If the idea of a New Year’s Eve spent squinting at Phish on the MSG stage or braving traffic to Montclair, N.J. for Passion Pit doesn’t appeal, you might look into these other music happenings. (Note: Cozy and quirky don’t necessarily mean cheap.) Also see New Year’s Eve Preview Pt. I: The Big Shows.
Jon Batiste was on stage at BAM for the recent Red Hot + New Orleans revue with Trombone Shorty, and his ivories-tickling was raucous. His Jon Batiste Band hits the Blue Note with A New Orleans New Year’s Party from 1-4AM. $25.
Singer/songwriter/keyboardist Jonah Smith is soulful, and the Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout (with Leah Siegel) is still one of the most raucously fun outfits playing in the city, with their swelling updated 1950s sound. They’re on the bill at 55 Bar on NYE. 8PM.
Brooklyn indie rock upstarts We Are Scientists play Mercury Lounge on the last night of the year, with Rewards, comedian Sarah Walker and Bad Girlfriend warming the crowd beforehand. 8PM, $35.
Thanks to a double garage-rock bill at Maxwell’s of the Detroit Cobras and the Fleshtones, Hobokenites can stay off the PATH and still enjoy a righteous ringing-in of 2011. 10:30PM, $20 adv./$25 doors.
This one’s for those who couldn’t get tickets to the quickly sold-out Brooklyn Soul Festival: Marva Whitney (James Brown's Soul Sister Number One) + Billy Prince of the legendary Precisions, in what is only their second NYC show in 40 years. They’re backed by Brooklyn's Sweet Divines, who open with their own set. $30 advance, $40 doors (but do you want to take that chance?). Dig Deeper presents Brooklyn Soul New Year’s Eve is at 8PM. Tickets via Bell House/Ticketweb.
We’ve already told you to check out Spanglish Fly, a feisty wall-of-sound twelve-piece breathing new life into the bugalu music of 1960s Spanish Harlem. They rock Barbès at 10PM for a paltry $15 (door only, no advance tickets) and our one question is, with that many musicians in Barbès’ back room, where will you dance? (Answer: You’ll figure it out.)
The G&S (Gilbert & Sullivan) Fest brings you the Mikado at Symphony Space: Comic opera + champagne at intermission + an invite to hang with all those kimonos at the New Year’s Eve cast party afterwards. 7PM. Tickets $42-$92 via Symphony Space.
Vince Giordano is the man behind the music on Boardwalk Empire; he and his band the Nighthawks promise a gorgeously vintage big band New Year’s Eve at Feinstein’s starting at $9PM. Tickets are $400 (yep, you read that right--and we'd argue this is still one of the better ways to spend that kind of money on NYE) via Feinstein’s/TicketWeb.
Grammy Award-stockpiling classical guitarist Sharon Isbin plucks her way into the New Year at the 92nd Street Y with Mark O’Connor on violin, playing everything from early Renaissance goodies to Catalan melodies. Cozy and exquisite. 8PM, tickets via 92 Street Y.
Los Lobos will be on hand for two shows to fill the vast City Winery dining room with their trademark sound, but take note: the 7:30 show doesn’t get you there for midnight; you’ll need tickets to the 11PM show to ring in the New Year. Tickets start at $75, available at City Winery.
What I'm listening to: La Bicyclette – Yves Montand