Thursday was the Mighty Mighty Bosstones Day in the City of Boston, as the ska-punk heroes kicked off their three-night Hometown Throwdown at House of Blues with all the trimmings (Mayor Marty Walsh plans to hand over the proclamation at Friday’s show). It’s the 20th anniversary of both the Throwdown and the band’s 1997 breakthrough Let’s Face It — and the Bosstones began by tightly roaring through that album’s tracks in sequence, including favorites “The Rascal King” and “The Impression That I Get.” Frontman Dicky Barrett engaged crowd-surfers in sing-alongs as the Bosstones played before a flashing display filled with Christmas trees and a black Santa – subtle punctuation for an album that shared an anti-racist message. Barrett later called for love, unity and friendship before the band lit into “Don’t Worry, Desmond Dekker,” a tribute to that Jamaican ska king. The Bosstones, who’ll share the stage with several local bands through Saturday, also announced support for the Shout Syndicate Fund for youth arts programs.
The last weekend of 2017 offers plenty of other options as well, culminating in Sunday’s busy New Year’s Eve. Local all-star rockers Iron Fisted top Lemmyfest 3, celebrating the life of Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister at Once Ballroom on Friday (proceeds to the Ronnie James Dio Cancer Fund). On Saturday and Sunday, revered singer/songwriter Ellis Paul holds his annual year-end stand at Club Passim with opener Laurie MacAllister.
Eclectic roots-rockers Los Lobos play Fall River’s Narrows Center for the Arts on Saturday before rolling into City Winery to toast the new year with two shows on Sunday. Scrappy Providence indie-rockers Deer Tick take over the Sinclair on both Saturday and Sunday. Bluesy soul-rocker Ryan Montbleau plays the Cabot in Beverly on Saturday before Peter Wolf and his Midnight Travelers celebrate New Year’s Eve (much like Wolf’s J. Geils Band did for years) at that theater on Sunday.
Sadie Dupuis’ acclaimed indie-rock outfit Speedy Ortiz gets intimate with a New Year’s Eve show at Great Scott on Sunday, while the expansive, Berklee-honed jam band Dopapod closes the year at the Paradise Rock Club before going on hiatus in 2018. And dub-reggae enthusiasts might go from an early show with Stick Figure and John Brown’s Body at House of Blues to a late show with Dub Apocalypse at Bull McCabe’s later that first night. And local upstarts Dutch Rebelle, Carissa Johnson and Eli Paperboy Reed perform in Copley Square as part of Boston’s First Night festivities.