Best Christmas concerts in NYC
Formed in 1939 at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Deaf and Blind, the Blind Boys of Alabama have since collected five Grammy Awards, been inducted to the Gospel Hall of Fame, recorded a freaky album with pedal-steel prodigy Robert Randolph and shared bills with Prince (at a club) and Bob Dylan (at the White House). Here, they kick off the Christmas season with the help of singer-songwriter Amy Black.
Mark Kozelek, who writes pensive folk-inflected songs as Sun Kil Moon, is known for collaborating extensively—a surprising fact, considering his combative, beef-starting tendencies (remember his song "War On Drugs, Suck My C***"?). Here, he teams up once again with actor Kevin Corrigan for a set of Christmas songs.
John Legend is making his first contribution to the wellspring of holiday cheer and easy money otherwise known as the Christmas album and it has us thinking: He hasn't done this already? Could've fooled us. He brings all the classic fireplace jams—and likely some of his secular hits as well—to the stage at the Theater at MSG.
Music website Stereogum hosts its third annual Christmas hoedown featuring sets from Washington, D.C., postpunk powerhouse Priests, Philly noise-rock fourpiece Empath and Brooklyn pop punks Nervous Dater. Expect tons of racuous, manic energy to be packed in at this show.
ALT 92.3 brought alt-rock back to NYC's airwaves last fall, and this winter they're celebrating the season with a stacked lineup at the Barclays Center. Florence and the Machine, Muse, Deathcab for Cutie, Chvrches, AJR, Mike Shinoda, Foster the People and Bastille take the stage for an arena-sized holday bonanza.
"Delicate" Steve Marion teams up with Celestial Shore guitarist and singer Sam Evian for a holiday outing in Bushwick. Expect a trippy, uplifting evening of layered tropicalia, jazzy bops, patterned post-rock, sinewy guitar jams and wistful indie rock. Oh, and Marion recently released a Christmas album, so count on hearing some standards sprinkled throughout.
For some three decades, the Pennsylvanian institution helmed by Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo, a.k.a. Gene and Dean Ween, has maintained its ability to project its virtuosic talent onto virtually any genre and goofily make it its own. The band hits the Capitol Theatre for a pair of holiday dates, though, truth be told, for Ween's sizable fan base, every concert is a holy event.
Former Ramones stickman Marky Ramone steps out with his anthemic power-pop crew, Blitzkrieg, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of his first album with the Ramones, Road to Ruin. The pasta-sauce impresario has promised forty Ramones hits, all played with the help of former Bad Religion and current Circle Jerks and Red Kross guitarist Greg Hetson. After a romp like that, you're almost certainly going to need to be sedated.