Year’s End Music Round-Up
Celebrate 2011 with a bash for Baby New Year
by Vanessa Salvia
It’s that time of year again, when the most important topic on everyone’s mind is, “Where are YOU gonna be on New Year’s?” — followed closely by, “Who you gonna kiss?” We can’t help you with the kissing part, but here’s a round-up of events for your year-ending pleasure.
Welcome Baby 2011 with the rhythmic thump of hip-hop beats at the McDonald Theatre. Gift of Gab and Marv Ellis will kick off a fresh start with their conscious rhymes (9 pm, all ages, $15/$20). Gift of Gab grew up in LA’s Pacoima region. He developed his “gift of gab” at a young age, and met Chief Xcel in 1987. Together they became Blackalicious. Eugene’s own (though based in Portland of late) Marv Ellis is marvelous, rapping mostly in English and un poquito Spanish, adding vocal scratching and beat boxing.
New Year’s at Luckey’s won’t be slow or difficult with the cowboy funk and rock of The Quick and Easy Boys; the hip hop, soul and funk of The Element; and singer/songwriter Jesse Meade (9 pm, 21+, $8). The line-up is skewed just enough to have wide appeal, and the bands will keep the crowd on their toes all night long.
New Year’s Eve will be sweet at Sam Bond’s, with The Sugar Beets and Peter Wilde (9:30 pm, 21+, $8-$12). The Sugar Beets have been rockin’ the Willamette Valley since 1990, so . . . quick math . . . this is their 20th New Year’s celebration. Maybe spending year’s-end with the Beets is already a tradition for you, if not, there’s no better time than now to start. Mina Wegner, the 15-year-old daughter of Beets’ mandolin player Jeremy Wegner, will join in a show-stopping performance.
Mac’s at the Vet’s Club is throwing a dance party — Eugene R&B band Michael Tracey and the Hi-Tones will perform popular blues, soul and rock covers, along with songs from their 2009 debut Got To Get Away and their upcoming 2011 album. Award-winning singer, songwriter and harmonica player Michael Tracey was voted by Eugene’s Rainy Day Blues Society as Best Male Blues Vocalist for the last two years in a row. The Hi-Tones will be joined by local saxophone legend Paul Biondi and five-piece Delta-blues band The Sultans of Slide, who are also releasing their debut CD, Lightning Strikes, the same night. Drummer Boyd Small, who lives in Amsterdam, is flying in especially for the party (9:30 pm, 21+, $6).
(This is the part of the article where I would normally tell you about Satin Love Orchestra’s Funkabration, that gala red-carpet event held at Valley River Inn. Years past have sold out early, and all signs indicate 2010 will be no exception. So if you’ve already got your tickets, yay! If not, well, you’ll most likely have to keep reading. Call the Valley River Inn for tickets and package info: 541-743-1000.)
Tickets to Eugene Opera’s post-opera gala event at the Hult Center include hearty hors d’ oeuvres, wine and a champagne toast along with dancing to the jazz, soul and R&B music of Le Bop Hot (10 pm, 21+, $35). Eugene Opera’s cast includes Metropolitan Opera stars Emily Pulley, Yeghishe Manucharyan and Michael Mayes, along with young Canadian bass Tom Corbeil and Jill Gardner as Musetta in Puccini’s romantic masterpiece, La Bohème.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable end to the evening (and the most recession-proof price) consider Cozmic Pizza’s evening with Samba Ja, The Beat Crunchers and African Dance Ensemble (10:30 pm, all ages, $5). Eugene’s most exciting bateria, Samba Ja is a 30-member mobile percussion ensemble specializing in the funky, danceable street music from all over Brazil and the Americas. From the first whistle blast to the last wild percussion explosion, you will ring in the New Year with a blast.