Everyone has holiday traditions.
For instance, you may celebrate your annual New Year’s Eve by not leaving your couch. A few cartons of Chinese food, a bottle of wine and a screen full of Ryan Seacrest may be your ideal transition from one year to the next – and that’s fine. But if you’re stretched out across Western New York, there are plenty of live shows scheduled to not only peel you away from Taylor Swift in Times Square, but to allow you to ring in 2015 next to neighbors on both ends of the Niagara River.
Want to celebrate near downtown’s new Ice at Canalside? At 8 p.m., there’s jam band action with Aqueous and Funktional Flow scheduled nearby at Buffalo Iron Works (49 Illinois St.). Interested in recovering your Birkenstock days a little closer to the Falls? Rusted Root and special guest Hypnotic Clambake will bring their bongos, bass and beads to Rapids Theater (1711 Main St.) for a 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve bash.
And these are just an introductory pair. For more, consider the following four:
7:30 and 11 p.m. in the Tralf (622 Main St.)
To have an intimate club date with either an enduring Buffalo guitar hero or a Canadian singer/songwriter whose catalog has backed multiple generations of Queen City keg parties would be a solid New Year’s Eve night out. But to have both on the same bill for early (7:30 p.m.) and late (11 p.m.) shows to prep and celebrate into 2015 make the evening a must-make on Main Street.
First is local native Nile, who will bring piano-led work off November’s sublime “If I Was A River,” as well as a guitar case full of four vagabond decades of rock ’n’ roll excellence bred on Nickel City streets, matured in the grimy glow of New York City’s Greenwich Village and illuminated with later efforts like “Streets of New York” and “American Ride.”
Joining him will be former Lowest of the Low frontman Hawkins, who earned his place onto Buffalo barroom jukes with 1991’s “Shakespeare My Butt,” and has stayed in rotation via beautifully crafted solo work and with the electric sneer of his Rusty Nails and current collective, the Do-Good Assassins.
Tickets: Reserved seating is available from $25 to $55 (box office, Ticketmaster, Walmart). Call 852-2860.
Before you go, listen to: “Vagabond Moon” by Willie Nile; “Dead Man” by Ron Hawkins and the Do-Good Assassins.
8 p.m. in Town Ballroom (681 Main St.)
If the Nile and Hawkins twofer doesn’t do it for you, you can simply grab a plaid blazer from your trunk, walk across the street and check out Boston’s grand ambassadors of ska-core, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
Still fronted by the Marlboro growl of Dicky Barrett – and still sidled by the treadmill-dancing of Bosstone mascot Ben Carr – the “Impression That I Get” eight-piece will visit the Theatre District following its annual run of “Hometown Throwdown” holiday shows at Boston’s House of Blues.
The band’s trio of post-Christmas dates has been a riotous tradition in Massachusetts for nearly two decades, with songs from the band’s late-’90s breakout joining fan favorites from its early days in Kenmore Square punk rock holes like the Rat. Hopefully the band will have enough enthusiasm to tour through past hits like “Someday I Suppose” and the Alicia Silverstone party favorite “Where’d You Go” once it shows up in Buffalo.
Tickets: $32 to $35 (box office, www.ticketfly.com).
Before you go, listen to: “Kinder Words.”
9 p.m. in Seneca Niagara Bear’s Den (310 Fourth St., Niagara Falls)
While Buffalo’s offering the aforementioned collection of guitar-steered action, Niagara Falls is offering the high-rolling confines of Seneca Niagara Casino, where its Bear’s Den Showroom will host the smooth R&B of Detroit’s legendary Spinners.
After the 2013 passing of Bobby Smith – the velvety vocal force behind many of the band’s hits throughout its rise to 1970s stardom and 12 gold records – the band now features 75-year-old Henry Fambrough (its only surviving original member) joining Jessie Peck, Marvin Taylor, Charlton Washington and Ronnie Moss to churn out Atlantic Records classics like “I’ll Be Around,” “It’s A Shame” and the funktastic march of “The Rubberband Man.”
And after more than 50 years that have seen Grammy nominations, dance steps and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, their hits still bring fans back to the past. On Wednesday night, they turn back the clock once more before we all have to flip the calendar forward.
Tickets: $50 and $60 (box office, Ticketmaster).
Before you go, listen to: “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love.”
8 p.m. in the Hard Rock Café (333 Prospect St., Niagara Falls)
Finally, if you would rather eschew the silky tunes of the Spinners for all the confetti, spectacle and celebration of a New Year’s Eve ball drop – albeit with the ball being a giant guitar, and the celebration being ignited by the amplified, Nickelback-ish baptism of British Columbia’s Theory of a Deadman – then a spot outside Niagara Falls’ Hard Rock might be the place for you.
Yes, it’s a jarring contrast from one side of the Seneca Niagara Casino to outside on Old Falls Street, but Theory of a Deadman fans will have the chance to stomp along with sunny favorites like “Bad Girlfriend” and “I Hate My Life” before feasting on offerings from the Tyler Connolly-led quartet’s summer release, “Savages.” (Theory of a Deadman starts its 2015 tour with Bush and Stars in Stereo in San Francisco on Jan. 30.)
Add opening acts Dirty Smile and Menew to the headliner’s goateed licks and follow it all with midnight fireworks off the Giacomo Hotel, to complete the block party.
Tickets: Free, but a $50 New Year’s Eve Outdoor Party Pass affords attendees a food and beverage voucher for the Hard Rock heated party tent, hats and noisemakers, a premium stage view for Theory of a Deadman, and free champagne for the toast at midnight.
Before you go, listen to: “Savages.”
Story topics: Bear's Den/ concert previews/ concerts/ Michael Farrell/ Mighty Mighty Bosstones/ New Year's Eve/ Ron Hawkins and the Do Good Assassins/ The Spinners/ Theory of a Deadman/ Town Ballroom/ Tralf Music Hall/ Willie Nile