New Year's Eve is a month away. Here are your live music options.
Hop Along is playing Johnny Brenda’s to ring in 2015 | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest party nights of the year, for certain. But what makes a party really go to that proverbial next level? It’s one thing to stand around in a friend’s crowded apartment, drinking beer and hovering a safe distance from the snack table and hoping somebody will make out with you at midnight, watching the same-old blinking-lights / dropping-ball / fireworks broadcast, the din of small talk drowning out the sound of the television. How did Ben Gibbard put it? “As thirty dialogs bleed into one?” And of course, for people of a certain age, the mandatory Facebook posting of Death Cab for Cutie’s “The New Year” via YouTube. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’ve done it plenty in my life and it’s totally a fun time. But watching an amazing live band rock your face off as the calendar turns another page is another experience entirely.

Live music has become a regular part of my New Years Eves in recent years, ever since I saw The War on Drugs’ epic “Trilogy” – that’s “Your Love Is Calling My Name,” “The Animator” and “Come to the City” from Slave Ambient – hit its transcendent peak at the stroke of midnight as confetti and streamers fell from the Johnny Brenda’s rafters. There’s no going back from there, people. And in that spirit, here is a roundup of every New Years’ Eve music-releated throwdown we could find in Philly for this year.

It’s an incomplete list, and we’ll update it as more stuff surfaces – the Making Time crew usually throws a New Years’ hyper-rager, but it seems it hasn’t been announced yet, and I’m surprised to not see any hip-hop parties listed, so I’m going to dig a bit deeper there – but if you know of any shows that should be on this list, either tell us in the comments or message me. Or to simply begin planning early and peruse your live music options for ringing in 2015, read on.

Hop Along / Thin Lips / Roses at Johnny Brenda’s ($15, 21+)UPDATE: SOLD OUT

Shining stars of the Philly DIY scene have a new record deal and a slate of new songs that they’re wrapping up production on with John Agnello this week; the ones we’ve heard so far (at shows this year) are great, so I can’t wait to hear more. Also stoked for Thin Lips, the punk-leaning four piece featuring three former Dangerous Ponies, as well as Philly newcomers Roses.

Philly Bloco at World Cafe Live Philadelphia ($25-$35, 21+)

This 20-piece Brazilian pop ensemble is back to ring in the new year for the third year running at World Cafe Live downstairs, and if you’ve ever experienced their live set, it’s no secret why. You can’t just watch this band’s high-energy show as a passive observer. You’re forced to become part of the party in the best possible way.

Plow United / Mikey Erg / The Headies / Goddamnit World Cafe Live at the Queen ($16, all ages)

Delaware Valley punk vets Plow United reunited in 2011, put out the knockout Marching Band in 2013 and reconvene to bring the fist-pumping anthems to the Queen upstairs with scene friends Mikey Erg, The Headies and Goddamnit. It’s all ages, too, so bring the family and get the kids turned on to punk at an early age!

A Sunny Day in Glasgow at Boot & Saddle ($45, 21+)

Philly-Brooklyn-Australian soundscapers A Sunny Day In Glasgow bring their blissed-out multimedia extravaganza to the Boot for a heady start to the new year. Their critically acclaimed Sea When Absent came out in June.

Start Making Sense (Talking Heads Tribute) / HmfO (Hall & Oates Tribute) at The Ardmore Music Hall ($25-$85, 21+)

There’s something to be said for seeing the classics live and singing along with a roomful of fans. And absent any actual Talking Heads or Hall and Oates tours, these popular tribute acts setting up shop in the Ardmore Music Hall will be a guaranteed good time.

Mo Lowda and the Humble / Commonwealth Choir at Ortlieb’s ($45, 21+)

Can’t go wrong with some homegrown Philly rock and roll – especially for the people who live in the greater Northern Liberties area and within walking distance of the divey-posh Ortlieb’s. The rousing Kings of Leon-style anthems of Mo Lowda and the Humble and the spirited Strokesy sound of Commonwealth Choir will have you raging past midnight.

Gogol Bordello / Man Man at the Electric Factory ($40, all ages)

Just as I was saying PhillyBloco, it’s impossible to go to see gypsy-punk troupe Gogol Bordello without getting pulled into the party. You can say the same of Philly avant garde rockers Man Man, whose set at this summer’s XPoNential Music Festival was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen. Get weird this New Year’s, check out this show.

Anthony Green / I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business / Elder Brother / Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties at Theatre of Living Arts ($17.50, all ages) UPDATE: SOLD OUT

Fresh off a U.S. tour with his band Circa Survive, alt-rock singer-songwriter Anthony Green will hit the TLA stage as a solo artist. His Young Legs was released in 2013, and Green seems to average an album every other year, so we’ll probably get a taste of what’s next at this show. Among the openers is Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties, the indie-folk project of Dan “Soupy” Campbell of The Wonder Years – they do a wicked cover of “Going to Georgia” by The Mountain Goats.

Second Hand Suits / Vinegar Creek Constituency / Corty Bryon Band at Tellus360 ($15, 21+) UPDATE: SOLD OUT

Lancaster County jazz-pop trio Second Hand Suits reforms for a New Years gig at their hometown’s new venue Tellus360, along with regional bluegrass scene regulars Vinegar Creek Constituency and Corty Bryon Band. Each band gets an hour-long set beginning at 7, and then they’ll join forces to jam out into the wee hours.

Also playing:

The A’s / Tommy Conwell & The Young Rumblers at The Trocadero ($100-$150, 21+) UPDATE: CANCELLED

David Bromberg Quintet at World Cafe Live at the Queen ($40-$57, all ages)

Christine Havrilla & Friends at Steel City Coffeehouse ($50-$57, all ages)

The Dukes of Destiny at World Cafe Live ($30, all ages)

Steve Forbert at Tin Angel ($45, 21+)

Commodores at Tropicana Showroom ($50-$75, all ages)

The Red Elvises at Musikfest Cafe ($15-$89, all ages)

The Blues Brotherhood at Sellersville Theater ($35-$45, all ages)

Eaglemania (Eagles Tribute) at New Hope Winery ($45-$120, all ages)

70’s Flashback at Mauch Chunk Opera House ($28, all ages)

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