New Year’s Eve in NYC: a guide to shows, parties & more ways to ring in 2020
What a year! 2019 is coming to a close and that means it’s almost time to do taxes. It also means New Year’s Eve, when we sip some bubbly, look back on the year past and make some resolutions we’ll probably never keep. New York City is New Year’s Eve Central, with the annual Times Square Ball Drop, but the city also offers hundreds of entertainment options that don’t require you stand in the freezing cold with a bunch of strangers for six-plus hours with no public restrooms. There are dozens of shows to see here, from punk to rap, classic soul to indie rock, metal, hardcore, comedy, cabaret and everything in between. Here’s a guide to the many, mostly musical, happenings around NYC on New Year’s Eve.
A really great NYE option is Chicago noise rock / post-hardcore legends The Jesus Lizard who will play Brooklyn Steel with killer support from Detroit’s Protomartyr, making for an insane double bill. Tickets are still available and we’re also giving away two pairs.
More indie rock options: Wavves will ring in the new year at Baby’s All Right’s NYE Blowout which includes open bar from 8-10 PM and more bands TBA (tickets). Meanwhile, just a few blocks away, Cloud Nothings will play Knitting Factory, with support from Field Mouse and Patio (tickets); and over at Rough Trade, Priests will play their”last together for the foreseeable future” with support from Russian Baths and Palberta’s Ani Ivry-Block (tickets).
There’ll be a “Corpus NYE” takeover show at the new NYC venue The Dance on NYE, with a full three room lineup TBA. The small upstairs room/ “sparkle bar” will have Slauson Malone, Sporting Life, Ted Kamal, Nedarb, and Bori.
The big room is still a mystery but Show Me The Body sure do seem to have a big interest in promoting this one (as does Eartheater). UPDATE: The full lineup has been revealed, with Show Me The Body, Lil Ugly Mane, Eartheater, RP Boo, Tony Seltzer and Friends, Krimewatch, and Taphari & Nobel Spell on the main stage, and BEARCAT, v4p0ru, Yung Mayne, Kushjones, and Aguapanela Mami on the mezzanine. Tickets are available now, and we’re also giving away a pair.
Having last played NYC for their own annual Hallowmas celebration, The World/Inferno Friendship Society will bring their entertainingly theatrical show to Brooklyn’s The Kingsland on NYE, and doubles as a release show for their new album All Borders Are Porous to Cats. Funkrust Bass Band open (tickets).
They’re not playing New Year’s Eve proper this year, but Gogol Bordello play Webster Hall on December 27 & 28. Likewise, GWAR play Warsaw on December 28 and Deer Tick are playing a New Years show at Brooklyn Bowl on December 29. and Clutch play NJ’s Starland Ballroom on December 30.
Bushwick’s House of Yes kind of feels like New Year’s Eve most nights but they go all out for the actual holiday. This year it’s the annual The Surrealist Ball which includes live music from Dutch DJ Sander Kleinenberg (who played last year too) along with audio-visual installations, magic, body art, and lots more (tickets).
Just a few blocks from House of Yes in Bushwick is Elsewhere which throwing a full-venue takeover New Year’s party, featuring DJ sets from Neon Indian, Amtrac, Sybil Jason and Half Moon in the main Hall, plus Tiki Disco in Zone One. Tickets are still available.
Loud distortion-pop greats Sleigh Bells are ringing in the new year with a DJ set at NYC’s Brooklyn Bowl on NYE (tickets).
There’s a two-part New Year’s party at Public Records on NYE, beginning New Year’s Eve night and lasting into the next morning and day. The NYE show has Beautiful Swimmers, RegularFantasy, Lawrence, Francis harris, Dee Diggs, Christine Renee, DJ Nyack, and DJ Kemit; and morning/day event, which is a special edition of Ambient Cafe, features Laurel Halo, bvdub, Lawrence, and Sup Dogz. Ticket options, including a night + morning pass or just a morning pass, are on sale.
BangOn!NYC is hosting a special New Year’s event they’re calling “Time + Space” at Knockdown Center, which combines live music and DJs across three stages, an “infinite mirror room,” art installations, and lots more. The official event page reads, “Over the span of one transcendent evening, hypnotic performances will warp and bend around a century-old warehouse while celestial aerialists and installations ripple across time and space itself. This is a cosmic call to glimmer, gravitate, and emerge reborn.” Claptone and Shiba San headline with sets from The Golden Pony, Francis Mercier, N2N and more (tickets).
