Non-EDM New Year's Eve in Denver

New Year’s Eve: the night when the number of drunk drivers shoots through the roof, and DJs seem to be spinning in the crevice of every club, bar, theater and convention center in the city. If you want to spend the last night and first morning of the year losing your mind to EDM, you'll have plenty of choices. But what if you want to welcome 2016 in the company of a band with instruments beyond a laptop? We've got you covered. 

Face to Face
Punks Face to Face play the Summit Music Hall, the same venue that the band played earlier in the year for a three-night stand, where they played the first three records. “I think we'll likely stick to a lot of our early material,” singer and guitarist Trever Keith says. “Plenty of crowd sing-alongs and punk rock mayhem.” Face to Face isn’t currently on tour, so the SoCal band has chosen to be here for New Year's Eve because, basically, they really like us. “Besides Colorado remaining a punk-rock hotbed for the most consistently best shows ever, we love getting to see our friends from the bands who live there and hanging with our friends from Big Choice Brewery,” Keith says. March 2016 will see a new record called Protection out on Fat Wreck, as well as an extensive tour in support of it. Keith's New Year's resolution? “Better mental and physical fitness."

Yonder Mountain String Band
Local progressive bluegrass troupe the Yonder Mountain String Band plays the Boulder Theater for four nights running from December 30 – January 2. Guitarist Adam Aijala says that at this point, the venue is like a home-within-home for them. “I live in Boulder, and I’ve been going to the theater for so long,” he says. “Playing and seeing music, and seeing comedy. I’ve had so many friends work there and it’s a great venue.”

YMSB is known for playing a different show every night, going a week without repeating songs when possible. These four shows will be no exception. “We’re trying to base each night on a decade theme,” Aijala says. “Obviously in the 1990s we can do originals, but we’re thinking of doing the first night as an homage to the '60s, then the '70s, '80s and finally the '90s. It gives people a chance to dress up for each decade.”

In the new year, the band will be touring extensively, as they always do, hitting the studio whenever possible. There’s also a live album in the works, and confirmed festival appearances at Telluride and Northwest String Summit. New Year's resolution? “I feel like I’ve been doing pretty good,” Aijala says. “In 2015, I probably had more of an exercise regimen than I’ve ever had in my whole life. Also, eating better. I could always cut down on drinking a little bit, but hey, one could always say that.”

Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Chris Robinson Brotherhood is another band that feels right at home in Denver — and this being the third time they’ve chosen to perform here on New Year’s Eve. In fact, the band is playing Cervantes' Masterpiece on December 30 and 31. Guitarist Neal Casal tells us, “Denver, and Cervantes, is home-base for sure, since the band started. It’s the first place we gathered an audience, and the people took to us.”

Singer Robinson echoed that sentiment while talking to Jon Solomon for Westword recently: “I’ve always loved Colorado and spent a lot of time there in my life. So for us, it’s just super-special to have a little scene going in Denver and to have people who are interested in the band in Colorado, I mean, as long as that’s there for us.”

There’s no such thing as a regular show with this band, according to Casal, so there’s always that to look forward to. “We change the set list every night,” he says. New Year's resolution? “Just to keep doing what I’m doing,” Casal says.

The Black Angels
Alex Maas, vocalist and bassist with Austin-based psychedelic rockers the Black Angels says that he loves Denver because it's like Austin, only colder. "Beside it being a big music town, there is also an up-and-coming psych community," Maas says. "My friend Jordan Hubner just threw a great psychedelic music festival Synesthesia Denver Psych fest. I heard it was amazing."

The Angels will be at the Gothic Theatre on New Year's Eve, and Maas says that the band will perform new material that hasn't been recorded yet. "It's a great way to get comfortable with the songs before we go into the studio," he says.

As for 2016, the band will record and release its fifth full-length album. "I'm very excited about that," Maas says. "We hope to have a successful year at Levitation Festival in Austin. We are hosting Brian Wilson as the headliner and he will paying Pet Sounds all the way through. Should be very special." New Year's resolution? "Write more music, challenge myself more."

Locally adored ska punks the Slackers will be skanking all over the Marquis; 1990s cover band the Gin Doctors will be at the hi-dive; local rock-and-rollers the Knew will be at the Larimer Lounge; alt-rockers DeVotchKa will play the first of a three-night run at the Bluebird; Umphrey’s McGee will be at the Fillmore; and bluesy rockers the Subdudes play the Fox Theatre in Boulder.

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