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
The virtuosic banjo player is a staple on the jam-band circuit, but even those who don't live for perfectly executed impromptu fusion wizardry might know Fleck's work—he and his Flecktones composed incidental music for the Weather Channel.
Sure, we're still bummed about the demise of Sonic Youth—and let's face it, Kim Gordon and Moore's sad, sordid split—but both artists have been doing great work on their own, releasing new albums this year within a month of one another: Gordon with her upcoming No Home Record, and Moore with his new Spirit Counsel. Like much of the lanky frontman's recent solo output, the album plays like a suppler yet no less spellbinding Sonic Youth.
Along with injecting an unexpected dose of retro Latin flavor to rap radio, Cardi B’s “I Like It”, also introduced American audiences to this Puerto Rican reggaeton phenom last year. But Bad Bunny's oeuvre of mega-hits extends far beyond that. Check out the Drake-featuring "MIA" or this year's fresh new banger "Callaita" for another taste of the star's talents before you catch him at this Brooklyn arena gig.
Within months of releasing her 2016 debut, No Burden, Lucy Dacus had signed to Matador Records, adding her name to an artist roster including Yo La Tengo, Cat Power and Perfume Genius. The fast-rising Virginia songsmith trades in country-inflected indie rock, which provides a warm backdrop for a voice that shines on its own as well as it spins divine harmonies with others (see her 2018 collaborative project Boygenius with Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker).
Catch these pioneering alt-rockers on the heels of Beneath the Eyrie, the newly releaseed third record in the band's recent wave of comeback albums. Neither Kim (Deal or Shattuck) is with the band anymore, so the lineup looks like this: Black Francis, David Lovering, Joey Santiago and Paz Lenchantin. Tonight you'll surely ye olde classics alongside the new tunes.
Battles' greatest achievement has been taking the listener-friendly experimentalism of ’90s post-rock (Tortoise, etc.) and grafting on a dance-floor-commanding pulse. The band plays behind its fourth full-length, Juice B Crypts, which like the band's previous albums, continues to push the limits of innovative rock futurism even after the departure of longtime member Tyondai Braxton. Hopefully Williamsburg's spacious Music Hall will accommodate drummer John Stanier's borderline-overwhelming energy better than the band's DIY gigs of yore.
Phil Elverum's most recent albums may be his most deeply personal. For such a poignant songwriter, that's saying a lot, but it makes sense in context: the records document the aftermath of his wife's death from cancer in 2016. However, his new collaborative album with Canadian singer Julie Doiron, Lost Wisdom Pt. 2 (a follow-up to their 2008 release of the same name), seeks the opposite: Elverum tries here to write songs that don't rely whatsoever on his personal life. Grab your tickets soon because the twosome say this might be the only time they play these songs live.
This drummer is known for virtuosically translating the automated breakbeat samples of drum 'n' bass into blazing chops on the acoustic set. But along with being an expert instrumentalist, Mayer is also a pioneering bandleader—here, he reintroduces Nerve, his once-ubiquitous improvisatory electronica group.
While incels have attempted to co-opt the figure of the clown a la Todd Phillips' Joker for their violent misogynistic machinations, ICP perhaps offers a redemptive rewrite. Known for burning Confederate flags onstage and penning lyrics about attacking Klansmen, could ICP represent the anti-oppressive clown revolutionary Gotham City deserves? The band's veritable army of Faygo-guzzling, clown-makeup-wearing fans would probably say, "yes." What better way to decide for yourself than experiencing the band first-hand on a cruise ship?
Cloud Nothings play the sort of scruffy fuzz-pop you've heard a million times, but thanks to the vocal pathos and songwriting smarts of frontman Dylan Baldi and the wiry muscle of bassist TJ Duke and drummer Jayson Gerycz, this Cleveland crew achieves a rare resonance. If ringing in the New Year with a weary-yet-raging dose of nihilism sounds like your cup of tea, this is your NYE show.