The 7 Best Live Music Events on New Year’s Eve in NYC

live music new year's eve nyc

New Year’s in New York is not just about absurdly large crowds gathering around absurdly large glass balls. If you’re not a tourist, or you don’t consider yourself to be one, New Year’s is about blowout concerts. Crowds are alright as long as they’re not in Times Square, you see.

Live Music on New Year’s Eve in NYC

We’ve rounded up six concerts to show you how to do New Year’s in New York City the right way. Lesson one: your New Year’s should never involve Ryan Seacrest. See below for more…

1. Andrew W.K. (and his band), The Original Punk Rock Heavy Metal Karaoke Band, Team Spirit at Irving Plaza

andrew w.k.

Andrew W.K. is a New York City staple. Strange though it is that he won’t be playing Santos Party House, the venue he co-owns, but, if you’re partying in true Andrew W.K. fashion, you’ll be too drunk to know where you are in the first place. And what’s more NYC than that?


2. Gogol Bordello and Man Man at Terminal 5


Gogol Bordello’s annual New Year’s show is a blowout that any self-respecting punk fan should make a point of attending. Frontman Eugene Hutz is known to down an entire bottle of red wine over the course of a single show. This year they share the bill with Man Man–an unexpected choice at first, but their often genre-bending indie is a fitting companion to the border-crossing sounds that emanate from Hutz’s multinational cadre.


3. Patti Smith at Webster Hall


A child of the mid-70s CBGB’s scene, Patti Smith is a living monument to the New York that once was. It’s fitting then, that she should choose Webster Hall, a historic venue, to close out such a historic year in music. As Banga (her latest LP) shows, Smith hasn’t lost a hint of that old literary punk fire.


4. DIIV and Perfect Pussy at Baby’s Alright


Meanwhile, some may choose to look to the future of punk to close out their 2013. Perfect Pussy has received no shortage of attention from the blogosphere since playing this year’s CMJ, and it’s no small wonder; in a musical landscape where punk’s bite has gone gummy, Perfect Pussy provides it with razor sharp dentures. DIIV, meanwhile, sets dream pop down darker paths.


5. Antibalas, Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra, Nani Assis Bossa Nova Duo at S.O.B.’s


At the end of the night (New Year’s, particularly), all anyone should want to do is dance. Antibalas, the backing band from Fela!, have garnered considerable notoriety for their pure musicality and groove. The Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra is a perfect companion, stretching and mushing the indie hits of the past decade into the playdough mold of classic Cuban salsa.


6. Billy Joel and The Ben Folds Five at the Barclays Center

billy joel madison square garden

It had to happen eventually. From the moment Ben Folds became a judge on “The Sing-Off,” it was all but writ in the stars that eventually some group would perform a Billy Joel medley, and that would set the gears turning in Ben’s mind. And we can only assume that this piano blowout is the result of an all-too-perfect masterplan that has been brewing in Mr. Folds’ mind for the longest time.

Or, more realistically, Ben Folds just seemed like the perfect choice of an opener to Billy Joel. At any rate, with all the a cappella fans in the crowd (both college- and dad-aged), the singalongs will undoubtedly be top-notch.


7. Phish at Madison Square Garden


If you like Phish, chances are you’ve known about this show for months, bought tickets, planned a tailgate in the parking garage, bought an ounce of weed, and put an X on your calendar for each day until New Year’s Eve. That’s how Phish fans roll. I’m just reminding you that, yes, this concert is indeed occurring.


 Article by Nicholas Milanes

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