Sure, there's plenty of fun to be had at open-bar parties with $80 covers this New Year's Eve, but if your wallet's lookin' a little on the pitiful side, you can still have a memorable night complete with killer live tunes. That's why we've compiled a list of hot spots with live music that are well worth hitting up no matter how much dough you have in your pocket. From Sullivan's Island to James Island, there's a close-to-home venue that wants you to rock into 2015.
Though Ill Doots started off as a foursome in college, they eventually evolved into a 12-piece troupe complete with a drummer, bassist, two guitarists, a percussionist, two emcees, plus the occasional guest appearance of horns, other emcees, and vocalists. This Philly-based band takes a jazzy approach to hip-hop, while also making music with a positive spin. Their latest single from last month, "Black Matter," is a tribute to Ferguson's Michael Brown. The band also loves to collaborate with musicians from all disciplines, and the result is an inspired, energetic sound that's perfect for ringing in the new year. As part of the Tattooed Moose's 2015 Baller's Eve, guests can also expect party favors, $12 bottles of bubbly, a photo booth, and a midnight champagne toast. After midnight, DJ Black Olive will spin "dirtay South rap" and hip-hop 'til closing time.
Sol Driven Train
If you live in Charleston and haven't heard of Sol Driven Train, then maybe you should crawl out from under that rock for a night. The local six-piece band plays sunny roots-rock Americana with a New Orleans flair. With influences from Paul Simon to Talking Heads, the band features Ward Buckheister on guitar, trombone, and vocals; Russell Clarke on saxophones and vocals; Matt Thompson on bass and vocals; Ross Bogan on keyboards and vocals; Wes Powers on drums; and Joel Timmons on guitar and vocals. Together since 2000, the guys have garnered a devoted following in both the Americana and jam scenes across the Southeast. Sol Driven Train tour frequently, but they're also one band that knows how to work the local crowd, which makes them perfect for a rowdy NYE celebration. Prepare to say goodbye to 2014 with a balloon drop, champagne toast at midnight, and other fun Pour House hijiinks.
Loni Lewis, a.k.a. DJ Lanatron, takes listeners back to the good ol' days with music from the '80s and '90s that so many of us know — admit it — by heart. DJing playlists that are often referred to as middle-school dance party sets, Lewis plans to escort everyone to the high school auditorium this time around with Tin Roof's New Year's Eve Prom Party. Book a limo, get yourself a corsage, and get ready to get down to the magical sounds of everything from Salt-N-Pepa to Spice Girls to Boyz II Men. Letting go at the end of the road won't be too difficult between the celebratory tunes, party favors, and champagne toast. Oh, and you'll still be able to watch the ball drop on a big-screen TV — so it's a win-win.
Charleston's Whiskey Diablo describes themselves as "gutter country, jazz, and swing cut with booze-drenched chainsaw rock 'n' roll." If that hasn't piqued your interest, maybe the promise of a masquerade ball will. Not only will this party feature bluesy, foot-stompin' tunes — from Diablo's Patrick Blake (vocals, guitar, kazoo), Brad Poplin (upright bass), Marshall Hudson (drums, harmonica), and Jonathan Depriest (fiddle) — it also comes complete with a masquerade contest, so get creative. Barsa will pour the bubbles at midnight, plus there will be light tapas, drink specials, and free parking — and that alone deserves celebrating.
Josh Roberts and Friends play The Songs of David Bowie
Local musician Josh Roberts can usually be found around town with his indie-Americana band Josh Roberts and the Hinges. But on New Year's Eve, Roberts will be joined by Outervention members Jeff Kozelski and Alan Brisendine, plus Hinges members Dennis Ware and Leslie Branham, to pay tribute to glam-rock god David Bowie. They'll rock out classic Bowie songs, from "Ziggy Stardust" and"Ashes to Ashes" to "Let's Dance" and "Sound and Vision." Josh Roberts and the Hinges will do a set followed by a full set of Bowie, all while Home Team provides the party favors and champagne for the midnight toast. The kitchen closes at 6 p.m., but they'll be serving those legendary wings of theirs all night. We'll raise a glass to that.
w/ Lily Slay and Bully Pulpit
Dirty Circus ain't messin' around this New Year's Eve. The local band that's self-described as "hard-hitting, Southern stoner metal circa '95" will use the festive night to release their latest EP, Stories from the Soapbox. Charleston rock 'n' rollers Bully Pulpit, plus no-BS songstress Lily Slay (Royal Tinfoil), will open — and if that's not a recipe for fun, we don't know what is. Dirty Circus has made it clear that this is not only a chance to ring in the new year, but an opportunity to tell the current one to fuck right off. The Mill will provide a midnight toast as well as their regular no-cover policy.
Rik Cribb and the Problems
Art's Bar and Grill
For Mt. Pleasanters, there's no need to cross the bridge when you can settle into this tried-and-true neighborhood bar with a cold one and live music to boot. Rik Cribb is a local singer/songwriter who has played with the likes of The Specials, Eddie Money, Peter Frampton, and The Black Crowes' Marc Ford, to name a few. This Dec. 31, he'll be playing rock 'n' roll with his band Rik Cribb and the Problems while 2015 draws near. Art's will serve up the grub 'til 1 a.m., and the bar will also provide complimentary party favors and champagne for when the clock strikes 12.