There are a lot of ways New Year’s Eve can go wrong. It’s colder than Saint Patrick’s Day. The food is worse than Fourth of July. It lacks Halloween’s thrifty focus. And it’s likely to empty your pockets, thanks to fixed-price bar nights priced worth more booze than one could ever hope to drink.
But, on the other hand, nothing beats a killer New Year’s party. Who does want to start the year off on the right foot? With that in mind, below are a handful of shows—none of which have sold out—that will get you dancing your way into 2016. Get moving. Be merry. Happy New Year.
Where:The Shrine, 2109 S. Wabash
How Much:$50; shrinechicago.com
Why You Should Go:With any luck, the fierce Calumet rapper’s Timbaland-produced debut will be out next year. That could make this the last time you’ll see her in a manageably sized venue.
Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
Where:House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn
How Much:$68.50–$242.50; ticketmaster.com
Why You Should Go:The ’60s-soul revivalists just released an album of holiday tunes that is equal parts fresh and charming—a bona fide Christmas miracle.
When:8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Where:Zanies, 1548 N. Wells
How Much:$30–$40; ticketfly.com
Why You Should Go:See the former Girl Code star do what she does best: standup.
Where:The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia
How Much: $20; ticketfly.com
Why You Should Go:The punk/funk/dub duo by former Trenchmouth frontman Damon Locks is utterly freaky.
Robert Randolph and the Family Band
When:7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Where:City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph
How Much:$75–$115; citywinery.com
Why You Should Go:Hear pedal-steel party tunes without getting a drink spilled on you.
El Ten Eleven
Where:Subterranean 2011 W. North
How Much:$25; ticketfly.com
Why You Should Go:This two-man band makes the noise of twenty with an arsenal of loop pedals.
Second City’s Holidazed and Confused Revue
Where:230 W. North
How Much: $90–$250; upcomedyclub.com
Why You Should Go:$90 may sound like a lot, but the New Year’s edition of Second City’s holiday revue comes with a buffet, table service, and gratis champagne.
The Promise Ring, Into It. Over It.
Where:Metro, 3733 N. Clark
How Much:$46–$200; etix.com
Why You Should Go:Emo pioneers The Promise Ring play their seminal 1997 album Nothing Feels Good in full. And local opener Into It. Over It. has been previewing new music at recent shows.
Where:Concord Music Hall
How Much:$29–$100. clubtix.com
Why You Should Go:After calling it quits multiple times since the 2012 death of the band’s frontman Al Jourgensen, every Ministry show threatens be the band’s last.
Go to iO
Where:iO Theater, 1501 N. Kingsbury
How Much:$12–$25; ioimprov.com
Why You Should Go:Take your pick of iO’s interactive game show, the improv company Baby Wine / Super Human, group Damn! Gina’s sixth revue, House Party, or the Improvised Shakespeare Company’s New Year’s show.
Where:Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport
How Much:$77; ticketweb.com
Why You Should Go:The generally hushed folk singer’s new album The Firewatcher’s Daughter is a rollicker.
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound
Where: Emporium Arcade Bar, 1366 N. Milwaukee
How Much: $30; brownpapertickets.com
Why You Should Go:The dynamic soul singer has been relatively quiet recently, so don’t miss a chance to see him live. Also: pinball.
Reaction New Year’s Eve
When:December 30 and 31 at 5:30 p.m.
Where:Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road, Rosemont
How Much:$109–$399; reactnye.com
Why You Should Go: To rage—if you must—by turning New Year’s Eve into a two-night event. Chicago mag Chicagoan of the Year Chance the Rapper performs, as do Chvrches, Run the Jewels, ProbCause, ShowYouSuck, and more.