The future is now: Where to ring in 2015

FOND FAREWELL: Send 2014 off in style in any number of local celebrations. The Grove House holds its party on three floors with lavish decorations, DJs and surprises throughout. Photo courtesy of The Grove House

Ready or not, here comes the new year. Whether you can’t unload 2014 soon enough or you could actually use another month or two to tie up loose ends, the countdown to 2015 is on. It’s up to you how (and, perhaps more importantly, where) you want to greet it. Yes, watching the whole televised Times Square madness from the comfort of your PJs is an option. But if you plan to venture beyond your own living room, Xpress has plenty ideas for New Year’s parties ranging from the sublime to the seriously over-the-top. For more New Year’s Eve events visit the Community Calendar and

• Ball drops are a dime a dozen — Thirsty Monk South goes one better. “We’ll be serving a special midnight keg of Cold Mountain, as we count down to our two-story keg drop,” says a Facebook invite. The evening starts at 5 p.m.

• Ring in the new year at Nightbell. The restaurant and lounge offers a prix fixe menu ($65) from 5-9 p.m. Later, Dulítel DJ  spins indie- and electro-rock. Admission is $10 from 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

The Fritz takes the stage at Asheville Music Hall. Photo by Morgan Ford Photography
The Fritz takes the stage at Asheville Music Hall. Photo by Morgan Ford Photography

• “When it’s 6 p.m. in Asheville, it’s already midnight in Barcelona,” reasons the Asheville School of Wine. The group hosts a New Year’s Eve happy hour at Metro Wines. “Taste four different styles of cava, the sparkling wine of Spain, and learn about what’s in your glass” while counting down to the new year in that country. 5:30-7 p.m. $25 includes tasting paired with empanadas from Cecilia’s Kitchen, Barcelona on the big screen and a chance to win tickets to the Asheville Symphony Orchestra.

• As part of a series of album release shows, local musician Chris Rhodes does double duty on New Year’s Eve. He’ll be at Renaissance Hotel Asheville (cocktail show in the lobby, 6-9 p.m., free, and at Red Stag Grill (10 p.m.-1 a.m., Rhodes’ new album, the 13-track Naturally Blue, is a collection of “funky, bluesy, jazzy originals with vocals.” Learn more at

• It’s a three-fer: Off the Wagon Dueling Piano Bar holds a grand opening, one-year anniversary and New Year’s Eve celebration. There’s a ribbon cutting ceremony with light refreshments and music at 6 p.m. Ring in the new year starting at 7 p.m. There will be music by Christina Chandler and, naturally, dueling pianos. $20 includes annual membership. RSVP:

•  “If you don’t know what you are doing for dinner yet on New Year’s Eve, come join us,” says MG Road. Chef Elliot Moss and the Thunderbird kitchen serves dinner from 6-9 p.m.; at 10 p.m. the All that Glitters dance party kicks off with snacks, drinks and DJs Teenage Diplomat and Crescent Bae. Free.

• No mere party, Oscar Blues Brewery hosts the New Year’s Eve Hootenanny — a marathon night of music and beer followed by The CANuary 1st Hangover Brunch the next afternoon. The celebration kicks off Wednesday night with sets by The Larry Keel Experience with Jeff Sipe, Jeremy Garrett & Travis Book (of the Infamous Stringdusters), Steve “Big Daddy” McMurry (of Acoustic Syndicate), Mike Guggino (of the Steep Canyon Rangers) and the Jon Stickley Trio. 7 p.m., $30 advance/$40 day of show or $100 including brunch on Thursday, Jan. 1.

• Dance into the new year — contra dance, that is. The Old Farmer’s Ball holds a New Year’s Eve dance with a Hollywood theme. Music by Perpetual e-Motion (Ed Howe on fiddle, John Coté on guitar) with caller Lisa Greenleaf. Held at Bryson Hall at Warren Wilson College. Waltzing at 7 p.m., contra dance at 8 p.m.

• Local kirtan band Sangita Devi celebrates its 10th annual intention-setting ceremony and ecstatic dance. Held at Jubilee!, the evening promises a tearoom by Infusion Lounge, ceremonial cacao, raw and organic Silvermoon chocolates, an altar and art space, kirtan, an interactive group ceremony and “an ecstatic dance wave, weaving us together in celebration as we embrace the new year.” Doors at 7 p.m. $25 advance/$35-$50 at the door/free for children under 12.

• The annual New Year’s Eve Bash at Tressa’s is a tradition, what with the annual Champagne toast and balloon drop. This year features performances by Asheville All Stars, Ruby Mayfield and Westsound. Doors at 7 p.m., buffet in the upstairs lounge begins at 8 p.m. Ticket price TBA.

Chris Rhodes performs two New Years Eve shows as part of his album release. Photo courtesy of the musician
Chris Rhodes performs two New Year’s Eve shows as part of his album release. Photo courtesy of the musician

• Come for dinner or just for the party — Pack’s Tavern offers both options. The restaurant’s Countdown to 2015 starts with a ticketed buffet at 6:30 p.m. followed by festivities at 9 p.m. “Three floors, three bars, 96.5 House Band in the Century Room and DJ MoTo in the South Bar,” says a press release. $50 for buffet/$10 beginning at 8 p.m.

• “Bring in 2015 with a dazzling soiree,” says the website for The Grove House’s New Year’s Bash. The lavish party, held in the three venues of the complex (Eleven on Grove, Scandals and The Boiler Room), promises “elaborate holiday decor on every level, a balloon drop over every dance floor, complimentary party favors and midnight Champagne toast.” There will also be five DJs, hors d’oeuvres and desserts, and cash and prizes. 8 p.m.-3 a.m. $20 members/$25 guests/$30 minors or save $5 and buy advance tickets online.

