Choosing a New Year’s Eve destination is not an inconsequential decision. It will be the last live music you hear in 2015 and, assuming you stick around past midnight, the first music you hear in 2016.

Some bands and venues charge a New Year’s Eve premium, justifying a higher cover charge with the promise of free bubbly at midnight. Elsewhere, Dec. 31 is just another night on the nonstop New Orleans entertainment calendar.

Here, then, are an assortment of live music options for New Year’s Eve 2015.

“A Truly Funky Affair”

9 p.m. Thursday

Joy Theater, 1200 Canal St.

Tickets: $50 to $135, reserved seat or general admission.

The New Mastersounds are a British band that takes its musical cues from the Meters. Not surprisingly, then, the Mastersounds tend to find their way to New Orleans for special occasions, including a third consecutive New Year’s Eve. They’ll open “A Truly Funky Affair” with their own full set. Mastersounds guitarist Eddie Roberts and keyboardist Joe Tatton will then join Meters bassist George Porter Jr. and drummer Zigaboo Modeliste as the aptly named Foundation of Funk for another full set.

Better Than Ezra

10 p.m. Thursday

House of Blues, 225 Decatur St.

Tickets: $80 plus service charges.

Better Than Ezra’s “Deluxe,” released nationally by Elektra Records in 1995, sold more than a million copies, making it the most successful album by a Louisiana rock band in the past quarter-century. Subsequent albums didn’t sell as well, but BTE maintains a loyal fan base with hometown shows around the holidays. Nawas is also on the bill.

DJ Soul Sister’s “Soul Train: A Classics Party”

10 p.m. Thursday

One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St.

Tickets: $20 general admission, $75 open bar.

Melissa “DJ Soul Sister” Weber has spun old-school funk, soul and “rare groove” — from vinyl sources only — most Saturday nights on WWOZ-FM for nearly two decades. For the past 13 years, she’s staged a New Year’s Eve dance party, showcasing dance floor-filling favorites from her vast catalog alongside projections of vintage “Soul Train” episodes. This year, the Booty Patrol Dancers will also be in the house.

Honey Island Swamp Band

10 p.m. Thursday

d.b.a., 618 Frenchmen St.

Tickets: $20

If you want to ring in the New Year with electric guitars, d.b.a. is a suitable destination. The Honey Island Swamp Band suggests, with its abundance of swampy slide guitar, a Big Easy Allman Brothers Band. Joining the HISB is the Colin Lake Band, whose namesake wields a wicked lap steel guitar, as evidenced by his recent “One Thing That’s For Sure” album.

Jonathon “Boogie” Long and Tab Benoit

8:30 p.m. Thursday

Rock ‘n’ Bowl, 3000 S. Carrollton Ave.

Tickets: $25

For those who actually want the blues on New Year’s Eve — the genre, not the emotional state — Rock ‘n’ Bowl hosts a solid, decidedly bluesy double bill. Jonathon “Boogie” Long is Baton Rouge’s newest blues guitar hero. And Houma’s Tab Benoit has, for more than two decades, toured the country with his own brand of hybrid south Louisiana blues ‘n’ boogie.

David Torkanowsky & the New Orleans All-Stars

9:30 p.m. Thursday

Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, 616 Saint Peter St.

Tickets: $35 and up.

Since opening the adjacent Tableau restaurant, Dickie Brennan’s team has contemplated how best to use the historic Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre. The answer so far has been to present occasional, carefully curated concerts. For this one, jazz and more keyboardist David Torkanowsky is joined by vocalist Germaine Bazzle, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, bassist George French, trombonist Lucien Barbarin and saxophonist Ricardo Pascal. Go to for more info.

Rebirth Brass Band and Big Sam’s Funky Nation

10 p.m. Thursday

Howlin’ Wolf, 907 S. Peters St.

Tickets: $80 (includes open bar)

The Grammy-winning Rebirth rolls with an exuberant swagger as the city’s premier contemporary brass band. Fronted by trombonist “Big” Sam Williams, the Funky Nation specializes in high-octane party music that may include brassy takes on everything from R&B classics to Nirvana songs.

“Big Night New Orleans” with Cowboy Mouth and more

9 p.m. Thursday

Hyatt Regency New Orleans, 601 Loyola Ave.

