1. Patti Smith
December 31 at Bowery Ballroom
As her closing-down-CBGB performance proved, Smith still has what it takes to captivate an audience, and the songs from her seminal album Horses still sound as vital as ever. Plus the locale means you won’t need an (unavailable) taxi to get to downtown bars after the show.
December 31 at the Knitting Factory
The indie duo’s organ-driven music—best heard on their most recent album, Bring It Back—is catchy, upbeat, and just under-the-radar enough to attract an affable, intimate crowd.
3. Radio 4
December 31 at Mercury Lounge
Radio 4 may not be the most original act to grace the New York stage (it’s named after a post-punk song, after all), but this local foursome’s music is exuberant, danceable, and undeniably fun. Arrive early for opener the Oxford Collapse.