By Danea Sharpe and Nikki Steele
The Marquee’s choices for the most crucial New Year’s Eve concerts in the state in no particular order:
For the most complete listing of New Year’s Eve shows anywhere in Colorado, visit www.marqueemag.com/calendar
Lost Lake Lounge
In the wake of releasing their album, Don’t That Feel Good, Dragondeer hit the road for a substantial amount of touring this summer. The band, which has only been together for two years, played SXSW, won a chance from listenupdenver.com to play the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival, and secured a spot at the Denver Post Underground Music Showcase. Centered around the raspy vocals of lead singer Eric Halborg, the band plays swampy folk and psychedelic blues, putting a modern twist on material that sounds as if it was written several generations ago.
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club
Summit Music Hall
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club is one of the most enrapturing live bands, so much so that a few years ago SPIN called them the best band at SXSW. With their “gothic Americana” style the band both looks and sounds like a puree of dark American folk, gritty punk rock, intense pscyhobilly, and tent revivalist showmanship. Their shows are as much a Southern Baptist church service as they are a cathartic alt-country concert, and leaders Slim Cessna and Jay Munly are captivating as the preachers. The Denver-born band had an 11-year run of New Year’s Eve shows at the Bluebird Theater but in recent years they have changed to other venues and this will be their first New Year’s Eve celebration at Summit Music Hall.
Drag the River
While Drag the River will help Memphis’ Lucero open their New Year’s Eve run at the Gothic Theatre on December 29, on New Year’s Eve itself Drag will host their own show at their long-time pseudo clubhouse Surfside 7 in Fort Collins, which in 2015 will move from the location that it’s occupied for 15 years. The band, which released a self-titled full length in late 2013, has been together for 17 years, and quite proudly states that they play country and Midwestern music — a blend of country and Midwestern rock like Hüsker Dü and The Replacements.
A. Tom Collins
The Oriental Theatre
The Denver five-piece a. Tom Collins sounds like an indie rock band that’s playing second line to a New Orleans brass band parade. The melding of rock and roll with NOLA brass, and more than a little bit of rag-time, heal-kicking piano, results in a sound that would fit as comfortably in 1915 as it does in 2015. The band has been adored by local press, with Westword calling Collins “one of the city’s best front men.” The band has played multiple stints at SXSW, The UMS and the Westword showcase and in 2014, did their first European tour.
West Water Outlaws
Boulder’s West Water Outlaws started playing basement parties in Boulder in 2010. Since then the group has exploded as one of Colorado’s strongest rock and roll bands. While they had released some EPs previously, 2014 marked the release of their first full-length album — a mix of tracks that sound as if it could have easily been released in the 1970s. For their Paranoid New Year’s Eve show, the group will perform an original set as well as performing Black Sabbath’s Paranoid in its entirety.
The String Cheese Incident
1st Bank Center
The String Cheese Incident will return to the 1st Bank Center for their third straight year for a run of New Year’s Eve shows. In 2014, String Cheese, which was born in southwest Colorado in the early 1990s, released Song In My Head, their first studio album in nine years. The album was produced by Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads and includes 10 new songs written collaboratively by the group over the past few years. Song In My Head debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. The band is offering “Ultimate Incident” packages that include a slew of luxurious benefits, including a pre-show exclusive mini acoustic set on Dec. 30.
1 Up Colfax
Random Rab has been the front man of a heavy metal band, toured as a classical trumpet player, played bass in a country music band, was a scratch DJ for a jazz-fusion project and was the singer of a rock band in Mexico. But what Rab is really known for are his legendary Burning Man sunrise sets, a mix of emotional and exploratory electronica that have earned him the handle “The Master of Emotion.”
Decadence at the Convention Center
Big Gigantic has had another massive year in 2014. Early in the year, the Colorado-based jamtronica duo released their latest effort The Night Is Young and their summer tour was capped off by the duo’s third annual return to Red Rocks, which Big G refers to as “Rowdytown.” This year, for Rowdytown III, the band played two sold out nights, and even included some sit ins with special guests from The Motet, who helped make the shows a special first time Big Gigantic Live Band experience.
Hodi’s Half Note
Described as “High-Octane Rocky Mountain DanceGrass”, Whitewater Ramble uses a simple recipe to craft their sound: start with bluegrass instrumentation, add drums, and finish with a boundary-less approach to grassing-up everything from disco house grooves to roots to Americana. Last year the Fort Collins-based group put forth their sophomore release Roots & Groove which was produced by Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth. The album features an array of special guests such as Andy Hall on Dobro (Infamous Stringdusters), Andy Thorn on banjo (Leftover Salmon), Grammy Award winner John Macy on pedal steel, Bill McKay (Leftover Salmon, Derek Trucks Band) on piano and Tim Carbone on electric guitar and vocals.
Yonder Mountain String Band
Earlier this year, Yonder Mountain String Band unceremoniously announced that they had parted ways with band co-founder Jeff Austin. But what first seemed like a devastating blow for the group that has been together for 15 years was quickly turned around with the announcement that mandolin player Jake Jolliff and fiddler Allie Kral would join the band for at least the remainder of 2014. But for the group’s four-night Boulder Theater New Year’s Eve run Jolliff and Kral will be but a fraction of the guests who will share the stage with the band. Throughout the run Yonder will be joined by a list of guests that include, John Popper, Shawn Camp, Dave Watts, Joey Porter, Jennifer Hartswick, Natalie Cressman, Andy Hall and Andy Falco.
Boombox will have double-cause for celebration this New Year’s Eve. Not only will the electronic duo of Russ Randolph and Zion Rock Godchaux be ringing in the new year, they will also be celebrating Boombox’s 10th anniversary. The group put forth a fall-spanning tour for Filling In The Color, their first studio album in four years. They recorded the album in Randolph’s Muscle Shoals, Ala. home studio, and each package featured a coloring book of conceptualized artwork for every song, which allowed fans to “Fill In The Color.”
Electro-soul crooners Rose Quartz will independently release their debut EP Axis of Love on January 6, 2015, but their New Year’s Eve show will serve as the CD release party. Rose Quartz, released their first single “Leaving Now” in November, via Red Bull Sound Select. The band, which recently did a string of concerts with St. Lucia and Cut Copy, fuses indie and electronic. They’ve added two new members this year, expanding their two-piece to a fully dynamic four piece.