New York Times
December 23, 2010
Beyond Popping Corks, the Sounds of the New Year -


Beyond Popping Corks, the Sounds of the New Year

Josh Haner/The New York Times

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings play Best Buy Theater on New Year’s Eve.

SALUTING the new year huddled around the hearth with family and friends — bedecked in sequins and plastic “2011” spectacles, spilling warm Champagne on the sofa — is good, old-fashioned fun. But wouldn’t you rather spend the night with Patti Smith?



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Patti Smith plays Bowery Ballroom.

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Bruno Mars is at Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel.

Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times

Alexander Markov is at the Russian Tea Room.

Willie Davis for The New York Times

Bad Plus, with Reid Anderson, is at Village Vanguard.

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Michael Angelakos and Passion Pit welcome in the new year at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, N.J.

Rahav Segev for The New York Times

Marc Ribot will lead his band in a fervent rendition of Albert Ayler’s “Bells,” at the Stone in the East Village.

Chad Batka for The New York Times

The reunited jam band Phish has also resumed its tradition of year-end shows, and will play Madison Square Garden from Thursday through New Year’s Day.

Matthew Murphy for The New York Times

Michael Feinstein and Barbara Cook are teaming up for two shows on New Year’s Eve at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency.

Eric Gaillard/Reuters

The rock ‘n’ roll legend Chuck Berry will see out the year at B. B. King.

Whether you’re bidding 2010 a hearty, don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out farewell or commemorating its good tidings, live music is a memorable, often euphoric way to celebrate. At the very least, dancing your pants off with a room full of like-minded fans is more energizing than watching a ball sink slowly back to earth (again).

Below, the pop and jazz critics of The New York Times have compiled a selection of this year’s New Year’s Eve shows that is as eclectic as the city itself. The band Antibalas and the cast of “Fela!” are hosting a Felabration in Brooklyn; Ms. Smith (whose memoir “Just Kids” won a National Book Award) will close out three nights at the Bowery Ballroom; the erstwhile jam band Phish will sprinkle Madison Square Garden with confetti; and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings will join the legendary New Orleans songwriter Allen Toussaint at Best Buy Theater. Expect exhilarating sets, wobbly renditions of “Auld Lang Syne” and maybe even a midnight peck from that stranger who knows all the words. 

AMANDITITITA An Amandititita show is a quirky affair — not just because of the music, which is a cheeky take on traditional Mexican cumbia, but also because of what she builds around it, which is a stage show befitting a sharp-minded, eccentric child. She calls herself “La Reina de la Anarcumbia” — the Queen of Anarchic Cumbia — though she’s not quite anarchic. More like mischievous, with a keen sense of disruption. With Marcelo C, Ejival and Justin V. At 9 p.m., Hecho en Dumbo, 354 Bowery; (212) 937-4245;; $75 for dinner, $95 for party, $150 for both. JON CARAMANICA

STEVE ANGELLO If you only submit to punishment by one brazen, bombastic, pummeling, house-music maximalist this year, make it Steve Angello, who’s been a force for almost a decade, but who’s mastered his sound in the last couple of years: clean, slick, thumping, even a bit arch at times. He’s also part of the production/D.J. collective Swedish House Mafia, responsible for one of the year’s best brute-force dance albums, “Until One.” At 9 p.m., Roseland Ballroom, 239 West 52nd Street; (212) 247-0200;; various packages from $98.50 to $235. JON CARAMANICA

THE BAD PLUS With “Never Stop” (E1), an exemplary album released this year, the Bad Plus marked its 10-year anniversary in stout and unflagging style. The band — Reid Anderson on bass, Ethan Iverson on piano, David King on drums — has a rugged but supersensitive rapport that can transform any material it touches. This perennial New Year’s Eve show, which is part of a weeklong run at the Village Vanguard, seems likely to include “Auld Lang Syne,” though it could also conceivably mean U2’s “New Year’s Day.” At 9:30 p.m., Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, at 11th Street, West Village; (212) 255-4037;; $150. NATE CHINEN

BELLS AT MIDNIGHT A musical event that calls itself a “ritual/jam” seems like a fittingly transformative way to close out a complicated year. Beginning around 11:15 p.m., the guitarist Marc Ribot will lead a pedigreed band (Roy Campbell Jr. on trumpet, Henry Grimes on bass, Chad Taylor on drums and John Zorn on saxophone) through a fervent rendition of Albert Ayler’s “Bells,” a free jazz classic from 1965 that is renowned for its spastic, improvised solos and repeating marches. A Champagne toast is promised, although the music is likely to be headier than anything you could ever pour into a glass. At 11 p.m., the Stone, Avenue C and Second Street, East Village;; $40. AMANDA PETRUSICH

