It’s officially December, and Phish fans around the country are beginning to count down the days until the Vermont jam band returns to New York City for their annual New Year’s Eve residency at Madison Square Garden. The four-night run is scheduled to take place once again on December 28th-31st, and fans will be more than ready to take on the long holiday weekend with their jam heroes. Phish certainly have their work cut out for them after last year’s New Year’s Eve performance, but knowing this band, they most definitely will have something wild ready for their upcoming return to MSG.One of the best parts of the four-night run taking place in New York City is that the state’s 4 a.m. curfew laws allow for plenty of late-night fun, which, here in “The City That Never Sleeps,” can feel like four extra nights of Christmas. So for local New Yorkers looking for a Phish pre-party to hit after work before heading to MSG, or fans in from out of town who’d like to make the most of their trip, CEG has you covered! Take a look at some of the best pre and post-Phish parties taking place during the 2018 New Year’s Eve run below. 12/28: Hayley Jane & The Primates @ The Cutting Room [Tickets]Hayley Jane & The Primates‘ music includes a potent mix of sounds and styles that any music fan would want to hear out of a modern rock and roll band. Fronted of course by their talented lead singer, Hayley Jane, this band from Boston finds a fun balance of melodic power with a looseness that keeps the music flowing with ease. The band has earned a regional reputation of being one of New England’s top roots rock/Americana acts, and with a new studio album released in 2017, We’re Here Now, Hayley Jane and her gang of Primates will have plenty of energizing tunes to get fans ready and warmed up for the opening night of the Phish run.***12/28: Chillfam Allstars Play Michael Jackson @ Gramercy Theatre [Tickets]What better way to charge into the start of the Phish run than by dancing all night to “The King of Pop” as played by members of the Trey Anastasio Band, Snarky Puppy, Pink Talking Phish, Eric Krasno Band, and more. The complete lineup features Elise Testone (vocals), Eric Gould (bass), Zack Burwick (drums), Kito Bovenschulte (percussion), Richard James (keys), Danny Mayer (guitar), Natalie Cressman (trombone), Rob Volo (trombone), Matt Wayne (sax), and Justin Stanton (trumpet). This collaborative effort will shake the foundation of The Gramercy Theatre that will make fans feel like they’ve stepped into Studio 54. Costumes aren’t required for this show, but considering that most folks will be coming from Phish and heading straight into the Michael Jackson universe, expect for things to get a little weird when songs like “Thriller”, “Billie Jean”, or “Rock With You” begin blaring out of the speakers. It also goes without saying that this late night party on December 28th is one that will encourage fans to don’t stop until they get enough…***12/28: The Werks @ The Cutting Room [Tickets]The Werks‘ sound could easily be described as a wonderfully fun combination of groovy rock guitar riffs to go with a plethora of strong, psychedelic jams. Since forming out of southern Ohio back in 2005, The Werks have earned a dedicated national fanbase and are steadily building a demand for their presence at major music festivals. They have the undeniable ability to bring the energy for large audiences at events like The Peach, Electric Forest, and Summer Camp festivals, as well as taking the party indoors for more intimate experiences at New York’s Cutting Room where they’ll be on December 28th. The band’s ability to collectively chase one another through improvisational teamwork has set them apart from their contemporaries, as The Werks have become almost a necessary part of the jam circuit. Their night one party will be a must-see addition to this year’s NYE afterparty schedule.***12/28: Of Clocks & Clouds @ Rockwood Music Hall [Tickets]Of Clocks And Clouds are somewhat of an anomaly within the jam scene. While many guitar-based jam bands sometimes go for a lighter sound, this New York-based rock quartet (recently expanded from a trio) do not shy away from their love for heavier, darker themes. They’ve continued to push themselves over the last few years while developing into a machine capable of keeping an energy firing on all cylinders from start to finish. The recent addition of a keyboardist has allowed the group to greatly expand their on-stage abilities, allowing for guitarist Joe Salgo and bassist Max Devlin to really take charge of a jam and take the music further into the unknown. The intimacy of their afterparty at Rockwood Music Hall’s Stage 2 will provide the perfect late-night atmosphere as fans should still have fresh legs on night one of the new year’s run.***12/29: Stella Blues Band @ The Cutting Room [Tickets]It wouldn’t be a true Phish NYE run without some Grateful Dead, and Stella Blue’s Band is one of New York City’s more reliable Dead tribute acts. Named after one of Jerry Garcia’s most beloved ballads, Stella Blue’s Band does not rely on the softer side of the Dead catalog to get fans on their feet. The seven-member band has everything a Deadhead or curious fan would want out of a Dead show experience, with song selections ranging from early, primal Dead to the songs that filled the setlists throughout the 1980s and into the 90s. With night two of the Phish NYE run taking place on a Saturday, fans won’t have to worry about ditching work early to make it to this 4 p.m. pre-show party on time. Fans should also assume that Bob Weir‘s weekend anthem, “One More Saturday Night”, will definitely be finding its way into the setlist before the pre-show comes to an end.