Perhaps it’s no surprise that New Year’s Eve is hopping with more music than the upcoming weekend. First Night presents Hoboken indie-rock heroes Yo La Tengo, celebrating their 30th year at the Hynes Convention Center, Ballroom B (with $10 First Night buttons, though $35 reserved seating improves chances of securing a spot), preceded on that stage by seasoned alt-rocker Thalia Zedek’s band. Meanwhile, Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Dom Flemons takes his folk-rooted solo act to the Berklee Performance Center, followed by the great songstress Patty Larkin. And Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street hosts notable Vermont singer/songwriter Anais Mitchell, preceded by Wax & Gold, the dynamic duo of saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and drummer Adam Clark, breaking down the Ethiopian pop of their group Debo Band with other originals and improvisations. For a full-scale lineup and info, here’s the 2015 First Night site.
The clubs are just as busy on Wednesday, primarily with locals-done-good in 2014, beginning with fierce new jack funk-rockers Bad Rabbits (with Moe Pope’s hot new hip-hop group STL GLD as an opener) at the Paradise Rock Club and jazz-pop dynamos Lake Street Dive at the Sinclair, capping their three-night stand with a prom theme. The Brighton Music Hall presents reunited DC rockers the Dismemberment Plan on a perfect occasion to bust out “The Ice of Boston,” a crowd favorite that references New Year’s Eve in the Hub. Veteran troubadour Ellis Paul follows an afternoon First Night set at the Hynes with two shows at Club Passim as part of his traditional year-end stand. Vapors of Morphine, which teams Morphine saxman Dana Colley and drummer Jerome Deupree with guitarist Jeremy Lyons, closes out the year at its favored haunt cozy Atwood’s Tavern before launching a Saturday residency in 2015. Likewise, Bull McCabe’s spiritual regulars Dub Apocalypse raise the reggae roof at that intimate Union Square outpost. And just south of town in Milton, the warehouse-fashioned restaurant Steel & Rye offers an inclusive NYE bash with spirited local punk-Americana outfit Tigerman WOAH, whose exciting year included a set at Boston Calling.
Finally, note two highlights for this upcoming weekend. Rocking organ trio Soulive (who recently sat in with the Tedeschi Trucks Band at House of Blues) keep it grooving at the Paradise on Friday — with Dub Apocalypse as opener. And the Sub Rosa Songwriter’s Retreat invades Club Passim on Sunday to open a two-night stand with an all-star collective that features Jocie Adams, David Champagne, Rose Polenzani, Sean Staples and Miss Tess amid the sprawling cast.