New Year’s Eve has always seemed like a meaningless holiday to me. How it became a night for people to drink themselves into oblivion I’ll never understand. Most years I’m at home, unconcerned with staying up to see Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve come to an end. The ball drop in Times Square might be the single most overrated event of all-time: Let’s get a huge group of people drunk and make them stand outside in below-freezing weather for a few hours! I’ll pass, thanks.
That isn’t to say there’s nothing good about New Year’s. Chicago is sending 2016 off with some great concerts around the city, and I’ve picked a few you should consider checking out if you’re still without plans.
- Houndmouth at Thalia Hall: I had the opportunity to see them twice this year, and it is well worth your money to check them out. The fact that they hail from Indiana makes the fact that they are good even more impressive.
- Lucinda Williams at Space (Evanston): She’s playing 3 nights in a row with her band Buick 6 and they are great. Her most recent album is very good, and she’ll be playing some deep cuts, I’m sure.
- Chi-Town Rising: In it’s second year, this event will once again try to draw people to downtown Chicago to ring in the new year. Last year the lineup was a bit more impressive, but the organizers got a couple interesting acts including Saint Motel and Sir The Baptist.
- Lucky Boys Confusion at Double Door: Local boys make good as the Dupage County band headlines a night at Double Door playing their seminal album Throwing The Game. Joining the band on the bill are Mark Rose of Spitalfield and Nice Motor.
- The Hood Internet at Lincoln Hall: If you like to get down, this is probably the show for you. Three Chicago acts ready to make you dance! Hood Internet headlines, with Air Credits and Celine Neon supporting.
- Patti Smith at Park West-This might be the sneaky best show of the bunch. Will Michael Stipe open for her, as he did in NYC? If so, holy cow! If not, you still get a show with Patti Smith, one of the most iconic musicians of the past 40 years.
- Reaction New Year’s Eve at Donald Stephens Auditorium: I went to this last year because the lineup had some really good acts (Run The Jewels, Chance The Rapper, Deadmau5). This year I’m not as interested, but they’ve got Gucci Mane and Zedd’s Dead playing. The night before features Anderson PAAK, which is a much bigger draw.
- Big Freedia and Har Mar Superstar at 1st Ward: What a sexy, fun time for you. I can’t say whether you’ll like this more than some of the other shows on this list, but I guarantee it will be a good time.
- Mala Rodriguez at Concord Music Hall: One of the hottest names in latin hip-hop comes to Chicago to perform. It’s not sold out yet, but it will be by the time doors open.
- Umphrey’s McGee at Aragon Ballroom: It’s been a while since these guys came home for a good run of shows, so this one should be pretty special. It’s at Aragon, which I’ve been to on NYE one time (I won’t be going back). Avoid the flying vomit and you should have a lot of fun!