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The best NYC concerts in December 2018

We've narrowed down our favorite NYC concerts in December from hard-rock gigs to holiday-music shows

Photograph: Courtesy Bao Ngo

Get away from the constant loop of christmas songs—or fully embrace them—at these NYC concerts in December. If you’re feeling like a Grinch, forget the season and ride the wave of good vibes at funk and soul concerts or rock out to an indie-rock band or hip-hop artist. Ready to go to every Christmas concert or New Year’s Eve concert in NYC? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered there, too.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best concerts in NYC

NYC concerts in December

Photograph: courtesy of the artist
Music, Rock and indie

Dec 1, 2: Mitski + Downtown Boys + Sasami

Mitski Miyawaki has a talent for swift transformation. Over the past several years, she's rocketed from self-releasing her first two albums and playing DIY gigs to selling out New York's biggest rock venues months in advance. Her latest collection, Be The Cowboy, continues that hunger for growth, veering from her recent penchant for dreamily yearning indie rock in favor of a multi-faceted synth pop that recalls her early-career experimental tendencies.

Photograph: Courtesy John Russo

Dec 4: Lindsey Buckingham

The tea spills, the cheekbones get sharper, the lightning guitar skills faster still: Fleetwood Mac icon Lindsey Buckingham returns with Solo Anthology, an outstanding "Best Of" album that includes cuts from some of the three-time Grammy winner's best solo records—Law and Order, Seeds We Sow, Out of the Cradle—and includes tracks from his recent collaboration with fellow Fleetwood Mac member Christine McVie. 

J Mascis
Photograph: Timothy Herzog
Music, Rock and indie

Dec 7, 8: J Mascis + Luluc

This indie vet has always seemed inseparable from his trademark electric-guitar supernovas, so it's a pleasant surprise to hear Mascis sounding so comfy on his acoustic solo discs, such as 2011's Several Shades of Why and 2014's LP, Tied to a Star. It turns out that the Dino Jr. frontman's mumbly, achy emoting translates quite well in unplugged mode.

Parquet Courts
Photograph: Ben Rayner
Music, Rock and indie

Dec 8: Parquet Courts + Sun Ra Arkestra

Brothers Max and Andrew Savage, along with their bandmates, are doing the once-a-generation job of stripping rock & roll back to something tight, primal and brilliant. The local outfit quickly sold out its tiny run of album-release shows this summer. This much-larger Manhattan gig offers another crack at hearing the invigorating postpunk bops of its latest, Wide Awake! The enduring, always-captivating space-jazz ensemble Sun Ra Arkestra opens.

Photograph: Courtesy Anna Webber

Dec 8: David Crosby

David Crosby, co-founder of the Byrds as well as Crosby, Stills & Nash, is a national treasure. That's why you shouldn't miss the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer when he graces the stage of The Capitol Theatre backed by The Lighthouse Band (comprising Becca Stevens, Michelle Willis and Michael League) to reinterpret the legend’s best tracks as well as his latest LP Here If You Listen. Oh, and if you're not already following the musician on Twitter, you should be.

Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Rock and indie

Dec 10: Stars

Though this atmospheric Canadian indie-rock combo started out making whispery drum machine ditties on its 2001 debut Nightsongs, the crew has since asserted increasingly grandiose aspirations. More than 15 years later, Stars is turning out celestial, big-room synth-pop, as heard on 2017's There Is No Love in Fluorescent Light. Expect to hear selections from both the album and the band's back catalogue at this south-of-the-border gig.

Manchester Orchestra
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Rock and indie

Dec 14, 15: Manchester Orchestra

This American band, which is neither from Manchester nor an orchestra, plays swelling rock songs with dramatic shades of Built to Spill. The group hits Brooklyn behind the new A Black Mile to the Surface, which features a nearly total turnover of the group's original members aside from guitarist and singer Andy Hull.

Make Music Winter
Photograph: Courtesy Darial R. Sneed
Music, Music festivals

Dec 21: Make Music Winter

This music-making march invites New Yorkers to join processions of joyful noise through parks and other public places in all five boroughs. Gatherings include Bell by Bell, at which 96 bells will be distributed to ring through the East Village (Astor Place Plaza, 5:30pm); the fiddling and dancing frenzy Flatfoot Flatbush (354 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn; 4:30pm); and many more. Visit Oculus Plaza between noon and 2pm to participate in Sonic Meditation: The Heart Chant, a deep listening meditation composed by the late Pauline Oliveros.

Wet Tuna
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Rock and indie

Dec 22: Wet Tuna + Garcia Peoples + Elkhorn

As Wet Tuna, Matt “M.V.” Valentine and Pat Gubler churn out liquidy doses of weird, guitar-noodlin’ Americana. Here the band is joined by jammy indie-rockers Garcia Peoples and improvisatory folk duo Elkhorn.

The Slackers
Photograph: Courtesy Joelle Andres
Music, Rock and indie

Dec 22: The Slackers + War on Women

Local ska outfit the Slackers sprinkles laid-back, syncopated grooves with plenty of humor and soul, successfully avoiding much of the cheesiness of ska’s ’90s revival. At its annual holiday bash, the band peppers in Christmas and Hanukkah classics amid the reggae and boogaloo.

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