Correction: Bop Skizzum performs at Moe's BBQ & Bowling on New Year's Eve. An earlier version of this story included an incorrect venue.
While there's plenty of action in the clubs over New Year's weekend, there are also a ton of bands playing in Denver and Boulder, and a lot of them playing multiple nights, including Yonder Mountain String Band (five nights at the Boulder Theater), Railroad Earth (three nights at the Ogden), Ween (three nights at the Fillmore Auditorium), Pretty Lights (two nights at the 1STBANK Center), G. Love & Special Sauce (two nights at the Fox Theatre) and Slim Cessna's Auto Club (two nights at the Bluebird). Page down for the full rundown.
Having already performed for more than 250,000 fans this year, it's not surprising that Nederland's Yonder Mountain String Band can pull off a five-night run, which kicked off Tuesday, December 27, at the Boulder Theater and runs through New Year's Eve. Special guests who will drop in over the five days include Futureman (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones), Darol Anger (fiddle), Andy Hall (pedal steel, The Infamous Stringdusters) and Rushad Eggleston (cello). The neo-grassers are currently working on the follow-up to 2009's The Show, which is due out next year.
Aaron Freeman incorporates a lot of personal history when he takes on the musical alter-ego role of Gene Ween. For nearly thirty years, Freeman and Mickey Melchionda (aka Dean Ween) have been the tongue-in-cheek duo behind Ween, a band that's evolved from the abstract musical experiments of 1991's The Pod to the more expansive sounds of 1997's The Mollusk and 2003's Quebec. In advance of the Ween brothers' three-night stint at the Fillmore to celebrate New Year's Eve, we caught up with Freeman to talk about a musical history that's nearing three decades.
With a moniker borrowed from the Jack Keroac short story, "October in the Railroad Earth," the New Jersey six-piece has carved a significant space in the newgrass community as well as tossing rock, jazz, Celtic and Cajun into the band's eclectic mix. In the decade since the band was founded, it's played the Telluride Bluegrass Festival a number of times. Dirtfoot and Andrew McConathy & The Drunken Hearts open Thursday's show while Dumptruck Butterlips open on Friday.
The music of Pretty Lights is like a mixtape of styles that electronic-music mastermind Derek Vincent Smith grew up listening to, from '70s AM Gold-era soul to bass-heavy club beats to gangsta rap. Armed with an Abelton-equipped laptop, Pretty Lights ups the ante from just offering dance-friendly beats: True to its name, the live show is nothing less than a symphonic orgy of lights and lasers. If you haven't experienced Pretty Lights live, trust us: You should make it a priority. Smith puts on one of the most captivating shows you'll see this year -- and you'll dance your ass off.
For nearly two decades, Philly-based G. Love & Special Sauce has been bringing a party wherever the band plays. With some help from the single "Cold Beverage" in 1994, G. Love launched a successful career while also helping define his own brand of bluesy hip-hop. Since then, he's re-invented himself somewhat while still managing to hold on to a party vibe.
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One of the most gripping live acts around these parts for the past two decades, Slim Cessna's Auto Club generally kicks up dust with equal fervor on its studio recordings. With Unentitled, the followup to 2008's Cipher, the band doesn't steer too far from its tried-and-true formula of dark country and gothic Americana while injecting most of the tracks with a decent amount of the vigor from its live shows. This year's two-night stint marks the group's eleventh annual New Year's show.
Saturday, December 31
2nd Annual "Good Life" New Years Eve 2012: "A Night to Remember": With DJ Big Spade and DJ SD, Casselman's Bar & Venue, $20-$240, 21+. Bop Skizzum: With the Hightops, Eldren, Lizzie Huffman, In Due Time, Moe's BBQ & Bowling, $12-$15, 16+. Casual Mile High New Year's Eve Party: With Tyler Jacobson, Creeper Steve and Jake Ryan, Meadowlark, 21+. Cuthroat Drifters: With Eliot Street Lunatic, Bronze and Dead Pay Rent, Bender's Tavern, $8-$10, 21+. Dumpstafunk and Orgone: With Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and MTHDS performing Beastie Boys, Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom and the Other Side, $40, 16+. The Foot: With Monroe Monroe, Vices I Admire, In the Whale, Marquis Theater, $10-$12, 18+. Gauntlet Hair: With Pictureplane and the Kevin Costner Suicide Pact, Larimer Lounge, $10-$15, 21+. The Hollyfelds: With Vibes on Velvet and the Jekylls, Skylark Lounge, $8, 21+. The Knew: With FaceMan, Strange Americans and DJ Patrick Lee, $10, 21+. Also performing Friday, Dec. 30 with the Dendrites, Broken Spirits and DJ Patrick Lee, $10, 21+. Melvin Seals and JGB: Quixote's True Blue, all ages, $30. Also performing Thursday, Dec. 29 and Friday, Dec. 30, $20. New Year's Eve Meltdown: With Itchy-O Marching Band, Action Friend, 3 Kings Tavern, $10, 21+. Paper Bird: With the Devil Whale, Joshua Novak and Pink Hawks, Oriental Theater, $20-$65, 16+. Purple Reign: With Chadzilla & the Asteroids, Gothic Theatre, $25-$40, 16+. The Samples: With Desciples, Matt Nasi Band, & O.T.I.S., Herman's Hideaway, $25, 21+. S.L.U.T.: With The Other Russia, Lions Lair, 21+. Something Underground: With the Current and Strip the Stars, $25-$30, 21+. Soul Daddy Open Mic and Dance Party: Open mic and dance party, The Walnut Room, no cover, 21+. Truckasaurus: With Piss & Vinegar, Thee S.O.B.'s, Camp Kilroy, Summit Music Hall, $5, 21+.