ANIMAL HOSPITAL COLLECTIVE Fronted by Kevin Micka, this 30-piece band harmoniously brings together varying sounds. 8:30 p.m. Hynes Convention Center, Room 302. www.firstnight.org
Bad Rabbits The diverse and energetic R&B group returns to Allston, ringing in the New Year with fellow Massachusetts band Herra Terra. 9 p.m. Brighton Music Hall. Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 day of show. 18+. 617-779-0140, www.brighton
Boston Saxophone Quartet The quartet features a broad range of styles accumulated over time, from swing to ragtime to the Beatles to the Renaissance.
9 p.m. Hynes Convention Center, Room 206. www.firstnight.org.
Cass McCombs Described as “an indie-rock heartthrob,” McCombs has toured with the likes of Modest Mouse, Blonde Redhead, the National, and the Walkmen. 10:30 p.m. Boston Public Library Rabb Hall. www.firstnight.org
CUFFS This Cambridge-based band (born of the ashes of local favorite Pants Yell!) specializes in literate guitar pop.7:30 p.m. Boston Public Library Rabb Hall. www.firstnight.org
Daylong Celebration on Boylston Plaza at The Shops at Prudential Center
At the hub of the First Night festivities, join musical talent and artists on Boylston Plaza for 11 hours of lively and spirited celebration. 1 p.m. The Shops at Prudential Center, Boylston Plaza. www.firstnight.org
Emily Elbert The 23-year-old has ventured far from her native Texas, performing across the US and 13 countries. Influenced by Antonio Carlos Jobim, James Taylor, and ’60s radio, this performance will be broadcast live on WUMB-FM (91.9). 10 p.m. Modern Theatre at Suffolk University. 617-557-6537, www.firstnight.org
Gem Club The hush, melodic Massachusetts-based trio released their debut record, “Breakers,” in 2011. 9 p.m. Boston Public Library Rabb Hall. www.firstnight.org
Intransitive Recordings A lasting favorite of First Night. This year, join Howard Stelzer, Mike and Linda Aubry Bullock, Jack Dice featuring producers John Twells and Walker Chambliss, Peter Whincop, and Stelzer & Talbot for electronic and improvised music. DJ Nathan Trites will fill gaps with ’80s new wave, electro-pop, and industrial disco. 7:30 p.m. Hynes Convention Center, Room 313. www.firstnight.org
Israeli Jazz Collective This group of Israeli musicians is made up of young talent, Berklee alumni, and current students. Under musical director Lihi Haruvi, the troupe will play both original pieces and Israeli classics. 8:45 p.m. St. Paul’s Cathedral. 617-482-5800, www.stpaulboston.org, www.firstnight.org
Jenny Dee and the Deelinquents Combining the girl group groove of the ‘60s with the soul of the ‘70s, Jenny Dee and the Deelinquents perform covers and originals in the style of classic Stax and Motown. 8 p.m. NEC’s Jordan Hall. 617-585-1260. www.necmusic.edu, www.firstnight.org
DJ Jesse Kaminsky Kaminsky, former host of WMBR’s “The Intercontinental” and current host of WFMU’s “Kaminsky Kamoutsky,” spins favorites. 7:30 p.m. Hynes Convention Center, Room 302. www.firstnight.org
John Scofield’s Überjam The first reunion show of jazz guitarist John Scofield and his band, Überjam, in a fusion of jazz, funk, and electronic music. Joining Scofield, who graduated from Berklee in ’73, is guitarist/computer manipulator Avi Bortnick, drummer Adam Deitch, and bassist Andy Hess. 8:45 p.m. Berklee Performance Center.
Lori Diamond & Fred Abatelli Boston-bred Diamond, voted best female vocalist by Pulse Magazine in 2011, teams with bassist/guitarist Abatelli to produce a soulful sound reminiscent of Norah Jones, Sarah MacLachlan, and Joni Mitchell.
7:30 p.m. Hynes Convention Center, Room 206. www.first
the Magnetic Fields Songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Stephin Merritt and his band – cellist Sam Davol, guitarist John Woo, percussionist/pianist Claudia Gonson, and singer Shirley Simms – have released 10 albums, highly regarded in the realm of pop music.
