The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 12/29/14
For more shows throughout the week, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.
Monday, 12/29 Armin van Buuren Pier 94 9 p.m., $75 Say what you will about DJ Mag's Top 100 DJ List, but if you've won any award four years in a row (and then some), you're clearly at the top of your game -- at the top of the game, in fact. Enter Armin van Buuren, trance maverick and father of the A State of Trance radio show, which has over 20 million listeners tuning in for any given episode. Beyond a DJ, van Buuren has become a symbol of the trance genre, and his following is proof of the general EDM community's resolute devotion and admiration for the man on stage. He is known particularly for his Armin-Only shows, which are -- you guessed it -- live shows consisting of Armin...only. It is during these performances that Armin's true talent is most evident, with him playing for (literally) hours on end: The man once played for 14 hours, leaving him with the record for longest DJ session to date. These shows are emblematic of van Buuren's passion for the music and his drive to unite people around his sound, one that is fast yet well-paced, euphoric yet exuberant, serene yet totally bonkers. He is inarguably one of the best DJs the world has ever seen, and if you don't believe me, take a look at his ever-growing list of records, EPs, singles, compilations, live performances, collaborations, radio shows, and even a documentary to prove it. Ages 18 and older. -- By Eleanor Lambert
Patti Smith Webster Hall Monday & Tuesday, 8 p.m., $45 The Godmother is ready for the Ballroom. A forerunner of New York's punk rock movement who is still plugging away with the fervor that defined her career, Patti Smith wraps up the old year with two shows in two nights. She undeniably toned down her early volume and frenzy with 2012's Banga, a dreamy and determined album that plays like an epic, but that doesn't mean the endlessly influential Smith is keeping quiet. In such a tumultuous year, it only makes sense to finish it off with someone louder than the rest of us. The shows are open to everyone 18 and older. Doors are 7 p.m., show 8 p.m. The shows are sold out; check the secondary market and as well as the venue's Facebook page in case additional tickets are released. -- By Ashley Steves
Deer Tick Brooklyn Bowl Monday - Wednesday, 9 p.m., $40 - $50 In honor of Deer Tick's tenth anniversary, the alt-rockers mount an impressive six-night run at Brooklyn Bowl, December 26-31. Though most nights of the residency find the group playing albums in full (in addition to the group's 2007 debut, War Elephant, they'll cover the likes of Lou Reed's Transformer), the final gig is an extra-special all-fan-chosen set. Though advance tickets for the New Year's Eve show are sold out, a limited number will be available at the door. Deer Tick diehards, get there early -- tickets are first-come, first-served (and cash only!), starting when doors open at 6 p.m. -- By Jill Menze
Tuesday, 12/30 Kaskade Pier 36 8 p.m., $87 - $500 There are few DJs as popular as Kaskade. When he broke into the EDM scene, he hit the ground running, pumping out new music and creating his own (very large) space in the progressive-house movement right as it was developing in the U.S.A. Born Ryan Raddon, the Chicago native is known for his energetic and poppy sound, and since his first single in 2001, "What I Say," Kaskade has leapt to the top of the EDM food chain, with some of his tunes gracing top 40 radio in the U.S. and many becoming festival anthems. This year Kaskade will start the New Year's party one night earlier than usual, so peep him and his loud, fast-paced synths at Pier 36 tonight. Open to everyone 21 and older. -- By Eleanor Lambert
The Hold Steady Music Hall of Williamsburg Tuesday & Wednesday, 9:30 p.m., $35 - $75 The year started on quite a high note for The Hold Steady: They released the critically acclaimed Teeth Dreams back in March, the first album in four years for the Brooklyn band and a welcome return to that Bruce Springsteen-meets-Mountain Goats sound and storytelling. It's fitting they will not only wrap up the year in Williamsburg but also on bass player Galen Polivka's birthday, who is turning the second show into a full-on birthday bash, complete with midnight toast and a post-show party -- if you can find your way in. The So So Glos open both nights. The December 30 show is 18+ and doors are at 8 p.m.; and the December 31 show is 21+ with doors at 8:30 p.m. Both nights are sold out, but you can find tickets on the secondary market. -- By Ashley Steves
