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5 musical events to celebrate New Year's Eve

This might be stating the obvious, but here in Buffalo, we know how to party, and New Year's Eve is, aside from the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, the night when we put that knowledge to its greatest test. Because we're such a vibrant music town, it follows that many of the most enticing events on offer involve either live bands or DJs, and in some cases, both.

Here are a few New Year's Eve gigs on the docket this year.

Aqueous and LeSpecial at the Town Ballroom

This year’s return to the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.) will mark the band’s first hometown appearance since the recent release of its “Color Wheel” album.

“New Year’s Eve in Buffalo has always been a rowdy and memorable affair for Aqueous,” said the band’s Mike Gantzer. “Our hometown fans are incredible, and there's always a palpable, uniquely Buffalo energy that happens when we play here.”

That palpable, uniquely Buffalo energy has apparently failed to dissipate since New Year’s Eve 2018, for the band’s show summoning 2019 at the same venue is on the verge of selling out at press time. So if you’re hoping to spend your New Year’s Eve with Aqueous, you’d be advised to grab a ducat for the show – with LeSpecial – while the grabbing’s still good. (7 p.m., $25,

Uprooted at Buffalo Iron Works

Buffalo Iron Works (49 Illinois St.) is throwing a New Year's Eve to-do of its own, headlined by Uprooted, the new project spearheaded by Michael Glabicki, he of Rusted Root fame. With that multi-platinum project placed on the back burner by a hiatus that is said to be temporary, Glabicki formed Uprooted as a project that might simultaneously delve deeper, via new material, into the percussion-heavy, world beat-tinged funky alt-rock that made Rusted Root famous, while satisfying fans still enthralled by that earlier band’s visceral in-concert. Opening sets are from PA Line and the Summit Band.  (9 p.m., $25/$30)

A scene from Transmission Dance Party at Mohawk Place. The DY troop will host a New Year's Party at the same venue this year. (News Archive)

Transmission Dance Party at Mohawk Place

Perhaps your idea of dancing involves more than swaying to-and-fro in a hippie-fied frenzy. If so, the Transmission Dance Party at Mohawk Place (47 East Mohawk St.) has your name written all over it. Though the Transmission crew is legendary from past excursions into the minutiae of prime '80s alternative rock to welcome in 2019, the DJ fare on the menu will be comprised of more recent indie rock/pop and alternative favorites. The party is slated to run from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., so I’d recommend some pre-gig stretching and plenty of hydration.

Kickstart Rumble and DJ West Side Willy at the Gypsy Parlor

Roots-rockers who like their jeans black and their guitars twangy are well advised to head to the Gypsy Parlor (376 Grant St.) for Kickstart Rumble’s twin sets of rough and tumble rawk. There will be food and drink available, and a late-night DJ set from West Side Willy into the dawning hours of 2019. (8 p.m., $10 door)

Susan Bonifaccio of Space Cubs. The band plays Nietzsche's on New Year's Eve. (Space Cubs)

Space Cubs, Deadwolf, SMUG, Coral Collapse and Velvet at Nietzsche's

Here’s how Buffalo’s own experimental-electro-alternative trio Space Cubs describes itself: “The band’s music commands through somber chord progressions, tectonic beats, sonorous vocal harmonies, and cascading manipulated samples. Emotionally informed by the band's spirituality, critical understanding of the world, and joy in self-expression.” I find this pretty hard to resist, a feeling intensified by taking in a few of the band’s live videos via its Facebook page. If you are looking for something a bit darker, more ruminative, and decidedly less glitzy than most gigs commonly associated with New Year’s Eve revelry, you might consider welcoming the new year with a bill featuring Space Cubs, Deadwolf, SMUG, Coral Collapse and Velvet at Nietzsche’s (248 Allen St.) (8 p.m., $5 door)


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