This can be a lonely time in the city: you’re the only one of your friends left in town, eating ramen while they gorge on home cooked meals and eggnog. There aren’t usually many shows the week before Christmas (and, this year, Hanukkah as well) because promoters judge (correctly, usually) that it isn’t worth it when so few people going out. But never fear—we’ve dug up potentially the only good things happening in the city this week, where you’ll be sure to find other Christmas orphans, or New York natives, huddling for warmth and celebrating cultural companionship.
Admin, vveiss, Richard Gamble, Heidi Sabertooth, Blacklauren B2B DJ Scallywag
Bossa Nova Civic Club
10 p.m., free before midnight, $10 after
In New York, you can go out dancing any night of the week, even on a Monday night six days before Christmas. To celebrate that fact, head to this gathering of local techno DJs at Brooklyn’s best and most intimate club for a night of serious dancing. Blacklauren and DJ Scallywag usually play together as The Long Count Cycle, a collective that puts on some of Brooklyn’s best underground raves. Think of this as a holiday party for Bushwick’s techno crowd.
Outside World, Treatment, Blush, Sunwatchers
8 p.m., $8
If you’re obsessed with ‘90s indie bands like Built to Spill and Guided By Voices, it’s time you check out Outside World, a three piece band who moved to New York from Chicago in 2014. The group has put out five albums of jangly guitar goodness since 2012, and continue to impress with their energetic live show and solid songwriting. Maybe 2017 will be the year they break through—catch them before they do at Trans-Pecos.
Colleen Green, Cassie Ramone
8 p.m., $10
Cassie Ramone—the former Vivian Girls singer-songwriter and guitarist with a grungy vibe—really, really likes Christmas: at the end of last year, Ramone released a solo album of charmingly lo-fi Christmas song covers. She’ll perform some of these at a “Christmas/Solstice Spectacular” a few days before the holiday, joined by the similarly slacker-wave singer-songwriter Colleen Green. If your idea of a great holiday is cheap beer-and-shot specials and a whole lot of flannel, this is the party for you.
Yasiin Bey (f.k.a. Mos Def)
8 p.m., $35+
After a career spanning multiple decades and monikers, the hip hop artist Yasiin Bey (known as Mos Def for the majority of his career) announced his retirement from music earlier this year. What that means is still unclear—since the announcement Bey has released music with his project Dec. 99th and has said he is committed to several movie roles. So Bey’s Apollo Theater show may be his last in New York, or not. Either way, he is an important figure in the history of hip hop, and it’d be tragic to miss out on his swan song.
Audiofemme’s 2016 Holiday Showcase & Dance Party
with Gold Child, Von Sell, Bearcat, SHYBOI
8 p.m., $10
As the holiday party season draws to a close, this quality showcase gets in just under the wire. Hosted by the femme-focused music blog Audiofemme, this night will feature a diverse range of local artists, from the alt-country singer-songwriter Gold Child to electro pop producer Von Sell. After the live acts, techno feminist collective Discwoman will take over the night, with sets from DJs Bearcat and SHYBOI.
Mike Servito, Octo Octa
10 p.m., $5-$10
DJ Mike Servito is a staple of Chicago’s dance music scene whose technical expertise is as precise as his song selection. In a year when mainstream EDM may have emitted its final dying gasps and the underground scene continued to strengthen, Servito’s mix of old school techno and house sounds fresher than ever. He’ll play alongside Octo Octa, a rising house DJ from Brooklyn.
Crazy Spirit, Shimmer, Suspect, Dead Companionship
8 p.m., $10
The ferocious punks of Crazy Spirit have been lurking in the underground for six years now, playing shows that incite a frenzy of chaos. Their growling, hardcore sound is an aural assault—losing yourself in their live show might be just what’s needed to cut through the swirling anxieties so many of us have been living with these last few months.
Uniform, HVAC, Juicy ii, Decisions
8 p.m., $TBD
For those who don’t particularly enjoy Christmas, you may want to skip out on that cookie baking party and head to see Uniform, a band that draws from hardcore and noise music to pummel their audience’s eardrums with relentless fury. Comprised of Brooklyn musicians Ben Greenberg and Michael Berdan, Uniform’s uncompromising sound has hardened and deepened since their formation in 2014, when they described it as “the soundtrack for our society’s collective nervous breakdown.” Their new album is due out on Sacred Bones this January.
Spreaders, Wydyde, Rafia, Tekkenkonkreet, Painted Faces, Johnny Buffet
8 p.m., $10
An incredibly eclectic group of artists will play Brooklyn’s Sunnyvale on this winter Thursday to support the relief efforts around the tragic fire at Oakland’s Ghost Ship venue. From the bizarre sound experiments of Spreaders to Rafia’s transcendent alt-R&B and Tekkenknonkreet’s techno stylings, there should be something for everyone on this line up, and this rare pre-Christmas show will be a nice gathering place for people stuck in the city for the holiday weekend.
Juan Atkins, Delano Smith, Pablo Romero b2b Simon Heyliger
10 p.m., $15 – $20
Techno is more than thirty years old now, but the originators of the genre are still out playing killer shows night after night. Juan Atkins is widely credited with the coining of the term “techno” for the music he began making with friends in mid-1980s Detroit. His recent sets sound just as sharp at those that founded the genre. Atkins will play at Schimanski, the revamped version of Williamsburg venue Verboten, now owned by the same people behind defunct Manhattan club Pacha.