Party like it’s (finally the end of) 2009

[Editor’s note: This roundup appeared in print, but a version was posted here that includes a few last-minute additions. Party on!]

So long, 2009. We'll be sending you off in grand style — with champagne toasts and silly hats, with serious ceremony, with sparklers and slurry rounds of "Auld Lang Syne." Some of us might jump and shout, get crunk, kiss strangers and karaoke Prince songs. Others might eat lavish, candlelit dinners, clink crystal goblets and watch, slightly teary-eyed, when the ball drops in Times Square.

Some of us will perform stellar swing-dance moves; some will perfect our rhythms in drumming circles. Some of us might already be under the table when the clock strikes, but don't let that fool you, 2009. We're well aware you're on the way out and that your newer, shinier, promising protégé, 2010, is fast on your heels. We won't miss you all that much, and even if we do sort of miss you, we have the pictures to prove you were here. That's plenty. In fact, just for good measure, some of us will probably do things worthy of extra-bonus memorable/damning photographic evidence in your last moments. That's cool. We figure 2010 will be kinder and gentler, or at least more forgiving.

Looking for the perfect place to herald in the new decade? Here are some ideas. Check Clubland and Calendar for more.

Some of the biggest:

Even Keel: Jenny and Larry Keel return to the Grey Eagle. Photo by Bright Life Photography/Lissy Whelan.

Bluegrass guitarist Larry Keel has put in enough New Year's Eves at The Grey Eagle (185 Clingman Ave., Asheville, 232-5800) to be considered an Asheville tradition. This year he and his band, Natural Bridge, come back to shred the roof off the place. The lineup includes Kentucky experimental/folk band Bawn in the Mash, The Keel Brothers (a duo with Keel's older brother Gary) and guitarist Dwayne Brooke of mountain jazz outfit the Woodshedders. 9 p.m., $25 advance / $30 day of show.

Deftly weaving West African and American sounds, Toubab Krewe has been traveling and touring the country to great acclaim. But despite all those high-profile gigs, headlining festival shows and trips to Africa, the guys keep finding their way home. We're lucky for that. The band plays two nights at The Orange Peel (101 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, 225-5851). State Radio and DJ Brett Rock open both nights. The shows feature special guests fiddler Rayna Gellert and Jamaican Singer Lukan I. On Dec. 30, GalaxC girl performs, on Dec. 31, break troupe Hunab Kru. New Year's Eve show: 10 p.m., $25 advance/$30 at the door. (Or come on Wednesday, Dec. 30. 9 p.m., $15/$17.)

Brand new mayhem:

Theme party: Planning to see the clock strike 2010 at Emerald Lounge (12 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville, 232-4372)? Wear or carry something that lights up as requested Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band. The group, in turn, will put on an electrifying performance. Music starts at 10 p.m., tickets are $20.

Billed as "The Biggest New Year's Eve Party," Club 828 (64 N. Carter St ., Asheville, 252-2001) has a stellar hip-hop lineup featuring Crime Mob (of "Rock Yo Hips" fame), Chop Shop Cartel, Asheville's Ronnie Dub of Lime Light Entertainment and DMV's Baby Girl also perform. 10 p.m., $30 in advance/$50 at the door. VIP access (private bar, separate DJs and lounge with couches) is available.

"Come get elevated at the meltdown!" suggests The Grove House (11 Grove St., Asheville, 505-1612). The venue offers three clubs (Eleven on Grove, Scandals and The Boiler Room), which means three times the revelry. Balloon drops, cash and prizes, a champagne toast at midnight, hors d'oeuvres, DJs and live music from Silver Machine. $20/$15 for members. Doors open at 9 p.m.

Looking for a high-class affair?

Flat Rock Wine Shoppe Back Room (2702 Greenville Hwy., Flat Rock, 697-6828) has all the necessary elements for a memorable New Year's Eve, like a four-course dinner and two bands. Dinner is $50, by reservation and starts at 5:30 p.m., with music by torchlight singer Ellen Trnka. Stay for the late-night with vintage folk-swing act Christabel & the Jons, or arrive after 9 p.m. and pay $10 at the door. A champagne toast is included.

Forget ringing, get swinging. The annual Swing In the New Year dance event is back, combining international champion swing-dance performances, classy social dancing for all experience levels and live big-band swing music. Want to polish (or heck, learn) your dance moves before the end of the year? A five-day workshop camp leads up to the big night ($145-$295, Or, just show up for the party: Dec. 31 festivities take place at The Crowne Plaza Resort (1 Resort Dr., Asheville, 254-3211) with a beginner swing dance lesson at 8:15 p.m., music by Nouveau Passe Orchestra starting at 9 p.m., a dance show at 10:45 p.m., a midnight countdown and toast, and DJs from 1 a.m. to sunrise. $50 doors. Info: or Jaya & Michael Gamble at 275-3693.

Soulful singer Sarah Claire performs at the New Year's Gala at The Waynesville Inn Golf Resort & Spa (176 Country Club Dr., Waynesville, 800-627-6250). Says the Inn, "Put on your best dress, pack an overnight bag and let us worry about the rest." Tickets for the event, which includes a four-course dinner, party favors, a champagne toast and dancing, run $79 (ticket holders are eligible for a $79 room rate, as well). 7:30 p.m. Info: 456-3551.

