Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve
is still an option for the night of Dec. 31, since the man himself has lived to rock another year. But if the glow of the television screen isn't gonna provide enough sonic warmth this year, there are thankfully plenty of options to hear and see music performed live, in the flesh, and without lip syncing. Here, in no particular order, are 10 bands playing live on New Year's Eve who are worthy of marking the special occasion.
10. The Fresh & Onlys
at Folk Yeah! NYE at Brick & Mortar Music Hall
These S.F. psychedelic garage rockers won over national critics this year, but this hometown gig -- which also features Thee Oh Sees -- should be particularly sweet for the Fresh & Onlys. We expect they'll tease snippets of their next album here before setting off on a February tour.
9. MarchFourth Marching Band
at Sea of Dreams
at Concourse Exhibition Center
This Portland-based brass-forward troupe -- which has toured with No Doubt and backed up Fleetwood Mac and KISS -- takes the pretentious pomp out of a marching formation. Band geeks, these are not. Party ecstasy will be achieved with liberal doses of dancing girls, mismatched costumes and plumage, and even stilt-walkers.
8. The Impalers
at Derrick Herriott's NYE Reggae Hop at Rockit Room
Those looking for rocksteady, reggae, and soul can head to the Richmond District. Led by singer Cindy Chi, the Impalers grew from a ska supergroup of a studio band for the Axe Records label into a tight addition to the live scene.
7. The Limousines
at Disco 2012 at Rickshaw Stop
This is a good chance to catch the local indie-electronic duo behind "Internet Killed the Radio Star" and "Very Busy People" before they dispatch off to Europe to continue touring with Swedish indie rockers the Sounds in early 2012.
at Great American Music Hall
Les Claypool and company love to play on New Year's Eve, making this an option that is resoundingly Bay Area in its vibe. Unfortunately, it's already sold out. But the resourceful can always find a way in (i.e., Craigslist or scalpers).