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Justin Vivian Bond and the JC Hopkins Biggish Band
Photograph: Courtesy JC Hopkins Justin Vivian Bond and the JC Hopkins Biggish Band

The best anti-Valentine’s Day concerts

Forget slow dances and smooth jazz—these anti-Valentine’s Day concerts are for those of defecting from romance

By Ro S

If you're single in New York, averse to romantic comedies, or sick of seeing the best chocolate shops overrun by heart-shaped boxes—this one's for you. This holiday can be a divisive one, so we collected together the best Valentine's Day events to soundtrack your dissent. Whether you're itching to mosh through the night at a metal show or celebrate self-love instead of coming up with date ideas, these concerts are sure to keep you entertained.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Valentine’s Day in NYC

Best anti-Valentine’s Day concerts

Photographer: Cynthia Chang

1. The Self Love Ball


This isn't your average Valentine's Day throwdown. Following last year's Femmequerade Ball and The Witch Ball, this eclectic party grounds itself in political resistance, bringing together a host of queer, PoC and women artists in opposition to toxic masculinity and the heteropatriarchal romance narratives that underlie the holiday. The bill includes Brooklyn emo outfit MALLRAT, bass-rattling DJ FXWRK and multimedia artist Bunny Michael. Check out the surplus of non-musical offerings as well: a sex toy pop-up shop, reiki healing, skin care vendors, sketch artists, oracle card readings and more.

Justin Vivian Bond
Photograph: David Kimelman

2. Justin Vivian Bond: Late for Love

Music Cabaret and standards

Caustic wit, witchy charisma and subversive queer wisdom have made Bond one of New York’s essential performers. Now the alt-cabaret superstar and transgender icon mops up your Valentine's Day tears.

Saint Vitus
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

3. Havok + Exmortus + Extinction A.D.

Music Punk and metal

Denver's Havok brings its rollicking classicist thrash, which takes its cues from mid-to-late-’80s heroes such as D.R.I. and Voivod, in support of its new, fourth album, Conformicide.

4. Rick Astley + Harry Kipner

Music Rock and indie

Here's a Valentine's Day idea for you: Rickroll your beloved IRL with a pair of tickets to see the "Never Gonna Give You Up" singer in concert. The UK popsmith visits in support of 50, his first album in 10 years.

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