Ring in 2022 in Austin with boot scootin', soul crooning or rock & roll
New Year’s Eve might not be teeming with quite as much live music in Austin as has been the case in years past, but there’s a lot more to choose from than a year ago, when most venues remained shuttered because of the pandemic.
We’re still awaiting word from city officials about the annual “Austin’s New Year” celebration, which has traditionally featured live music at Auditorium Shores. Last year, the party went virtual; expect an announcement sometime in December on what may be in the works for ringing in 2022.
In the meantime, here’s our look at some of the best options around town for the big night. Check individual venue websites for COVID-19 safety protocols.
Spoon, John Doe Folk Trio, Sweet Spirit at ACL Live
UPDATE, Dec. 29: This show has been canceled because of "COVID cases amongst artists on the bill as well as the extremely sharp rise in COVID cases in the Austin community," according to an announcement Wednesday from ACL Live.
Last decade’s remarkable run of Willie Nelson New Year’s Eve shows at the venue that sports his statue out front appears to have come to a permanent end, but the folks at ACL Live have come through with a terrific triple-bill of local rock talent.
Not much arguing that Spoon is Austin’s biggest indie band ever, and they’re gearing up for a much-anticipated new album due in February. Doe, leader of legendary L.A. punk band X, moved here a few years ago and has put together a superb acoustic trio with Willie Nelson bassist Kevin Smith and Patty Griffin drummer Conrad Choucroun. Captivating singer Sabrina Ellis has made Sweet Spirit one of Austin’s top club draws in recent years, and the band moved up to renowned indie label Merge during the pandemic. $69-$125. 8:30 p.m. acl-live.com. — P.B.
Nané, Blk Odyssy, TC Superstar at Empire
Start 2022 ahead of the curve with this blockbuster bill anchored by a power trio of groups who are well-poised to be Austin’s next big breakouts. TC Superstar includes a team of dancers who choreograph the band’s live shows to maximize the joyous energy that exudes from their buoyant synth bops. Blk Odyssy’s magnificent 2021 debut “Blk Vintage” is a gripping portrait of Black America that is alternately defiant, sensuous and devastating. And headliner and human charisma bomb Nané transformed a brutally hot Austin City Limits Music Festival opening set into an ebullient dance party for the ages. Vincent Antone and Branx open. $30. 8 p.m. empireatx.com. — D.S.S.
If your favorite way to ring in the new year involves boot-scooting, Austin has you covered. It’s hard to get more classic than longtime local fiddler Alvin Crow playing South Austin’s hallowed Broken Spoke ($25, 9 p.m., brokenspokeaustintx.net). Just east of downtown, the White Horse features the smart songs and smooth sounds of Croy & the Boys plus the Reeves Brothers and Silo Road ($10, 8 p.m., thewhitehorseaustin.com). Or head north to the Little Longhorn Saloon for guitar/pedal-steel ace Jake Penrod (no cover/tips encouraged, 9 p.m., thelittlelonghornsaloon.com). — P.B.
NYE 1981: You Make My Dreams (Come True)! at Hotel Vegas
Break out the shoulder pads, the neon and all the hairspray you own. Hotel Vegas’ annual New Year’s Eve time machine will transport you back to the dawn of Ronald Reagan’s America. Get down to the soft rock of Hall & Oates, yuppie-crushing punk from the Ramones and the Clash and genre-defining new wave from Blondie and the B-52's. Performing artists include members of Amplified Heat, Nolan Potter’s Nightmare Band, Moving Panoramas and Chief Cleopatra. $20 advance, $25 cash day of show. 8 p.m. texashotelvegas.com. — D.S.S.
Mike Flanigin Trio with Jimmie Vaughan, Soul Man Sam at C-Boy’s
B3-organist Flanigin and blues guitar great Vaughan spent much of this fall on tour as the opening act for Eric Clapton. When at home, they’re often found on weekend nights at this SoCo club that has one of the coolest live music vibes in the city. Don’t miss the opening act, 73-year-old Austin mainstay Soul Man Sam. $44. 9 p.m. cboys.com. — P.B.