9 p.m. Boston Symphony Hall. 617-266-1492, www.bso.org, www.firstnight.org
Major Stars Boston’s legendary rock behemoth closes out the night with a live performance. 10 p.m. Hynes Convention Center, Room 302. www.firstnight
Matthew Halpin’s Earwax Control Halpin’s squad of students from Berklee’s Global Jazz Institute will perform new compositions and improvise with projected animations and film clips.7:30 p.m. Berklee Performance Center. 617-266-7455. www.berklee.edu/PC, www.first
Nathan Reich Nicknamed “Thumb Kid” for his unique guitar playing style, Reich returns to Boston after graduating from Berklee in 2009 to perform at First Night. 8:30 p.m. Modern Theatre at Suffolk University. 617-557-6537. www.suffolk.edu/moderntheatre, www.firstnight
New England Conservatory Youth Jazz Orchestra Under the direction of jazz artist and chair of NEC’s college jazz studies department, Ken Schaphorst, this ensemble gathers some of New England’s most talented and committed high school musicians. 5 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Ballroom. www.first
New Highway Hymnal The local psychedelic band leads a bill of fellow Bostonians, presented by Eye Design and Vanya Records. Free food, raffle, games, art, champagne, and more.
9 p.m. Great Scott, 1222 Commonwealth Ave., Allston. Tickets: $15. 21+. 617-566-9014, www.greatscottboston.com
Soulive The jazzy, genre-jumping trio runs up to 2013 with two nights at the Paradise with the Shady Horns and Akashic Record. 7 p.m., Dec. 30 ($20).
8 p.m., Dec. 31 ($40). Paradise Rock Club, 967 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 18+. 617-562-8800, www.thedise.com
Tanya Donelly In addition to cofounding the bands Throwing Muses, the Breeders, and Belly, Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Donelly has released four solo albums. Her latest project, slated to release in early 2013, is a series of collaborations with various authors and musicians. 8 p.m. Boston Symphony Hall. 617-266-1492, www.bso
Walter Sickert & the ARmy of BRoken TOys, The Wireforest: An Evening of
Eccentric local favorite Sickert is joined by his ARmy of BRoken Toys and Bent Knee for a night of “time traveling wonderment,” previewing new album “The Soft Time Traveler.” 7:30 p.m. Hynes Convention Center Auditorium. www.firstnight.org
Jessica Teich and
BOSTON BAROQUE: ‘LA SERVA PADRONA’ Martin Perlman leads Pergolesi’s comic opera, with baritone David Kravitz, alongside music by Telemann, Corelli, and Marcello. Dec. 31 at 8 p.m., Jan. 1 at 3 p.m. Sanders Theatre. 617-987-8600, www.boston
HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY CHORUS As part of First Night, the H&H Chorus will perform at the Museum of African American History (46 Joy St.), with a program that includes selections from H&H’s performance at the Emancipation Proclamation celebration in Boston – in 1863.
December 31 at 2 and 3 p.m. Tickets available on a first-come first-served basis beginning at 11 am. Free. 46 Joy Street. www.firstnight.org
ORGAN RECITALS As always, this year’s First Night festivities will include a wide range of organ recitals taking place throughout the afternoon and evening, at Arlington Street Church, First Church of Christ, King’s Chapel, Old South Church, and elsewhere. www.firstnight.org
PROJECT STEP: CHAMBER ENSEMBLES Performances by students at Project STEP, which supports young musicians from minority backgrounds, led by co-artistic director Mariana Green-Hill. 1 p.m. Hynes Convention Center. www.firstnight.org
NEC CHILDREN’S CHORUS: FAMILY CONCERT A children’s chorus from New England Conservatory offers a participatory family program. 3 p.m. Hynes Convention Center. www.firstnight.org
PIPPIN Charlemagne goes to the circus? Well, at least his son does in American Repertory Theater artistic director Diane Paulus’s new production of the 1972 musical, which has a mini-trampoline onstage, a trapeze hanging overhead, seven circus performers in the cast, and a dozen live musicians playing the Stephen Schwartz score. “Pippin” hasn’t run on Broadway since the original production closed 35 years ago, but this revival might just be headed to the Great White Way. Dec. 31 at 7:30 p.m. $25-$85 (free admission to the first 50 First Night button holders who show up at the Loeb Drama Center box office at noon
Dec. 31). Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge. 617-547-8300, www.americanrepertorytheater
OUR TOWN “When the theatre pretends to give the real thing in canvas and wood and metal,” playwright Thornton Wilder wrote, “it loses something of the realer thing which is its true business.” Director David Cromer’s stark production aspires to Wilder’s “realer thing” and achieves it. Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. Huntington Theatre Company. At Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-266-0800, www.huntingtontheatre
A KWANZAA SONG A play with music and dance, written and directed by Ricardo Pitts-Wiley and choreographed by Karissa Crawford, about a young African spirit named Azu (Daniel Osinaga) who accompanies the children sold into slavery in the New World and helps keep them focused on the goal of freedom. Free to holders of First Night buttons. Dec. 31 at 3 p.m. Presented by Mixed Magic Theatre. At Hibernian Hall, Roxbury. www.firstnight.org
DREAMTIME: TALES FROM DOWN UNDER The Richmond, Va.-based Barefoot Puppet Theatre draws from folk tales told by the Aboriginal people of Australia: A mother platypus tells her young child, Billy, stories about how the emu lost its ability to fly, about a massive frog who swallowed an ocean, and about why, exactly, platypuses are so unusual looking. Dec. 31 at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Puppet Showplace Theatre, Brookline. 617-731-6400, www.puppetshowplace
WINTER A 50-minute adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale,’’ told through song, video, and text, directed by Adam Sanders, and presented as part of the First Night festivities.
