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The best NYC concerts in January 2019

We know it’s cold out there, but these NYC concerts in January should give you plenty of reasons to leave the house

Chris Dave Drumhedz
Photograph: Courtesy Jati Lindsay
By Andrew Frisicano and Time Out contributors |

Another new year...another year of live music to see. What a life! Am I right? Hopefully the hangover from your packed weekend of New Year's Eve parties and New Year’s Eve concerts has worn off and you're ready to get at it with these NYC concerts in January 2019. The month features top-notch music, including the annual Winter Jazzfest, that will brighten even the most sunlight-deprived month.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best concerts in NYC

NYC concerts in January

Craig Taborn
Photograph: John Rogers/ECM Records
Music, Jazz

Jan 4–12: Winter Jazzfest

Each January, Winter Jazzfest offers a crash course for anyone interest in exploring NYC's jazz scene. Its signature two-night Greenwich Village marathon brings vets and up-and-comers, hordes of music fans and a palpable air of excitement to an array of cozy downtown venues. The shows aren't individually ticketed, so a wristband grants you access to any of each night's shows—as long as a given club doesn’t hit capacity, that is.

Zola Jesus
Photograph: Jeff Elstone
Music, Rock and indie

Jan 7: Zola Jesus, wild Up and William Brittelle

Working under the name Zola Jesus, Nika Roza Danilova creates unapologetically dramatic tunes that craftily balance arty texture with poppy drive. Expect tunes from her most recent album, Okovi, which marks her return to beloved local imprint Sacred Bones, as she kicks off the inaugural night of the 2019 Ecstatic Music Festival.

Big Freedia
Photograph: Koury Angelo
Music, Funk, soul and disco

Jan 11, 12: Big Freedia

Bow down before NOLA’s queen diva of bounce, the hip-hop style so named for its high spirits and the frenzied ass-shaking it inspires on the dance floor. You’ve heard Freedia’s voice on Beyoncé’s “Formation”and Drake’s “Nice for What,” now experience the veritable booty-quake live. We trust she'll keep the megafun alive all night as she brings her talents Brooklyn for a two-night stint.

Photograph: Shawn Brackbill

Jan 16: TEEN

The always captivating local art-pop act balances kaleidoscopic arrangements with crisp drumming and tight harmonies. Listen for new material from its forthcoming album, Good Fruit, due in March.

best new artists
Photograph: Phobymo
Music, Rock and indie

Jan 17, 18: Japanese Breakfast

While her first album soared through majestic dream pop summits, Michelle Zauner's stellar latest, Soft Sounds from Another Planet, features a revamped sound that veers from shoegaze into ’80s synth-pop. Her band has been filling bigger and bigger venues, and deservedly so: Zauner is a confident and captivating performer.

Juan Wauters
Photograph: courtesy Captured Tracks
Music, Rock and indie

Jan 18: Juan Wauters

The Queens-via-Uruguay songsmith pretty much charmed the whole city at the helm of local DIY folk-punk institution the Beets. Here, he celebrates his latest album, La Onda de Juan Pablo, a wide-ranging collection of Spanish-language songs written while traveling in South America.

King Tuff
Photograph: Courtesy Olivia Bee
Music, Rock and indie

Jan 19: King Tuff

Kyle Thomas, the Vermont longhair who writes ditties as King Tuff, comes to town toting the glittery glam-rock and deep-funk boogie of his 2018 album, The Other. Tuffy may be serving up something wholly different from the catchy garage rock we know and love. If he decides to unleash more of the funk swagger demonstrated on "Pycho Star," we certainly wouldn't complain.

Photograph: Courtesy Paco M
Music, Latin and world

Jan 24: Laraaji + Rachika S

Given the recent huge resurgence in meditative synthesizer music among certain indie circles, it's not surprise to learn New Age music is experiencing something of a comeback. Laraaji is a zither player best remembered for his splendid Brian Eno–produced 1980 LP, Ambient 3: Day of Radiance. He's been active in the borough the past couple years performing in spaces ranging from BAMcafé Live to Brooklyn churches (like at this particular gig). Local ambient-electronic composer Rachika S—a recipient of an emerging artists fellowship with massive new Hudson-Yards art space The Shed—plays the opening set.

Looking for some tunes to pump you up?