Depressions can be fun - we're celebrating New Year's like it's 1929! Do the Charleston with the Rothschilds at the Masquerade Ball - but don't trip over those human statues plucked from a Hoovertown! Waltz the night away in the revived splendor of old Vienna! Listen to a crusty, rail-hopping anarchist preach about a worldwide union! Ogle at the ankles of burlesque girls! Or juke joint tap-dancers!
OK ... we got THAT out of our system, though it's not an unjustified comparison; while there's plenty of the rock music out there this New Year's, some of the most ambitious events involve a little bit of good, old fashioned make-believe. We've picked our top ten events for this year, any of which should offer a fun time - but we've also tried to be as inclusive as possible, giving you a wide range of activities that might suit your interests, budget, location, etc. And because we know that some of you don't even look over these event listings until noon on Dec. 31, all of this information is available online on our calendar at nuvo.net, including any last-minute additions or changes.
Top ten events, in no particular order
Masquerade Ball, Union Station Grand Hall, 123 W. Louisiana St.
Who was that masked man you saw last year at the Masquerade Ball - and what new disguise will he wear this year? Because NUVO's "Missed Connections" column has gone the way of Craig's List, you'll only find out it you go to this year's Ball, a lively, vibrant affair set in the upscale environs of Union Station's Grand Hall. Weather funnyman Paul Poteet (recovered from a wrasslin' match with his sidekick in NUVO's conference room in 2009) will emcee this year's event, with music provided by cover bands Foster's Branch and 40% Steve. But that is by no means all: human statues (look but don't touch, like at those classy strip joints) will litter the hall, nearly indistinguishable from their plaster statue counterparts, except for being in color; the burlesque troupe Crème de les Femmes will shake their collective tail feathers (the no touching rule applies to them too, though); psychics will read your future (though runes are the only dependable way to predict); poi will be flambed; and face and body paint artists will slather themselves in a hopefully erotic manner.
Tickets: $49 general admission, $99 VIP (access to NUVO VIP lounge, light appetizers, two drink tickets), discounted rooms at Crowne Plaza Hotel at Union Station. 10% of the ball's proceeds will go to the Children's Organ Transplant Association in honor of Lauren Seiders, an Indianapolis-area toddler who has gone through multiple organ transplants.
New Years Eve Rock 'N' Roll Ball 2010, Hyatt Regency, 1 South Capitol Ave.
Big Creek Productions has the market cornered on Midwest New Year's Eve events, hosting Rock 'n' Roll Balls in Chicago (featuring Gin Blossoms) and Dearborn (Von Bondies) as well as the Indy event, housed at the Hyatt Regency and featuring Indy's largest balloon drop. Well, it's the biggest according to Big Creek Productions - we haven't counted, but there's always a ton of balloons, so we'll let them have their self-appointed title. As one might expect, there's a lot of rock, spread over three stages. The Regency Stage features Jester Kings, Dave & Rae and long-lived bluesman Duke Tumatoe; the Atrium hosts X-Ray Roger Jimmy and the Don Stuck Band, fronted by the X-103 morning DJ; and Seymour's hard rocking boys The Elms join DJ Helicon on the Cosmopolitan Stage. There's also a fantasy casino, which offers all the fun of gambling with none of the guilt.
Tickets: $39 general admission, $65 VIP (access to balcony, party favors), $300 "One South" package (buffet, room, 2 tickets), $375 "Eagle's Nest" package (four-course dinner at Eagle's Nest, room, 2 tickets), $225 room only package (room, 2 tickets)
Contact: www.bigcreekevents.com, 800-233-1234
Locals Only, 2449 E. 56th St.
