Alien Boy and Seven Other Portland Shows to Rock In the New Year

Brandi Carlile knows a lot of country stars. Some of them are bound to show up at Moda Center.

New Year’s Eve 2022 in Portland promises to be like a lot of other winter days in the Northwest: cold, rainy, in the 40s, the kind of day you’d spend inside if not for the cultural mandate to party the year away.

But there’s more than enough in town to get you out of the house, from performances by brash young rock bands to exhilarating DJ sets and star-studded arena shows. Here are eight of the coolest things you can do in Portland to usher in the new year.

Alien Boy is one of Portland’s most vital young rock bands. Standing at the intersection of emo and shoegaze, barely hiding their openhearted songwriting behind layers of fuzz and flange, this “loud, gay band” led by singer-songwriter Sonia Weber is well on its way to becoming one of Portland’s indie-rock success stories for the 2020s.

Show Bar at Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark St. Doors at 8:30 pm, show at 10 pm. $20. 21+.

Some of the most inventive and creative pop music in the world is coming out of Latin America right now, and the 28-year-old Puerto Rican who performs as Bad Bunny is leading the charge. Unfortunately, he won’t be at Dante’s Bad Bunny-themed NYE party, but his music—futuristic, historically literate, fiercely post-genre—will be.

Dante’s, 350 W Burnside St. 9 pm. $12-$20. 21+.

On top of being a fantastic performer and singer-songwriter, Brandi Carlile seems to know just about everyone in the music industry, from Tanya Tucker to Joni Mitchell to her co-conspirators in the country-pop supergroup the Highwomen. It’s a safe bet some guests will show up to help her bring in the new year at Moda Center.

Moda Center, 1 Center Court St. 9 pm. $36-$246. All ages.

Digable Planets emerged in the early ’90s as one of the most innovative groups to combine jazz with rap. Though they haven’t made an album since 1994, the three band members have been restless enough in the time since to suggest this is no mere reunion but an opportunity to take their sound to further reaches of time and space.

McMenamins Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St. $35-$80. 8:30 pm doors, 9:45 show. All ages.

Gareth Emery is one of the most acclaimed figures of trance music, an electronic genre that combines New Age atmosphere with heart-swelling moments of uplift. His NYE set with support from fellow British DJ Cristoph might convince you—even for a fleeting, saucer-eyed moment—that 2023 might just be the best year of your life so far.

45 East, 315 SE 3rd Ave. 10 pm. $50. 21+.

Surrealism and other modernist art movements emerged in response to the horror and trauma of World War I, so it’s only appropriate that The Eye Ball—a “surrealist dance party” at Polaris Hall—allows revelers to ride out this shitshow of a year on a wave of pure, uninhibited strangeness. DJ Rescue, DJ Gregarious, and Sun Atoms perform. Read an interview with Sun Atoms founder Jsun Atoms.

Polaris Hall, 635 N Killingsworth Court. 8 pm. $20-$25. 21+.

Pink Martini, the unofficial cocktail-jazz band of Portland civic life, performs two consecutive NYE shows featuring nearly every singer they’ve worked with in their three-decade career, from their most iconic chanteuse China Forbes to relatively new recruit (and America’s Got Talent finalist!) Jimmie Herrod.

Arlene Schnitzer Hall, 1037 SW Broadway. Early show 7 pm, late show 10:30. $35-$118. All ages.

The exclusive Studio 54 club that operated in New York in the ’70s and ’80s still looms large in the dance-music cultural memory. Studio ’23 at Holocene approximates what a NYE party at the hallowed venue might’ve been like, complete with the sort of disco and house tunes Mick Jagger and Liza Minnelli might’ve cavorted to back in the day.

Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St. 8 pm. $15-$45 (tickets only available at door). 21+.