Skip to content

SPIN’s Guide to a Real Rockin’ New Year’s Eve


Where will you be on December 31, 2011? If the answer is “in front of a television set with a bag of Funyans” you have a few options:

Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve will return with host Ryan Seacrest live from New York’s Times Square (and Fergie live from somewhere in Los Angeles). The show features Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Florence + the Machine, Blink-182, Justin Bieber, LMFAO, Pitbull,, OneRepublic, Taio Cruz, Gym Glass Heroes, the Band Perry, and Hot Chelle Rae.
When/Where: 10 p.m. on ABC

• Carson Daly will also be freezing his ass off in Times Square for New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly along with Drake, the Roots, Tony Bennett, Jessie J, Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green, and Smash‘s Megan Hilty.
When/Where: 10 to 11 p.m. (and then 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.) on NBC

• And, why not, Demi Lovato will also be chilling in Times Square for NYE in NYC 2012 with her cohost, Teen Wolf‘s Tyler Posey. Selena Gomez, J. Cole, Jason Derulo, Mac Miller, and Ms. Lovato will perform.
When/Where: 11 p.m. on MTV

Coldplay New Year’s Eve: An Austin City Limits Special will be ACL‘s first ever December 31 event! The 90-minute show will also be streaming online (for viewers in the U.S.)!
When/Where: 11 p.m. on PBS

American Country New Year’s Live will be beaming to you from Las Vegas and New York featuring Toby Keith, Lauren Alaina, Rodney Atkins, Rodney Carrington (yes, two Rodneys!), Joe NIcholas, and the Eli Young Band.
When/Where: 11 p.m. on Fox

But wait, there’s more! You could catch Patti Smith’s annual NYE show in New York (allegedly her last!) or Guns N’ Roses in Vegas or the Black Lips in New Orleans! Here’s a city-by-city guide plus a few key party tips from some of the folks who’ll be appearing at Dallas’ Lights All Night festival:

Tip 1: “Al and I sometimes refer to NYE as ‘amateur hour,’ ’cause most of the people out aren’t used to drinking all night. For some, it’s their one big night of the year. Be mindful of this when making plans, and don’t get too elaborate. Figure out where you’ll start but let the ending just happen. Most importantly, don’t try to organize more than two or four people. With a bigger group, you’re going to get split up for sure, plus you don’t want a crew that needs more than one taxi. Finally, if you’re going to drink, drink enough before you go out that the longer than normal bar lines won’t ruin your mood.” — JFK of MSTRKRFT

Tip 2: “DO go mental, but DON’T go so mental that you can’t remember how mental the night was.”
Tip 2a: “Unfortunately I tend to go so mental, I can never really remember anything and I usually wake up covered in paint (true story).” — Flux Pavilion

New York, New York
Patti Smith and Her Band – The Bowery Ballroom ($60)
Deadmau5 – Pier 36 ($195-$6,000)Thurston Moore with John Zorn and a huge lineup of guests – The Stone ($25)Nero – Webster Hall ($125)Gogol Bordello – Terminal 5 ($45/$50)
The Budos Band and Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires – Music Hall of Williamsburg ($40)
Deer Tick & Friends – Brooklyn Bowl ($45)
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – Maxwell’s ($30/$35)
Phish – Madison Square Garden ($70)
Matt & Kim – Hammerstein Ballroom ($66.75/ VIP $112.80)
Gov’t Mule – Beacon Theatre ($49.50 – $84)
Nosaj Thing, El Topo, Archie Pelago – Glasslands ($25)
Fitz and the Tantrums – Gramercy Theatre ($50)
New Kids on the Block – Roseland Ballroom ($224)

Los Angeles, California
Wanda Jackson, Best Coast – Club Nokia ($28.50)
The Henry Clay People – The Satellite ($10)
Jenny and Johnny, Cults – The Standard ($75)

