The 19 Best New Year's Eve Concerts and Dance Parties in New York
Kiesza rings in 2015 at Webster Hall.
New Year's Eve is considered by some to be the most "amateur night" of them all to venture out to a New York club of any stripe. Fear not, we've got theguide to point you in the direction of coolness, hotness, or whatever temperature or speed you'd like your evening to go. Ring in the new year on a dance floor, in a Brooklyn bowling alley, at a metal bar or celeb-filled hotspot in Chelsea -- say sayonara to 2014 and hola to 2015 in whatever musical way floats your boat.
Deer Tick at Brooklyn Bowl In honor of Deer Tick's 10th anniversary, the alt-rockers are mounting 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 Deer Tick's 2007 debut, War Elephant, they'll also cover the likes of Lou Reed's Transformer and Meet the Beatles), 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. Info here. -- Jill Menze
John Zorn Improv Night at The Stone 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. [Info here] -- Aidan Levy
Diplo and Skrillex American rock band Phish have long been a mainstay of NYC's New Year's Eve scene, having first performed on the occasion at Madison Square Garden in the 1990s. For the past four years running, they have returned to the venue to play New Year's for a series of sold-out crowds. This year, however, MSG is switching gears, presenting a team-up between a pair of in-demand EDM staples: Diplo and Skrillex. The two offer individual sets, alongside a joint performance that -- in the vein of their recent Jack Ü collaboration -- has the artists mixing a blend of trap and electro house. [Buy tickets here] -- Danny King
Kiesza Still riding the sensation of her pop hit "Hideaway," Kiesza -- whose "Take U There" colleagues Diplo and Skrillex are set to perform at Madison Square Garden (see above) -- receives her own New Year's platform at Webster Hall. This is something of a quick-turnaround homecoming, as Kiesza performed at Webster in October as part of the Downtown Festival. In addition to Kiesza, the event -- depending on the level of ticket purchased -- offers such amenities as a six-hour open bar, a Webster Hall membership card for 2015, midnight Champagne, and an after-hours party that persists until 8 a.m. [Buy tickets here] -- Danny King Disco Biscuits Since forming in 1995, the Disco Biscuits -- with the help of their notable annual festival, Camp Bisco -- have popularized the fusion of improv-rock and electronic music. The band also has a reputation for live-performance diversity, orchestrating groups of sets that often differ from each other in tempo and style. That the Biscuits' NYC NYE appearance comes billed with a promise of three sets should provide the ideal template for the band's members -- keyboardist Aron Magner, drummer Allen Aucoin, bassist Marc Brownstein, and guitarist Jon Gutwillig -- to unleash their full arsenal. [Buy tickets here] -- Danny King
Erasure British synthpop duo Erasure have been taking their latest album, The Violet Flame, on tour for a few months now. But keyboardist Vince Clarke and singer Andy Bell saved their New York City appearance for a special occasion: back-to-back performances on the final two nights of 2014. Indeed, dancing in the new year to the sounds of Erasure has never been a more appropriate activity: While previous albums have been composed on guitar and piano, the dance-flavored Violet Flame was written on synths. DJ Alex English and the American synthpop band Book of Love join Erasure on the NYE ticket. [Buy tickets here] -- Danny King The Hold Steady 2014 has been a significant year for the Brooklyn-formed rock band the Hold Steady, bringing with it the release of Teeth Dreams, the group's first album in four years. Adding to the festive nature of their appearance here is bassist Galen Polivka's birthday, the celebration of which figures into the evening: For an extra $30, attendees can join the band for a post-performance "Birthday Bash" set to extend into the wee hours. Opening for the Hold Steady: another Brooklyn favorite, DIY punk-rock band the So So Glos. [Check secondary markets] -- Danny King
Quicksand Twenty-four years ago, Quicksand emerged from the city's hardcore scene and, after tours with like-minded lineups including Helmet, Fugazi, and Rage Against the Machine, inked a major-label deal in the early '90s. They broke up in 1995 at the top of their game, reunited in 1998, split in '99, reunited in 2012, and toured in 2013. In short, a new album and tour are anything but guaranteed, so to catch the revered locals in a small-ish venue on New Year's Eve is a special chance indeed. The show is sold out, but NOT for one of YOU! For a chance to win a pair of tickets, go to Village Voice Music on Facebook, "like" the page, and tell us why YOU deserve to see Quicksand at St. Vitus. Openers Creepoid; showtime 9pm, 21+, St. Vitus info here and enter to WIN here! -- Katherine Turman Black Taxi Brooklyn-based Black Taxi are known for incorporating a wide range of genres and influences into their work: The backgrounds of the group's members include experiences in everything from r&b and '80s synthpop to percussion and jazz. ("Grit-pop" and "dance punk" represent the kind of hybrid terms that have been used to describe the BT's aesthetic.) Their knack for live performance is equally wild and unhinged: Body paint and megaphones are just two of the act's prominent accessories. Kicking off the evening an hour prior is Little Racer, whose recent EP, Modern Accent, earned strong notices. [Buy tickets here] -- Danny King
Obits 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 its 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. An econo-priced 15 bucks (advance) or $20 at the door, this may be the the best NYE deal in town. Dead Stars and Tournament open the show. [Buy tickets here] -- Brad Cohan
