[Last Update: December 9]
“I hate New Year’s Eve, it’s always so anticlimactic.” – Friends of yours that don’t see live music every year.
Perhaps you’ve already got a show picked out for New Year’s Eve 2011-2012. Maybe you lucked out and it’s local or maybe you’re traveling 3,000 miles or even crossing an ocean to get there. Regardless of the status of your plans, it’s always fun to know what else is going on at that exact moment all over the country.
[Photo of Umphrey’s McGee NYE 2010-2011 by Chad Smith]
What’s become increasingly commonplace, disappointedly so, is that this guide features heavily upon jambands while lacking any sort of real indie presence. While jam focused bands dating back to the Grateful Dead have long embraced the countdown show, the independent scene continues to miss out. Unless currently touring, typically in support of a recent album release, indie artists just don’t seem inclined to schedule a holiday run.
As we’ve done in the past, we’ve compiled a list of all the New Year’s Eve concerts that might appeal to our readers. We’ve also thrown in some clips from past NYE performances featuring our favorite bands and have recognized about 20 concerts with superlative awards.
The Gin Blossoms at Fiesta Bowl Block Party in Tempe, AZ.
Five For Fighting at Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, CA
Fishbone at The Caspar Inn in Caspar, CA
Chris Robinson Brotherhood at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach, CA
The Beach Boys at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, CA
The Who Are These Guys? Award – Don’t go to The Beach Boys show at Thunder Valley Casino expecting to see Brian Wilson and Al Jardine. While all sorts of rumors are circulating about a reunion of the REAL Beach Boys in 2012, Mike Love is the only original member of Beach Boys who will be performing under the name on New Year’s Eve.
Wanda Jackson and Best Coast at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, CA
Tim Reynolds and TR3 at The Mint in Los Angeles, CA
Ozomatli at Uptown Theatre in Napa, CA
Diplo and Comsic Gate at Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, CA
The Mother Hips with Huckle at Marilyn’s on K in Sacramento, CA
Big Light and Lebo at Boom Boom Room in San Francisco, CA
Fred Wesley w/ Greyboy Allstars and Zigaboo Modeliste at The Independent in San Francisco, CA
Furthur at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, CA
Kreayshawn at The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, CA
Primus at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA
The Slip at Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco, CA
Sea of Dreams NYE: Santigold, Amon Tobin ISAM, Beats Antique, MarchFourth Marching Band, An-ten-nae, Justin Martin, Diego’s Umbrella, Christian Martin, Worthy, J Phlip, Motion Potion, Mozaic, DJ Dragonfly, Little John, DJ Malarkey, Zack Darling, DJ Manny, Dax and Digital Honey at Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco, CA
Most Bang For Your Buck Award: If you’re into electronic music, a $75 (cheap seats) ticket gets you in to see a whopping 19 acts.
Z-Trip with 12th Planet at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, CA
Tedeschi Trucks Band with The New Mastersounds at The Warfield in San Francisco, CA
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue at The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA
Maceo Parker at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, CA
Hot Buttered Rum & New Monsoon at Palm Ballroom in San Rafael, CA
Poor Man’s Whiskey at Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol, CA
SnowGlobe Music Festival in South Lake Tahoe, CA with Thievery Corporation Bassnectar Pretty Lights Doctor P SBTRKT The Glitch Mob Childish Gambino Porter Robinson Blockhead Emancipator Paper Diamond Kraddy Madeon Tipper Heyoka Nastynasty AntiSerum RD Ill-Esha Stephan Jacobs.
Yonder Mountain String Band at Boulder Theater in Boulder, CO
G. Love & Special Sauce at Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO
Signal Path and Octopus Nebula at Three20south in Breckenridge, CO
Pretty Lights with Zedd and Paul Basic at 1stBank Center in Broomfield, CO
Railroad Earth at Ogden Theatre in Denver, CO
Melvin Seals & JGB at Quixote’s True Blue in Denver, CO
Ween at The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, CO
The Where Have You Been Award? – Ween’s NYE Run at Denver’s Fillmore marks the first time the purveyors of brown will welcome in the new year on stage since 1998.
The Motet at Aggie Theatre in Fort Collins, CO
Deep Banana Blackout at FTC Stage One in Fairfield, CT
Jeff Pevar & Friends with Pamela Means at Infinity Hall in Norfolk, CT
District of Columbia:
Drive By Truckers and Booker T. with Alabama Shakes at 9:30 Club in Washington, DC
TheBond-Fire Art and Music Festival: Particle, The Savi Fernandez Band, Archnemesis, The Lee Boys, UltraViolet Hippopotamus, Green Sunshine, J2K, Lubriphonic, North Mississippi Allstars, The Big Dirty, Big Daddy Love, and Big Something in Groveland, FL
Bonerama at The Bamboo Room in Lake Worth, FL
The Ask A Date Award: Be sure to check with your special someone if they are trying to go to Bonerama on New Year’s – who knows, maybe it will work.
