Here’s Your NYC New Year’s Eve Concert Guide (Plus the Best Shows of the Week)


For more shows throughout the week, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

2015 has given us some phenomenal live music experiences, with plenty of anniversary tours and other auspicious reunions, as well as vital comebacks and rich debuts… but now it’s time to say goodbye. When the ball drops, there’s no better place to be than in front of a stage, getting down to some live music, and we’ve got some solid selections for the week leading up to that final countdown – not to mention tons of picks taking place on the big night. Starting the week off with strong party vibes is Dan Deacon’s return to Brooklyn Bowl, celebrating the release of his fourth studio album, Gliss Riffer, earlier this year. During his shows, Deacon is half loop-manipulating knob-twister, half social activities director, providing his fans with a series of goofy prompts to encourage dancing and other forms of social interaction. That makes his Tuesday show the perfect test run for all those awkward and euphoric moments New Year’s Eve will bring. We’ve extended our Best Concerts rundown this week to include extra options for show-going on the last day of 2015, including Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Mykki Blanco, Avan Lava, Deer Tick, DIIV, They Might Be Giants, and a special after-hours DJ set from Odesza.

Tuesday 12/29

Dan Deacon
Brooklyn Bowl
8 p.m., $20
On his fourth LP, Gliss Riffer, manic digital manipulator Dan Deacon works hard to distill his songs into ecstatic, catchy bursts. It’s a return to form for the man who appeared like an electric flash from the Baltimore scene with his breakout release, Spiderman of the Rings, in 2007. Spiderman got him signed to Domino Records, thus allowing him to explore the epic, orchestral expressions that populate his two subsequent albums, Bromst (2009) and America (2012). And though he’s played art museums and concert halls behind those albums, Deacon gets his real thrills as something of a mad scientist, conducting social experiments using his audience as a bunch of Guinea pigs. Gliss Riffer’s zealous tracks, like “Feel the Lightning,” “Meme Generator,” and “When I Was Done Dying,” help him usher in that delirium more immediately. – Lindsey Rhoades

Future Punx
Silent Barn
8 p.m., $8
As the spacey digital counterpart to Parquet Courts, Future Punx vocalist Chris Pickering helps Andrew Savage run their Dull Tools imprint, putting out releases from local punk-leaning bands like Eaters, Yuppies, Beth Israel and PC Worship. They also released Punx’s genre-reinventing This is Post-Wave via their label last August. As 2016 approaches, let the sleek modernity of Future Punx’s sound remind us of what lies ahead – technological advances, the possibility of interplanetary travel, and lots of synths to dance to. – Lindsey Rhoades

Wednesday 12/30
10 p.m., $15-$25
Marcel Everett is set to have a huge 2016: Not only has the mastermind behind electronic project XXYYXX hinted at a follow-up to his acclaimed self-titled debut with the release of new single “Red,” he’ll finally be old enough to drink. As a contemporary of minimalist producers like Burial, James Blake, the Weeknd, Disclosure, and Shlohmo, XXYYXX headlined the Elements Festival at the South Red Hook Grain Elevator this past August, a five-stage affair with over thirty EDM acts. When the ball drops on Thursday, though, he’ll still be ten months shy of legal age, so sonic champagne toasts — in the form of his bubbly production work on tunes like “About You” — will have to suffice when he plays Output on Wednesday. – Lindsey Rhoades

New Riders of the Purple Sage
The Cutting Room
7:30 p.m., $30-$50
Microdosed country-rock abides in this laid-back band of survivors that has bubbled up intermittently since San Francisco 1969. Featuring songwriting guitarist David Nelson and the terrific Buddy Cage, who replaced Jerry Garcia as its pedal steel guitarist in 1971, New Riders of the Purple Sage has aged more or less gracefully since the era when tunes like “Panama Red” and “Portland Woman” were FM-radio staples. The band’s most recent album contains plenty of vintage Robert Hunter lyrics, and guitarist Michael Falzarano adds galvanizing guitar to the mix.  – Richard Gehr

