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Mumford & Sons, Passion Pit and Rakim Play New York

By Daniel Jumpertz | February 6, 2013 8:26am

Wednesday, February 6
Rising from the West London folk scene in 2008, Mumford & Sons have built a huge international following with well crafted acoustic rock. Their debut album "Sign No More" released late 2009 has enjoyed sales of more than 2.5 million copies here in the US, a pattern of popularity that has been replicated in their homeland and further afield. The follow up, "Babel", was released in late 2012, hitting the top spot in both the US and UK charts and yielding the hit single "I Will Wait." With The Felice Brothers at Barclays Center. Also Tues Feb 12.

Also tonight: Epic underground hard rockers Swans are enjoying a renaissance. After forming in 1982, their most recent album "The Seer" has been their biggest seller ever, gracing many 2012 year-end best-of polls. At Music Hall of Williamsburg. Tonight with and Marissa Nadler, Thursday with Devendra Banhart.

Thursday, February 7
Enigmatic singer songwriter Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (Will Oldham) performs gravelly, heartfelt tunes reminiscent of Tom Waits. Since his 1993 debut with Palace Brothers "There Is No-One What Will Take Care of You" Oldham has recorded 16 studio albums. Oldham began his acting career at the age of 17, appearing in John Sayles's film about an Appalachian mining community, "Matewan" (1987). Oldham moved to Hollywood to pursue acting in the late 1980s, and landed roles in a couple of films. However, he quickly became disillusioned with the film industry and quit in 1989. He rarely performs live, which is why tickets to this show are so hard to find. Part of The American Songbook series at the Allen Room, Lincoln Center.

Friday, February 8
In celebration of Black History Month, Stage 48 presents two of hip hop's greatest MC innovators on the one stage. Rakim made his reputation with partner Eric B during rap's late 80's golden age, and although they never enjoyed great mainstream or commercial success, were hugely influential. Among the first beatmakers to sample James Brown's epic grooves, Rakim's free-rhythm style earned comparisons to jazz giants such as Thelonious Monk. In the mid 1990s, after four albums with Eric B, Rakim went solo and has since released three studio albums, the most recent being 2009's "The Seventh Seal". Raekwon is a key member of Staten Island's Wu-Tang Clan, joining the renegade hip hop posse in 1992 prior to the release of their groundbreaking debut "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)". Raekwan has also released five solo studio albums most recently 2011's "Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang".

Also tonight: The first Passion Pit songs, which would later become the "Chunk of Change" EP, were written by Michael Angelakos as a belated Valentine's Day gift to his girlfriend. The first and only single to be released from the EP, "Sleepyhead", was an underground hit, while the video for the song was included on Pitchfork's Top 40 Music Videos of 2008 list. Since then, the Cambridge, Massachusetts based five piece has released two full length albums, the most recent "Gossamer" becoming their first top 5 hit, propelled by the catchy indie stomp of the single "Take A Walk". With Matt & Kim at Madison Square Garden.

Saturday, February 9
Led by their feisty and fiercely independent singer and songwriter David Gedge, The Wedding Present have been mainstays on the UK indie music scene since the mid 80s. At the height of their popularity between 1990 and 1992, the band had a run of 12 top-30 singles in 12 months, equalling a record set by Elvis Presley. While huge at home, the Leeds-based outfit never enjoyed the acclaim abroad that they experienced at home. The band sought and received permission to name their 1987 debut album after Northern Irish football legend George Best, and it is this indie classic that the band will play in its entirety tonight at The Bowery Ballroom.

Also tonight: San Francisan hip-hop producer Aesop Rock (a.k.a. Ian Matthias Bavitz) plays Irving Plaza. At the forefront of the new wave of underground and alternative hip-hop acts that emerged during the late 1990s and early 2000s, his best known track is "None Shall Pass" — the title track froths 2007 album.  

And: Barry Manilow's comeback tour "Manilow On Broadway" is underway, and the word on the street is that Manilow has lost none of his schmaltzy magic. He's playing St. James Theatre right into early March, so if you're looking for a hot ticket for the senior set, (or a super-retro Valentine's Day option for your sweetheart) look no further.

Sunday, February 10
New York based post-rockers Mice Parade play tonight at Brooklyn's Knitting Factory. Led by percussionist Adam Pierce, the band's vibe is both gently expressive and highly rhythmic. Their most recent album "Candela" artfully blends electronic, indie and global influences.

Also tonight: Beak> are the intriguing project of Portishead founder and producer Geoff Barrow. Beak>'s vibe explores a metronomic, though dubby krautrocking vibe, quite different from Portishead. At The Bowery Ballroom.

Monday, February 11
Les Paul Monday’s at The Iridium feature the blind US-based (Puerto Rico-born) acoustic guitar legend José Feliciano. One of the most prominent Latin-born performers of the pop era, José exploded into the charts in 1968 with a slinky, stripped back cover of The Doors' hit "Light My Fire".

Also tonight: Baltimore-based experimental electronica duo (M.C Schmidt and Drew Daniel) Matmos have just released their ninth studio album “The Marriage of True Minds”. In 2001 Matmos were asked to collaborate with the Icelandic singer Bjork on her “Vespertine” album, and subsequently embarked on two world tours as part of her band. Most recently, they have been part of the ensemble for the Robert Wilson production “The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic”, featuring Marina Abramovic, Antony and Willem Dafoe. At Le Poisson Rouge.

Tuesday, February 12
Reformed punk idols Dead Kennedys play the Gramercy Theater.

Also tonight: Feeling funky? George Clinton & The P-Funk All-Stars rock out tonight at  B.B. King Blues Club and Grill.