Play It Again, Sam

Live music reverberates throughout The Big Apple

Sam Smith

2015 is here and there are some big names in music kicking the year off in style, from newcomers to established rockers. Billy Joel returns to Madison Square Garden on January 9, Alex Metric hits Brooklyn Bowl on January 10 and Linkin Park dominate Barclays Center on January 25. In addition to these, here are New York City Monthly’s picks for live music in January:

Arguably the voice of 2014, Sam Smith has made his mark this year with “In The Lonely Hour,” the British singer’s debut album chock full of hits including the omnipresent “Stay With Me,” “I’m Not The Only One,” “Lay Me Down,” “Latch,” “Money On My Mind” and more. His upcoming January 15 Madison Square Garden date sold out in minutes, not to mention tickets to many other major cities around North America. Recently named Favorite Male Artist – Pop/Rock at the American Music Awards, this winter is looking like Sam’s awards season, gaining huge momentum for a Grammys takeover come February. Smith’s album is the 2nd biggest-selling album of 2014 behind only Taylor Swift’s “1989” and was a #1 in the UK, claiming the record for highest first week sales by a male artist in the UK, now with 2.8 million copies sold worldwide. Having already collaborated with Disclosure, Naughty Boy, A$AP Rocky and Mary J. Blige, he has become a globally-respected overnight singing sensation.

LA electronic artist and producer Dillon Francis’ “Friends Rule” tour is a nod to his debut album “Money Sucks, Friends Rule” which was released in October and features a host of collaborators including DJ Snake, Martin Garrix, Sultan + Ned Shepard, Twista, Panic! At The Disco’s Brandon Urie, The Presets and Major Lazer. Dillon’s upcoming Barclays Center show is expected to be a rowdy night of dancing and fun when ‘Mr. “Masta Blasta”‘ bangs through Brooklyn on January 16. Tracks “Get Low” and “When We Were Young” are already smashes, “Not Butter” is completely silly and “I Can’t Take It” is one of the standout tracks on the entire album, one that hits hard with Francis’ moombahton signature sound. Already, Francis has performed at New York’s Electric Zoo and Electric Daisy Carnival, not to mention other major festivals like Coachella, TomorrowWorld and Ultra.

Unless you’re a die-hard blues fan, you may not know Joe Bonamassa by name, but you should – he has twelve #1 Billboard blues albums and is a guitar superstar originally from upstate New York who was discovered by blues great B.B. King at ten years of age. His most recent 11th studio album “Different Shades of Blue” is Bonamassa’s first of his career that features all original material, recorded entirely in Nashville and produced by Kevin Shirley (Black Crowes, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin) who spearheaded his last fifteen projects (he’s had numerous live, video and collaborations albums too). Standout tracks to listen up for on the new record include the hard rocking track “Oh Beautiful!” and the big band funky blues track “Heartache Follows Wherever I Go.” Joe Bonamassa smokes up his own flavor of blues rock at Radio City Music Hall on two nights, January 23 and 24, his first shows at the venue and his largest shows to date in New York.

Jack White has become a critically-acclaimed rock fixture in America, with his two solo albums “Blunderbuss” and “Lazaretto” which were both #1 albums in the U.S. The eight-time Grammy winner and Detroit native stomps through Madison Square Garden on January 30 for a night that will span the many genres that White touches upon: garage rock, punk, blues, folk and country. Already he’s collaborated with Loretta Lynn, Alicia Keys, Danger Mouse, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones. In addition to solo material such as “Blue Blood Blues” and “Love Interruption,” fans may get lucky with some cuts from The White Stripes days like “Fell In Love With A Girl,” “Icky Thump,” their cover of “Jolene” and the inescapable anthem “Seven Nation Army.” Concert-goers will revel in the rock melodies but most of all when Jack White showcases his impressive guitar skills, among other instruments.

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