If live music is your thing, New Year’s Eve won’t disappoint.
9pm. $32-$35. Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St. livenation.com
Mostly instrumental Philly electro-jam combo Lotus merges funk, trance, drum ’n’ bass, jazz, post-rock, dub and good ol’ hippie Birkenstock-rock in a manner somewhat akin to fellow locals Disco Biscuits. Except they’re a hell of a lot more tolerable than Disco Biscuits—more atmosphere, a terrific sense of dynamics, and (so far) sans the obnoxious DB fanbase. MSTRKRFT, meanwhile, is the Toronto electro-house/hip-hop duo of Jesse Keeler (once upon a time of dance-punks Death From Above 1979) and Al-P. Their recent Fist of God might sport one of the worst album covers of all time (google it and you’ll see what we mean), but it’s got enough Daft Punk/Justice-inspired retro party jams to keep things bumpin’ well into the wee hours of 2010.
10pm. $40-$75 ($75 Mezzanine tickets include complimentary appetizers and champagne toast). With Christine Havrilla. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com
Hailing from the miniscule Isle of Man in the Irish Sea, 23-year-old Davy Knowles is the latest blues-guitar prodigy to hit our shores and make your jaw drop like he’s the second coming of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Thing is, the kid’s the real deal, with a remarkably accomplished and instinctive playing style, and his voice is equally impressive, full of grit and passion. Knowles can shred when he wants to, but one of his finest qualities is that he knows how and when to hold back, to find the emotion and power in just one perfectly struck note or chord, the way the true blues masters do.
8pm ($35) and 10:30pm ($45). With Chris Schutz. Tin Angel, 20 S. Second St. 215.928.0770. tinangel.com
When Steve Forbert first emerged in the ’70s, he was hailed as “the next Dylan”—then again, what talented and promising acoustic singer-songwriter hasn’t been saddled with that comparison over the past 40 years? Obviously, Forbert never reached the Dylan stratosphere, and he suffered through some bad breaks with record labels, but he did score one big hit (1980’s “Romeo’s Tune”) and over the past three decades has carved out a nice career for himself with a heartland voice and world-weary-yet-hopeful lyrics set to classic, unfussy folk-pop melodies. Lately, he’s been singing a lot about aging and mortality, but isn’t that a perfect—if bittersweet—way to mark the passing of another year?
9pm. $10. With DJ Dunson. Khyber, 56 S. Second St. 215.238.5888. thekhyber.com
Like fellow local outfits the Hustle and Black Landlord (and, of course, the Roots), Philadelphia Slick is a battleship-tight, good-time hip-hop ensemble that blends live instrumentation—brilliantly rendered, classic-sounding soul, funk, R&B and rock—with deft, smooth rhymes from both the East Coast Native Tongues and West Coast Freestyle Fellowship traditions. Together, the crisp beats, the ill flow, the horn blasts, the organ hums and the backing female coos should have you celebrating well before the clock strikes twelve.
7pm ($39.50) and 10:30pm ($49.50). Sellersville Theater, Main & Temple sts., Sellersville. 215.257.5808. st94.com
The Temptations are (mostly) dead. So are Marvin and Michael. And, bless them all, Diana, Lionel, Smokey and Stevie just aren’t quite what they used to be. So if you want to hear the Motown classics done like you remember them, you’re probably best off putting yourself in the capable hands of bassist/bandleader Paul “Dr. K” Korman and his Motown Revue. The band he’s assembled is leagues better than you’d typically encounter on a cruise ship or a Poconos dinner theater—it features former members of Cameo, one-time members of Motown’s songwriting/ session musician stable, and players who’ve previously appeared onstage with the likes of Barry White, Natalie Cole, the O’Jays and Ray Charles.
9pm. Free. With Company Corvette. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. kungfunecktie.com
“Free” can be a great word, especially on New Year’s Eve, but that could mean you’d get some band of chowderheads from the suburbs doing Better Than Ezra and Gin Blossoms covers. Thankfully you’ll get no such thing from Philly-via-D.C. foursome the Sounds of Kaleidoscope at this free gig. Just Pavement covers. Totally kidding, fellas! TSoK’s shambling guitarwork and drawling vocals do get compared to Malkmus and company sometimes, but in their fantastic, occasionally explosive tunes we more often hear the psychedelic weirdness of Syd Barrett, the delicate balance between melody and chaos heard in early Sebadoh and touches of everyone from Dinosaur Jr. and the Stooges to Swervedriver and the Jesus and Mary Chain.