Golden Dawn Arkestra, Superfónicos at Far Out Lounge
Want to Elon Musk your way out 2021 with an interstellar expedition? You’re in luck. Opening portals to unexplored dimensions is a specialty for Golden Dawn Arkestra, Austin's galactic jazz and funk ensemble. Prefer to keep your aural explorations earthbound? You’re also in luck. Superfónicos’ vivacious mix of Colombian funk and caribe soul is a tropical dance party that will lift your heart as it shimmies your hips. Viben & the Submersibles open. $30. 8 p.m. thefaroutaustin.com. — D.S.S.
Ephraim Owens at Elephant Room
Trumpeter Owens already was one of Austin’s most creative and accomplished musicians when the Grammy-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band added him to their lineup in 2015. When he’s not on tour with them, he still plays occasional club gigs around town. It’s a New Year’s Eve-worthy treat to hear him at the downtown venue that has been Austin’s premier jazz club for more than three decades. $20. 9 p.m. elephantroom.com. — P.B.
Tomar and the FCs at Continental Club
Part of a production team that worked on genre-defining Southern rap hits in the early 2000s, Tomar Williams has spent the past six years flexing his chops as one of Austin's most soulful singers. He's a dynamic frontman who leads his rock-solid ensemble in timeless tunes that are perfect to share with someone you love. $33. 9:30 p.m. continentalclub.com/austin. — D.S.S.
Donn & the Station Masters at Donn’s Depot
Donn’s owner Donn Adelman plays most every weekend at the railroad station turned funky bar that has borne his name for more than 40 years, so it’s only fitting that he and his band will be there on New Year’s Eve. Shows at Donn’s are as much about the ambiance of the room as the music onstage, and during the holidays, the place is decked out in sensory-overload yuletide decor. It’s hard to imagine a more festive place to ring in 2022. $25-$35, reservations strongly recommended. 7 p.m. donnsdepot.com. — P.B.
Big Bill, Mama Duke, Boleys, more at the Ballroom at Spider House
UPDATE, Dec. 29: This event has been canceled. The eclectic roster for this party has an old-school Austin vibe that warms my affordability anxiety-riddled heart. Art punks Big Bill headline a bill that also includes lesbian trap anthem specialist Mama Duke and psych punks the Boleys. Glam-trash outfit Lord Friday the 13th, performance poet turned rapper Chucky Blk and head bangers Sodomy Cop round out the bill. Taylor Wallace from KUTX hosts. $20-$30. 7 p.m. doors. Tickets at prekindle.com. — D.S.S.
More New Year’s Eve shows in Austin
Paul Oakenfold at the Venue ATX
Mavericks at Gruene Hall (Dec. 29-31, all shows sold out)
Ghostland Observatory at Emo’s
Bob Schneider at Paramount Theatre
Cory Henry, RC & the Gritz at Antone’s
Guy Forsyth, South Austin Moonlighters at Saxon Pub
Deep Time, San Gabriel, Torre Blake at Radio Coffee & Beer
Hickoids, Beaumonts, Chaparral at Sagebrush
Son de Rey, Sahara Allstars, Los Alcos at Sahara Lounge
Madam Radar, Reverent Few, Ain’t Wastin’ Time at One-2-One Bar
Ramsay Midwood, Rattlesnake Milk, Cactus Lee, Henri Herbert at Sam’s Town Point
BoomBaptist, Beth/James at Geraldine’s
Wasabi Big Band at Parker Jazz Club
Melissa Carper at Long Play East
Ted Roddy at Carousel Lounge
HeartByrne at 3Ten
Deadeye at ABGB
Silent Disco at Belmont
Era NYE: Bob Moses, Walker & Royce, Cassian at the Concourse Project