Dec. 31 at 7:30 and 9 p.m. Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. Hynes Convention Center, Ballroom A. www.firstnight.org
TINGLE! LIVE ON STAGE AND SCREEN Jimmy Tingle takes a satirical look back at 2012 with his live show, plus a screening of his documentary, “Jimmy Tingle’s American Dream,” followed by a question-and-answer period.
8 p.m. $15-$45. Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Suite 1-A, Somerville. 617-718-2191, www.artsatthearmory.org
ROBBIE PRINTZ AND FRANK SANTORELLI This show already features two headliners — Printz and Santorelli (formerly Georgie the Bartender on “The Sopranos”) — and might include another one or two when the advertised “special guests” drop by. 8 and 10:30 p.m. $35. Dick’s Beantown Comedy Vault, 124 Boylston St. 800-401-2221, www.dickdoherty.com
NICK’S COMEDY STOP Joe Yannetty headlines the early slot before heading out to join Steve Sweeney and Bethany Van Delft in their show at the Citi Shubert Theatre. Harrison Stebbins takes over at 8 p.m. with his high-energy show. 6 and 8 p.m. $22. Nick’s Comedy Stop.
IMPROV In addition to doing three First Night shows at the Hynes Convention Center (7:30, 8:45, and 10 p.m.), ImprovBoston will host a family-friendly show in Central Square followed by two regular shows. 6 p.m. (all ages), $16, $10 children; 7:30 p.m., $20-$25; 10 p.m., $30-$35. ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect St., Cambridge. 617-576-1253, www.improvboston.com. Improv Asylum’s main-stage cast plays two shows in the North End. 8 and 10 p.m. $25. Improv Asylum, 216 Hanover St.
THE COMEDY STUDIO This will be a more relaxed show than some of the others, featuring club owner Rick Jenkins with Rick Canavan, Chris D., Danny Kelly, Andrew Mayer, and Mike Pincus. Many of the comics will probably hang out at the second floor bar after the show to ring in the new year. 8 p.m. $12. Comedy Studio, 1238 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. 617-661-6507, www.thecomedystudio
karmaloop Countdown to Midnight DJ Die Young takes to the steps of the Boston Public Library for a multimedia celebration sponsored by Karmaloop, featuring dancers, visuals, and fellow DJs. WBZ-TV will broadcast the festivities beginning at 10 p.m. 8:30 p.m. Free. Copley Square.
Ice Sculptures Brookline Ice’s Eric Fontecchio and Brilliant Ice Sculpture’s Donald Chapelle chisel frozen figures drawn from everything from fairy tales to the Great Barrier Reef. All day and night. Copley Square and Boylston Plaza at the Prudential Center. Free.
Panorama Magazine Grand Procession: “The Nature of Boston” In a tradition as old as First Night, bands, floats, and many more will march across Boston in a parade. This year’s theme explores how nature finds its way into the city. 5:30 p.m. Free. Begins in front of Hynes Convention Center.
LogMeIn Midnight Fireworks Ten minutes of explosive entertainment over the Boston waterfront. Midnight. Free.