Where to ring out the old and welcome the new year

SOON THE NEW DAY: Talib Kweli headlines New Year's Eve at The Orange Peel. The Social activist and hip-hop artist comes to Asheville on a break between two tours. Local artists RBTS WIN and Mike L!VE open the show. Photo by Dorothy Hong

For many people, 2016 was a bit of a horror show. Relationships tanked, beloved stars passed away, and then there was the election. If none of these events touched you negatively, you might not even need a New Year’s Eve roundup. But for those of us who want to kick this year to the curb and see in — albeit with some trepidation — 2017, here’s where to sip some bubbly, wear a wacky hat, dance like no one’s watching and party like it’s 1999 (there’s no shame if you secretly wish it was).

And, for what it’s worth, let’s hug the ones we love, be kind to our fellow New Year’s Eve revelers and begin the next year as we mean to continue. Happy New Year to you, readers. May it be happy, healthy and sweet.

All events listed take place on Saturday, Dec. 31. For more New Year’s Eve ideas, visit Clubland, Calendar and mountainx.com

• Everyone’s invited to The BLOCK off Biltmore’s all-ages One Love New Year’s Eve Party. Dance to ReggaeInfinity from 8-11 p.m. followed by a salsa band, and Wadadli Dessert Oasis will serve up vegan food. $10. 39 S. Market St., theblockoffbiltmore.com

• Dress in ’60s-era glamour wear for NYE Midnight Masquerade at Buxton Hall Barbecue. “Our beloved [seasonal] space gets a heavy hit of glitz, glam, velvet and luxury,” says a press release. “Enjoy a secluded Champagne room, DJ sets, retro tunes, ’60s getup, cocktails and bubbly.” The party begins at 10:30 p.m. (the kitchen will be closed). $5. 32 Banks Ave. buxtonhall.com

• Bluegrass fans and Grateful Dead fans can have the best of both worlds at the Grass Is Dead show at Asheville Music Hall. The band formed in South Florida nearly 20 years ago but only recently started touring outside its home state. The group opened for Leftover Salmon in Asheville last year and returns to town to ring in the new year. 10 p.m. $12 advance/$15 day of show. 31 Patton Ave., ashevillemusichall.com

• “Because when it’s 7 p.m. here, it’s Midnight in London!” is the tagline for MetroWines’ early-evening event. Midnight in London includes bangers, chips and cheddar cheese with Bordeaux and sparkling French wine in time for New Year’s Eve fireworks in the U.K. 6-7:30 p.m. $30, reservations required. 169 Charlotte St., metrowinesasheville.com

• Empire Strikes Brass is finishing work on its debut album, Theme for a Celebration, at Echo Mountain Studios, and will launch a release tour in February. First, the band will take time out for a little celebrating with a New Year’s Eve show at New Mountain, 38 N. French Broad Ave. The show includes one set by Empire Strikes Brass, “with surprises honoring some of the fallen musical heroes of 2016,” says guitarist Kelly Hannah; and a late-night set billed as “Push Pull Strikes Brass,” which is DJ Push Pull with a horn section. 9 p.m. $20 advance, $25 day of show. newmountainavl.com

BRASS IN POCKET: The end-of-year show at New Mountain includes one set by Empire Strikes Brass and a late night set billed as “Push Pull Strikes Brass,” pictured — DJ Push Pull with a horn section.
BRASS IN POCKET: The end-of-year show at New Mountain includes one set by Empire Strikes Brass and a late-night set billed as “Push Pull Strikes Brass,” pictured, which is DJ Push Pull with a horn section.