Michael Daves's All-Star Bluegrass Throwdown The Bell House 8 p.m., $15 - $45 Brooklyn has long been an under-the-radar hotbed of bluegrass action. Last month, Georgia-born guitarist Michael Daves, whose most recent album is a Grammy-nominated 2011 collaboration with MacArthur Fellow Chris Thile, extravagantly exceeded his Kickstarter goal of funding a pair of "twin" albums -- one a traditional acoustic bluegrass record, the other a wild-and-woolly electric set -- containing the same tracks in the same order. Tonight's All-Star Bluegrass Throwdown features Daves's talented acoustic sessioneers: Punch Brothers banjoist Noam Pikelny, who recently released a Bill Monroe tribute; the talented mandolinist Sarah Jarosz, 23, who has three albums of her own; Brittany Haas, of the chamber-bluegrass group Crooked Still; and Del McCoury Band bassist Mike Bub. The Lonesome Trio kick off a high-energy evening in Gowanus -- where the grass often is blue. Doors, 7:30 p.m., 21+. -- By Richard Gehr
NEW YEAR'S EVE, Wednesday, 12/31 Disclosure Pier 94 6 p.m., $100 - $500 This New Year's Eve, British brothers and production duo Disclosure are celebrating the year of their lives. Their Settle album paved the way for U.K. garage-influenced sounds to dominate mainstream U.S. radio. With features from everyone from fellow breakout star Sam Smith to the iconic Mary J. Blige, Disclosure's sound is likable, their taste reliable. Joining Disclosure are their pick of top-tier producers from the dance hubs of the world, including San Francisco-based dance label Dirtybird's Claude VonStroke, Detroit legend Kyle Hall, U.K. duo Dusky, and more. On a night typically filled with cheesy novelties, spend this New Year's Eve dancing until an obscene hour of the night (technically, morning) to music that doesn't suck. -- By Lina Abascal
Obits The Acheron 8 p.m., $15 - $20 Bushwick's gloriously scuzzy metal/punk/hardcore dive the Acheron is ringing in 2015 with a healthy dose of grizzled and greasy surf-punk, courtesy of local rapscallion bunch Obits. Led by DIY cred-busting godhead croaker Rick Froberg of Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes post-hardcore fame, the Brooklyn-based Obits have served up a beer-guzzling, garage-rock-chugging LP full of blistering "moody, standard and poor" (to borrow the name of their 2011 release) anthems. So raise your booze high and "taste the diff" while welcoming the New Year with icky-assed, junk-fi tunes from Obits' most recent rad riffer, Bed & Bugs, and '09's still-awesome I Blame You. At an econo-priced $15 (advance) or $20 at the door, this may be the best NYE deal in town. Dead Stars and Tournament open the show. 21+. -- By Brad Cohan
!!! Knitting Factory Brooklyn 9 p.m., $40 Dance away 2014 among the Williamsburg elite at Knitting Factory for !!!'s New Year's Eve blowout. The California-born group (whose name is commonly pronounced "Chk Chk Chk") has been responsible for some of the best groove-inflected dance-punk of the past decade-plus, and, fittingly, !!!'s high-energy live shows are not to be missed. For this occasion, expect a champagne toast as the clock strikes midnight, special guests, and frontman Nic Offer in a stylish pair of short-shorts. Prince Rama and Cakes Da Killa round out the bill. Ages 21+. -- By Jill Menze
John Zorn Improv Night The Stone 8 p.m., $25 Ring in the new year with some serious ringing as downtown impresario John Zorn kicks off 2015 with an air of experimental spontaneity at his Alphabet City black-box arts space. All proceeds go directly to club maintenance, so it's an old-fashioned rent party done with a newfangled attitude and the klezmer flair of Zorn's Radical Jewish Culture. Co-conspirators include percussionist Lukas Ligeti (of the avant-garde Ligetis); Masada husband-and-wife duo violinist Mark Feldman and pianist Sylvie Courvoisier; electronic percussionist Ikue Mori (of Zorn's Hemophiliac); and clarinetist Jeremiah Cymeman. Past years included a champagne toast, but play it safe and bring your own Andre Brut. 8 p.m., $25, East Second Street and Avenue C, 212-473-0043. -- By Aidan Levy
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