Athens, Georgia
DJ List Christee (Kevin Barnes DJ Set) – Go Bar

Atlanta, Georgia
Against Me! – Masquerade ($20)
B.B. King – Macon City Auditorium (Macon, GA) ($47 – $67)
Cake – Fox Theatre Atlanta ($100)STS9 – The Tabernacle ($75)

Atlantic City, New Jersey
Brand New – House of Blues ($57.50)
Gladys Knight – Tropicana Showroom ($75 – $100)
The Goo Goo Dolls – Caesars Atlantic City ($125)

Austin, Texas
The Black Angels, Wooden Shjips, Ume – Emo’s East ($25)
White Denim – The Empire Bar ($22-$27)
Willie Nelson, the Gourds – The Moody Theater ($59.50-$139.50)

Boston, Massachusetts
Suzanne Vega – Jordan Hall (First Night Boston)Mavis Staples – Symphony Hall (First Night Boston)Marissa Nadler, Cass McCombs – Boston Public Library (First Night Boston)

Broomfield, Colorado
Pretty Lights, Zedd, Paul Basic – 1stBANK Center ($60)

Charlotte, North Carolina
The Avett Brothers – BI-LO Center (Greenville, SC) ($49.50)

Chicago, Illinois
Cage the Elephant – The Aragon Ballroom ($27.25)
Rusko, Sinden, and Switch – Congress Theatre ($60)
The Hood Internet – Lincoln Hall ($20/$30)
Alkaline Trio – Metro ($61)
Murder By Death – Subterranean ($25)
The Disco Biscuits, Future Rock – Auditorium Theater ($65)

Dallas, Texas
Lights All Night Festival featuring Tiesto, Girl Talk, Diplo, and more – Dallas Convention Center (Dec. 30-31; $99-$190)
Polyphonic Spree – House of Blues ($40)

Denver, Colorado
Ween – Fillmore Auditorium ($75)

Hoboken, New Jersey
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – Maxwell’s ($30-$35)

Houston, Texas
Young Jeezy – Reliant Arena ($79 – $89)

Indianapolis, Indiana
Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s – Deluxe at Old National Centre ($25)

Las Vegas, Nevada
Guns N’ Roses – The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel ($91 – $96)
NOFX, Lagwagon – House of Blues ($40)
John Legend – Pearls Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort ($129)
Stevie Wonder – The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas ($250)

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Skrillex and Co. – The Rave/Eagles Club ($57)

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Dawes – The Varsity Theater ($31 to $60)

New Orleans, Louisiana
Black Lips – One Eyed Jacks ($25)
Better Than Ezra – Beau Rivage Theatre (Biloxi, MS) ($29.95)Dr. John – The House of Blues ($105)

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The Flaming Lips and Yoko Ono – Bricktown Events Center ($150)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Clutch, Corrosion of Comformity, Kyng – Trocadero Theatre ($25)

Phoenix, Arizona
Meat Puppets – Clubhouse Music Venue ($25 – $35)

Portland, Oregon
Talkdemonic – Mission Theater ($16 – $18)

San Francisco, California
Kreayshawn – The Regency Ballroom ($35 – $38)
Further – Bill Graham Civic Auditorium ($75)
Ozomatli – Uptown Theatre Napa ($50 – $85)
Primus – Great American Music Hall ($65)

Seattle, Washington
Brandi Carlile – Neptune Theatre ($125)
Starfucker – Crocodile ($20)

South Lake Tahoe, California
SnowGlobe 2011 featuring Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, Thievery Corporation, Childish Gambino, SBTRKT, and more – Lake Tahoe Community College (Dec. 29-31, $65-$149.95)

St. Petersburg, Florida
Gloria Gaynor, Sister Sledge, Maxine Nightingale – Progress Energy Center’s Mahaffey Theater ($75-$150)

Thackerville, Oklahoma
Maroon 5 – WinStar World Casino Global Event Center($105)

Washington, D.C.
Drive By Truckers, Booker T. Jones, Alabama Shakes – 9:30 Club ($55)