New Year’s Eve 2011 events | Music

Five top music picks for NYE in Chicago.

The Spits

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears
Don’t know about you, but our first option on NYE is always going to be the band with a song called “Booty City.” Lewis’s hot-and-bothered hollering, dirty horns and James Brown boogie scorched on this year’s criminally overlooked Scandalous. Soul rarely gets as gritty and great as this. Double Door. 9pm. Advance $85, day of show $95.

Otis Clay
Obviously, if you’re on the North Shore, this is your only option. But considering the other options, the gospel blues titan is worth the trip up the Purple Line for city folk, too. Clay’s voice is as life-affirming as a kiss in Times Square. SPACE. 10pm. $25–$58.

Disappears
Next year is supposed to be the apocalyptic final year, right? If you subscribe to that Mayan notion, stick with these doomy local shoegazers. Plus, with Sonic Youth on the rocks, this is the best vehicle to catch drummer Steve Shelley. As per tradition, the Bottle offers a 40-ounce toast at midnight. Empty Bottle. 10pm. Advance $20, day of show $25.

The O’Jays
The vocal legends scored the best venue for a romantic evening. Bet money on a “Love Train” conga line at the ball drop. Then again, it could be “Put Your Hands Together.” Or “Time to Get Down.” No other act has as many feel-good hits to end a year that didn’t feel so hot. Chicago Theatre. 9pm. $69.50–$99.50.

The Spits
This year’s cheapest option is sure to be the wildest. The Seattle scuzz-pop band follows the Ramones formula of bubblegum plus filth. Swap spit in the pit. Chicago’s glammy Mickey opens. Cobra Lounge. 10pm. Advance $15, day of show $20.

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