New Year’s Eve parties around WNC

BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: For multiple parties happening under one roof for one ticket price, head to The Grove House, Asheville Music Hall and New Mountain.

While 2015 certainly had its high points — New Mountain launched its outdoor stage, The Hop brought us ice cream flights and Hopsicles, and Asheville landed on 7,000* (*not an exact figure) top-10 lists — it’s also been (if you tune into any sort of media) stressful. Happily, there’s one night each year when we get to blow off all that steam, hit the reset button and start a brand-new baggage-free year. So, as we pin our shiniest hopes and dreams on 2016, it makes sense to see its predecessor out in style. Whether that entails peaceful chanting, serious rocking, communing with the undead or benefiting a worthy cause, Xpress has a party for every reveler (and every price point).

All events take place Thursday, Dec. 31. For more New Year’s Eve ideas, see this roundup and visit Calendar, Clubland and

GOOD CHEER: Champagne toasts, midnight balloon drops and dance parties add to the festivities. Photo courtesy of The Grove House
GOOD CHEER: Champagne toasts, midnight balloon drops and dance parties add to the festivities. Photo courtesy of The Grove House

• Recently opened vegan bar THE BLOCK off Biltmore hosts a New Year’s party with Caribbean-by-way-of-Columbia, S.C.-based roots reggae band ReggaeInfinity. The band has shared stages with the likes of Burning Spear, Yellowman, The Wailers and others, and promises a soulful show suitable for all ages. The party runs from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., $10 suggested donation.

• One of Asheville’s smallest venues boasts one of the hottest New Year’s Eve lineups. 5 Walnut — whose crowds spill out onto the street on an average weeknight — will turn over the floor to glam-blues rockers Pleasure Chest, from 6 to 8 p.m., followed by bombastic one-man band Shake It Like a Caveman, 8-10 p.m.

• Less party, more purpose, the annual New Year’s Eve kirtan and intention-setting ceremony offers a thoughtful passage into 2016. While festivities focus on the sacred, there’s also plenty of fun planned, from a co-creative artspace to a DJed ecstatic dance. The evening also includes ceremonial cacao, a tearoom and kirtan — devotional chanting — with local group Sangita Devi. The event takes place at Jubilee! and the kirtan begins at 7:30 p.m. $25 advance/$35-$50 sliding scale at the door.

• The band Pigeons Playing Ping Pong sounds like a party in and of itself. The outfit from Baltimore joins fellow funk-rockers The Mantras to jam in the new year at New Mountain. 8 p.m., $20 advance/$30 day of show.

• Always a major production, the Grove House New Year’s Eve Bash takes over the entire entertainment complex. One ticket gets revelers into all three venues — Club Eleven, Scandals and the Boiler Room — with dancing, multiple bars, five DJs, balloon drops, party favors, hors d’oeuvres and a Champagne toast. 8 p.m.-3 a.m. $25 advance/$30 at the door.

• If cider happens to be your drink of choice, toast to 2016 at A Very Noble New Year. The party, at Noble Cider, features Peggy Ratusz and The Daddy Longlegs, as well as hors d’oeuvres and a cider-Champagne toast. 8 p.m. $25 advance/$30 at the door.

• Two local bands are better than one. And while (mostly) instrumental experimental string band Jon Stickley Trio and pop-noir act stephaniesid might not be side by side in any record store bin, both have honed their crafts while continuing to explore the boundaries — and beyond — of their respective sounds. The pair of bands perform onstage at Isis Restaurant & Music Hall (Jon Stickley Trio goes on at 9 p.m. followed by stephaniesid at 10:30 p.m.). Doors open at 8:30 p.m. for the show (dinner seating and ticketing are separate), $15.

• “Great for dancin’ or listenin,’ and certainly for partying,” is how White Horse Black Mountain owner Bob Hinkle describes headliner Rhoda Weaver and The Soul Mates. That band will perform jazz, blues and standards. Blues, jazz and rock artist Marcel Anton shares the bill. The nights starts at 8:30 p.m. with a Champagne toast at midnight and music until 1 a.m. $20 in advance/$25 at the door.

THE BEAT GOES ON: KalimbaMan Kevin Spears performs as part of the Dancing, Drums and Dreams celebration held at Eliada. The event culminates in a sound meditation for a peaceful using in of the new year. Photo courtesy of the musician
THE BEAT GOES ON: KalimbaMan Kevin Spears performs as part of the Dancing, Drums and Dreams celebration held at Eliada. The event culminates in a sound meditation for a peaceful easing into the new year. Photo courtesy of the musician

• Drum’s the word at Asheville Rhythm’s annual gathering, Dancing, Drums and Dreams — A Rhythmic Celebration of the New Year. Held at Eliada, the evening includes a drum circle, treats, inspirational readings and a New Year’s countdown. World music group Free Planet Radio and KalimbaMan Kevin Spears perform. BYO drums and yoga mats. Festivities begin at 8:30 p.m. Individual tickets: $39 advance/$44 at the door; seniors: $34/$40; couples: $69/$80.

