For music fans who love spending their weekends at JB’s or Boot & Saddle, drinking Kenzingers and rocking out, NYE presents the perfect opportunity for show-going. Here are 5 live bands to catch this holiday.
New Brunswick, NJ’s Screaming Females actually feature just one screaming female, the pint-sized Marissa Paternoster, who not only wails into the mic with ferocity but also wails on (and decimates) her guitar. Named one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time by Spin magazine, Paternoster’s dexterity and passion are enough to inspire you too to be more passionate in 2014 (a resolution you can actually live up to)—and are sure to inspire some very passionate rocking this Tuesday. Did we mention her band rules too? Screaming Females’ take on rock is brashy, punky, and totally uninhibited, leading to an NYE you’ll long remember (depending on how many Kenzingers you’ve had). Plus show up early for rockers Swearin’, whose fuzzed-out guitars and poetic, personal lyrics make them an awesome new band to watch.
9:00 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $15. Tickets available here.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
When Clap Your Hands Say Yeah first burst onto the scene nearly a decade ago, I remember feeling like they were a band that really got me. Front man Alec Ounsworth’s vocals were twangy and disaffected, but there was this sense of yearning behind them, slowly bursting through the seams. They were cool and collected most of the time, but then every once in a while, they’d descend into moments of rock’n roll madness. They were a band that spoke to the ironic Pitchfork generation without ever trying to be ironic or land on Pitchfork (even though Pitchfork was partially responsible for their breakthrough)—and they were a little dorky too, which made me feel like they’d be awesome friends. 10 years later, all of this is still true, and this NYE the band brings its distinctive take on indie rock to the North Star, for an evening of unabashed rocking. I’ll clap my hands to that.
9:00 at North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., $25. Tickets available here.
Spend NYE this year in a spacey, alterative universe with the genre-bending instrumentals (and light show) of Philly jammers Lotus. Formed in 1999 by brothers Luke and Jesse Miller, plus friends, at Goshen University, the band went on to release six studio records and earn a reputation for impressive theatrics (past show “themes” have included dead rockers and David Bowie’s Labyrinth). When they played the E-Factory NYE three years ago, their epic set included covers of The Beatles, Daft Punk, Led Zeppelin, and MGMT (listen to them all right here)—not to mention hair-raising guitar freak-outs, quirky electronics, and hundreds of sweaty, dancing bodies. They’ll return to the E-Factory again this NYE, alongside Philly DJ Willyum, for a party like only Lotus can inspire. Please proceed accordingly.
9:00 at the Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th St., $40. Tickets available here.
The Highwater Preachers
Before South Philly gem Boot & Saddle re-opened last fall, and quickly transformed into the thriving bar and venue we know and love, it played host to many a country/Western show in its day, much as the iconic boot sign out front suggests. This New Year’s Eve, it will revisit its country past, with local country + bluegrass band The Highwater Preachers, playing “classic mountain songs” and finger-picked, folksy charmers. Formed earlier this year by fiddle player Sarah Larsen and a troupe of like-minded friends, the band sold out its first Boot performance in September, and gained such a buzz they were invited back. They’ll be joined by self-described “honky tonk heroes” Red Skiles & the Country Ramblers, who together will make you feel like you’re out West somewhere, far, far away from life in the city.
9:00 at Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., $50 (includes open bar + appetizers.) Tickets available here.
West Philadelphia Orchestra
No one throws a show quite like West Philadelphia Orchestra, the self-described “fierce Balkan party monster” whose lively Eastern European tunes and 11-person line-up have helped them earn a reputation as one of Philly’s most fun live bands. Formed in 2006 by a group of musicians united by a common musical love, the band got its starting playing “Romanian ballads, Macedonian folk songs, Bulgarian wedding music, and Klezmer,” before starting to compose its own tunes, which draw on all these influences plus many more (think: free jazz, classical, rock, punk, funk). They’ll stop by Underground Arts this NYE along with Philly rockers The Extraordinaires, for an evening of drinking, dancing, and nonstop vibes. Happy 2014, everyone!
8:00 at Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St., $35. Tickets available here.