***12/29: Pink Talking Fish @ Gramercy Theatre [Tickets]One of the cool parts of experiencing this three-headed musical monster that is Pink Talking Phish is that the themes are constantly changing throughout the set. One minute fans can find themselves getting down with Talking Heads‘ funky dance beats, and the next they’re entering a trance of epic rock psychedelia through the musical vehicle that is Pink Floyd. There’s of course the Phish element to the band’s show as well, so anyone who may not have heard their favorite Phish song from the band during the show earlier that evening just may find themselves hearing it at this Gramercy Theatre afterparty. Fans don’t have to imagine what three of their favorite cover bands combining into one might sound like, as any preconception will be replaced with reality when Pink Talking Phish keep the dance party going well into early Sunday morning hours.***12/29: James Brown Dance Party @ The Cutting Room [Tickets] James Brown paid the cost to be the boss with his unparalleled showmanship, and now his energy-fueling music will be making its way to The Cutting Room following Phish night two on Saturday, December 29th for a night of epic R&B and soul. The all-star cast of musicians, including one of Brown’s bassists, Fred Thomas, will help lead the party with one of the funkiest tribute experiences around. Also included on the bill are Robert Walker and JM Kimock of Mike Gordon Band, as well as Chris Rob from Talib Kweli’s band, The Chase Brothers, and Adam Dotson, so there will be no shortage of talent when the Saturday night afterparty keeps the energy going late into the night. Get on up!***12/30: Jazz is Phish @ The Cutting Room [Tickets]The Chase Brothers may have a busy night on Saturday, but they’ll be back in action on Sunday afternoon for a Phish pre-show at The Cutting Room with their instrumental tribute project. Jazz Is Phish may be a relatively new venture, but their spin on old Phish favorites helps the music to continuously evolve while reinterpreting the band’s material into their own funky jazz fusion. The fact that they use elements of jazz to reinterpret Phish’s music allows for unlimited depth and diversity in their extended jams and collaborative group effort, as the concept of “jamming” was always initially inspired by what players were doing with the music over in the jazz world. This all-star act has included members of Phish’s Giant Country Horns, Trey Anastasio Band, Snarky Puppy, Dave Matthews Band, The Flecktones, and more, so this show should have more than enough musical ammunition to revive any tired soul from the night before as day three gets going at 4 p.m. on Sunday.***12/30: Expost @ Arlene’s Grocery [Tickets]Local rock band Expost will be leading the way on Sunday night for an afterparty themed around a full-album performance of the Velvet Underground’s Loaded LP in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Phish’s “LOADED” Halloween in Vegas back in 1998. The show at Arlene’s Grocery will actually take place right around the corner from where Expost played their first show after forming back in 2012, and have played countless times in the years since, so they’ll feel right at home for a night in front of their hometown fans as well as anyone courageous enough to catch them for the first time following Phish that evening. The night’s performance on December 30th will include two full sets of music starting at 11 p.m., so fans had better be prepared to get totally LOADED when the band hits the stage following Phish on Sunday.***12/30: A Family Affair – A Tribute To Sly Stone @ The Cutting Room [Tickets]There were few artists who could mix rock, funk, and psychedelic soul into one package like the way that Sly and The Family Stone did. That potent mix of musical fun will fill The Cutting Room on December 30th when The Nth Power’s Nate Edgar, Snarky Puppy’s Justin Stanton, Talib Kweli’s Chris Rob, The Chase Brothers, Adam Dotson, and more all take the stage for an all-star event that will be just what the doctor ordered to keep fans going by night three. Anyone who has ever experienced a Turkuaz or Snarky Puppy concert should know what to expect when these musicians take the stage to help fans “Dance To The Music” well into the early hours of Monday. There was only one Sly Stone, and there’s only one real party in the city that weekend where fans will be able to dive right back in and get lost within his funky universe. ***12/31: The New Mastersounds @ Gramercy Theatre [Tickets]The final, climactic night of the Phish NYE run doesn’t have to come to an end after Phish wraps up their marathon performance at MSG. There are few bands who can immediately command a room with their energy and showmanship like The New Mastersounds, who will take the stage for a late night set at the Gramercy Theatre for one last hurrah of 2018 during the very first hours of 2019. The band comprised of Eddie Roberts (guitar), Simon Allen (drums), Pete Shand (bass guitar), and Joe Tatton (organ/piano) are no strangers to New York City, as they routinely play the city either on land or on boat. They’ll be on dry land this time around, and more than ready to help fans charge into the new year with plenty of strong jams and late night grooves that will make everyone in attendance forget that 2018 ever existed in the first place.For more information on CEG’s Phish after-parties and pre-parties, head to the official website.