Bayou City

Houston's 10 Best Concerts On New Year's Eve

For some people, 2016 can’t get here soon enough. But we’ve made it this far into what has been a pretty trying — but occasionally thrilling — year, so we might as well make the most of the 48 hours we've got left. Factor some live music in there, and it might even be fun. Stranger things have happened on New Year's Eve...

The smoothest of the smooth, Houston favorites Frankie Beverly & Maze will celebrate 40 years of silky soul next year. From catching the late Marvin Gaye’s ear — he supposedly convinced Beverly to change the group’s name from Raw Soul — to giving Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock the foundation of their other hit, “Joy and Pain,” Maze is a true R&B institution.

New Year’s Eve with Trudy Lynn is the kind of premium date that should be the stuff of silent auctions, but because it’s the Big Easy, the purple juke joint on Kirby Drive is merely doubling its usual cover charge to a whopping $10. With a new album, Everything Comes With a Price, now in stores and harmonica master Steve Krase right alongside, Houston’s First Lady of Soul is in fine form and ready to ring in your New Year right.

If it’s New Year’s Eve, it must be OLDIES!!! The ever-excitable Allen Oldies Band resumes its December 31 tradition of no cover and, all night long, “Wooly Bully,” “Let’s Dance,” and all the other cool songs you never hear on the radio anymore. The fab guys in Beetle take the early slot at 9 p.m.

Paul Wall had a huge year thanks to his new album Slab God and another “Welcome to Houston” appearance at FPSF; his portfolio even earned an October writeup in Forbes. With king of the Southside Lil Keke and fellow Screwed Up Click member Big Pokey also on hand, the streets around Fitz are going to look like the annual SLAB parade.

It’s been…well, quite a while since the Suffers played a full set of their own material to a hometown crowd. Expect mayhem, and arrive early. Luckily this bill is actually one New Year’s Eve party worth showing up early for, thanks to OG vatos rudos Los Skarnales; live hip-hop from Def Perception; digital cumbia party-starter (and MC for the evening) Gio Chamba; Kiki Maroon’s Sordid Sideshow; and Austin buzz band Blue Healer. Cactus Music has a very limited number of no-fee tickets for $20.

Houston’s alternative-music mecca isn’t really saying much about its New Year’s Eve celebration, but it doesn’t really need to. The club is promising a $2,016 cash balloon drop at midnight and “your favorite Numbers tunes” all night long, plus a surprise or two. If you already have tickets to the Cure’s May 14 Toyota Center concert — or perhaps even if you don’t — you’ll probably want to be here.

Almost fresh from opening for Front 242 at Numbers in September, long-running industrial-rockers The Hunger return to their Clear Lake home base for a ball-dropping blowout with Cassette Tape, From Guts to Glory, Driven With Insanity and DJ Standman. 21 and up free; free champagne toast and prize-filled balloons at midnight.

Presumably all the funky Day For Night digital art installations will be long gone from Silver Street Studios so the folks at Select Entertainment and Events can bring you an evening with Fool’s Gold super-DJ A-Trak, plus KRBE’s own Tony Styles and DJ Bizonee. Enjoy four fully stocked bars, flying aerialists, a breakfast buffet and whatever else $150 per general-admission ticket gets you. See for details.

If your idea of celebrating New Year’s Eve involves boots, pickups, longnecks and Texas country studs Cameran Nelson and Kevin Fowler, the latter responsible for songs like “Beer, Bait & Ammo” and “Hell Yeah, I Like Beer” — well stranger, you came to the right place. With these two, hopefully your idea of New Year's Eve also involves a designated driver.

An assortment of Houston’s hippest electronic, experimental and indie musicians — including Wrestlers, Matsu Mixu, Daed, XLO, Stephen Farris and cyclea — are ringing in the new year at a party so exclusive the organizers won’t even say where it is. RSVP at, and cross those fingers they'll tell you.

See lots more New Year's Eve shows going on across Houston at our Concert Calendar.
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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray