Finish up all your big projects, pack away the leftovers, and set an away message on your email… you’re going to want to take some time off at the end of the year. That’s because Lawrence is planning on ringing in 2023 with style. This is the first time in a hot minute that Lawrence has done New Year’s Eve properly. The shutdown only lifted in 2021, and just a couple of events came back at the end of last year right as COVID was gearing up for a massive spike. This year, however, every venue has their NYE concert on lock—and with the festive evening falling on a Saturday, we expect all heck to break loose (pray for the service industry, my friends). Here's how music lovers can best ring in the new year, make resolutions, and celebrate!
Listen, NYE parties at The Bottleneck are legendary. It’s a legit concert venue with a rich history in rock and roll, country, blues, and more. This has, historically, been where bluegrass lovers gather to ring in the new year. After a couple of COVID years off, the show is finally returning!
Deadman Flats lead this night of tom-foolery, and we are expecting sentiments to be extra jovial thanks to an appearance from everyone’s favorite lovable goofuses, Kansas City Bear Fighters. Arkansas-based Chucky Waggs and the Company of Waggs are also set to play, and they’re coming toting a new live album. Shoes may be optional at this affair.
If you’re looking to get the weekend started early, The Bottleneck is hosting a spectacular local metal lineup the night before.
RIYL: Split Lip Rayfield, Truckstop Honeymoon, camping at Winfield every September
Photo (and header photo) courtesy of Emo Nite
Emo Nite is a wildly popular night for those who live in nostalgia. Yes, we know your emo phase wasn’t THAT long ago. Calm down, Grandpa.
The night dedicated to the emo era of music is a party that’s constantly on tour, and Lawrence struck it lucky with the event coming through on the festive evening. You can expect carefully curated playlists, guest appearances, and massive singalongs. Occasionally, there is a surprise acoustic set at Emo Nite parties, but we can’t for sure say what will happen at this one. So throw on your black attire, comb those bangs to the side, and head out to the Granada for some unapologetic emo fun (yes, we know it’s an oxymoron to have “emo” and “fun” in the same sentence, like “jumbo shrimp).
You can see what a previous Emo Nite at the Granada looks like over on the Emo Nite facebook page.
RIYL: My Chemical Romance, Dashboard Confessional, Good Charlotte
Photo by Fally Afani
Reggae fans rejoice! This one’s for you! Soul Rebel and the Beast, known for their unforgettable nights of music and dancing, are throwing a NYE party at Lucia.
Soul Rebel and the Beast are the type of band who tend to show up at mostly special events (street parties, festivals) in the region. But we tend to get regular appearances from them at cozy venues here in Lawrence. This will be a special affair: they tend to bring out the boogie in even the shyest of dancers.
RIYL: The Wailers, Desmond Dekker, Ziggy Marley
Photo courtesy of Brian Byers
Coversmith (early show) and The Band That Saved The World (late show) at the Jazzhaus
Jazzhaus is hosting two longtime Lawrence favorites back-to-back at the Jazzhaus for a special NYE celebration. From about 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Coversmith takes the stage to play (you guessed it) covers to their loyal fan base.
The Band That Saved The World rounds out the rest of the night with their funk favorites (you’ll need to be ready with your dancing shoes for this one). Come for the horn section, stay for the jovial and clever arrangements.
RIYL: Funk, horn sections, cover bands, longtime Lawrence musicians
NYE Double Header at the Replay
No one goes harder on NYE than the Replay. This year is no exception. They’ll be showcasing not one, but TWO shows on this special night.
For the early birds who want to celebrate but don’t want to stay long enough to have to peel their friends off the floor, there is the matinee with Luxem, Sauders, and Dixey / 95 Sweet Bird / J. Evan Herd. This will have more of an indie folk vibe, with a definite hometown feel. You may recall Luxem, Sauders, and Dixey from a Summer show at White Schoolhouse with Drakkar Sauna. 95 Sweet Bird is a newer act on the scene, but full of only the most experienced musicians in town. J. Evan Herd is a familiar face under a newer name.
Photo by Fally Afani
The night show promises a rowdier affair, with the classic rock-till-you-drop lineup the Replay has been known for on NYE with Greg Wheeler and the Poly Mall Cops / Arc Flash / Thighmaster. Known for their infectious energy, “De Noise,” Iowa-based (and longtime Lawrence pals) Greg Wheeler and the Poly Mall Cops will headline the night of antics. We haven’t heard from or seen Arc Flash in quite a while, so this show will also signal a re-entrance into the scene with a varied lineup. Thighmaster’s Tarantino-style ballads will also be on display. And for those just wanting to dance, dance, dance, there’s DJ Chance Romance on the patio.
RIYL: Local bands, nights you’re likely to forget, really good rock-and-roll