Madison Square Garden
8 p.m., $70
The popular Vermont improv-rock quartet returns to its de facto home away from home in NYC following an impressive summer tour. (This was certainly enhanced by lead guitarist Trey Anastasio’s extensive rehearsals for attempting to fill Jerry Garcia’s shoes in the remaining Grateful Dead members’ Fare Thee Well money machine.) Tonight should serve as warm-up for Phish’s traditional triple-set New Year’s Eve extravaganza. At least one of their four-night run’s nine no-repeat sets will be transcendent, so expect many opportunities for the Garden’s legendary bouncing action. – Richard Gehr

Thursday 12/31
Gogol Bordello
Terminal 5
9 p.m., $35
With onstage performers approaching double digits, Gogol Bordello made it big by making a spectacle. The so-called “Gypsy punks” — led by Ukraine-born Eugene Hutz — have toured the world endlessly, honing a freewheeling live show that’s more like a wacky art party than a musical concert, with quirky international flourishes that serve to complicate categorization of the music itself. Suffice to say, the tirelessly rambunctious Hutz and his crew of misfit multi-instrumentalists know how to throw a party, making them perfect hosts for a New Year’s Eve shindig – even in a venue as cavernous as Terminal 5, where they’ll also play Wednesday at 7 p.m. – Lindsey Rhoades

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Rough Trade NYC
10 p.m., $30
Though you will no doubt have countless New Year’s Eve options, here’s why you should ring in 2016 with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: the buzzy blog band has managed to maintain a ten-year indie career, “successfully fighting to retain its sense of self,” as the Voice’s Ryan Bray put it in a piece on the band from last summer. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is the ultimate inspirational new year story, an Internet-age indie band that didn’t fall victim to the hype. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of their killer self-titled debut in 2015, the band re-released a newly mastered version, complete with twelve acoustic cuts from frontman Alec Ounsworth. And with a new year will hopefully come even more new music. Also in Rough Trade’s lineup are Surf Rock is Dead and Monograms. Cheers. – P. Claire Dodson

Sons & Heirs
9 p.m., $20-$25
As the pre-eminent Morrissey tribute band this side of the Atlantic, Sons & Heirs draws Moz-obsessed acolytes from all walks of life to its widely-praised shows, which combine both Smiths hits and solo favorites. Short of banning meat from the venues they’ve played, this quartet is as close as it gets to the real thing, right down to lead-singer Ronnissey’s perfectly coifed pompadour. They’re taking over Littlefield for a New Year’s Eve edition of their uncannily spot-on sets. Feel free to oscillate wildly. – Lindsey Rhoades

Mykki Blanco + Cakes da Killa + Mike Q

Mercury Lounge
9 p.m., $35
Queer rap isn’t really a “genre,” per se, but with Mercury Lounge’s stacked New Year’s Eve bill, it will feel like the imperative direction of hip-hop in 2016. The evening starts with Mike Q, one of the ballroom/vogue-house scene’s preeminent DJs, founder of Qween Beat Productions, and resident at Vogue Knights, NYC’s most popular weekly ballroom showdown. Up next is Mike Q’s former tour-mate Cakes da Killa, whose saucy, mile-a-minute rhymes are enough to make his biggest inspiration, Lil’ Kim, blush. As if that weren’t enough reason to turn up, Mykki Blanco headlines the show to cap off an incredible year in which the provocative, gender-bending artist launched his own artists collective, Dogfood (and released its introductory noise-infused compilation C-ORE, featuring new track “Coke White, Starlight”), and came out as HIV positive during Gay Pride week, becoming an outspoken activist for the disease’s de-stigmatization. Blanco is still working on debut LP Michael after a series of electrifying mixtapes and EPs, so keep those ears peeled for new material as well as old favorites like breakout single “Wavvy.” – Lindsey Rhoades