• “We will be doing what we do best — music, food and fun — all night long,” says The Salvage Station, 466 Riverside Drive, of its end-of-the-year party. The music part of that equation includes performances by Santos Glocal Soul and Laura Reed plus a late-night DJ dance party with Dr. Get Right. A Champagne toast will take place at midnight. 7 p.m. $8 advance/$10 day of show. salvagestation.com

• The Hustle Souls put in regular appearances on area stages and draw from sounds coming from New Orleans and Memphis. As The Musoscribe writes, “Hotshot guitarist Chris Everett — a master in most every musical genre — spins out endlessly creative licks, and he does so in a manner that makes it look easy.” Everett and company perform at Foggy Mountain Brew Pub, 12 Church St., starting at 10 p.m. Free. foggymountainavl.com

• Fittingly, Asheville Symphony Orchestra will welcome 2017 with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. “Each year orchestras around the world celebrate the new year with performances of this towering musical work, which celebrates hope and brotherhood,” says a press release. The concert features the Asheville Symphony Chorus with soloists Danielle Pastin, soprano; Kirstin Chavez, mezzo-soprano; Rolando Sanz, tenor; and Steven Condy, bass. Music starts at 8 p.m. at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, 87 Haywood St. $22-74. ashevillesymphony.org

• A threesome of local roots music awesomeness — Jon Stickley Trio, The Honeycutters and Taylor Martin — play in the new year at Isis Restaurant & Music Hall, 743 Haywood Road. Come early for dinner, starting at 5 p.m. (reservations required) or drop by later for the show, which begins at 8:30 p.m. $20. isisasheville.com

• The Time Machine Dance Party returns to The LAB, 39 N. Lexington Ave. Here’s how it works: Music from a different decade is played each hour, starting with the ’60s and ’70s at 10 p.m., moving to the ’80s at 11 p.m., the ’90s at midnight and wrapping up with the 2000s and 2010s in the first hour of the new year. Free. lexavebrew.com

• “Nothing rings in the new year like the sound of firecrackers and Champagne bottles popping off,” points out The Crow and Quill. The venue, at 106 N. Lexington Ave., heats up the wintry night with the high-energy, New Orleans-style Firecracker Jazz Band. 9 p.m., $5-$10 suggested donation. thecrowandquill.com

• The Countdown to 2017 party at Pack’s Tavern, 20 S. Spruce St., starts at 6:30 p.m. with a ticketed buffet dinner ($50 per person), followed by the separately ticketed show at 9:30 p.m. The Big Deal Band takes the stage in the Century Room, and DJ Moto will spin dance hits in the South Bar. Doors open at 8 p.m.. $10. packstavern.com

• First, it was sad news when rapper GZA canceled his New Year’s Eve show at The Orange Peel, 101 Biltmore Ave., after Wu-Tang Clan — his longtime group — announced a performance the same night in Las Vegas. But then it was happy news when hip-hop artist Talib Kweli filled in the slot. The Mos Def and Kanye collaborator has played LEAF (where he replaced De La Soul). Local artists RBTS WIN and Mike L!VE open. 9 p.m. $30 advance/$30 day of show. theorangepeel.net

• Newly opened Calypso Restaurant, 18 N. Lexington Ave., holds two New Year’s Eve parties. The Early Bird Gala boasts a four-course dinner with a Carnivale dance show, 6:30-8:30 p.m., $75. The Ball Drop Gala includes a five-course feast, a Champagne toast following the ball drop in Miami, and an island-vibe disco party with DJ Disc-Oh, 9 p.m.-midnight, $130. Then, an after-party takes place at the venue’s disco street tent, with costumed dancers, Caribbean music and cocktails, for a $20 ticket. calypsoasheville.com

• Izzi Hughes, a junior at Hendersonville High School and an up-and-coming singer-songwriter, performs an early show at The Greenhouse Moto Cafe, 4021 Haywood Road, Mills River. Hughes says her set “contains an eclectic mix of covers from old to extremely current [and] I have arranged most of the songs in a slightly different way than the original with my own unique twist.” 7-10 p.m. avl.mx/383

• Looking for a local powerhouse New Year’s Eve? The Grey Eagle, 185 Clingman Ave., has you covered: Funk collective Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band shares the bill with soul rockers The Broadcast. Both bands pretty much owned 2016; maybe starting 2017 in their presence is a good move. 9 p.m., $20 advance/$25 day of show. thegreyeagle.com

• If local music fans used to shun cover bands, the well-chosen tribute song has come back into favor, thanks in part to The Mothlight’s themed shows. For New Year’s Eve it’s “The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 2” and Tom Petty. No word at press time about what area musicians will wear those legendary mantles. 9 p.m., $10. 701 Haywood Road, themothlight.com

