Robert Earl Keen
1 Just heard a cover of REK’s seminal holiday ditty Merry Christmas From the Family on country radio the other day. While we love covers, we cannot condone any other version of this song. Except the one we sing in the shower this time of year. See the man do it, and other tunes from his career, live in his annual between-Christmas-and-Near-Year’s stop in Cowtown. 8 p.m. Saturday at Bass Hall, Fort Worth. $55-$66. 817-212-4280; www.basshall.com.
‘Downton Abbey’ Season 4 Sneak Preview
2 Wow, the PBS Masterpiece series is so hot that a sneak peek of the fourth season will be screened at both of North Texas’ fanciest concert halls: Bass Hall in Fort Worth and the Winspear Opera House in Dallas. During intermission, take a trip downstairs to see if the help is watching, too. 8 p.m. Saturday at Winspear Opera House, Dallas. Free, but ticket required, 214-880-0202; www.attpac.org. And 2 p.m. Sunday at Bass Hall, Fort Worth. Free, but ticket required (and they were all gone at press time), 817-212-4280; www.basshall.com.
3 The Lone Star Circus returns for its annual performance, this time in collaboration with Dallas Children’s Theater, which is the space LSC has used for the past few years. There’ll be acrobats, aerial feats and clowning and, once again, the great local singer Liz Mikel takes emcee duties. There’s even a 5:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve performance so you’ll be out in plenty of time if you want to avoid the crazies. Also, 2 p.m. on New Year’s Day. Friday through Jan. 5 at Rosewood Center for Family Arts, 5938 Skillman St., Dallas. $20-$46. 214-740-0051; www.lonestarcircus.com.
Lights All Night
4 This is not a New Year’s Eve event, but it’s a giant two-day dance party with, as the the title says, lights all night. Tons of DJs, music and more including Deadmau5, Icona Pop, Kaskade, A-Trak, Major Lazer, and more. It’s Friday and Saturday at the Dallas Convention Center in downtown Dallas. General admission two-day passes begin at $100. www.lightsallnight.com/dallas.
Billy Bob’s Texas
5 There’s too much cool going on this week to not mention the other concerts besides New Year’s Eve. How about Randy Rogers Band on Saturday ($18-$35), Kevin Fowler and Wade Bowen on Sunday ($15-$22), and, for a change of pace, local heroes the Toadies on Monday, with Kyser and Eleven Hundred Springs opening ($15-$25). Then, on New Year’s Eve, Lee Brice headlines a show beginning at 10:30 p.m., followed by NYE partying ($20-$40). Billy Bob’s Texas, Fort Worth Stockyards. 817-624-7117; www.billybobstexas.com.
New Year’s Eve at Stage West
6 The theater group’s annual party features music by the E-Flat Porch Band, which is pretty much what it sounds like, except with more than just one note in the repertoire. That’s followed by a light supper buffet, a countdown, champagne and black-eyed peas. 8:15 p.m. Tuesday at Stage West, 821 W. Vickery Blvd., Fort Worth. $50-$70. 817-784-9378; www.stagewest.org.
Howard Scott at Buttons
7 If the name doesn’t ring a bell, his work might. Howard Scott was a founding member of ’70s funk band War, with hits like Why Can’t We Be Friends, Low Rider and The Cisco Kid. The singer-songwriter will headline the New Year’s Eve bash at Keith “Buttons” Hicks’ joint in Fort Worth, and there’ll be comedy from Dell Harris. $20, $25 at the door; VIP tables $100, $130 at the door. 4701 West Freeway, Fort Worth. 817-735-4900; www.buttonsrestaurant.com.
Simply Sinatra with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
8 Celebrate Ol’ Blue Eyes as singer Steve Lippia does the Chairman’s songs, with Steve Sigmund conducting the FWSO. It begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and is over well before the stroke of midnight. Bass Hall, Fort Worth. $29-$80. 817-665-6000; www.fwsymphony.org.
New Year’s Eve at Arlington Improv
9 Comedian Donnell Rawlings is the headliner, but you know there’ll be jokes all night long. Including all the ones about your dancing at the after-party. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Arlington Improv, 309 Curtis Mathes Way, No. 147, Arlington. $30-$40. 817-635-5555; www.improv.com.
Big D NYE
10 For those who like to be surrounded by throngs of people at these kinda celebrations? Go for it. There’ll be music by Houston’s Tontons (fronted by the dynamic and soulful Asli Omar and one of the best bands out of H-Town), the always rockin’ Green River Ordinance, Fifty Dollar Dynasty, Delta Rae, plus appearances by local celebrities and other festivities. 7 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Tuesday at Victory Park, Dallas. Free; organizers recommend using the DART Rail that stops there. www.bigdnye.com.
A Great Gatsby New Year’s Eve
11 Max’s Wine Dive has a Gatsby-themed menu planned for NYE, including blini, caviar and lobster thermidor. Come dressed in 1920s attire and receive 15 percent off the food, which is a la carte (no prix fixe menu). Make reservations beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Max’s Wine Dive, 2421 W. Seventh St., Suite 109, Fort Worth. 817-870-1100; www.maxswinedive.com.
New Year’s at Live Oak Music Hall
12 This spot proved itself one of the coolest Fort Worth music venues of the year, so why not ring in 2014 there? Music by Mingo Fishtrap and Chris Watson Band, plus all those NYE things. 8 p.m. Tuesday at Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge, 1311 Lipscomb St., Fort Worth. $30-$35. 817-926-0968; www.theliveoak.com.