What I did on New Year’s Eve

If you were following me (@alli_marshall) on Twitter on New Year’s Eve, then you know what I was up to. And I know what you were up to as well. Well, some of you. Many of you. I made it five shows (though I probably spent more time walking between venues and standing in will call lines than anything else) and tweeted dozens of tweets. And took a bunch of pictures. Here’s the annotated recap:

1. Going to try to cover as much #AVLNYE as possible for @mxarts. Taking pics, suggestions, entourage members… (This was at about 8:30 p.m., following a pre-game dinner at Twisted Crêpe. At that point, downtown Asheville was pretty mellow and dignified, with well-dressed couples on their way to dinner reservations at Zambra and Bouchon. I fancied up my veggie meatball crêpe was a plastic glass of sparkling water. Keeping it classy.)

2. First step for #avlnye: double shot of espresso. Next: get into party dress. (The dress was from What To Wear on Lexington Ave. A really cool silver tank dress that kind of looked like crumpled aluminum foil. In a good way. At the last minute I traded it for a longer black dress that I scored at a clothing swap a few months back. No photos of that dress, however.)

3. Party dress on! Heading to Emerald Lounge first. (Here I want to note that, walking from the Xpress offices where I’d dropped my down jacket, sensible shoes and house keys, downtown Asheville was still fairly quiet. This was about 9:30 p.m. and the crowds were just starting to come out. Everyone was dressed up, happy, polite and more-or-less sober.)

4. At Emerald Lounge, Secret B-Sides starting! (This was a shared show with Sirius.B who were set to take the stage after midnight. I had every intention to make it back for their set, but it wasn’t in the cards. However, I must say that both Xavi and Franklin were looking very spiffy pre-show.)

5. @eloasheville gets high marks. Nice ambiance, sound, crowd, sparkly attire. + Secret B-Sides = hot!

6. This guy! (Emerald Lounge had a few costumes, but this guy was by far the most noticeable.)

7. The lights just went down for @toubabkrewe to start. (Here I tried to photograph the band, but The Orange Peel was crowded and everyone in front of my was seven feet tall. But chances are, you know what Toubab Krewe looks like. Only, for New Year’s Eve, they looked even better. Re: next tweet.)

8. I’m awarding @toubabkrewe 5 stars for looking so natty. Especially Drew Heller. (There was some sparkly/glittery/glow-in-the-dark people at the Orange Peel. One girl had glow sticks woven into her hair. And there was couple in feather headpieces who had some drama at the ticket office. And lots of fur trapper hats.)

9. Outside Metropolis for the Masquerade. Loooong line. Lots of fabulous people. (There’s a blurry photo that goes with this tweet in which a guy who may or may not be Johnny Berlin wears a sparkly shirt and eye liner. I see this guy at a lot of shows and he always looks great. The line to get into Metropolis — at 10 minutes to midnight — crept along, but we made it in before the clock struck 2012. It’s possible that this was the most crowded show I’ve ever been to. Someone behind me kept saying, “You’ve got to be assertive and just shove through,” but there was no where to show through to. Just a sea of tightly-packed bodies.)

10. Metropolis… Just wow. Stiltwalkers, lazers, projections, fantasy world. Thru the looking glass. (Trapped in the aforementioned sea of bodies, I was kind of up close and personal with a number of midnight kisses. Note: kissing is less fun when you’re not partaking. I have a photo that at midnight seemed both sweet and photo but by the cold light of Monday afternoon seems like TMI.)

11. Under black light, lint actually looks cool. (This seems worth repeating. Above the dance floor at Metropolis there’s a balcony with a small bar at which a lone bartendress was doing her best to keep up with demands for double G&Ts. My friend pointed out that this bartender, who looked borderline frantic by 12:30 p.m., probably hadn’t had a bathroom break all night. But probably was making her full month’s rent in a single evening. I hope so, she deserved it.)

12. More #avlnye at Metropolis. Pretty sure the party prize goes to Graham Hackett for masterminding this fete. (There’s not an actual prize. But if I had one, I’d hand it over for sure.)

13. metropolis is CRAZY!! @gmayer and I are in the former hookah bar space which is more chill. (Note: This was my first time at Metropolis since it opened this fall. Love it. And the former Hookah Bar space is great, too, with its low star and cozy alcoves. We caught Peripheral’s set, which was fantastic. At one point he said, “This is what 2012 looks like.” I looked around at all the people in feather, sequins, glitter, masks and body art and thought what is 2012 really did look like a 24/7 Masquerade party? Seriously, what if?)

14. robot. (And this was not the only one.)

15. Made it to The Lab, which seems to have been ransacked. And flooded by beer. (There was photo evidence, but it was truly scary. You know how on New Year’s Eve there’s this moment after which everything turns from sparkly and fun to drunken and debaucherous? And goes downhill from there? Yeah, this was after that moment.)

16. Also, @thebenlovett isn’t just DJing, he’s dancing. (I tried to take a photo, but in it Lovett is not dancing. He’s DJing. And his eyes look completely spooky — guess I got him with the flash. Oops.)

After The Lab, I figured I’d had enough New Year’s Eve for one year. The shine and sparkle of early evening had given way to police lights, fire trucks, crying girls, fighting boys and someone passed out with his head propped up on a stoop.Which, I suppose, is why it’s called “amateur night.” My friend Greg had offered his services as a driver to anyone in need of a sober ride (he actually posted his phone number on Facebook), so I took him up on it and was delivered safely to my front porch.


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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