Ringin' in 2010: music picks 

The top live shows around town on New Year's Eve

All may be quiet on New Year's Day (as Bono once put it), but the bars, clubs, and restaurants around Charleston will be booming this New Year's Eve. Elaborate parties, formal balls, and boozy concerts are all over our Music Board listings this week. Listed here are some of the more celebratory stand-outs of the bunch scheduled for Thurs. Dec. 31. For complete coverage of live New Year's Eve gigs, check this week's Music Board and City Picks sections, or visit the Music+Clubs section. Check 'em out, drink lots of good stuff (including water), and take care this holiday.

Art's Bar & Grill

click to enlarge T. BALLARD LESEMANN

This fall, the latest version of The Fire Apes established themselves as a tight, entertaining, Saturday night house band at this East Cooper venue. The classic, guitar-driven power-pop/alt-rock quartet — featuring singer/guitarist John Seymour, drummer Tommy Hamer, lead guitarist Jeff Bateman, and special guests — will be handling a New Year's Eve rave-up starting at 10 p.m. Their sets are chock-full of melodic originals, plus a few tasty British Invasion obscurities, ABBA hits, and '70s A.M. faves. (thefireapes.com)

Bowen's Island Restaurant

click to enlarge MIKE ANDREWS

Veteran S.C. singer and guitarist Drink Small — a local blues favorite known as "The Blues Doctor" and "The Real Deal" — has been singing the blues in his raspy voice and layin' down his boogie on a hollow-bodied six-string named Geraldine since his early days with the Spiritualaires and the Vee Jay label in the 1950s. His latest collection is a 10-song album titled Tryin' to Survive at 75. Drink shares the stage with the ever-cheerful Smoky Weiner and his smokin' Hot Links late in the evening. Beware: an Old Milwaukee toast comes at midnight. 8 p.m. (drinksmall.com)

Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ

click to enlarge T. BALLARD LESEMANN

Funk/rock power trio StereoReform can get super-funky and stay tight all night. They nearly won the Last Band Standing battle of the bands event in October, detouring their solid set into an unexpected "drum line" with bassist Will Evans and guitarist Neil Turner grabbing pairs of sticks and playing rhythmic patterns in unison on one snare drum alongside drummer Cre Moore. Expect some heavy grooves in West Ashley from them and openers Quantum 7 and The Dearly Beloved starting at 9 p.m.(myspace.com/stereoreform)

Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ — Sullivan's

click to enlarge T. BALLARD LESEMANN

Southern-tinged rock/soul/blues quartet Gaslight Street — singer/guitarist Campbell Brown, drummer Brooks DuBose, bassist Frank Nelson, keyboardist Jason Stokes, and various guests — recently celebrated the release of their debut album Blue Skies for Fools. "I think while so many bands try to be different from song to song and album to album, we actually try to keep it consistent to our blues/rock sound," says Brown (formerly of Live Oak). With a rotation of skillful cats joining in this week, the two sets will surely deliver some extra-special twang. (myspace.com/gaslightstreet)

Fleet Landing

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Fleet Landing's New Year's Bash along the harbor-front features one of Charleston's most popular downtown bands — The Plainfield Project. Lead singer/guitarist Ben Fagan and his bandmates — lead guitarist/vocalist Carter West, drummer Daniel Shahid, bassist/vocalist Matt Thompson, and keyboardist Ross Bogan — have snagged top spots on City Paper's annual Best of Charleston readers' picks for the last two years. The band recently released a self-titled, 11-song album on 10t Records. Expect two sets of rock, reggae, and funk originals and covers, starting at 10 p.m. (myspace.com/theplainfieldproject)

The Mill

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On Halloween, newly-formed garage band Jason & The Juggernauts brought their reverb-soaked rock set to Park Circle for a fun show. This New Year's, they return with a special songlist of oldies, originals, surf-rock classics, and deep cuts. Singer/guitarist Jason Brachman's "juggernauts" include bassist Kyle Unterreiner, and trapsman Brett Unterreiner. The party starts at 9 p.m., and a fireworks display will take place in the Mill's courtyard just after the midnight countdown. (myspace.com/juggernautscharleston)

Music Farm

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Philadelphia-based reggae/rock band The Movement returns to the Farm for a New Year's jam session in support of a new disc titled Set Sail. "Rock, reggae, and hip-hop ... never have three forms of musical expression been so effortlessly blended into one sound," they say. The band has stayed busy touring the Southeast and opening for nationals such as Steel Pulse, Blues Traveler, Slightly Stoopid, The Wailers, Ludacris, G. Love, The Wu Tang Clan, 311, and others. (themovementvibe.com)

