This year New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday, which means amateur night will either be more comical than usual or not that big a deal, really. America’s fourth-largest city is not hurting for live-music options, and lacking a marquee event like last year’s Suffers blowout or city-sponsored B-52’s/Tontons bash (unless you count Rockets/Knicks at Toyota Center), the field is wide open. If these ten shows aren’t your particular glass of champagne, though, our Concert Calendar should have plenty of other options.
JOSH ABBOTT BAND
House of Blues (December 30 & 31)
Not every Texas country act is capable of burning down the stage with mature songs about adult relationships, which goes a long way toward explaining why the Josh Abbott Band is playing two nights at HOB this weekend instead of one. Already longtime fan favorites in the scene, Abbott’s Lubbock-spawned outfit really outdid themselves on 2015’s Front Row Seat, a difficult, unsparing five-act account of a musician’s divorce from all points of view and all points on the timeline that, independent of the narrative, includes at least two classic JAB singles in “Wasn’t That Drunk” and “Amnesia.”
ALLEN OLDIES BAND
With any luck, the Allen Oldies Band’s catalog — scores of offbeat, somewhat obscure good-time pop, rock, and soul hits of yesteryear — will still be fresh in their minds from their blowout 20th-anniversary gig last month. Since they’ll be going on at 9:30 p.m. instead of that six-hour marathon, the only real issue that may arise here is what to leave out.
ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL
Dosey Doe Big Barn
If you can believe it, Ray Benson’s finishing school for Texas’ finest country and Western Swing musicians will celebrate its 47th year in 2017. The Wheel is about to roll back into the wagon yard for a brief rest as unflappable leader Benson and his honky-tonk pal Dale Watson head out on tour to promote their brand-new album, Write Your Own Songs, so if it’s been a while since you’ve seen them (or you never have), Dosey Doe is a fine place indeed to catch up.
THE ALAN HAYNES BAND
The Big Easy Social & Pleasure Club
A certain type of person wants little more out of a night of live music than a bunch of fiery guitar solos in the Hendrix/SRV mold, over a driving rhythm section that keeps both the dance floor and bar lines packed. Many of those people live around here, and for them, Houston native Alan Haynes and his band of veterans at the Big Easy on New Year’s Eve fit that bill to a T.
One of the city’s most omnivorous musical minds is an ideal guide to a New Year’s experience promising “a mix of festive and upbeat global grooves,” with an appetizer menu to match the multicultural sounds. At the controls is the longtime co-host of KPFT’s Soular Grooves and the artist behind Qingxi, Sun’s acclaimed account of his recent journey to his ancestral homeland of China. You’re safe in his hands; tickets at this link.
The Hunger’s Devil Thumbs a Ride earned a fair amount of airplay after its release 20 years ago — more than a lot of other bands from this area — and is still well worth a listen; you’d think an energetic hybrid of metal and synth-pop like this wouldn’t age especially well, but it really has. For that, much credit goes to the band, who easily find the musical common ground in such ostensibly clashing styles. Joining them at another free holiday Scout Bar show (RSVP required) will be To Whom It May, Valeluna and Save the Fire; plus Shaving Susie, Andy Cortez and Matt Cash on the outdoor acoustic stage.
NEW YEAR’S BONFIRE BASH
It’s hard to imagine two local bands who sound like they’re having more fun making music together than Another Run and King Finn, two very different-sounding groups united by quirky but bold songwriting choices and a palpable kinetic energy. We all know how happy we are that 2016 is finally coming to an end; now just imagine what these two will do on New Year’s Eve.
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NUMBERS NEW YEAR’S EVE
The folks behind Friday I’m In Love have been adding interviews and other footage right and left, and there’s still time to donate in the hopes that Marcus Pontello’s much-anticipated Numbers documentary sees the light of day sometime in 2017. Until then, Houston’s favorite nightlife dungeon plans on a $2,016 cash drop and champagne toast at midnight and “best of Numbers music and dancing,” which this year could well mean extra Bowie — although the DJs may hold the rarer tracks in abeyance until the late Mr. Stardust’s birthday tribute on January 7.
Last seen shutting down the Yellow Stage at the recent Day For Night festival, Wild Moccasins find themselves lately sharing local bills with upstart bands for whom their adventurous electro-pop has been an inspiration. Such is the case at this Wonky Power-sponsored NYE no-cover fiesta, where the Moccasins headline over two such acts to emerge recently: the woozy jams of Mantra Love and midnight psych-soul of Mind Shrine, plus DJ sets by WP all-stars Gio Chamba and Bang Bangz to keep those bodies moving between bands. Those seeking a significantly heavier way to ring in 2017 should show up at 7 p.m. for an eardrum-cleansing clinic by instrumental prog-metallers Agamemnon.