Well, we’re less than one week out from Phish New Years Eve, the first time most of their fans have seen them since summertime. We have high expectations of this run, and I’m sure Phish will do their best to satisfy our cravings, especially considering their lack of announced and scheduled tours in 2012 (even if we know they’ll definitely be back for something). Hopefully because of this, they’ll throw down extra hard at New Years and deliver three outstanding shows.
I’m sure there are still a handful of people worried about tickets, and it has not been pretty out there. Some of us lucked out in the lottery, others miraculously found success during the first on sale, and still others were clued in enough get it on the re-release they announced through Twitter. If, like myself, you don’t fit into one of those categories, there is still hope for us! Stubhub, as we well know, is not an option. Kids, please, I implore you to stand up against scalpers and do not succumb to those obscene prices. Craigslist is a valuable option if you scour the site, but again, be wary of scalpers. If you’re not a member of Cashortrade.org or Phantasy Tour, you should become one; these online communities foster inter-phan trading and selling for face. If you are a part of the aforementioned platforms and do have extras, please, be considerate of your extended phamily and sell it for face plus fees.
That’s enough instruction from me; it always works out with Phish, so hopefully I’ll see you all in there. Let’s skip to the after-parties though, because there is a ton of amazing music happening in NYC after MSG herds us out of there. On Wednesday, I recommend checking out the Hiro Ballroom for Steve Kimock. Only two subway stops or 16 bocks from the Garden and see master musicians Steve Kimock, Bobby Vega, Bernie Worrell, and John Morgan Kimock. This leading guitarist has shared the stage with countless rock gods and even made an album with the Dead’s lyricist Robert Hunter, but on 12/28, he’ll just be doing some old school jamming. On this superb evening, he has invited his bassist of many years and of Sly Stone, Bobby Vega, known for his picking and bassthumping style. Bernie Worrell, “the wizard of woo” on jazz and funky keys, is also on the line up; he’s a founding member (and was musical director) of Parliament/Funkadelic and later in his career, played with the Talking Heads on several tours and albums. If that’s not enough, you’ve also got John Morgan Kimock, Steve’s song and the other half of Exter vs Kimock, drumming the night away, a sound you will not want to miss. You can make it a VIP occasion, dip in for the regular $25.00 ticket, or try to win tickets on Facebook, but either way, they’re saving the goods for after the show, so head down there right around 11:30 to catch it all.
None of these choices are going to be easy, but on Thursday, we have a selection of three different after-shows to choose from. Marco Benevento will be tearing up the Highline Ballroom in his very unique, post-rock kind of way. His wild and fascinating compositions make his live performances as crazy and exciting. It would be the cherry on top of your 29th, but don’t forget about the downtown scene that night. Sullivan Hall offers Yellow Dubmarine, the reggae tribute to the Beatles, and right around the corner, you can get your Dead and Phish on with Reckoning at Kennys Castaways.
Friday has us facing another three-way battle for after-party glory; this time Dead against Dead, against original. Sullivan Hall, the intimate venue that normally hosts smaller, lesser-known bands, will find itself overwhelmed with the crowd that flocks to 7 Walkers featuring Bill Kreuztmann. For just $30, you can get up close and personal with Billy, Papa Mali, Kurt Joseph, and Matt Hubbard and listen to some phenomenal covers and originals. And while you’re down in that neighborhood, you should check out Twiddle, the newest jam band from Vermont to make waves on the scene. These young guys’ original orchestrations gained them instant recognition by pushing the limits and breaking the boundaries, so if you’re going down for 7 Walkers, be sure to drop in for this band as well. Then again, if you’re staying closer to MSG for the night, head just a few blocks up for The Dead Sessions featuring the Vermont All-Stars at B.B. Kings- they’ve had very special guests play before, so who knows what the night before NYE could mean!
Finally on Saturday we have a super easy choice to make because there is only one choice, and that’s Wyllys and the New York Hustler Ensemble, which sounds like a killer option to me. Featuring Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman from Trey Anastasio Band, insane guitarist Scott Metzger, and other special guests, this is bound to be a phenomenal after-show. Every show at Sullivan Hall during this run is catered to phans coming down after Phish (special thanks to CEG Presents for coordinating that), but this one in particular is going to be for us. Riding that New Years Eve high, everyone at Sullivan Hall will be raging to some serious funky jams and crazy, dance-party improvs.
To see all your options in plain sight, visit phishafterparties.com. They’ve got each show and ticket information all in one place, so grab any tickets early to save on door price and guarantee your spot. Thank goodness these tickets aren’t quite like Phish ones, and good luck to all those who still need to secure the party party. See you at the after parties for sure.