• “We’ll have a big dance floor for your enjoyment,” says White Horse Black Mountain of its celebration — “A rockin’ New Year’s Eve with the B.J. Leiderman Band.” The NPR theme-song composer is joined by special guest singer-songwriter David LaMotte. 8:30 p.m., $30 advance/$35 at the door.

• Looking for a more reflective New Year’s Eve? OM Sanctuary and Asheville Percussion host an Illuminate Your Intentions celebration and ceremony. The alcohol-free evening includes performances by vocalist Lizz Wright, percussionist River Guerguerian, multi-instrumentalist Chris Rosser and John Vorus on didgeridoo. Shelli Stanback leads a ceremony of intentions, chef Michael Gentry prepares savory and sweet treats, there’s tea from Dobra, a fire and drum circle and dances led by Tarleton Brooks and performed by LunaSpiral. 8:30 p.m.-midnight. $35 advance (online and at Malaprop’s)/$40 after Friday, Dec 26.

• “This eclectic melding of genres will provide your ears and feet with plenty of material to get them moving,” says Asheville Music Hall of its high-octane lineup: Funk-jam act The Fritz shares the bill with Afropop group Zansa. 9 p.m., $15 advance/$18 day of show.

• Do good while looking good: the Masquerade Furball Gala (which requires a mask) benefit for Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. Celebrate with music, dancing, an open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction. Held at Céline & Company, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $75.

Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band knows how to bring the party. Photo by
Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band knows how to bring the party. Photo by

• The New Year’s Eve Masquerade at New Mountain promises an extensive lineup of performances, from funk and jazz to dubstep and hip-hop. Catch Empire Strikes Brass, Push Pull, Aligning Minds, Disc-Oh!, KRI, Nex Millen of Digable Planets, Hank West & The Smokin’ Hots, Brett Rock, Medisin, In Plain Sight, Shuhandz, Disco3000, Sound Pimp, Ebb and Flow Project, WACK Radio, Emerald Curtain, Aquaboogy & Goldie Lox, Deb au Nare and Memphis Moonshine, all for one $19.99 ticket. 9 p.m.

• In case you didn’t know, “For the past four years we have a 100-plus-foot crane drop the New Year’s ball,” says a Bywater representative. And the ball is larger than the Times Square ball by a foot, so deal with that, Ryan Seacrest. Plus, Times Square doesn’t have local soul sensations The Secret B-Sides or reggae band Common Foundation — both will play The Bywater’s Black Light Party. 9 p.m., $10.

• Latin-Flamenco-Andalusian-fusion outfit Juan Benavides Group teams up with indie-pop band stephaniesid to ring in the new year at Isis Restaurant & Music Hall. Stephaniesid promises to play songs from a new album, slated for release in the spring, along with a few jazz standards. And, “There will be song collaborations between the two bands,” says a Facebook invite. 9 p.m performance. $55 dinner and show/$15 show only.

• Local indie-rock/chill-wave trio RBTS WIN bring their endless summer sound to a wintry night. The band will warm up The Orange Peel stage for headliner RJD2. The Moogfest alum, also a member of Icebird, is the artist behind the “Mad Men” TV show theme. His latest solo album is the collaborative More Is Than Isn’t. 9 p.m., $25 advance/$30 day of show.

• New Year’s Eve is not amateur hour, so it’s best to seek out experienced entertainment. Like the power-party lineup of Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band and The Broadcast at The Grey Eagle. Together they bring high-energy funk and rock to the stage, not to mention seasoned showmanship. 9 p.m., $25 advance/$30 day of show.

Jack of the Wood spices up the end of the year with a Louisiana-flavored celebration. Local Cajun band Jackomo is joined by Zydeco Ya Ya, also from Asheville. 9 p.m., $10.

• Reservations are encouraged for the 3 Cool Cats New Year’s Eve show at Olive or Twist. Come early for dinner, stay for the party. The band performs from 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. $20.

• Though each year they appear at a different venue, local absurdist-Gypsy-folk-funk-punk collective Sirius.B always puts on a high energy show. They’ll do exactly that at the Altamont Brewing Co., starting at 9:30 p.m. $10.

• Why just ring in the new year when you can swing in the new year? The celebration at Lex 18 will have swing dance, Motown and R&B sounds by DJ Cosmo Q along with dancing, hors d’oeuvres, a Champagne toast and a 1920s party mask. Elegant dress code or period costume suggested. $40. 9:30 p.m.-4 a.m.

• “From the same crew that brought us T. Rex on Halloween, this Asheville-based all-star crew is bringing us all-things Jeff Lynne while the ball drops,” says The Mothlight’s website. “Come party while they jam the hits of Jeff Lynne, Traveling Wilburys, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Del Shannon, Roy Orbison, ELO, etc.” 10 p.m., $5.


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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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2 thoughts on “The future is now: Where to ring in 2015

  1. Howdy-Bot

    About the NYE celebration at ByWater, Common Foundation Horns will be playing with Secret B-Sides. The entire Common Foundation sensation will not be present, unfortunately–only a few of their sensational horn players will be present.

  2. Melissa

    After The Feast of the Seven Fishes at Strada Italiano…Come on over and grab a complimentary masquerade mask, with appetizers and midnight toast as we ring in the New Year 2015! Reservations are not necessary. See you there :)

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