Photo Credit: Jason Thrasher
1. Muuy Biien, New Madrid, Grand Vapids, Mothers @ 40 Watt Club
Hands-down, the overall best bet for live music on Dec. 31 is the remarkably stacked show at the 40 Watt, where four of Athens’ most active and essential groups—each of whom has exciting things in the works for 2016—will share the stage. Their breadth of styles will put a fitting exclamation point on a sonically diverse year in local music.
2. Family and Friends, Dana Swimmer, Culture Culture @ Georgia Theatre
Coming in at a close No. 2 is this sure-to-be blowout happening up the street, headlined by the increasingly scarce-on-the-live-scene Family and Friends and also featuring indie-pop standouts Dana Swimmer, who really came into their own in 2015. Synth-pop outfit Culture Culture rounds out the bill.
3. Nairvana, NOF-ENSE @ Caledonia Lounge
It’s Halloween on New Year’s Eve at the Caledonia. Get your fill of ear-piercing rawk with noisy Nirvana tribute band Nairvana, who add another layer of misanthropic squall to Kurt Cobain and company’s already-bummerific grunge. Plus, NOFX cover band NOF-ENSE, which features members of pop-punk heroes Karbomb, will throw things back to your (and my) teenage years.
4. Donna Hopkins, Redstone Ramblers @ Live Wire Athens
Seasoned Atlanta-based blues guitarist Donna Hopkins headlines a night of rockin’ roots music at Live Wire, where you can also ring in the new year with the homegrown blues collective Redstone Ramblers, as well as virtuosic fingerstyle guitarist Shaun Hopper.
5. The Highballs @ The Foundry
Those wistful for the synth-soaked glory days of 1980s pop and rock—or simply looking for a slightly more refined NYE celebration—should hit up The Foundry, where local cover band The Highballs are the main draw at an event that also features “complimentary party favors” and a champagne toast at the stroke of midnight.
For a complete list of New Year’s Eve events, see The Calendar.