The Heavy Pets at Tobacco Road in Miami, FL
Slightly Stoopid with The Expendables at Hard Rock Live in Orlando, FL
New Year’s Disco Eve: Gloria Gaynor with Sister Sledge and Maxine Nightingale at Progress Energy Center’s Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, FL
Donna The Buffalo at Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa, FL
Reptar at Georgia Theatre in Athens, GA
Perpetual Groove at Center Stage Theater in Atlanta, GA
The Just When I Thought I Was Out Award: Perpetual Groove says goodbye to keyboardist John Hruby and welcomes back Matt McDonald on NYE.
Cake at Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA
STS9 at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA
Ed Kowalczyk (Live) and Naughty By Nature at Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, GA
The Weirdest Co-Bill Award: The Live front man responsible for Lightning Crashes and I Alone pairs up with the hip-hop act responsible for OPP and Hip Hop Hooray at a hotel ballroom in Atlanta. Can’t wait to see that crowd.
B.B. King at Macon Auditorium in Macon, GA
Cage The Elephant with Company of Thieves and Sleeping Agent at The Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, IL
The Disco Biscuits with Future Rock at Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL
The Make Alternate Plans Award: Maybe just know what else is going on in Chicago on New Year’s. It is the Disco Biscuits after all.
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears at Double Door in Chicago, IL
Rusko, Sinden, Switch at Congress Theater in Chicago, IL
Best ’90s Throwback Bill: Odds are strong you’ll get to hear Bittersweet, Low and Pictures of Matchstick Men at this triple-bill in Chicago.
Biggest NYE ’11-’12 Success Story: Colorado phenoms Big Gigantic were set to celebrate New Year’s at The Vic Theatre in Chicago, but once that show sold out with a quickness the promoters moved it to the larger Riviera Theatre. They probably should’ve thought even bigger because it didn’t take the jamtronica duo long to sell out the Riv.
Cornmeal and The Giving Tree Band at Durty Nellie’s in Palatine, IL
Mr. Blotto at Chord On Blues in St. Charles, IL
Black Lips at One Eyed Jack’s in New Orleans, LA
Dr. John at House of Blues in New Orleans, LA
Rebirth Brass Band with Papa Grows Funk at Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans, LA
New York Dolls at Jordan Hall in Boston, MA
The Surprisingly Few Options Award: Music fans near Boston, center of the tenth largest metropolitan area in the United States, don’t have many options for NYE concerts this year with the New York Dolls fronting a surprisingly short list of December 31 concerts that also includes Mean Creek, Sidewalk Driver and the Yoko Miwa Trio. Yeah…we’ve never heard of those bands either. And the show was originally scheduled for Irving Plaza in NYC!
Lucero with Movers & Shakers and Lionize at The Paradise in Boston, MA
Josh Ritter at Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA
SOJA with I-Wayne and Jah Works at Baltimore Soundstage in Baltimore, MD
Carbon Leaf with Iilyaimy at Hyatt Regency in Baltimore, MD
Little Feat at The Fillmore Silver Spring in Silver Spring, MD
moe. at State Theatre in Portland, ME
Greensky Bluegrass with The Macpodz at Majestic Theatre in Detroit, MI
EOTO at Skyway Theater in Minneapolis, MN
Wynonna Judd at Mystic Lake Showroom in Prior Lake, MN
REO Speedwagon at Treasure Island Event Center in Welch, MN
Devon Allman’s Honeytribe at Duck Room at Blueberry Hill in St. Louis, MO
Cowboy Mouth at The Old Rock House in St. Louis, MO
Umphrey’s McGee at The Pageant in St. Louis, MO
The Guaranteed Cover Debuts Award: It’s a New Year’s tradition, horn section and a half dozen new covers. Look out for the possible debut of Second Song by TV On The Radio which bassist Ryan Stasik has been talking about wanting to try all year.
Better Than Ezra at Beau Rivage Theatre in Biloxi, MS
Goo Goo Dolls at Caesar’s Atlantic City in Atlantic City, NJ
Gladys Knight at Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, NJ
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ
Dark Star Orchestra at Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes at Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ
Milo Z at The Stanhope House in Stanhope, NJ
Jackie Greene at Crystal Bay Club Casino in Crystal Bay, NV
Celine Dion at The Colosseum in Las Vegas, NV
Guns ‘N Roses at The Joint in Las Vegas, NV
Stevie Wonder at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, NV
The I Bet That Will Be Incredible Award: Stevie Wonder and then your post-show is Las Vegas?
The Platters at Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV
Timbre Coup and Consider The Source at Red Square in Albany, NY
Late To The Party Award: This show was just announced today
The Felice Brothers at Club Helsinki in Hudson, NY
Jimkata at The Haunt in Ithaca, NY
The New Deal at B.B. King’s in New York, NY (Late Show)
This May Be The Last Time Award: The New Deal is hanging it up, sure to be a late show for the ages.
