Ah yes, another year and another step ahead. This is it: the one annual holiday where everyone in the country comes together to reflect on things, to celebrate what's going well, and to vow to improve what's not. It's the big night. The fireworks, the countdown, the football scores, the confetti, Dick Clark's freaky face, the sloppy kiss at midnight, the cheap champagne in plastic tulip glasses ... the booze and the noise. In the Charleston area, there's plenty of events for the bargoers and music-lovers to consider (although they may not remember much about them on Monday morning). Listed below are a few of the stand-out shows — check 'em out (and more in Music Board) and have a great time:
ART'S BAR & GRILL
413 Coleman Blvd., Mt. Pleasant, 849-3040
Art's Bar & Grill's regular Friday night house band Baby Fat enjoy delivering a tight set or two of funky pop and rock covers (from the '70s through today) with their normal lineup. This evening, lead singer and rhythm guitarist Jack Sprott welcomes special guest lead guitarist Jeff Bateman (ex-Frogmoores), drummer Bird Bird (ex-Lethal Injection), and bassist Jason Ridenour for a loose rock 'n' roll jam session starting at 10 p.m.
301 King St., Downtown, 577-9469
Cumberland's presents a groovy evening of rock jazz, soul, blues, and R&B styles as local trio Black Eyed Susan and local ensemble Live Oak share the bill. B.E.S. drummer/percussionist Adam Chase, guitarist Matt Chase, and singer/keyboardist Aaron Levy started playing Charleston's club and bar scene in 2005 with a serious-minded blend of rock, soul, and reggae grooves – or what they called "music of soul and sophistication; structure and improvisation." They recently released a 13-song album titled Songs From the Bottom. Live Oak singer/guitarist Campbell Brown, guitarist Brian Graham, keyboardist Stephen Stokes, bassist Ike Griffin, and drummer Dan Logan have been major players in the Southern-fried progressive rock and Charleston jam band scene for years. 9 p.m. $8.
77 Calhoun St., Downtown
Event organizer Lawson Roberts describes the "2007 Great Charleston New Year's Eve Ball" as "Hollywood grandeur meets Charleston elegance at the Gaillard. The fourth annual "red carpet event" will be in the Exhibition Hall with live rock and dance music from popular '80s cover band Weird Science – guitarists Raymond Santiago and Jason Gantt, keys man Jason Cooper, bassist Chris McLernon, and drummer John Befumo – and DJ Wendell. Party favors, champagne, hors d'oeuvres dinner fare, etc. Proper evening attire requested. General admission tickets are $60 ($50 adv.) per person and $100 ($95 adv.) per couple with VIP packages available.
HENRY'S ON THE BOULEVARD
816 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mt. Pleasant, 971-1777
Charleston's funky/rockin' MacDaddy – lead vocalist Allison Tysinger, keyboardist Jim "Tuff Daddy" Hall, drummer/vocalist Jim Ratcliffe, bassist Kevin Kless, and guitarist J.R. Getches – have been a staple at Henry's in Mt. Pleasant, at the Trio Club downtown, and elsewhere around the scene, playing a variety of vintage soul and disco, Top 40, and '80s arena rock. The band recently announced they're taking a break (perhaps a break-up, perhaps a breather/hiatus) after this evening's New Year's gig. Listen for hits from the likes of the Jackson 5, Rick James, the Commodores, The B-52's, Van Halen, and Gloria Gaynor. 10 p.m. Free.
King & Calhoun Streets, Downtown
The all-ages "Happy New Year Charleston" event in Marion Square features comedy, dancers, food, and music. Plane Jane are a popular local "party band" who know how to play and sway a big crowd. "This band is built to keep the crowd on its feet, dancing to electrified funkin' tunes that are punctuated with swingin' horn-section solos, shag and disco songs, and top 40 and rock 'n' roll favorites from every era," they say. That's about right. Guitarist and ringleader Scott Sain and his bandmates – Keith Bradshaw, Trey Smith, Chris Williams, Jimmy Mac, Charlton Singleton, Ben Hawes, and Bobby Alvarez – hit the outdoor stage at 7 p.m. Free.
32 Ann St., Downtown, 853-3276
Over the last two years, Savannah-born jam band Perpetual Groove have put their time and efforts into playing the club and festival circuits across the South and West with their contemporary sound. Keyboardist Matt "K-Car" McDonald, drummer Albert Suttle, bassist Adam Perry, and guitarist/dobro player Brock Butler return to their favorite Charleston venue on New Year's Eve in support of their recent album, All This Everything (Harmonized). Their current set features an electronically-enhanced approach to riff-rock and funk grooves. The band plans to kick off the new year with an appearance on the sea-bound festival Jam Cruise and is slated to travel to Japan for their second time in late spring. Showtime at the Farm is 9 p.m. Cover is $30 (all ages).
