For most of this year, concert dates have continually shuffled as a recuperating industry tries to make sense of a chaotic schedule and a host of new variables. With the winter’s contemporary-music slate, however, the docket finally seems to be stabilizing—a return to the night life of old. Stadium shows are back, and in bigger numbers, and we are seeing fewer cancellations. Veteran acts relish the opportunity to delve back into their catalogues, and artists sitting on albums now get the chance to see how people respond to the music in the wild.
Bob Dylan finally heads out on his “Rough and Rowdy Ways” tour, supporting his exceptional 2020 album of the same name, at the Beacon Theatre (Nov. 21). Oddball producers descend upon Brooklyn in the days before: after releasing his best solo work so far, “The Life of Pi’erre 5,” in June, the beat-maker turned rapper Pi’erre Bourne brings his carnivalesque productions to Warsaw (Nov. 17), and the experimental composer Dan Deacon draws on an entirely different trippy electronic sound at Brooklyn Steel (Nov. 19). Indie pop takes the stage at Terminal 5, with performances from the beaming synth act Chvrches (Nov. 26) and the Chairlift co-founder Caroline Polachek (Dec. 2), both presenting their most recent albums to audiences for the first time—Chvrches’s stunning “Screen Violence,” from this past August, and Polachek’s critically acclaimed “Pang,” from 2019.
Thrashers across genres reëmerge this December. The bruiser rapper Young M.A. puts her juggernaut flows on display at Irving Plaza (Dec. 6). On Dec. 10, two Canadian post-punk bands, Preoccupations and METZ, split a bill at Bowery Ballroom, in what is certain to be among the year’s loudest shows. After a turn toward grunge, on last year’s “Sugaregg,” the guitarist and singer Alicia Bognanno amps up her project Bully, now a solo act, at Brooklyn Bowl (Dec. 14). The year comes to a close with two divergent shows at Barclays Center: the rising punk-rock rapper Playboi Carti reaches for stardom on Dec. 17, and the indie pioneers the Strokes play a legacy set on New Year’s Eve.
The New Year begins with fan favorites and critical darlings. At Madison Square Garden, the ultimate jam band Phish (Jan. 1), the progressive country star Kane Brown (Jan. 15), and the psychedelic rock band the War on Drugs (Jan. 29) headline. There are quirkier shows elsewhere: the experimental polymath Genesis Owusu energizes Bowery Ballroom (Jan. 25), the noise-pop duo Best Coast hits Brooklyn Steel (Jan. 25), and the K-pop boy band Monsta X plays Radio City Music Hall (Jan. 29). At Music Hall of Williamsburg, niche acts offer up the new gems in their discographies. The anonymous hardcore collective the Armed presents “Ultrapop” (Jan. 15), Indigo de Souza shares “Any Shape You Take” (Jan. 24), and Tamara Lindeman unfurls her latest Weather Station album, “Ignorance” (Jan. 28). On Feb. 5, two first-rate songwriters impart the messages of their latest records to their faithful: Courtney Barnett dispatches “Things Take Time, Take Time” at Radio City Music Hall, and Kacey Musgraves delivers “Star-Crossed,” the follow-up to her Grammy Award-winning “Golden Hour,” at M.S.G. ♦