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Live music on New Year's Eve to satisfy every kind of listener 

Welcoming a new year while watching a movie on the couch with a glass of bubbly is so 2020. This New Year’s Eve, Rochester boasts enough live music to satisfy every kind of listener. From string-pluckin’ bluegrass and sizzling country to far-out jam bands and even a soul-blues legend, the options for concerts this Dec. 31 are deep and diverse. Finding an outfit is easy. The hard part is choosing which show you want to be at when the clock strikes midnight. Here’s a roundup that might help you decide.
click to enlarge Aqueous. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • Aqueous.
Aqueous and Friends
Water Street Music Hall,
$30.75 in advance, $43.10 day of show
Buffalo’s leading groove-rock crew has made a name for itself with unexpected genre-blending and long, improvisational sets in the tradition of its jam-band forefathers, Phish. This year, Aqueous brings its ebullient New Year’s Eve show, a 716 staple, to Water Street, along with surprise guests on the bill for bonus vibes. The action kicks off at 7 p.m. and doesn’t quit until 1 a.m. Wear comfortable shoes.

Sexy Teenagers, Lucky33, Sodoff, and Early Retirement
Bug Jar,
Earplugs alert! Trade the champagne for a can of PBR with a quadruple shot of regional punk, including three homegrown bands. Self-described “party-punk” quartet Sexy Teenagers recalls The Replacements’ early, ramshackle charm, while the newcomers in Sodoff are louder and faster, in the hardcore vein. Early Retirement brings sunny pop-punk. Meanwhile, Syracuse’s Lucky33 keeps SoCal skate punk alive. For this 21-and-over show, doors open at 8 p.m., and the music starts at 9.
click to enlarge Dirty Blanket. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • Dirty Blanket.
Dirty Blanket
Three Heads Brewing,
$20 in advance, $30 at the door
Canandaigua’s five-piece string band Dirty Blanket is set to ring in 2023 at Three Heads Brewing’s first-ever New Year’s Eve celebration. Don’t let the lack of drums fool you. Two guitars, an upright bass, a mandolin, and a banjo provide plenty of bright, lively bluegrass to get your feet tappin’ and your hands clappin’. The music kicks off at 9 p.m.

Nightfall After Dark
Russell Station Bar & Grill,
Billing itself as “an eclectic musical journey” of pop and rock spanning the 1960s to the ’80s, Nightfall After Dark stuns with witchy, spirited covers of Fleetwood Mac, Ringo Starr, The Pretenders, and more. Singer Lisa Commentucci Lowden channels Stevie Nicks in a black shawl, but she’s a dazzling performer in her own right. The tunes begin at 9 p.m. and are scheduled for three hours.

Flint Creek
Flint Creek, which began in 2004 as a band heavily favoring so-called “country with a kick,” has grown into something of a local institution. The quintet can easily run through impressive and faithful takes on Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Kentucky Headhunters, and Old Crow Medicine Show, making their sets colorful and easy to dance to. Their four-part twangy harmonies are right at home at Henrietta country bar Nashville, beginning at 9 p.m. — snowy December night or not.

Johnny Rawls & The Love Machine
Quality Inn, Geneseo (presented by Fanatics Pub,
The rootsy Lima hotspot Fanatics Pub presents soul bluesman Johnny Rawls and his trusty Stratocaster onstage at the Quality Inn in Geneseo to close out 2022. Hailing from Mississippi, birthplace of the blues, Rawls has led a storied career as a traveling musician singing about red Cadillacs, being a country boy, and disappearing on that midnight train. He’s backed by the muscle of the musicians in The Love Machine. Doors open at 6 p.m. Expect the music at 7.

The Vine at Del Lago Resort & Casino,
Waterloo’s premier entertainment center hosts a tribute show to the hard rock of decades past. Fans of Kiss, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, Van Halen, and other arena-rock staples won’t be able to resist Minnesota’s Hairball, more of a theatrical experience than a traditional rock concert that’s been churning for nearly a quarter-century. Say hello to the future by getting lost in the high decibels of the past. This 21-and-over show starts at 8 p.m.

Patrick Hosken is a freelance writer for CITY. Feedback on this article can be directed to
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