Skip the bar scene:

The alternative, family-friendly Conscious New Year's Eve Party takes place at Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain. Robert and Julia Roskind of the annual "Gathering of the Peacemakers" retreats lead this event, starting with a One Love Fire Circle at 7:30 p.m. Dance to reggae music from Chalwa at 10 p.m., followed by a midnight potluck (bring a vegetarian dish to share). After midnight, Satta Lions performs and there will be a drumming circle on the "beach." No alcohol is allowed in Eden Hall. $25/free for children under 12. Male and female dorm beds plus a New Year's Day brunch costs an additional $25. (Stay January 1-3 for "New Year's Weekend Gathering of the Peacemakers" workshops geared toward those wanting to refine their skills at teaching and learning unconditional love for all.) or 295-4610.

"Blessings for the new year to come." Festival of Light, held at the Asheville Arts Center (308 Merrimon Ave., Asheville, 253-4000), is a night of sacred and ceremonial commemoration. Kirtan group Sangita Devi begins with call and response chanting from the mystic traditions of India. Next, Kali Das leads a ceremony to set intention for the new year. After the ceremony, world music group Arundas kicks off an ecstatic dance party. Organizers suggest, "Dress to express the light within you." 8 p.m.-1 a.m., $20 in advance, $25 at the door (advance tickets at Cosmic Vision, 34 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville, 285-0073).

Soon to be Asheville traditions?

Head Turner: Burlesque performer Paige Turner is part of the Salvation & Sin festivities at Mo Daddy's.

Salvation & Sin 2010 New Year's Eve Bash is the saucy, spicy name given to the festivities at Mo Daddy's (77-B Biltmore Ave., Asheville, 258-1550). Gospel/folk rockers David Earl & the Plowshares headline, and burlesque entertainer Paige Turner will perform between acts. (Also on the roster: guitarist Silas Durocher, drummer Oso Rey, bassist Justin Powell and C. Scott on trumpet and piano.) Commemorate the night at the photo booth. Costumes, cocktail dresses, zoot suits and all forms of flashy attire are encouraged. 9:30 p.m., $15 at the door.

Rockers Woody Wood & Hollywood Red get rowdy at Jack of the Wood (95 Patton Ave., Asheville, 252-5445). Expect mighty raucous entertainment from Wood, his monster guitar and his stellar backup band. 9:30 p.m. $12 includes champagne at midnight.

2009 was a quiet year for pop-rockers The Broomstars, largely due to the arrival of baby Broomstar. But after a six-month hiatus, the band is back and ready to close out the decade at The Rocket Club (401 Haywood Road, West Asheville, 505-2494). Local rock bands tHE POLES and Forty Furies join the excitement. 9:30 p.m., $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

Sweeping gestures: The Broomstars come off hiatus just in time for the New Year. Photo by Peak Definition.

Time to get Sirius. For the third year, local absurdist gypsy-folk-punk-funk outfit Sirius.B hosts a party at BoBo Gallery (22 Lexington Ave., Asheville, 254-3426). The evening begins at 8:30 p.m. with a three-course dinner by Chef Evan. Gypsy & a Jew performs at 10 p.m.; Sirius.B at 11 p.m. Tickets are $24, available online at Concert-only tickets are $12.

If you're looking for bargains, The Westville Pub (777 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 225-9782) is the place to hit. Prog/funk/fusion artists Dashvara get the party started around 9 p.m. $5.

Just outta Asheville:

Sister act: The Swayback Sisters (singer/songwriter trio Laura Blackley, Lyndsay Wojcik and Nikki Talley) celebrate New Year's Eve at White Horse Black Mountain (105C Montreat Road, Black Mountain, 669-0816). The bill also includes The Business (which Talley describes as "Asheville's beloved boy super group" with Tom Leiner, Jim Arendell, Joey K, Rob Geisler and others). 8 p.m., $20. Earlier in the day — 2-3:30 p.m., to be exact — kid-hop artist 23 Skidoo puts on a family show. $6 adults, $4 kids under age 10.

The Madison County Arts Center in Marshall hosts the big bluegrass act Sons of Ralph (featuring Madison County native Ralph Lewis). They'll be serving an "end of recession supper," complete with black-eyed peas and collards, all for good luck and prosperity in the New Year. It's also the CD release for the band's new recording, When I Find Time. 8 p.m. $10. or 649-1301.

Head out to Hot Springs and spend a retro evening at Iron Horse Station (24 S. Andrews St., Hot Springs, 622-0022). The Bed & Breakfast has a tavern open to the public. Americana rocker Pierce Edens plays from 9 p.m. on. No cover.

Or stay downtown:

The Crank County Daredevils not only rock Stella Blue (35 Patton Ave., Asheville, 236-2424), but also release their newest CD. Think of it as a multi-tasking party. The Go-Devils also perform, and Dielectric from Wilmington, N.C. opens the show.  Doors at 9 p.m., $10.

Bringing it all back home: Toubab Krewe's two-night Orange Peel run is packed with special guests and opening acts to make it a bona fide party.

John Lee Hooker had the blues for Christmas; Mac Arnold & Plate Full O' Blues have the blues for New Year's Eve. And that's a good thing. Get your own plate full o' blues at S&W Steak & Wine (56 Patton Ave., Asheville, 505-3362) — Arnold and company play in the bar upstairs (and there will be hors d'oeuvres!); those who wish to dine may want to make reservations. 9 p.m., $15.

The Garage at Biltmore (101 Fairview Rd., Asheville, 505-2663) gets into the spirit with experimental funk from The Discordian Society and psychedelia from Jamtronica. 9 p.m., $10.

Want a free show?

Wilmington-based rock outfit Hudson South kicks off the New Year at Root Bar No. 1 (1410 Tunnel Road, Asheville, 299-7597). 9 p.m., free.

The Secret B-Sides offer up another bargain of the night: A free show at at Barley's Taproom (42 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, 255-0504). "Same ol' get down, fresh new love sauce," says the band. Make of that what you will. 10 p.m.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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