!!! at the Knitting Factory Dance away 2014 among the Williamsburg elite at the Knitting Factory for !!!'s New Year's Eve blowout. The California-born group, commonly pronounced "Chk Chk Chk," has been responsible for some of the best groove-inflected dance-punk for more than a decade, 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. [Buy tickets here] -- Danny King
Photo by Edwige Hamben, courtesy of Disclosure
Wild Life NYE with Disclosure This New Year's Eve, British brothers and production duo Disclosure are celebrating the year of their lives. Their album Settle 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 and their taste is 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. -- Linda Abascal [Buy tickets here]
Where to Dance:
All That Glitters at Verboten "All That Glitters," Verboten's NYE gala, not-so-subtly hints at the ambitious plans the venue has in store: transforming its 10,000-square-foot Williamsburg space, a former metal shop, into a "futuristic diamond paradise." Combined with the space's already impressive foundation -- a Martin Audio sound system, video walls, a Thomas Edison-descended wood dance floor -- the omnipresent sparkle of glitter should only serve to make the event all the more thrilling. The DJ list includes the globe-hopping Lee Burridge; Berlin-based super-house duo Andhim; and Burridge collaborator Matthew Dekay (of the label All Day I Dream). [Buy tickets here] -- Danny King
Purple Rain Dance Party at Videology The 30th-anniversary commemoration of Purple Rain -- an "anguished, cryptic, and even masturbatory" record, per the Voice's own Alan Scherstuhl -- extends until the last possible second with this 2014-concluding, Prince-themed party. Beginning with a screening of the 1984 film before transitioning into a dance party scored to hits from the '70s, '80s, and '90s, the event comes stocked with a pair of specialty Purple Rain-related cocktails: the Apollonia (named after Apollonia Kotero, Prince's co-star in the film) and the Crying Dove (a reference to the album's smash single, "When Doves Cry"). Dress-wise, lace-and-velvet costumes are recommended. [Info here] -- Danny King
The Party at Output Though still relatively new, Williamsburg's Output has quickly established itself as one of Brooklyn's premier dance clubs, perhaps in large part because it takes itself so authentically seriously: "Output welcomes individuals who value the communal experience of music over cameras and bottle service," reads the website's FAQ page. For genuine dance fanatics, then, few NYE offerings can stack up against the distraction-free atmosphere guaranteed here. (Good luck to those who try to text.) DJ Koze, Wareika, and Kozo are among those headlining the event, with yet more talent TBA. [Buy tickets here] -- Danny King
Santos Party House
The Party at Santos Party House Santos Party House is something of an all-purpose location: A two-floor, 8,000-square-foot property, it divides its space in such a way that party-hard dancing, concert-hall activity, and subdued lounging can all comfortably coexist within its confines. For its NYE bash, however, Santos's exceptional sound features -- tri-amped boxes, huge speakers that blast 150,000 watts -- are likely to outshine its other qualities. Though the source of the evening's special live DJ performance has yet to be unveiled, it's hard to imagine a venue of this caliber fumbling the ball on that score. Multiple ticket levels are available for purchase; the general-admission pass ($69) comes with access to a five-hour open bar. [Buy tickets here] -- Danny King The Party at 1OAK If rubbing shoulders with celebrities as the new year arrives is your thing, Chelsea's 1 Oak is certainly a safe bet. The rundown of VIPs includes the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Chris Rock, and Jay-Z; as the lyrics go in the lattermost's "Blow the Whistle" remix, "When I'm not at Butler, I'm at 1 Oak." The space oozes luxury: gold-lettered walls, black-and-white chevron flooring, and a black lacquered wood bar. On tap to DJ is Chase B -- whose set features a resourceful mixture of hip-hop, pop, house, mash-ups, and Top 40 staples -- and the Major Lazer-affiliated Walshy Fire, who imbues electronic music with a distinct reggae touch. [Buy tickets here] -- Danny King
The Party at Cielo Conceived just over a decade ago by DJ Nicolas Matar, meatpacking district hotspot Cielo boasts an ideal setup -- a sunken dance floor, a Funktion-One sound system -- for those looking to bust a move as 2015 comes into being. Handling electronic-music duties is a promising roster of DJs: the duo Sleepy & Boo, whose sets are celebrated for exploring the entire spectrum of dance music; tech-house up-and-comers Eskuche & Nu Sky; and Mikey G + Dan Fischer. In keeping with Cielo's allergy to elitism -- "Once you are in Cielo, there will be no more ropes, checkpoints, or rules," goes the venue's frequent promise -- each ticket level includes the same benefits; the price only goes up the later you book your ticket. [Buy tickets here] -- Danny King
The Party at Up & Down Another trendy creation from the Butter Group (their 1 Oak is located only a few blocks away), Up & Down distinguishes itself through its appearance and its multi-floor scheme. The upstairs caters to the dance crowd with an elevated DJ booth, a booming sound system, and savvy design choices (chandeliers, crown moldings, blue banquettes). Downstairs, on the other hand, functions more as a laid-back lounge, with intimate couches and low ceilings. Eric Aguirre (a/k/a Vice) is slated to DJ here, spinning a complete assortment of house, hip-hop, Top 40 hits, and more. The general-admission ticket ($89) unlocks the five-hour open bar; table-service treatment starts at $149. [Buy tickets here] -- Danny King
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.