James Armstrong takes the Levitt AMP stage downtown this Thursday night.

Welcome, one and all, to the new year weekend. The extra good news for this year is, when New Year's Day falls on a Monday, then the party day of New Year's Eve is on Sunday, which gives us an extra good day in the weekend to explore and enjoy live music.

The big NYE event in town is still (and for a long time to come, I hope) First Night Springfield, being co-produced by our Springfield Area Arts Council and the Hoogland Center for the Arts. Executive director Sheila Walk steps down from the SAAC in 2024 after a long and distinguished career of guiding the organization to goodness. Thank you, Sheila, for making our world a better place. There's a big fireworks show planned after First Night, and it's to celebrate you. That's our story and we're sticking to it. All of the First Night excitement will be inside the Hoogland and attendees will receive detailed information upon arrival, or feel free to look up the array of area artists performing online beforehand.

For something new and cool to do, wander on over to hear the Craig Russo Latin Jazz Project at Socavon (4117 Wabash Ave.) this Saturday (8-11 p.m.). The new venue run by Luis Morales (who also has the Roots Latin Grill two doors down) intends to feature top-notch Latin-themed music a couple times a month so "por favor" come hear Craig's intensely good music and support this "nuevo" place and concept.

Nobody does a party better than the Curve Inn, and with X-Krush leading the way on Friday, we might as well just hang out there all NYE weekend with Grounded blasting off on Saturday and the one-and-only Off the Wall taking you into the new year on Sunday.

The Route 66 Motorheads Bar and Grill features Branded on Friday, then takes the cake on Sunday with Captain Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters unloading their high-energy show to ring in 2024 with a bang.

Harvest Market's Farmhouse Brews serves up The Grand Moff on Friday and me with Owen Irwin and Amy Battles on Saturday, plus for NYE you can check out Billy Galt at the downstairs coffee house at 10 a.m. to prepare for the long day (and night) ahead.

More combo shows include three nights of rockin' at the WineRocks stage at Danenberger Family Vineyards, starting with Creedence Revived (CCR tribute, of course) on Friday and the always terrific and incredibly inspiring Brushville on Saturday, plus All American Throwbacks, a "pop/punk/emo party band" hosting an EMO New Year's Party on Sunday.

On the north side of Springfield, Weebles keeps the bands coming with Voodoo Exiles hitting on Saturday night and the lovely and talented Brandy Kristin with her hard-rocking band doing the new year's party on Sunday.

On Sunday, the State House Inn has very unfortunately been forced to cancel its Ultimate NYE 2024 Celebration with Kapital Sound and much more live music, and that leaves us with a big hole in our New Year's plans. The always-kicking Lick Creek rolls into Boondocks with hotel packages available at nearby Northfield Center to give all-night partiers a place to go, and The Cocktails will provide plenty of rock 'n' roll entertainment at Goodfellas on Sunday night, but you need to find your own way home afterward.

There's plenty more where that came from all weekend including live music around the area on New Year's Day, so please check our listings and have a safe and happy New Year's celebration, wherever you may roam.

Tom Irwin

Tom Irwin, a sixth-generation Sangamon County resident, has played his songs and music for nearly 40 years in the central Illinois area with occasional forays across the country. He's contributed to Illinois Times since 2000 by writing Now Playing, a weekly music column, as well as features stories and other articles...

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