The Pour House

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Local favorites Sol Driven Train return to one of their favorite haunts with a set of groove-heavy tunes (mostly from their new studio album Lighthouse and the side project kids' album Tajar Tracks 2), plus some aural explorations of the first degree. Singer/guitarist Joel Timmons, sax player/singer Russell Clarke, singer/guitarist/trombonist Ward Buckheister, bassist Rusty Cole, and drummer Wes Powers (who gradually replaced original drummer Phill Eason last year) recently celebrated the release of a new concert DVD titled Live at the Windjammer. Hot-pickin', Asheville-based "slamgrass" ensemble The Snake Oil Medicine Show opens at 9 p.m. (soldriventrain.com)

Red's Ice House

click to enlarge T. BALLARD LESEMANN

Once again, the popular Shem Creek venue's NYE '09 Bash packs a triple-punch of Charleston favorites. The Secrets handle a funky variety of '70s-era R&B, soul, jazz, and rock. Groove-rock band Uncle Mingo formed in 1989, and enjoyed a heyday during the mid-'90s (they've regularly performed unofficial reunion gigs through the 2000s). The band will handle a mix of funk, rock, and boogie. The well-polished East Coast Party Band (pictured) delivers old soul, R&B, and beach music favorites. Red's has things spread out all the way over to adjacent facility The Landing: "Three bands, two buildings, one creek," they say. (myspace.com/unclemingomusic, myspace.com/thesecrets, eastcoastpartyband.com)

S.C. Aquarium

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The Snyder Grand Ball, at the Aquarium offers an elegant setting and some soulful live music from top-notch soul/R&B group Quiana Parler & Friends (pictured) and DJ Natty Heavy (somehow spinning from the Shark Tank). Parler is perhaps best known in town for her American Idol audition, as well as for touring with Clay Aiken as a backup singer. Tickets include an open bar and hors d'oeuvres. A portion of the proceeds benefit Charleston Area Therapeutic Riding. The festivities begin at 8 p.m. (snydergrandball.com,myspace.com/quianaparler)

The Tin Roof

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Who knows how serious Charleston rock/metal bar band Dante's Camaro really are about being loud, sneery, and dangerous? The highly-amplified quintet (featuring radio personality and City Paper columnist Jack Hunter on guitar) return to the Tin Roof for another New Year's Eve gig. "Dante's Camaro spent more money on spilt liquor in 2009 than every other band playing this New Year's made all year," says lead singer Ben Dante. "Why ring in 2010 partying with anything less than greatness?" The Tin Roof presents things as a prom-styled event with a costume contest and prizes and giveaways. (myspace.com/dantescamaro)

The Windjammer

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Windjammer veteran act Playlist returns to the stage with a massive setlist of '80s and '90s rock hits, New Wave favorites, and valiant anthems. Three of the four bandmates — guitarist/keyboardist Jason Cooper, bassist Chris McLernon, and drummer John Befumo — played together in the popular, more pop-oriented cover band Weird Science. This year, they welcomed seasoned guitarist/bassist Donnie Polk (formerly of the Diesel Brothers, HotShotGun) to the lineup. It was like adding Gene Simmons to The Knack.(www.myspace.com/playlistcharleston)

Sand Dollar

click to enlarge T. BALLARD LESEMANN

The Hed Shop Boys — lead singer/guitarist Frank Royster, lead guitarist Bryn Wilson, bassist/singer Julian Volpe, and drummer Tommy "Ringo" Capo — are experts at adding zest and sparkle to standard bar-band fare. They make it look easy — from the dynamic renditions of Zep's "What Is and What Should Never Be" and the Steve Miller Band's "Swingtown" to Elvis Costello's "Allison," and Wings' "Maybe I'm Amazed." They rock the Folly Beach club for three nights straight this week. (myspace.com/hedshopboys)

Wild Wing Cafe — Mt. Pleasant

click to enlarge T. BALLARD LESEMANN

It's the official reassembling of late-'90s rock band Live Bait, featuring acoustic guitarist/vocalist David Dunning, bassist Ben Polk, drummer Scotty Price, percussionist Bruce Patrick, lead guitarist Chris Barrineau, and pedal steel player Jay Jackson. The members have had varied post-band careers. They all still rock out with Jäger-induced abandon. (wildwingcafe.com)


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