TV On The Radio intrudes on its second decade in the spotlight, wowing critics and audiences with inventive melodies, inescapable hooks, and an oscillating amalgam of genres. After taking a hiatus to master foot calligraphy, the band is back to paint the town post-punk on its 2011 tour, flexing its sonic musculature in support of its fourth studio album, Nine Types of Light. As unpredictable as a weatherman’s emotions, TOTR’s eclectic live performances swing over clamoring fans like sweaty pendulums, inspiring waves of euphoria and convulsive dancing. The enormous Canadian cabal of Broken Social Scene fills the open-air setting of this Olympic indie-rock bill along with every square inch of stage acreage. Known for atmospheric anthems, the ever-revolving charmers harbor runaway assonance, soothing and jarring audiences with more misleading time signatures than a rebellious-stopwatch petition.
Influenced by dance trends from Europe to Latin America, the staff at SuperShag Dance Studios splits its time between three Boston-area spaces filled with dancing poles, yoga mats, and custom sound systems. Founder Chris Johnston—who won several amateur Latin dance championships as a kid in Ireland and was named a World Class adjudicator by the National Dance Council of America—carefully amassed his talented troupe of teachers from dance schools around the world and from Fred Astaire’s botched attempts to clone himself. During private and group lessons, they spice up Latin-, ballroom-, and pole-dance numbers with an urban twist heavily influenced by British Dancesport, and ready students for competitions.
A joint effort of the inmates of the Improv Asylum theater and the soon-to-be unleashed comedy club Laugh Boston, the Legends of Boston Comedy New Year’s Eve show offers a knee-slapping alternative to televised events and auld lang sighing. Set in the historic confines of Plymouth Memorial Hall, laughs reverberate and glasses clink in celebratory toasts as favorite veteran comics of the Boston scene let loose with ribald punch lines.
Howl at the Moon’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of nightly celebrations, as patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Sam Adams and Harpoon IPA.
While living the life of a peripatetic juggling duo in 1970s Europe, Paul Binder and Michael Christensen had a dream: a non-profit circus that would combine community outreach with shows by the world’s best performers. Today a rotating cast of acrobats, clowns, and daredevils tour with a menagerie of exotic animals. Led by animal trainer Jenny Vidbel. The circus's ponies, Arabian horses, and dogs perform sprightly routines, learned under humane training regimens based on positive reinforcement. Shows take place under the big top, custom designed so that every seat is within 50 feet of the ring. The tent is also engineered to keep showgoers comfortable with a raisable cupola that allows warm air to escape as guests relax on comfy cushions that keep incubating eggs from cracking in back pockets.
First opened in 1968, the Electric Factory has been hosting rock shows for almost as long Puerto Rico has been a state. After dancing their faces off to headliners from Erykah Badu to the Dropkick Murphys, concertgoers can stop by The Chive Café to recharge with a cheesesteak or an all-beef hotdog on a potato bun, or refill their draft Yuengling at the bar. In summer, the Electric Factory reveals an outdoor location complete with more refreshment booths, vendors, and upgraded food stands.
Though the event itself is always held at the same location, the scenery at the SouthField Classic 5K Road Race Walk & Run changes every year. The beginner-friendly race exhibits the ever-shifting landscape that is SouthField: a 1,400-acre community that's planned to be built in staggered phases, much like a gingerbread house during an icing shortage. Each year's 5K winds down the community's secluded streets, showing off its new homes and tree-lined vistas. Afterwards, race organizers hand out prizes to the top individuals and teams.