Another regular NYC NYE tradition is Phish‘s annual New Year’s run at Madison Square Garden. New Year’s Eve is sold out but there are still limited tickets for the first three shows. There are also official after-parties all four nights, including shows with Ryley Walker, John Medeski and more.
Need more jam band options? Gov’t Mule, who play their own annual New Year’s run at Beacon Theatre on December 30 & 31. Night one (12/30) is with The Record Company, and night two (NYE) has no openers but the band promises a “very special blowout.” Tickets for both nights are still on sale.
You can also catch Disco Biscuits who are playing four nights at PlayStation Theater including NYE (tickets). The shows are also the last shows ever at the Times Square venue which is closing.
Need even more jam options on New Year’s Eve? Famed Grateful Dead cover band Dark Star Orchestra are playing Montclair, NJ’s The Wellmont Theater on December 30 and 31, and tickets for both nights are still available.
New York death metal vets Suffocation, now touring without original vocalist Frank Mullen, are heading back home with a show at Long Island’s Amityville Music Hall on NYE, with Pyrexia, Without Remorse, and Vomit Forth rounding out the lineup. Tickets are on sale now.
You can also enjoy classic songs by The Smiths without having actual problematic Morrissey involved via tribute band The Sons & Heirs who play Littlefield on NYE (like they did last year). Unlike Morrissey, they only play songs people like and tickets are still available.
Earlier in the evening at Littlefield, comedian Chris Gethard is hosting a “Pregame” party where he’ll “invite a gang of his funniest friends to the Littlefield stage so that they can make you laugh before you go and get wasted/before you go home and let the babysitter off the hook.” (tickets).
Ben Pirani, whose music pulls from classic soul and R&B (he’s signed to Ohio’s groovy Colemine Records, check out a song below), heads to Union Pool on NYE with his backing band The Means of Production. That show is $10 at the door and more info is HERE.
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Like past years, “I Try” singer Macy Gray is playing her annual NYC New Year’s shows, happening at Iridium on December 30 and 31. She’ll play a traditional set on both nights, with two shows on New Year’s Eve: an early show, and then a ball-drop celebration show on NYE, complete with an escort to Times Square. Tickets (not cheap) for all three shows are still available.
For a little classic NYC rock n’ roll in a fancy setting, New York Dolls frontman David Johansen headlines a New Year’s celebration at The Roxy Hotel. “Old-school glam” attire is suggested (tickets).
Speaking of glam, cabaret legend Justin Vivian Bond, is a regular at Joe’s Pub around the holidays and will host an early NYE party dubbed “Out With The Old,” with additional guests Matt Ray, Claudia Chopek, and Nath Ann Carrera It starts at 7 PM and will be over before 9 PM (tickets).
Also at Joe’s Pub is another NYC holiday regular, Sandra Bernhard, who plays her 10th-annual New Year’s run at the venue, titled “Sandy’s Holiday Extravaganza – A Decade of Madness and Mayhem.” It happens from December 26-31 with an early and late show each night, where she plans to “lift you up and soothe your frazzled holiday nerves” (tickets).
Loser’s Lounge bandleader (and onetime Psychedelic Furs keyboardis) Joe McGinty will be hosting — and tinkling the ivories — a NYE edition of his “Piano Karaoke” nights at his club Sid Gold’s Request Room. which sounds like a nice, kinda chill way to go, too (tickets).
Last but not least, if you’re looking to cleanse your spirit and be hangover free as you head into 2020, the Ra Ma Yoga Institute is hosting “RA MA New Year’s 2020” which starts at 7 PM and is a “12-hour marathon of enlightened performance, music, movement, dance, art, activism, well-being, integrated social spaces, compassionate & passionate intention setting, worship of personal & collective meaning making & FUN.” Tickets and more info are here.
And if you’re looking to see a show on New Year’s Day, there’s not much going on but Joseph Arthur will do his 10th annual New Year’s Day show this year at City Vineyard (as City Winery is between locations).
What else? You can check out all the happenings going on around New Year’s Eve in BV’s NYC show calendar. Check out a few more New Years Eve flyers below.