Although Christmas has finally passed, the partying has far from ended. While we're still recovering from time with family and friends, almost everyone still has their eye on New Year's Eve, one of the biggest nights of the year. Some will choose to stay home and avoid the crowd, but others plan their entire year around spending their night ringing in the New Year at the best party in town. While choosing the "best" isn't my place and everyone is looking for something different, we've got plenty of big events to celebrate the calendar turning over once again.
If you've yet to make your plans, you've still got a little time -- and I've got a few of the New Year's biggest highlights to help you choose. If you're looking for a big concert, a dance party, a night in the club with your friends and a loud band, or an all-night throw down, we've got a little of everything in Tulsa this year. You've just got to decide what you're looking for.
Alive & Kicking
When you think of Tulsa's most signature concert hall, the first place that comes to mind is Cain's Ballroom. The New Year wouldn't be the same without a good show to bring it in right. This year, "The House That Bob Built" celebrates with Randy Rogers Band, one the groups that promise to be the next huge act to blow up out of Texas. Randy and his crew are no strangers to Cain's and are looking forward to the show. "To us, it's one of the coolest places we play," Rogers told me recently. He also explained that "New Year's Eve is always such a weird gig anyway -- and if you're not paying in a cool place, it can really suck."
Fans need not worry about it sucking this year as Rogers not only continues to ride strong on the success of his last album, Burning the Day, but is looking forward to the release of the group's latest album, Trouble, in the first quarter of 2013. Although Rogers and his band have done it quietly, they've been signed to MCA since 2005 and continue to build their momentum as one of the few bands still on the label that long besides Gary Allen and George Strait.
We'll surely see that band come through again once the new album drops, but this will be a great opportunity not only to party in the New Year with the band and celebrate their history (and eight albums), but also to get a sneak preview of what's to come. If you love country, albeit with a little bit of a rock edge, this is a sure thing to wrap up 2012.
If you're a little more locally oriented, more geared toward rock, or want an even bigger party -- and are on a budget -- your best bet will be the annual NYE Ball Drop party, which has shifted locations yet again. After a couple of years in Brookside, last year's event moved downtown to the Blue Dome District. Attendance was estimated at approximately 20,000 last year and event planners are expecting even more this year so they have shifted the bulk of the event down the street a few blocks to the corner of 2nd and Greenwood.
As in years past, there will be music to go with the revelry. This year, they're bringing in Tulsa's hottest buzz band, We the Ghost, to guide the party. This one is an appropriate way to wrap up the year for We the Ghost, who burst onto the scene in February with its debut EP, A Mixtape Summer, and continued to evolve into a full fledged band, releasing its follow-up, White Noise, at the beginning of December. We'll surely be hearing more from these guys in 2013, and I've got an interview wrapped up and waiting in the wings as the group has big things lining up for the New Year.
What's most exciting is seeing how the band chemistry has become so tight. The group has only strengthened over the past six months, preparing it for what should be a huge 2013. You'll want to see them now, and what better time and place than Tulsa's biggest public party?
On a smaller scale, if you're looking to get your jam band fix and count down to midnight with some great tunes in a cool room, The Shrine is the place to be as Montu and Captain Comfy ring in the New Year with a long night of jams.
Partying (Semi) Privately
If you love the idea of partying in one of Tulsa's premier venues, but you want something a little more familiar, The Brady Theater opens up its New Year's party to the public this year, making it an annual event that should follow in the footsteps of its Halloween blowout. This party kicks off with DJ Kibble at 8pm and live music begins at 9pm, with a collection of Tulsa's favorite cover acts. Charlie Redd gets things started, followed by Bradio, who will play a mix of Beatles and Chicago covers; the Mid Life Crisis Band rings in the New Year, and Jenny LaBow and the Jumpshots cap off the night. Tickets are $50 for general admission or $75 a head for VIP seating with tables of eight. Granted, it's a little pricey, but this lineup is geared more toward a slightly older crowd, where $50 a head is a drop in the bucket -- and it's worth it because this lineup will definitely deliver. You can find more information and tickets at bradyparty.com.
If you're looking for a party that gets even louder and runs even longer, Z104.5, The Edge, is sponsoring the annual NYE Bash at the downtown Hyatt Regency. Packages are $299 per couple, but include overnight accommodations with early check-in and late checkout and a complimentary breakfast buffet to help you recover after a long night of partying in three ballrooms with two bands. Imzadi rocks out in the Tulsa Ballroom while Big Band Theory gives things a different spin in the Promenade Ballroom and the Oklahoma Ballroom provides a cigar and martini lounge with karaoke. Everything is wrapped up into one, including a place to crash and be safe, all under one roof. More details can be found at edgetulsa.com.
Finally, if you're looking for the biggest and best dance party of the year, don't forget the 4th Annual Crystal Ball & New Year's Masquerade at the IDL Complex. This party has grown year over year and promises to once again be the best dance party of the New Year with dancing and different vibes in three clubs, all with one cover charge. Steve Cluck and Speedbump will be doing their thing in Enso while The PANIC! Crew and Darku J with Just Jon will keep IDL Ballroom and Electric Circus hopping all night long with visual effect by Xylo Sesame and Jonny Hazuki keeping the party atmosphere alive. Doors open at 9pm with a Red Carpet entry for the event, for which formal attire is encouraged and masks are provided at the door. Of course, this is a 21 an over event and this year's sponsor is Skyy Vodka, so you know it's going to be one major blowout for the New Year. Get your tickets and more details at tulsacrystalball.com.
Even though there are some really big parties going on, don't think the clubs aren't getting in on the action. Make sure to see what you're favorite hotspot is doing and don't miss the opportunity to ring in the New Year with your favorite bands and bartenders. I can't list everything here, but a few of the highlights include Mercury Lounge's annual throw down with Electric Rag Band, Able the Allies finishing up the year at Hunt Club before moving to California, and a New Year's Family Jam at Fassler Hall that will include a Paul Benjaman and Jesse Aycock, Dustin Pittsley, Desi & Cody, Wink Burcham, and a midnight "All-Star Jam" with a full horn section. And finally, if you're looking to really rock your way into the New Year, don't miss the return of RL Jones at Downtown Lounge.
Have fun and Happy New Year!
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