• While the long-standing New Year’s Eve tradition at Jack of the Wood, 95 Patton Ave., used to be bluegrass band Sons of Ralph, this year the bar hosts what could become a new familial tradition: Rock outfit Woody Wood and The Family Band. 9 p.m., $10. jackofthewood.com

• Here’s something to celebrate: The Grove House commemorates its 35th annual Epic NYE Bash. The party “started with Scandals in 1982 and spread throughout all three floors, now known as Grove House Entertainment Complex,” says a press release. This year’s three-floor fete, held in Scandals, Club Eleven On Grove and The Boiler Room, includes three dance floors, six bartender stations, balloon drops, party favors, hors d’oeuvres and Champagne toasts and eight themed areas (“Pirates That Stole Christmas,” “Forest Of Silver & Gold,” “Old School Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Santa Saloon,” “Holiday Hall,” “Candy Land” and “Ice Palace”). If that’s not enough, there’s also a drag show in Scandals at midnight. 8 p.m.-3 a.m., $25 advance/$30 day of show ages 21 and older/$35 ages 18-20. 11 Grove St., thegrovehouse.com

• This year, the annual New Year’s Eve bash at Tressa’s Downtown Jazz & Blues features two local acts: blues artist Ruby Mayfield and R&B outfit Jesse Barry and the Jam. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. 28 Broadway, tressas.com

• Local Dead-centric jam band Phuncle Sam returns to Pisgah Brewing, 150 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain, for its annual New Year’s Eve show. “As usual, this is a free event to the public, complete with balloon drop and Champagne toast,” says the website. Root Down food truck vends. 9:30 p.m. pisgahbrewing.com

• “This year’s ritual will include a reflective journey on the past year and a chance to set intentions for 2017,” says a press release for Kirtan with Sangita Devi & Friends. The evening begins with call and response chanting with “a meditative sound healing bath led by Billy Zanski woven into the kirtan.” There will also be an ecstatic dance DJed live by Robert Kochka, a tea room, ceremonial cache and a co-creative altar and art space. The reflective celebration is held at Odyssey Community School, 90 Zillioca St. Doors open at 7 p.m. $30 advance/$35-$50 sliding scale at the door. SangitaDevi.com

• The New Year’s Eve Hootenanny at Oskar Blues Brewery, 342 Mountain Industrial Drive, Brevard, comes complete with shuttle transportation from Brevard hotels. But the real star of the evening is headliner Southern Culture on the Skids. That band shares the bill with Jonny Fritz and Pretty Little Goat. There will also be food from the Oskar Blues CHUBwagons, a free photo booth and specialty beers. Doors open at 7 p.m. $25 local tickets at the Tasty Weasel Taproom/$35 advance/$45 day of event. oskarblues.com

• “You asked for another ’90s party, well here it is,” says a Facebook invite from The Burger Bar, 1 Craven St. Come dressed in ’90s apparel — prizes will be awarded to the best-dressed. There will be a Champagne toast at midnight, burgers made by Rick Hukill, and “Ben Herring will be blasting all the hits. … To give 2016 a proper send-off, he will be playing nothing but the best from all the loved musicians we lost [in 2016] during the last hour of the year.” 9 p.m. avl.mx/38p

• “F**k 2016, it’s the NYE Freak Out” reads the poster for the annual party — now in its 11th year. The sights and sounds include a diverse range of styles, with DJ Abu Disarray, DJ Malinalli, DJ Kent Scott, Jason Scott Furr, Nina Ruffini, and Passion Faction making up the lineup. The celebration take place at Toy Boat Community Art Space, 101 Fairview Road, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. $8 advance/$10 day of show. toyboatcommunityartspace.com

• Local swing bands Vollie & Kari and the Western Wild Cats (Western) and Virginia and the Slims (vintage) heat up the dance floor at White Horse Black Mountain, 105C Montreat Road, Black Mountain. The show includes a Champagne toast at midnight. 9 p.m., $20 advance/$25 at the door. whitehorseblackmountain.com


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

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

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.