Mahogani Music – 808 New Year’s Eve
Sugar Hill Disco
9 p.m., $25-$55
Detroit-based label Mahogani Music has teamed up with MeanRed productions to bring a blow-out New Year’s Eve bash to Bed-Stuy supper club Sugar Hill Disco. They’ll be serving up $10 plates of fried chicken and greens and an open bar for early arrivals, but that’s just the icing on the cake, really. The line-up features resident DJ Turtle Bugg between sets from Mahogani superstars, like Atlanta-based Kai Alce, whose forays into house music began with a job at Detroit’s Music Institute in the late Eighties, just as the genre was beginning to explode. Also spinning that night are Andres and Rick Wilhite, two of Detroit’s best-known DJs, and Viennese sensation Flo Real, who serves double-duty as tour manager for Mahogani’s head of operations, Moodyman. It’s Moodyman’s mission to keep black artists among the most prominent in house music, and this bill certainly celebrates that directive. – Lindsey Rhoades

Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m., $40
It’s been over a year since DIIV announced the follow-up to their acclaimed debut, 2012’s Oshin. Will 2016 be the year we finally hear Is The Is Are? Their Brooklyn-based label, Captured Tracks, has officially set a release date for February 5, and the band shared latest single “Under the Sun” earlier this month. With a headlining New Year’s Eve show at Bowery Ballroom that boasts dream-pop chanteuse Tamaryn as support, as well as some unnamed secret special guests (coughcoughSkyFerreira?cough), their final set of the year should be a buzzy affair. – Lindsey Rhoades

Mutoid Man
Saint Vitus
9 p.m., $10
Steven Brodsky performs with the confidence of someone who has spent a lifetime on stage as a touring rock musician, albeit in deeply underground bands. Steadily releasing solo material while also playing with Cave In, his newest project, Mutoid Man (with bassist Nick Cageao and Converge drummer Ben Koller), draws on the hardcore hooks and intricate precision that’s populated so much of his other work. Their first full-length, Bleeder, came out in June, and utilizes Brodsky’s range as both a folksy crooner and metal screamer. Most of the blistering tracks keep the riffage comparatively succinct (at least when calling to mind Cave In’s more lengthy explorations), save for the slow-burning title track, which pours, lava-like, with intermittent eruptions, for a volcanic six minutes, sure to soothe any metalhead’s secret penchant for prog-rock.They’ll return to Saint Vitus for an encore performance on 1/1. – Lindsey Rhoades

They Might Be Giants
Music Hall of Williamsburg
11 p.m., $35-$40
Once a month since last January, They Might Be Giants have performed a show at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg. It’s longer than a typical residency, and that term feels somewhat self-serious for a band that’s made a living out of turning tongue-in-cheek observations into irreverent little anthems. But their stay at MHoW has been productive: By the end of the year they’ll have written 52 original recordings for their quirky Dial-A-Song project, fifteen of which make up Glean, their seventeenth studio album released last April. Sadly, though, their time at MHoW is coming to an end, but they’re going out with a bang, playing three consecutive shows beginning with a New Year’s Eve bash (Friday and Saturday’s shows start a bit earlier, at 8 p.m., and are only $25, with a “special theme to be announced”). This last run could be their zaniest yet. — Lindsey Rhoades

Deer Tick
Brooklyn Bowl
9 p.m. $50
Providence blues-rockers Deer Tick have made New Year’s Eve shows at Brooklyn Bowl their thing, playing six year-end shows there last year, with special guests like Sharon Van Etten, Vanessa Carlton, Jana Hunter of Lower Dens, Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus, and none other than Stevie Fucking Nicks. For that run, John McCauley and crew played entire albums from Elvis Costello, NRBQ, Lou Reed, Devo, and even the Beatles. While there will no doubt be covers and special guests galore, this time around they’re cramming it all into two nights, on December 30 and New Year’s Eve, with Last Good Tooth opening both shows. The New Year’s Eve gig costs an extra $20, and DFA supergroup Museum of Love DJs the afterparty after the ball drops. – Lindsey Rhoades

