52 ways to leave 2009

By SHAULA CLARK  |  December 30, 2009

Elsewhere, First Night has all but cornered the market on live-music performances — and surprisingly compelling ones at that. Just look what your $18 First Night button (available at firstnight.org and locations all over town) gets you: starting at 7:30 pm, Emmanuel Church (15 Newbury Street, Boston; 617.536.3355; emmanuelboston.com) gets slammed with a 50-foot wave of local-rock luminaries the likes of 4AD artist and Throwing Muses co-founder KRISTIN HERSH, singer-songwriter DREW O'DOHERTY, and ex-Karate member GEOFF FARINA, joined by Thurston Moore collaborator CHRIS BROKAW. Over at the Orpheum (One Hamilton Place, Boston; 617.679.0810; orpheum-theater.com), '90s alt-rock heroes BUFFALO TOM hold court, with support from openers the LYRES and the NEATS starting at 7:30 pm. Newly minted blue-eyed-soul It-girl JENNY DEE and her Deelinquents smash out three sets (7:30 pm, 8:45 pm, and 10 pm) at the Park Plaza Hotel (64 Arlington Street, Boston). But if it's a piece of strange you're looking for, the Hynes Convention Center (900 Boylston Street, Boston; 617.954.2000; mcahome.com) is your hookup: at 9:30 pm, CIRKESTRA perform their so-called circus music, which turns out to be a crazy quilt of traditional Hungarian Gypsy tunes, oompah, klezmer, and Argentine tango; while WALTER SICKERT & THE ARMY OF BROKEN TOYS will be busily "fingering the rabbit hole of performance art" (their words, not ours) across the hall at 7:30 pm and 8:30 pm.

Roxy (279 Tremont Street, Boston; 617.338.7699; roxyplex.com), we hardly knew ye — and yet maybe too much of ye. So it's with a confused blend of wistfulness and curious excitement that we bid adieu to this cavernous nightspot, as it changes over into new management and, presumably, a new identity. (We wonder: what will become of the newly homeless Chippendales? Are they fated to roam the streets like well-oiled stray puppies?) For their swan song, KISS GOODBYE TO THE ROXY (9 pm–3 am; $65), the club is bringing in the HONEY BROTHERS, the troublingly wacky yet shockingly decent folk-rock outfit that includes Entourage's Adrian Grenier and an Ari Gold (but not that Ari Gold), supplemented by sets from DJs Romeo and Adilson.

Phoenix contributor P. Nick Curran takes the stage with YOU CAN BE A WESLEY at Great Scott (1222 Comm Ave, Allston; 617.566.9014; greatscottboston.com), along with Mean Creek, Earthquake Party!, and Magic Magic — the Phoenix's "50 Bands/50 States" selection as Best New Band from Massachusetts for 2009. Show starts at 9 pm; cover's $10 advance/$15 at the door.

But enough about these up-and-coming young'uns. Weren't too keen on the aughties, and not looking forward to the future, either? No worries, as there's plenty of classic-rock re-hashes waiting to be reheated and served by Boston's premier tribute bands. At 9:45 pm, PLAYIN' DEAD exhumes the catalogue of Jerry Garcia & Co. at Johnny D's (17 Holland Street, Somerville; 617.776.2004; johnnyds.com); MR. BROWNSTONE (9 pm; $25), "the world's drunkest tribute to GnR," breaks out the Axl grease and performs Appetite for Destruction in its entirety at the Paradise (967 Comm Ave, Boston; 617.562.8800; thedise.com); and while you might not get full-blown "Vertigo" from U2 coverists the JOSHUA TREE (8 pm; $25) at the Hard Rock Cafe (22 Clinton Street, Boston; 617.424.7625; rockonconcerts.com), these guys are clearly not fucking around. (They've got Bono sunglasses and everything.) And for sheer ridiculosity, nothing beats the '80s-feting "Let's Go Back in Time" (8 pm; $20) at Harpers Ferry (158 Brighton Avenue, Allston; 617.254.9743; harpersferryboston.com), where you'll find a poofy-sleeve-ridden ENCHANTMENT UNDER THE SEA prom and tributes to Pat Benatar, Billy Idol, the Ramones, and ZZ Top. (Oh, right, and it's also a 10-year reunion for the band WALTHAM.)

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