By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
The Bowery Ballroom
Anyone who saw Tom Hardy's performance as Forrest Bondurant in Lawless this year knows that hillbillies, moonshine, and layered granddad sweaters are pretty gangster. I predict that this combination is going to do wonders for country music enthusiasts hidden all over the city. I'm already seeing rocked-out button-down sweaters and Bud Light beer koozies from Harlem to East New York. If you're not familiar with what's going on in bluegrass music these days, celebrating New Year's Eve with the Punch Brothers at the Bowery Ballroom is an excellent primer. These Brooklyn sons should be counted among the vanguard of the progressive bluegrass movement. The vocal subtleties of frontman Chris Thile (formerly of Nickel Creek) resonate with lucid charm in any room. Backed by the skills of banjo player Chris Eldridge, this five-man operation comes together beautifully.
6 Delancey Street, 212-533-2111
Ever since their collaboration on "Lost+," Jay-Z and Coldplay have shown that not only is reaching across the aisle possible, but also that compromise makes the world a better place. After the election we've all suffered through, wouldn't it be killer to see these two auditory maestros come together and show Congress how to get shit done? This year, Coldplay is coming to HOV's house. If you haven't been to the new Barclays Center yet, make this live concert in Brooklyn your reason. Like every radical and innovative piece of architecture that has pissed people off throughout the ages, this arena will probably leave you doodling your own ideas on bar napkins for weeks.
620 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, 212-359-6387
barclayscenter.com, $69 and up
If you've never had any Amanda Fucking Palmer in your life, you really need to get some. (Yes, her middle name is Fucking.) After breaking with her label, Palmer and her band started a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year to crowd-source investors for their new album, Theatre Is Evil. More than 24,000 backers and over 1 million controversial dollars later, they surpassed what they set out to accomplish. Now that, friends, is how it's done. Why should you see Amanda and her magical band of misfits this New Year's Eve? Because they will be performing Purple Rain in its entirety. If that's not enough of a reason for you, check out her badass new music video, "Do It With a Rockstar," at amandapalmer.net.
610 West 56th Street, 212-582-6600
terminal5nyc.com, $50 and up
If this man makes any more triple-platinum albums in our lifetime, he may very well upset the rare-metals market. Considered one of the greatest lyricists of our time, Nas has been holding it steady since 1993. No matter what that blowhard Bill O'Reilly spouts off on Fox, we know a national treasure when we see one. If Nas repped New York City any harder, we'd be obliged to declare his birthplace a historical landmark. The least we can do is leave the house and show him some love in person. Coming on the tails of his new release, Life Is Good, this show is absolutely worth spilling ink over.
1260 Sixth Avenue, 212-247-4777
radiocity.com, $50 and up
I didn't want to jump on the Pretty Lights bandwagon right away, but after listening to Derek Vincent Smith's conundrum of breakbeats and electro-soul samplings on heavy rotation for the past few weeks, I realized this kid really has his shit together. Besides, any artist who makes his life's work available for free downloads is onto something that's next-level. This year, he brings his dual laptops and apoplectic visual extravaganza to the main stage of the Roseland. Don't miss it if you can help it.
239 West 52nd Street, 212-247-0200
roselandballroom.com, $74.50 and up