New Year’s Eve Concert Rundown


New Year’s Eve on a Saturday means tons of show choices

It’s almost like the calendar knows what a tough year 2011 has been for many — and it knows how bad we all need a minute to catch our breath before 2012 kicks in. For this year, New Years Eve, traditionally the best musical holiday of the year, falls on a Saturday. Here’s our picks for some of the top shows of the night (a complete list is in our calendar):


:: Hot Soup ::

:: Conor O’Neills ::

The gentlemen of Hot Soup cook up the Mmm, Mmm Good. While its members have roots from more traditional jazz backgrounds, Hot Soup’s ability to highlight those traditions in a laid back party atmosphere, and package that sound with funky dance numbers is the magic of the Boulder band. Audiences are taking in jazz, but since Hot Soup presents it in a fun way, and not as some stodgy institution, it allows the music to be much more accessible, while still being exploratory.


:: Pretty Lights ::

:: 1st Bank Center ::

The reigning king of laptop shredders, Derek Vincent Smith (aka Pretty Lights) is putting the finishing touches on a new album due out in 2012. Smith has already dropped six singles of his own this year, and with his new label Pretty Lights Music he’s released five other artist’s albums in 2011. Smith, who has given away millions of downloads of his own music, is now helping other artists to share that model, which has been proven wildly successful for Pretty Lights.


:: The Hollyfelds ::

:: Skylark Lounge ::

Few bands play authentic country quite the way Denver’s Hollyfelds do, and few venues would be such a great home to that as the Skylark Lounge. The Hollyfelds have been cleaning up in the accolades department, and were awarded their fourth consecutive Westword Music Showcase award this summer.


:: Purple Reign::

:: Gothic Theatre ::

Tribute acts are all the rage these days, but few performers go as far as Purple Reign has for their homages. In 1996, Jason Tenner went to a Halloween party dressed as Prince and people were so floored that the musician started to put together a Vegas show based around the idea. It being Vegas, nothing about the production was left out, from lavish costume changes, stage dancers and, of course, a slick motherfucker who does a spot-on version of Morris E. Day.


:: Halden Wofford & the Hi-Beams ::

:: Oskar Blues ::

Together for more than a decade now, Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams are the quintessential Boulder country act, with an authenticity that is palpable. Much of that comes from the whip-smart musicians in the band, but their delivery of rocked-up Texas honky tonk and western swing is so genuine that whether they’re in a good old whiskey bar, or a local brewery, audiences will be certain they’re in a Texas roadside icehouse.


:: G. Love & Special Sauce ::

:: Fox Theatre ::

Hip-hop doesn’t have acoustic guitars, and even if it did, it wouldn’t be played from a seated position, but no one ever told G. Love and Special Sauce. The Philadelphia native Garret Dutton, better known as G. Love, has churned out an alternative  hip-hop that blends surfer style acoustic guitar work, “sloppy blues” and street-cred heavy styled lyrics.


:: The Motet ::

:: Aggie Theatre ::

For most musical holidays, The Motet plays someone else’s songs, and their Halloween shows this year, where they did funk versions of Grateful Dead material, became sought-after tickets. But this holiday The Motet will cover a band that they know better than any other — themselves. For this rare holiday show The Motet will play The Motet,  a blend of jazz, afrobeat, funk, salsa and samba.


:: Gauntlet Hair::

:: Larimer Lounge ::

Gauntlet Hair call Denver home now, but the electro-rocker duo that has been playing together since they were 15 years old (10 years, now) are originally from Illinois. Their dedication to their new town became apparent when their single “I Was Thinking…” aired on ESPN during a special on Tim Tebow, and while the boys didn’t get down on their knees to pray about the event, they did head back to the studio where they are finishing work on a new full-length album for Dead Oceans Records.


:: Dumpstaphunk ::

:: Cervante’s Masterpiece Ballroom ::

Dumpstaphunk could have very easily been a one-off band. Assembled by Ivan Neville in 2003 for a gig at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the band drew such rave reviews that Neville kept it going. Over the course of their eight year tenure, the band has grown to be a festival circuit mainstay and is now widely considered one of New Orleans’ most prestigious modern funk ensembles.


:: Slim Cessna’s Auto Club ::

:: Bluebird Theater ::

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club has never been at a loss for descriptions. Their goth-country-revival sound has elicited more amazing descriptions than you can shake a rattlesnake-skinned Bible at. But nothing even comes close to their label owner (and former Boulderite) Jello Biafra, who said, “This is the country band that plays the bar at the end of the world.” They’re dark, they’re dingy, riveting and, like Biafra suggests, would fit in perfectly in a bar scene in Pirates of the Carribean.


:: Novus Folium ::

:: Dickens Opera House ::

Out of the ashes of the former band Step Down,  the Denver rock sextet formed and decided to turn over a new leaf, or a Novus Folium. This time last year, the band was hard at work locking in the title of KBPI’s Best Band in Denver contest, which in turn helped them land gigs opening for Korn, Papa Roach and Drowning Pool. The band also had the chance to lock horns with producer Jeff Kanan (Madonna, No Doubt) for their full-length War Games, which was released in the summer of 2011.

:: Melvin Seals ::

:: Quixote’s True Blue ::

The legendary Hammond B-3 wizard Melvin Seals is best known for his 18 year stint with the Jerry Garcia Band. Since Garcia’s passing, Seals has re-assembled that band without Garcia, or bassist John Kahn, who passed away in 1996, as a means of carrying on the legacy of the group. Though the band has only released two discs in that time, it’s their live show that’s the true legacy of the JGB.


:: The Knew ::

:: hi-dive ::

The Knew’s version of rock and roll is one of blistering hopefulness that explodes in positive, energetic odes to love and hate, life and death – ultimately landing on a final note of enduring optimism and fun. Their debut full-length, Pulpería, is loaded with youthful excitement that inspires listeners to not feel any guilt in pleasure. Live, you can expect the musical equivalent of a trunk full of illegal fireworks.


:: Romano Paoletti ::

:: Gold Hill Inn ::

Born into a music family, Romano Paoletti began playing spoons at an early age with his grandfather’s ragtime band. Paoletti graduated from the spoons to vocals under the guidance of his mother, who was signed to Motown Records. He later became a luthier, and began fixing and repairing instruments, and has also long held jobs as a carpenter. But the singer/songwriter is also still committed to the stage and his full-length debut Story of A Lifetime features a wealth of Lyons musicians from Sally Van Meter to Caleb Roberts, Eben Grace and Eric Thorin, among others.


:: Chris Thompson and Coral Creek ::

:: Golden Hotel ::

Last year, Chris Thompson and Coral Creek released The Road Ahead. It was Thompson’s third album, but the first album where he had more than a home recording, and he came out of the gate strong with String Cheese Incident’s Bill Nershi as producer. Having Nershi on board brought Thompson into the Cheese world and several members of SCI, as well as others in the String Cheese extended family, appear on the album, which ranges from straight-up singer/songwriter material to bluegrass to some Grateful Dead inspired tunes.


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