Tickets: Starting at $120 plus service charges

If you equate “bigger” with “better,” then “Big Night New Orleans” — similar events will be staged simultaneously in Chicago, Washington D.C., Baltimore and San Diego — is for you. The entertainment roster includes Cowboy Mouth, the Brass-a-Holics, Flow Tribe, Sweet Crude, the Breton Sound, the Bustout Burlesque troupe and the 610 Stompers, spread across multiple “party areas” and dance floors within the hotel. Food and drink are included with most tickets. Go to for more info.


10 p.m. Thursday

Tipitina’s, 501 Napoleon Ave.

Tickets: $75 general admission, $200 VIP

The contemporary New Orleans funk improvisers in Galactic tend to stage marathon concerts at Tipitina’s during the Big 3 seasons on the New Orleans entertainment calendar: Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and New Year’s Eve. On Thursday, Galactic is joined by Naughty Professor at Tipitina’s.

Johnny Vidacovich & Friends

11 p.m. Thursday

The Maple Leaf, 8316 Oak St.

Tickets: At the door.

A decade ago, New Orleans drummer extraordinaire Johnny Vidacovich initiated a Thursday night residency at the Maple Leaf. Originally, his partners in what was dubbed The Trio were guitarist June Yamagishi and bassist George Porter Jr. This special New Year’s Eve edition of The Trio includes Yamagishi, Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and bassist Charlie Wooton. According to the Maple Leaf’s web site, admission includes “champagne, food and a kiss at midnight guaranteed.”

Corey Henry & the Treme Funktet, Tank & the Bangas, Original Pinettes Brass Band

10 p.m. Thursday

Blue Nile, 532 Frenchmen St.

Tickets: $20 plus service charges

In what is one of the best New Year’s Eve bargains in town, the Blue Nile serves up three prominent, and very good, local bands — trombonist Corey Henry’s Treme Funket, the bold contemporary R&B/spoken word ensemble Tank & the Bangas, and the all-female Original Pinettes Brass Band — for only $20. DJ Black Pearl will also spin between bands.

New Orleans Suspects and the Hot 8 Brass Band

The Maison, 508 Frenchmen St.

Tickets: General admission at the door or $90 for VIP with open bar.

The New Orleans Suspects are a New Orleans all-star band featuring the bassist from the Radiators and the longtime drummer of the Neville Brothers Band, along with a saxophonist who once led James Brown’s band. The Hot 8 ranks among the city’s most incendiary contemporary brass bands.

Grayson Capps

9 p.m. Thursday

Chickie Wah Wah, 2828 Canal St.

Tickets: At the door.

Alabama native Grayson Capps honed his rough-hewn style of blues-folk during a long tenure in New Orleans. His songs are populated by hard-luck, road-weary characters, some of which resemble Capps himself. On New Year’s Eve, singer-songwriter Grace Askew opens for Capps. At 6 p.m., Chickie Wah Wah also presents avant-jazz guitarist and unapologetic satirist Phil DeGruy.

Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers

7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Thursday

Little Gem Saloon, 445 S. Rampart St.

Tickets: $25 (early show) and $30 (late show)

Trumpeter and singer Kermit Ruffins personifies New Orleans. He cut his teeth with the Rebirth Brass Band, then went on to release Louis Armstrong-inspired albums and traditional New Orleans jazz albums. Onstage, he and his Barbecue Swingers may also trot out contemporary R&B songs and pop songs, all illuminated by his ever-sunny, naturally New Orleans outlook.

Topsy Chapman & Solid Harmony

8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thursday

Snug Harbor, 626 Frenchmen St.

Tickets: $35 (early show) or $45 (late show)

Topsy Chapman’s long resume ranges from her early gospel group, the Chapman Singers, to the cast of the musical “One Mo’ Time” to performances around the globe to a role in “12 Years a Slave.” The vocal trio Solid Harmony includes her daughters Yolanda Windsay and Jolynda Phillips. Together, they harmonize on gospel, blues and traditional jazz, both original material and standards, all of it with a distinctly New Orleans accent.

Other options for New Year’s Eve include the Mustard Brothers playing rock ‘n’ roll that doesn’t take itself too seriously at the Rivershack Tavern (3449 River Road in Jefferson); pianist Tom McDermott holding court at Buffa’s (1001 Esplanade Ave.) with singer Banu Gibson; and a next-generation aggregation of Neville relations —Aaron Neville Jr., Jason Neville, Damion Neville, Rickey Caesar, Norman Caesar and Big Chief Juan Pardo & the Golden Comanches— at the Frenchmen Theater (516 Frenchmen St.)