition. While one strums the cajón and the other glides her fingers across the ivories, these talented twins pay tribute to their culture through an experimental-jazz fusion. You must see them live at least once!

Brooklyn Steel
319 Frost Street, East Williamsburg
Sunday, November 5, 6 p.m.
$25 in advance; $30 day of show

Habib Koité & Bamada
African music fans are in for a treat, as one of Senegal’s greatest artists comes to Bleecker Street club LPR. Koité is a virtuosic musician who plays the guitar as if it were a ngoni, a guitar-like instrument of West Africa favored by the musical storytellers, griots, of which Koité comes from a long line of. Come prepared to dance!

(Le) Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker Street (between Sullivan and Thompson Streets), Greenwich Village
Wednesday, November 8, 7 p.m.
$30 in advance; $35 day of show

Jordi Savall: The Routes of Slavery
You’ll want to keep Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival on your radar this year; it’s presenting another stellar lineup of beautiful performances that share a common thread of spirituality. I’m most excited about this show, which examines the global routes of slavery from 1444 to 1888. Directed by early music conductor Jordi Savall, the ensemble features master musicians from Europe, Africa, and the Americas, who explore the legacy of slavery through song. Shout-out to Moroccan maestro Driss el Maloumi and the Malian artists who come from the renowned musical families of Sissoko, Diabaté, Keita, and Kouyaté.

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall
10 Columbus Circle (Broadway and West 60th Street), 5th floor, Upper West Side
Wednesday, November 15, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets start at $35

Hariprasad Chaurasia 
Chaurasia is (in my opinion) the greatest living Indian classical musician today; seeing him perform is life-changing. As a master of the North Indian bamboo flute, called a bansuri, his music can immediately lower your heart rate and put your whole body in a state of relaxation.

92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Avenue (between East 92nd and 93rd Streets), Upper East Side
Friday, November 17, 8 p.m.
Tickets start at $25 

Ready to rock out at these shows? Contact our experience advisers and they’ll take care of the rest.