Music: the week ahead around Boston

Jimmy Katz
Sound choice JULIAN LAGE TRIO The rising guitar star is joined by virtuosic bassist Larry Grenadier and marvelous drummer Eric Harland. This First Night performance will be broadcast live in Boston on WGBH-FM (89.7) and across the country as part of NPR’s annual New Year’s “Toast of the Nation.’’ Dec. 31, 7:45 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $18. Berklee Performance Center. 617-747-2261, www.berklee,


THURSDAY Coincidentally enough, the post-hardcore rockers are playing Boston on their namesake day. It is unclear if the band does something special on the fifth day of the week, but fans can expect plenty of brawn and beauty as it tours in support of its latest album “No Devolución.’’ Tonight, 6 p.m. Tickets: $19.50. Royale. 800-745-3000,

SARAH & THE TALL BOYS This country blues band from Chicago titled its 2010 release “A Lifetime Worth of Sin.’’ Come see if it can pack that into one night in Somerville. The like-minded, and ampersand-loving, local outfit Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers handle the warm-up slot. Dec. 30, 8:30 p.m. Tickets: $10. Johnny D’s. 617-776-2004,

LUCERO One New Year’s Eve option includes mixing it up with these Memphis road dogs who like to churn up a stew of rock, soul, and country at their lively shows. Helping keep things hot on a cold night will be friends Movers & Shakers and Lionize. Dec. 31, 8 p.m. Tickets: $25. Paradise. 800-745-3000,


THE TIMBERFAKES Wishing there was a way to combine your love of ’90s music, New Year’s Eve, and Lady Gaga? Well, Boston’s own Justin Timberlake tribute band was thinking of you specifically when designing this ’90s-themed end of the year celebration with special guests Porctopus - who will be performing as “Lady Ska-Ga.’’ Here’s hoping they customize Gaga’s hit into “You and I and I.’’ Dec. 31, 9 p.m. Tickets: $25. Middle East Upstairs. 866-468-7619,




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ELLIS PAUL Paul may be on his way to achieving the status of folk institution. He will be returning to another folk institution, Passim, to do his annual series of New Year’s Eve shows, which means that you’ll have four opportunities to see him this weekend backed by a trio comprising Don Conoscenti, Radoslav Lorkovic, and Michael Clem. Dec. 30 and 31, 7 and 10 p.m. Tickets: $35 (Friday), $40 (Saturday). Club Passim. 617-492-7679,

JOE FLETCHER & THE WRONG REASONS This self-described American roots band works the uptempo end of that musical spectrum, combining a twangy base with rock and bluesy elements, typically set to a freight-train or a boom-chick beat and fronted by Joe Fletcher’s low-down drawl. They’ll be ringing in the new year in the intimate confines of the Plough. Dec. 31, 10:30 p.m. Tickets: $10. The Plough & Stars. 617-576-0032,

GIRLS GUNS AND GLORY If your idea of celebrating a new year is to mark the most famous Cadillac ride in country music history, this is the show for you. Hank Williams met his backseat end 59 January 1sts ago, and Girls Guns and Glory will be commemorating that fact with their second annual Hank tribute show Sunday afternoon. Jan. 1, 4 p.m. Tickets: $15. Lizard Lounge. 800-838-3006,



CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE & INSIDE STRAIGHT Perhaps the most-respected bassist of his generation, McBride and band more than live up to their name, demonstrating that there’s still plenty of life left in hard-swinging, acoustic, post-bop. With rich-voiced guest vocalist Melissa Walker. Dec. 29, 8 and 10 p.m., Dec. 31, 8 and 11 p.m. Tickets: $28-$60. Scullers. 617-562-4111,


MR. NICK & THE DIRTY TRICKS The killer blues outfit, led by singer/harmonica player Nick David, swings and stomps with ferocity and elegance on classic tunes by such icons as Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, and Wynonie Harris, as well as original blues. Dec. 30, 9 p.m. Tickets: $10. Ryles, 212 Hampshire St., Cambridge. 617-876-9330,

YUKA HUNT QUARTET The classically trained pianist is influenced by seminal jazz pianists Teddy Wilson and Thelonious Monk, among others. She also sings great American songbook standards, rendering them her own. With guitarist Lenny Styles, bassist David Landoni, and her husband, drummer Joe Hunt, who over the years has played with the likes of George Russell, Stan Getz, and Bill Evans. Jan. 4, 9:30 p.m. The Lily Pad, 1353 Cambridge St., Cambridge.



BOSTON BAROQUE Under Martin Pearlman’s direction, the veteran period instrument band offers its annual pair of New Year’s performances, this year with concertos by Corelli, Vivaldi, and Handel as well as Bach’s Double Concerto with violin soloists Christina Day Martinson and Julie Leven. Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. and Jan. 1 at 3 p.m. Sanders Theatre. 617-484-9200,

LUDOVICO ENSEMBLE Pianist Sarah Bob, flutist Jessi Rosinski, and percussionist Nicholas Tolle take on Morton Feldman’s expansive, contemplative score “Crippled Symmetry.’’ Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. Williams Hall, New England Conservatory.

OPERA BOSTON As part of First Night, Opera Boston young artists offer a semi-staged performance of Mozart’s one-act comic opera “Bastien und Bastienne,’’ performed in English translation. 8:30 and 10:30 p.m., Dec. 31, Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St.


SONIC YOUTH Throughout the afternoon of Dec. 31 at Boston Public Library, the city’s youth music talent will be on display. At 1 and 2 p.m., young classical musicians from Project Step perform; at 3 p.m., New England Conservatory’s Children’s Chorus takes over; and at 4 p.m., it’s the NEC Youth Jazz Orchestra. Later at 8 p.m., students and alumni of New England Conservatory will take the stage of the school’s Brown Hall for an eclectic program of works by Bach, Beethoven, Cage, Xenakis, and