CHUCK BERRY The embodiment of his mythical Johnny B. Goode, Chuck Berry had rock ’n’ roll figured out from its inception: an R&B backbeat, some country twang, a signature guitar lick and songs about cars, girls and the gumption to tell Beethoven to roll over. More than half a century later, he’s still on the road. At 8 and 11 p.m., B. B. King Blues Club and Grill, 243 West 42nd Street, Manhattan; (212) 997-4144;; 8 p.m. show, $98 advance, $100 at door, $560 for a four-person V.I.P. table; at 11 p.m. $120, $640 for a four-person VIP table. JON PARELES

BLACK 47 In Black 47, a band named after the worst year of Ireland’s 19th-century great potato famine, the jigs and reels of immigrant Irish tradition plunge into New York City’s multi-ethnic melee, emerging with modern and often politically minded tales set to rhythms that might dip into ska, hip-hop or rock. At 10:30 p.m. at Connolly’s Pub, 121 West 45th Street, Manhattan; (212) 597-5126; $23.75. JON PARELES

BLOODY BEETROOTS From Italy, the Bloody Beetroots make slap-happy electro house verging on big beat. It’s king-size and, outside the United States, unusually popular. Even a collaboration with the terminally chill indie rap outfit the Cool Kids did little to calm this duo, who spin music while wearing comic-book-character masks and pumping their fists, even more pleased with themselves than the crowd is. At 3:30 a.m., Webster Hall, 125 East 11th Street, East Village; (212) 353-1600;; $60. JON CARAMANICA

BUTTHOLE SURFERS Since the early 1980s Gibby Haynes — once voted accounting student of the year at Trinity University! — has fronted this Texas outfit, renowned for its perverse live performances and psychedelic noise-rock. Mr. Haynes and his band mates trade in depravity (they’ve conjured an array of unprintable song titles), marrying shock-rock tactics (expect smoke, fire and hallucinatory lighting) with avant-garde experimentalism. The band hasn’t released an album of new material since 2001, but the songs are practically incidental to the spectacle. With the Oakland, Calif., band Lumerians. At 10 p.m., Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 North Sixth Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, (718) 486-5400;; $55. AMANDA PETRUSICH

CELEBRATION IN SWING The jazz pianists Cyrus Chestnut and Benny Green aren’t distracted by the notion that jazz is broken down, refracted, turned inside out; they believe in jazz as a refined African-American language, as shaped by perfectionists like Oscar Peterson, Ahmad Jamal and Tommy Flanagan. They’ll swing through the evening with the saxophonist Jimmy Heath, the trumpeter Nicholas Payton, the bassist Dezron Douglas and the drummer Willie Jones III. At Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Broadway at 60th Street, (212) 258-9595;; $150 for 7:30 set and three-course menu; $250 for the 11 p.m. show and four-course menu, Champagne toast and party favors. BEN RATLIFF

CLASS ACTRESS The great debut EP by Class Actress, “Journal of Ardency,” is an14" BAD="0" FirstRowDate="2010-05-09T00:01:35.0000000-04:00" LastTimeStamp="2010-05-09T19:54:16.5895647-04:00" LastFieldDefinition="#Fields: date time s-sitename s-computername s-ip cs-method cs-uri-stem cs-uri-query s-port cs-username c-ip cs-version cs(User-Agent) cs(Cookie) cs(Referer) cs-host sc-status sc-substatus sc-win32-status sc-bytes cs-bytes time-taken" FileSize="66713" /> James Brown Revue in the late 1960s, Marva Whitney sang and shouted songs like “I’m Tired, I’m Tired, I’m Tired (Things Better Change Before It’s Too Late)” and the much-sampled “Unwind Yourself.” Brown himself produced her 1969 album “It’s My Thing.” Billy Prince sang with the Detroit soul group the Precisions. Brought to New York by Brooklyn’s invaluable Dig Deeper series of rediscovered R&B performers, they’ll be backed by the opening act, the Sweet Divines. At 8 p.m., the Bell House, 149 Seventh Street, Gowanus, Brooklyn; (718) 643-6510;; $30 in advance; $40 on New Year’s Eve. JON PARELES

YERBABUENA Not to be confused with the Afro-Latin pop band Yerba Buena, this is the Puerto Rican band from New York led by the singer Tato Torres. It’s Boricua roots music with some updating and flexibility: percussive bomba and plena, jíbaro folk songs and deep electric-bass grooves. The band has been playing it for years at the Nuyorican for years and grown a following. At 9 p.m., Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 236 East Third Street, between Avenue B and C, Lower East Side; (212) 780-9386;; $25. BEN RATLIFF

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: December 28, 2010

A listing on Friday of New Year’s Eve shows recommended by the pop and jazz critics of The Times misstated the surname of the abolitionist quoted at the end of a song by the band Titus Andronicus, which plays at the Ridgewood Masonic Temple in Brooklyn on New Year’s Eve. He was William Lloyd Garrison, not Gibson.


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