Auld twang syne and other New Year's options
From Willie Nelson and the Gourds at ACL Live to Grupo Fantasma at the Beauty Ballroom, there are varied grooves to ring in 2012
New Year's Eve is the night when everyone goes out. Those in the professional partying class in Austin might call it "amateur hour," the night when amateurs rule the clubs and bars and venues.
Let's start with the big guns. Willie Nelson and Friends headline the blowout at ACL Live, with perennial Austin faves the Gourds taking the opening slot along with Lukas Nelson and Ray Price (6:30 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show, $59.50 to $139.50; Nelson also plays ACL Live the night before, Dec. 30, with Lukas Nelson). Over at Stubb's, old school soul gets a workout when T Bird and the Breaks headline and the Sideshow Tragedy open (9 p.m., $35 to $40). For a trippier time, Austin psychedelic revivalists the Black Angels and amp-abusers Ume play with West Coast psych rock imports Wooden Shjips over at Emo's East (doors 9 p.m., $25).
For the proverbial Latin tinge, Grammy winners Grupo Fantasma, avant-rockers Maneja Beto, and DJ Chorizo Funk play (and spin) at Club DeVille (moved from the new Beauty Ballroom which will not be open in time to host the show ). (8 p.m., $25). For a bluesier evening, check out Gary Clark Jr. — headed for a breakout year in 2012 —at Antone's (8 p.m. doors, 9 p.m. show, $20).
In the mood for country? Jimmy LaFave throws down at Threadgill's North (8 p.m., $75) while rising country savant Hayes Carll performs at La Zona Rosa with Shovels and Rope and SideshowTramps opening (8:30 p.m., $25). The Paramount Theatre is home to Bob Schneider and Quiet Company (doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m., $35 to $105).
The Black & White Years and Rittz play Lambert's (10 p.m., $125 to $150), while the Dan Band plays an "all-inclusive" (read: lots of food and booze) party at Kung Fu Saloon (8 p.m., $120 to $250).
If you are in the mood for something heavier, thunderous instrumentalists Russian Circles play with Austin doom metal titans The Roller along with Eagle Claw at Red 7 (8:30 p.m., $15). If bounce is more your speed, Big Freedia headlines the Mohawk (8 p.m., $15 advance, $20 door). Side note: Fredia's song "Azz Everywhere," released on a 12-inch single by Chaos in Tejas promoter Timmy Hefner's 540 Records, was recently named one of NPR's "100 Favorite songs of 2011."
New Year's Eve brings out the cover bands. "Spider House New Years Eve 1977" is almost like a Halloween gig with Roky Moon & Bolt playing Fleetwood Mac, Bobby Jealousy with Sabrina Ellis of A Giant Dog as Blondie, members of Flesh Lights joining Jason McNeely as Cheap Trick, members of Gospel Truth as the duo Suicide, Bad Lovers doing the Dead Boys and a ton more at the 29th St. Ballroom (8 p.m., $15). Queen cover band Magnifico and The Action Pack play the Highball (8 p.m., $30).
For those willing to drive, former Cross Canadian Ragweed frontman Cody Canada and the Departed play Gruene Hall with the Jason Eady Band (7 p.m., $50).
Increasingly well-regarded Austin indie-jammers White Denim headline "2012 Apocalodyssey" with Royal Bangs, Oh Look Out and more at Empire Automotive (9 p.m., $22). New Year's Eve Reggae Ball goes down at Flamingo Cantina (8 p.m.). Austin rock gods Jon Dee Graham and Alejandro Escovedo play the Continental Club (8 p.m., $20). Neon Cobra headlines at Beerland with Stiff Nites and the Last Cigarette (9 p.m.).
There are a ton of Austin bands over at Cheer Up Charlies, including Ringo Deathstarr, TV Torso, Marmalakes, Sleep Good and The Zoltars (7:40 p.m., $5). LCD Soundsystem tribute act All My Friends plays Beauty Bar's "A Family Affair" with Kid Slyce and more ($10, 8 p.m.). DJ Ted Eiel spins at "Bearracuda NYE" at ND ($15, 8 p.m.) You can feel, and possibly smell, the funk with Foot Patrol and Panjoma at Momo's (8 p.m. $20 adv).
Need some free entertainment? Pataphysics, Boonesboro and Slugbug all play "Future Fantasy 2012: New Year's Eve" at Cherrywood Coffeehouse. Sons of Fathers play a free show at Hole in the Wall.
Austin's New Year. Free, family-friendly, alcohol-free celebration with art, films, live music and a fireworks finale. Performers are Carolyn Wonderland, Shakey Graves, Flying Balaika Brothers and more. 5 to 10:30 p.m. Dec. 31. Auditorium Shores, South First Street and Riverside Drive. www.austintexas.gov/holiday .
All Tommorows Party: A Warhol Factory New Year's Eve A photobooth by Alison Narro, DJs, bubbly libations, room to dance and of course a toast at midnight. Black and white attire is encouraged but not required. No cover. www.sanjosehotel.com
New Year's Eve B-Movie Ball. Costume ball and multimedia event. Come in costume for music, photo booth and a champagne toast. $50-$65. Marchesa Hall & Theatre, 6406 N. Interstate 35 No. 3100. www.brownpapertickets.com/event/208807 .
New Year's Eve Family Party. Enjoy friends, family and food. Party host family tickets $150, regular family tickets $100, member family tickets $40. 5:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 31. Austin Children's Museum, 201 Colorado St. www.austinkids.org .
New Year's Eve Mix Tape. Movie theater sing along dance party champagne toast, official countdown and confetti. 10:30 p.m. Dec. 31. Alamo Ritz, 320 E. Sixth St. 11:30 p.m. Dec. 31. Alamo Village, 2700 W. Anderson Lane. www.drafthouse.com .
"Oh What a Night." TexARTS New Year's Eve Gala. Food, friends and music by the Matt Wilson Band. 8 p.m. to midnight Dec. 31. $150-$2,500. The Hills Country Club, 26 Club Estates Parkway. 852-9079, www.tex-arts.org .
New Year's Eve Improv Extravaganza. Improv games, scenes and champagne toast at midnight. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Dec. 31. $25. Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave. 443-3688, www.hideouttheatre.com .
End of the World Comedy Blowout. Esther's Follies New Year's Eve 2012 show includes a year in review, magic performances, party favors, a glass of champagne and hors d'oeuvres. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Dec 31. $45-$55. 320-0553, www.esthersfollies.com .
Music & theater
The Music of John Williams. The Austin Symphony Sarah and Ernest Butler Pops concert. Dec. 30 and 31. $30-$45. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road. 476-6064, www.austin symphony.org.
The Mutt-Cracker. A circus and dog show for all ages. 5 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 29-31. $5-$30. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. 478-5282, www.vortexrep.org .