Anyone can knock back a tall cup of kindness with a pack of buddies at a New Year's Eve house party, but it takes an ear for music, real stamina, and a sturdy sense of adventure to seek out a concert to celebrate the holiday.
Nearly all of the bars, clubs, and restaurants around town will be teeming with revelers this New Year's Eve. Some are more formal than others, but the best ones feature solid live bands or spazzy DJs. Listed here are 10 stand-out shows scheduled on Sat. Dec. 31.
For complete coverage, check Music Board and Calendar, or go online to Music+Clubs at charlestoncitypaper.com.
Philly-based reggae-tinged funk-rockers the Movement return to Charleston for a funky night of jams with supporting sets from Long Miles and Three Legged Fox. Led by vocalist and guitarist Jordan Miller, the Movement formed as a trio in Columbia in 2004. After releasing a tight and bouncy album of originals in 2008, titled Set Sail, Miller solidified the lineup with bassist Jay Schmidt, keyboardist John Bowling, and drummer Gary Jackson. These days, they mix elements of hip-hop and soul into the set as well. (themovementvibe.com)
The Pour House
Charleston groove-rock ensemble Sol Driven Train returns to the Pour House stage with a bevy of funky party tunes and sophisticated medleys. Singer/guitarist Joel Timmons, sax player/singer Russell Clarke, singer/guitarist/trombonist Ward Buckheister, bassist Rusty Cole, and percussionist Wes Powers recently released a solid mini-album titled Watermelon, which followed last year's concert DVD Live at the Windjammer. Fans can expect some Latin-tinged jams, brassy crescendos, and high-energy freak-outs from the fellows. The band shares the stage on Fri. Dec. 30 with local quartet Old You, and they return on New Year's Eve with Americana band James Justin and Co. A limited number of two-night tickets are available. (soldriventrain.com)
Bowens Island Restaurant
Singer and harp player Andy "Smoky" Weiner, a longtime player in the local blues scene, knows how to throw a proper creekside party (usually with a can of Old Milwaukee in hand). Weiner and notorious band the Hot Links will host the Jazz and Blues New Year's Eve show. It's an oyster roast and jam session at the screened-in Bowens Island dock stage (behind the restaurant) at 8 p.m. The bill includes the H.U.E. Jazz Ensemble, comprised of Bill Aycock, John Oden, Anne Oden, Gino Castillo, Duda Lucena, John Picard, and other guests. (facebook.com/smoky.weiner)
Led by wild-man singer/guitarist Greg Payne, the Greenville-based country-rock band Piedmont Boys head back to the Isle of Palms for a rowdy New Year's Eve gig by the beach. The five-piece group recently released its third studio album All on Red, which demonstrates their love for Waylon Jennings-style vintage outlaw-country and Old Crow Medicine Show Americana. Local combo Guilt Ridden Troubadour, fronted by singer/songwriter Reid Stone, opens the show at 9 p.m. (thepiedmontboys.com)
Red's Ice House
The sizeable Shem Creek venue is a popular weekend party spot year round, but the annual New Year's Eve bashes always draw a huge crowd of locals and tourists. There handful of local talent on board this year, and as with previous events, this party is an eclectic triple bill. Local roots-rock singer/guitarist and bandleader Dave Landeo will open the show with a mix of classic and modern rock, pop, and Americana. Veteran Charleston band the Secrets will play a smooth set of soul, funk, and jams. Knoxville-based rock/country group Homemade Wine (a local festival favorite these days) headlines. The decks at Red's make a great spot for viewing firework displays across the harbor. VIP passes are available. (redsicehouse.com)
Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ (Sullivan's Island)
Southern rock aficionados might want to head to Sullivan's Island to catch the Athens, Ga.-based Allman Brothers tribute act Other Brothers Band on New Year's Eve. The six-piece band — led by guitarists Bo Hembree and Greg Kearney — will perform the Allman Brothers' 1970 album Idlewild South in its entirety (including "Midnight Rider"), plus an additional set of deep cuts and hits. The band describes their set as songs not only from the original Allman Brothers lineup, but all the way up to the current touring version as well. Show time is 9 p.m. (facebook.com/theotherbrothersband)
Omar Shrine Temple
The second annual New Year's Eve Crystal Ball is a semi-formal, early-evening party for those who love shagging to oldies and grinding to the disco, funk, and party-rock of the '70s and '80s. This year's lineup features two of Charleston's most in-demand dance groups. The East Coast Party Band handle old-school soul, rock 'n' roll, and beach music, while PlaneJane gets down on a wide variety of classic funk, R&B, vintage pop, '80s rock, and contemporary Top 40. At $110 per ticket, it's one of the most expensive New Year's Eve events in town, but admission includes cocktails and beverages from 16 bar stations, premium food, party favors, a champagne toast at midnight, and a digital sound and light show from OtherBrother. A portion of proceeds will benefit MUSC's Children's Hospital. (crystalballcharleston.com)
The Snyder Grand Ball inside the spacious S.C. Aquarium has become an annual tradition for locals looking for an elegant New Year's Eve event. This year's party offers hot music from acclaimed soul/R&B group Quiana Parler and Friends and party music spinner DJ Natty Heavy. Vocalist Parler is best known in town for her American Idol performances and her work with singer Clay Aiken as a backup singer. She's a fiery performer with a strong voice. Tickets include open bar and hors d'oeuvres. A portion of the proceeds benefit Darkness to Light. Attire is formal. The festivities begin at 8 p.m. (snydergrandball.com)
The Tin Roof
The Tin Roof's annual New Year's Eve Prom features local bar band Dante's Camaro, an amplified, snotty-nosed quintet featuring members of Action City Blackout — as well as radio personality and City Paper columnist Jack Hunter on guitar. The venue presents the event as a prom-styled party with a costume contest, prizes, giveaways, and the crowning of prom king and queen. Singer Ben Dante, drummer Eric Rickert, bassist George Robocop, and guitarists Collin DeBruhl and Hunter have a super-cheesy set list that will earn more than a few laughs. Attire is retro/fake-formal. The fun starts at 9 p.m. (facebook.com/dantescamaro)
Sand Dollar Social Club
Fans of classic guitar-rock who like a healthy dose of heavy-hitting classic rock, British Invasion hits, and Beatles-related material should head out to this old-school Folly Beach tavern for the Hed Shop Boys. The veteran bar band also cranks out riffs and rhythms on '70s rock from the likes of Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Van Halen. They occasionally get jangly and melodic with great harmonies on cool tracks by Elvis Costello, Wings, and the Smithereens. Lead singer/guitarist Frank Royster welcomes the original HSB lineup to the stage on New Year's Eve. The roster is lead guitarist Bryn Wilson, bassist Mike Pennington, and drummer Paolo Licciardi. Music starts at 10 p.m. (hedshopboys.com)