• Part ringing in the new, part bringing out the dead, An Undead New Years Eve with Unknown Hinson at The Grey Eagle promises more than balloon drops and Champagne toasts (though surely the undead don’t have anything against a little bubbly at the stroke of midnight). Country musician Unknown Hinson (aka Stuart Daniel Baker, aka the voice of Early Cuyler on Squidbillies) shares the bill with Drunken Prayer and Little Lesley and the Bloodshots. 9 p.m. $20 advance/$25 day of show.

• “It’s still so crazy to me how just moving one or two notes up or down an octave can radically restructure how a chord makes you feel,” electronic musician RJD2 tweeted earlier this year. Deep thoughts like that explain why he’s a perfect choice to headline New Year’s Eve at The Orange Peel. Transputer also performs. 9 p.m. $25 advance/$30 day of show.

• If, when you think of New Year’s Eve, you think of rockabilly, psychedelic carnival tunes and pirate shanties, you’re in luck! Local bands Plankeye Peggy and Skunk Ruckus bring exactly that to The Crow and Quill. 9 p.m., $5-$10 suggested donation.

• There are many fine attributes to Cajun music — it correlates to a culture and a food, it instantly calls to mind French phrases and trips to the bayou, and it’s nearly impossible to listen to without dancing. Here’s one more for the list: Cajun music is on tap for New Year’s Eve at Jack of the Wood, with sets by Jackomo Cajun Country Band and Zydeco Ya Ya. 9 p.m. $10.

• One party, two floors: It’s The Asheville New Year’s Eve 2016 Masquerade, which takes over both the Asheville Music Hall and One Stop. One ticket is good for shows at both venues. The lineup includes Bird of Prey, Empire Strikes Brass, Push/Pull, The Hornitz, Rims and Keys, Hank West and the Smokin’ Hots and TEMPI. 9 p.m. $10 advance/$15 day of show.

• Pack’s Tavern holds its Countdown to 2016 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Lyric performs in the Century Room and DJ MoTo will be in the South Bar. $10.

• Party for a purpose at the cover show to benefit Girls Rock Asheville, a summer camp open to girls and trans youths ages 8-16. Bands being covered include Blondie, Hole, The Raincoats, Dolly Parton, The Cars and Rancid. Doors open at 5 p.m. at The Odditorium, and the show starts at 9 p.m. $7-$15 suggested donation.

• If all goes according to plan, when the clock strikes midnight, a Weezer cover band will launch into its first notes onstage at The Mothlight. The group will be mostly playing songs from The Blue Album, says venue owner Jon Hency, as well as other fan favorites. The night also includes a Pixies cover band moving into a No Doubt cover band before the big Weezer finish. Doors open at 5 p.m., $5 cover after 9 p.m.

• The Cosmic Countdown 2016 at MG Road has a space theme — at least as far as the drinks are concerned. But there’s a dance party in the works, too, which means there’s plenty of opportunity for out-of-this-world songs. 9 p.m. $3.

• For those who like to hit up several parties, or start late, or keep their options open, Buxton Hall Barbecue holds a New Year’s Eve Dance Party with DJ Mathew Storm Schrader. The dance floor heats up at 10:30 p.m. $3.

Party on a budget

These small-ticket (by which we mean no ticket) events still offer big fun. Here’s where to usher in the new year free of cover charge:

• Pour Taproom offers a complimentary Champagne toast, free food and a dance party.

• Urban Orchard hosts a dance party and promises Highland Brewing Co.’s Cold Mountain on tap.

• If you recall rock and country-blues band Tennessee Hollow, then you know exactly how awesome it is that local musicians Dave Dribbon and Chris Budro are reuniting that group for a special show at French Broad Brewery. 6-8 p.m.

• Highland Brewing Co. suggests that craft brew fans Ring in the New Beer with the launch of a new West Coast Style IPA and music from DJ Marley Carroll. Music from 8:15 to 10 p.m.

• The free Phuncle Sam show in Pisgah Brewing Co.’s taproom is an annual tradition. Join the party for Grateful Dead covers, a balloon drop and Champagne toast. 9:30 p.m.


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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She 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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