Some of us like to demolish the old year and ring in the new with not just explosions and cheers, but music. If that describes you, take note of these ten New Year’s Eve concerts — from dubstep to gypsy punk.
Itchy-O with Mr. Pacman
If you’re looking for an overwhelming multi-sensory experience that reflects the dark carnival that 2018 has been, then get yourself to Itchy-O’s annual three-night New Year’s celebration. CPR’s OpenAir presents this year’s shows by the 57-member avant-garde electronic-and-percussion band. The evening also features Mr. Pacman, so expect lots of fantastic and fearsome costumes, ecstatic marching, and lots and lots of drums.
Rubedo, Fed Rez and more
All of the acts in this lineup are local favorites who bring rowdy good vibes, no matter the genre. The night, presented by KGNU and Twist & Shout Records, features DJ Polyphoni, the “psychedelic sonic witch magic” of Rare Byrd$, the clever alternative hip-hop of Fed Rez, and the irreverent synth-rock of headliner Rubedo.
Wildermiss, with Retrofette and Coastal Wives
If you’re looking to bop around to the fun-loving tunes of some of Denver’s top pop bands, get your fix at this showcase. Westword readers voted Retrofette the Best Pop Act of 2017, and the band throws a hell of a synth-loving get-down. And Wildermiss made national waves on the strength of charming single “Carry Your Heart,” which garnered an adoring shout-out from the Dashboard Confessionalist himself, Chris Carrabba.
What one band can provide the soundtrack that sums up the gravity and absurdity of 2018 while also capturing the cinematic sweep of one year into the next? DeVotchKa, of course! The theatrical indie-rock group, which just released its first album in seven years, This Night Falls Forever, will play two New Year’s shows (December 30 and 31) at the Bluebird. Working on Hollywood films and with the Colorado Symphony has only expanded DeVotchKa’s multi-instrumental sound, so get ready to stare into that gorgeous abyss.
Gasoline Lollipops performing Tom Petty’s Wildflowers
Fox Theatre, Boulder
New Year’s Eve is an opportunity to look back on the past year, as well as the years before that; consider it one last chance to soak in nostalgia before turning to what’s next. Energetic folk band Gasoline Lollipops will do just that with a performance of Tom Petty’s Wildflowers during this final show of 2018.
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club
Slim Cessna's Auto Club is a Denver tradition — and so is the band’s annual New Year's Eve gig. But that doesn't mean that these old acquaintances should be forgot, or that the gothabilly outfit is out of surprises. This year's show is set for Globe Hall, and the evening will include a performance by DBUK, the shake-rattle-and-roll side project comprising core members of the Auto Club, including Slim himself.
String Cheese Incident
1STBANK Center, Broomfield
Want to jam through the end of 2018? Colorado’s String Cheese Incident returns to the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield for a three-night stand around New Year’s Eve. This string of shows is extra-special, because it marks the launch of SCI’s 25th-anniversary year. Sam Bush will join the band on December 28, and Robert Randolph will perform on December 29, but on New Year’s Eve, it’s all String Cheese, all night.
Son Volt and Bison Bone at Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox
Dean Ween Group and Dumpstaphunk at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom
An important part of the holidays is getting through them with old friends. In Denver, you have a couple of options for rocking out on New Year’s Eve with alternative musicians you loved in the ’90s — and who fortunately still rock pretty hard. Jay Farrar’s band Son Volt is playing Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox with local Americana act Bison Bone, while over at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom, the Dean Ween Group will get weird with Dumpstaphunk.
Boulder Theater, Boulder
Throw on your best purple garb and head to the Boulder Theater for a special performance by Gogol Bordello. The Eastern European gypsy-punk act always throws a barnburner of a show, and we’re betting frontman Eugene Hütz will amp up the antics for New Year’s Eve.
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Decadence: Skrillex, Marshmello, Bassnectar, GRiZ, Zeds Dead
Colorado Convention Center
Billed as “America’s Biggest New Year’s Eve Celebration,” Decadence boasts the biggest arena-filling names in EDM: Above & Beyond, Bassnectar, Marshmello, Skrillex, GRiZ, Zeds Dead and much more. Decadence is designed as a carnival of sonic stimulation, so stick to your buddy system!
Slug.Mission, with Kursa, Broken Note, Thelem
The Black Box
For a more intimate dance experience, the Black Box has booked Slug.Mission, along with Kursa, a U.K. electronic producer; Broken Note, a London-based production-and-live-set act; and Thelem, a dubstep/bass DJ and producer, also from the U.K. Pack your earplugs!