Tchami + Klingande + Classixx
Webster Hall
11:59 p.m., $99
Francophiles rejoice! There is something happening in New York on New Year’s Eve for you, too! Two of the biggest names in the French house scene, Tchami and Klingande, will play Webster Hall at an after-hours dance party, supported by L.A.-based, Kitsune-repped openers Classixx. Each have had their respective club smashes: Tchami with “Promesses;” Klingande with “Jubel;” Classixx with the Junior Senior-featuring “I’ll Get You.” Having all three of these heavy-hitters on one bill should get even the most reluctant attendees swinging. – Lindsey Rhoades

Pier 36
8 p.m., $90-$200
Just north of the spot where the Manhattan Bridge connects Brooklyn to the city sits Pier 36, a place seemingly more suited for summertime festivals. But even if this warmer weather wasn’t here make Pier 36 a more viable venue, Future would’ve gotten the crowd hot as hell either way. The Atlanta-based rapper released two mixtapes this year, not to mention a collab with Drake and his third studio album, DS2, which wound up on a slew of year-end Best Of lists. There are a wide swath of ticket options for the victory-lap performance, from now sold-out general admission to VIP table reservations with skip-the-line upgrades. English drum and bass act Rudimental opens with a DJ set and special guests are to be expected. – Lindsey Rhoades

Avan Lava
Knitting Factory
8 p.m., $40-$45
The Knitting Factory has pulled out all the stops for its New Year’s Eve party, calling on Brooklyn-based production trio Avan Lava to bust moves in the headlining slot. Known for their transcendent live shows, Avan Lava’s ultimate goal is to commune with their audience via their hyperactive pop sound, and oftentimes, they achieve that lofty endeavor all their own. They’ll be getting some extra help from another tried-and-true Brooklyn dance-punk act, French Horn Rebellion, as well as DJ sets from Computer Magic and Rapture veterans Vito & Druzzi. The first half of the set is a well-curated bill of emerging acts to watch in 2016, including Deidre & The Dark , Spirit Animal, Megan Vice, Mighty Five, and Claire Salvo. – Lindsey Rhoades

Anamanaguchi + Cymbals Eat Guitars
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m., $25
Baby’s All Right is like that ultra-hip friend you call upon to get the skinny on what’s going on for New Year’s. With their default dial permanently set to “party” and their indie cred through the roof, they’ll be sure to celebrate in style. And when they say “special” guests, they usually mean it. Already announced for their New Year’s Eve extravaganza are perennial electro-funk favorites Anamanaguchi, and Staten Island indie rockers Cymbals Eat Guitars, whose recent activity has included a handful of live performances and the release of single “Aerobed” for Kevin Devine’s split series via Bad Timing Records. – Lindsey Rhoades

Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band, Huey Lewis And The News

Barclays Center
9 p.m., $65
For those who would rather spend New Year’s Eve in Margaritaville than NYC, Barclays Center offers a compromise, hosting carefree tropical folk sensation Jimmy Buffet to ring in the new year with some ultra-relaxed vibes. Feel-good new wave hitmakers Huey Lewis and the News kick things off with a set that promises to be chock full of recognizable tunes, from “I Want a New Drug” to “Workin’ for a Livin’” to “Hip to Be Square.” The only question is: do you don an imitation of Huey’s iconic red suit, or casually slip on a Hawaiian tee as an homage to Jimmy? Take our very sound fashion advice and wear both – it’s New Year’s Eve, after all. – Lindsey Rhoades

Odesza (DJ set)
Venue TBA
3 a.m., $45-$75
Okay, so you survived another New Year’s Eve in New York City. How to celebrate? Head to an after-hours party in an undisclosed Brooklyn warehouse, of course! Seattle-based electronic duo Odesza are flying directly from Denver’s Decdence Festival to DJ into the wee hours of New Year’s Day, expecting to jump on the decks (after sets from Chrome Sparks and other guests) around 7 a.m. There’s a wide range of ticket prices, with some fans selling extras directly on the event’s Facebook page, on which Odesza referred to themselves as “Team NO.SLEEP.” Jukely members can also RSVP for free entry. – Lindsey Rhoades