Ah, New Year's Eve. The one night a year when even the most straight-laced among us get dolled up, hit the dance floor, swig champagne ... and kick off a new year under a small mountain of credit card debt thanks to New Year's Eve ticket prices.
Yes, a brief look at most venues' entertainment calendars will reveal a none-too-subtle spike in admission costs come Dec. 31. Don't get me wrong -- there are some great shows happening this year, and some of them are worth every penny.
But if you're not in a position to dole out $75 or more on a single evening's entertainment, you're not alone. Here are a handful of shows with tickets still available where you can be through the door and boogying (or moshing, or listening attentively) for $40 or under.
Knapsack, Never Young and Cutlass Supreme at Bottom of the Hill
Post-hardcore, emo core, noise rock, good ol' American punk -- if you're looking to give your body over to the controlled chaos of a thrashy dance floor this New Year's Eve, there's no better place to be. Hometown boys Never Young put on an especially cathartic live show. Tickets $20 - $25; details here.
Soulovely, w/ MoonCandy Live House Ensemble Project and DJ Bisou at The New Parish
Soulovely is a monthly daytime soul and hip-hop dance party that's become a go-to spot for East Bay queer women of every stripe -- it feels like Oakland through and through. This amped-up version will see its regular headliners taking their rightful place at center stage: Singer and MC Aima the Dreamer with DJs Lady Ryan and Emancipacion. Come ready to dance. Tickets $20 - $25; details here.
Rupa and the April Fishes at the Ivy Room
Multi-genre, multilingual, and always multitasking -- frontwoman Rupa Marya is a physician, somehow, in her other life -- Rupa and the April Fishes are a well-oiled, well-loved Bay Area staple. Their music blends reggae, punk, jazz, and more, often infused with social justice themes; the band just returned from Standing Rock, so this unpretentious neighborhood show in Albany should be a particularly interesting one. Tickets $40; details here.
Cool Ghouls w/ Smokin' Ziggurats, Sugar Candy Mountain and Midnight Sons at Brick & Mortar Music Hall
A lot of people will tell you the heyday of San Francisco psych-rock is long gone. To them I say: Sure, maybe, but I'm too busy dancing to Cool Ghouls' endearingly lo-fi, '60s pop- and surf-flecked variety to debate that right now. Fellow locals Sugar Candy Mountain will provide far-out sounds that make it worth showing up early, too. Tickets $15; details here.
Faye Carol at Cafe Stritch
Mississippi-born Faye Carol has been part of the Bay Area's jazz and blues ecosystem since the '90s. The soulful singer and sometime music teacher has won just about every local award in existence (see below), and she's collaborated with everyone from Marvin Gaye to Marcus Shelby -- but San Jose's Cafe Stritch made the right choice in giving her a multiple-night residency to call all her own. Tickets $20; details here.