THE POUR HOUSE
1977 Maybank Hwy., James Island, 571-4343
Charleston favorites Sol Driven Train make their rounds every week, but they know how to gussy up a big event like tonight's. The groove-based ensemble work from a blend of classic Allmans-style rock, acoustic pop-folk, deep funk, and reggae. They welcome Atlanta jamgrass act Blueground Undergrass – featuring banjo player Rev. Jeff Mosier and veteran fiddler/mandolinist David Blackmon – to the stage alongside soulful Georgia jam six-piece Big City Sunrise – Jeff Bynum (vocals, violin), Doug Meads (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Chris Thacker (guitar, mandolin), Adam Kahn (bass), Sam Steele (percussion, various sounds, vocals), and Kevin Rainwater (drums) – for a full evening of expressive jams, tunes, and collaborations. The three bands have shared bills and stages throughout the Southeast over the past year and have made fast friends musically as well as professionally as part of the Moonstruck Promotions family. Doors open at 7 p.m. with Mosier and Blackmon from Blueground doing an acoustic opening set at 8 p.m. $15 ($12 adv. before 8 p.m.).
14 Center St., Folly Beach, 588-2060
Snapper Jack's is super-cool about booking live blues, rock, and acoustic acts and they aim to make New Year's a fun session as well with local blues-rock act Robert Paige & The Holy City Sinners on the stage. Singer-guitarist Robert Paige spent a lot of time playing rhythm and slide guitar in the popular Atlanta blues-rock band The Urban Shakedancers before relocating to Charleston three years ago. His area of expertise hovers around the traditional Delta and Chicago-style blues. No cover. 10 p.m.
160 Church St., Downtown, 577-3818
On a weekly basis acoustic tavern group Steve Carroll & The Bograts handle raucous, melodic songs and ditties – a musical highlight in the Market. Dublin-born, Charleston-based singer/songwriter and bodhran (Irish drum) player Steve Carroll and his crew regularly lead the crowd through several lively sets of traditional Irish tunes and tavern singalongs. Fried Rainbow Trout/Bograts string player Teddy Prause is a longtime Charleston player who specializes in acoustic Irish tunes, popular songs, and clever renditions. Expect a few rowdy sets during their 15th New Year's Eve gig at the tavern in a row. 8 p.m. The ale shall be a'flowin'. Sláinte!
THE VILLAGE TAVERN
1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mt. Pleasant,884-6311
Based in the heart of the local rockabilly/punk scene, diligent rock trio The Defilers usually refer to themselves a "rockabilly/greaser-punk/cowpunk" band. Tall-standing singer/guitarist Arleigh Hertzler, electric bassist Michael Dumas, and timekeeper Duck Reynolds deliver hard-hitting rave-ups, two chord bashers, and Johnny Cash-style country anthems. $10 at the door. 10 p.m.
55 South Market St., Downtown, 534-2155
Brazil – led by longtime Charleston pianist and musical arranger Taras Kovayl, Brazil will perform a blend of Latin jazz styles through the evening. The restaurant will conduct four "seatings" with music through the evening starting at 6 p.m.
6 N. Market St., Downtown, 722-9464
While Plane Jane normally play here on Sundays, this evening features popular rock/pop cover band Soul Fish as the headliners. Guitarists Rotie Salley and Kenny Meyer, bassist Blair Halford, and drummer/percussionist and lead vocalist Morgan Sprott (also of Baby Fat) handle a variety of faves from the late '60s through the early '90s. $5.
WILD WING – MT. PLEASANT
664 Coleman Blvd., Mt. Pleasant, 971-WING
Any Mt. Pleasant bargoer of any degree of experience remembers '90s rock band Live Bait for their roosty rock and grooves. The band gets together for one of their loosely-annual "reunion shows" this evening. The lineup features guitarists David Dunning and Donnie Polk (both currently in The Diesel Brothers), bassist Ben Polk (of Spunjwurthi), drummer Scott Price, guitarist Chris Barrineau, pedal steel player Jay Jackson, guest guitarist John Krucke, and others. 9 p.m. $5.
1008 Ocean Blvd., Isle of Palms, 886-8948
Locals who know 'em and love 'em really know 'em and love 'em. Windjammer veterans Blue Dogs, a smooth-groovin' roots-rock band with an impressive repertoire of original music, celebrate the New Year's Eve event with acoustic guitarist and lead singer Bobby Houck and upright/electric bassist/vocalist Hank Futch at the stagefront. The Dogs' latest studio album is a 13-song collection titled Halos & Good Buys. Tickets are available at the club and at Etix.com for $30. 9 p.m.