Gov’t Mule at Beacon Theatre in New York, NY
The Theme, We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Theme Award: Gov’t Mule breaks with tradition by not announcing a theme for this year’s NYE show at the Beacon. Since the band has been off the road since last New Year’s, we’re sure their fans are happy to hear originals and not a set filled with covers anyways. Yet you never know what will happen when Warren Haynes is calling the shots. UPDATE: Cocker’d: Gov’t Mule Needs A Stinkin’ Theme
Infected Mushroom at Best Buy Theater in New York, NY
Laidback Luke at Pacha NYC in New York, NY
Mike Stern Band at The Iridum in New York, NY (2 Shows)
Nero at Webster Hall in New York, NY
Phish at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY
The Hidden Track Contingent Award: We know our readers, a lot of you live in the NYC area and a lot of you don’t mind getting on a plane for New Year’s.
Assembly of Dust at Mercury Lounge in New York, NY
Deadmau5 at Pier 36 in New York, NY
Wyllys & The New York Hustler Ensemble at Sullivan Hall in New York, NY (Late Show)
The He’s Our Boy, So You Should Go Award: HT contributor Wade “Wyllys” Wilby will bring a special version of his New York Hustler Ensemble featuring site faves Scott Metzger and Jennifer Hartswick to Sullivan Hall for a late-night show that will start after Phish lets out.
Fitz & the Tantrums at Gramercy Theater in New York, NY
Gogol Bordello at Terminal 5 in New York, NY
Infected Mushroom at Best Buy Theatre in New York, NY
Patti Smith at Bowery Ballroom in New York, NY
Levon Helm at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY
Toubab Krewe at Orange Peel in Asheville, NC
Datsik with Mindelixir at The Fillmore in Charlotte, NC
Widespread Panic at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, NC
They’re Playing WHERE!?! Award: After two out of three years celebrating New Year’s in Denver that followed eight NYE shows in a row at Atlanta’s Philips Arena, jam titans Widespread Panic are ending their 25th anniversary year at the basketball arena in Charlotte. At least they won’t have much competition unlike past New Year’s in Atlanta and Denver.
The Pimps of Joytime at First Night Raleigh in Raleigh, NC
Keller Williams & The Keels at Brooklyn Arts Center in Wilmington, NC
The Werks and Papadosio at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion in Columbus, OH
Ekoostik Hookah at Newport Music Hall in Columbus, OH
The Flaming Lips and Yoko Ono at Bricktown Events Center in Oklahoma City, OK
The Expect The Unexpected Award: Two acts that thrive on weirdness, hometown heroes the Flaming Lips and avant-garde legend Yoko Ono pair up for a show billed as a New Year’s Freakout. This show won’t be the faint of heart.
Maroon 5 at Winstar Casino in Thackerville, OK
Jerry Joseph And The Jackmormons at Dante’s in Portland, OR
Leftover Salmon and Elephant Revival at Roseland Theater in Portland, OR
Clutch with Corrosion of Conformity and Kyng at Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia, PA
Lotus at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, PA
Max Creek at Met Cafe in Pawtucket, RI
Fungus Amungus and Daddie Long Legs with Ablethought at The Spot Underground in Providence, RI
George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic with Josh Roberts and the Hinges and Pinna at Famously Hot New Year! Main St Columbia in Columbia, SC
The Avett Brothers at Bi-Lo Center in Greenville, SC
Corey Smith with American Aquarium at House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, SC
The Big Wu with Funken Grassholes at Dakota Event Center in Aberdeen, SD
Zoogma at Newby’s in Memphis, TN
Bassnectar at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN
The Black Angels with Wooden Shjips and Ume at Emo’s East in Austin, TX
Polyphonic Spree with Black Doves and Centro-matic at House of Blues in Dallas, TX
Lights All Night Festival (Tiësto Benny Benassi Girl Talk MSTRKRFT Flux Pavilion Neon Indian Rjd2 Wolfgang Gartner Diplo Laidback Luke Caspa Excision Dada Life Zed’s Dead Ghostland Observatory Porter Robinson Govinda Sandro Silva The M Machine Archnemesis Pendulum DJ SET Felix Cartel Nadis Warriors Bonobo Dj Set) at Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, TX
White Denim at The Empire Bar in Austin, TX
The Infamous Stringdusters at Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville, VA
Brothers Past with Eliot Lipp and existor at The Canal Club in Richmond, VA
Martin Sexton at The Higher Ground in South Burlington, VT
Ryan Montbleau Band with Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds at Rusty Nail in Stowe, VT
Brandi Carlile at Neptune Theatre in Seattle, WA
Starfucker with Champagne Champagne at The Crocodile in Seattle, WA
Skrillex + 50 Other DJ’s at The Rave/Eagles Club in Milwaukee, WI
We tried to include as many major events as we could – have we missed something important? Let us know in the comments section.