Sure, you might associate New Year's Eve with slick Wayne Newton types and all manner of glitz and glam. But there's no reason a grizzled, roadweary folk singer like Otis Gibbs can't headline New Year's. Right? Just slap one of them pointy hats on him, give him a noisemaker and a glass of champagne - and all that talk about uniting the workers of the world starts to seem pretty darn compelling. You'll just want to tug on that beard and ask him to tell another story about Eugene V. Debs. Joining Gibbs for something of an early oughts reunion show are Those Young Lions, which has played shows infrequently since band members like guitarist Tony Beemer and drummer Devon Ashley essentially moved on to new projects, and The Academy, which hasn't played much at all in the latter half of this decade, but which may see some more action now that brothers and original Academy members Andy and Chris Fry are no longer members of Margot & the Nuclear So and So's.
Tickets: $12 advance, $15 door
Contact: www.localsonlyindy.com, 255-4013
New Year's Eve in Vienna, Hilbert Circle Theatre, 45 Monument Circle
Put out that cigar, Sigmund, and join partygoers, in spirit at least, when the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra presents New Year's Eve in Vienna, which will feature the orchestra and Dance Kaleidoscope in a program of waltzes, overtures and polkas that the Viennese might have been listening to before they were inundated by a wave of cheesy Eurodisco. An after-party follows featuring Paul Berns Band "playing decades of danceable hits" and a $40-per-person three-course buffet precedes the show at 7 p.m.
Contact: www.indianapolissymphony.org, 639-4300
Talbott Street Nightclub, 2145 N. Talbott St.
We were a bit disappointed when we found out that Talbott Street isn't hosting an Israeli model/DJ like last year. Like mama (or daddy) used to say, it just isn't New Year's without oiled, glistening pecs. But Phil B, a San Francisco-based producer and DJ who has played a bunch of clubs with intimidatingly abstract one word names (Crobar, Level, Factory, Montage, Shampoo), will have to do - not all of us can be models, after all. He'll make way for the dolled-up gals of Ladies of Legends, who will take the stage every hour and half beginning at 9 p.m.
Tickets: $10, bottle service with reservation in Sky Bar, party favors, champagne toast
Contact: www.talbottstreet.com, 931-1343
Music Mill, 3720 E. 82nd St.
2009 has been a little bit rough for the Music Mill, what with the closing and opening and abrupt closing (when the real estate company changed the locks on the doors) and quiet reopening by what seems to be a more financially stable group of owners, which we hope will see their way to booking acts more exciting than the smooth-jazz legends the Rippingtons in the coming year. This is a pretty good start, a hard rock bill headlined by once-major label darlings Virgin Millionaires with Southside phenoms Stereo Deluxe and the now-Nashville based but still fondly remembered The Last Good Year.
Contact: www.musicmillindy.com, 594-8500
Punk Rock Night New Year's Eve, Melody Inn, 3826 N. Illinois St.
New Year's Eve may not fall on a Saturday night, but that won't stop the guys at Punk Rock Night from moving from their usual spot on the calendar to bring in the new year. The city's other burlesque troupe, Bottoms Up Burlesque, will disrobe like its 1899, showing plenty of ankle and cleavage but neither tits nor ass. Local rock mainstay J. J. Pearson will anchor the show, bringing along one of his many projects. Ohio punk rockers Luxury Pushers round out the bill.
Contact: www.melodyindy.com, 923-4707
Radio Radio, 1119 Prospect St.
NUVO cover boy Mike Wiltrout and his Leisure Kings join the Born Again Floozies and Playboy Psychonauts for a mighty eclectic night of sometimes dance-friendly music at Radio Radio. The Psychonauts and Leisure Kings are a perfect fit: both approach lounge-type music ironically but respectfully, the Psychonauts employing sitar for goofy psychedelic excursions, the Leisure Kings skilfully re-setting hard rock and gangster tunes for cocktail piano and voice, with pianist Sean Baker playing the straight man to Wiltrout's fire-breathing smarm. The Born Again Floozies are, as always, the black sheep of the lineup, going their own way with tap dancers, a big ol' bass drum, trombone, tuba and tappata-tappata electric guitar, all employed to flesh out lead singer Joey Welch's sometimes grotesque, sometimes hopeful tales of an alienated but somehow still redeemable Indianapolis.
Contact: www.futureshock.net, 955-0995
The Vogue, 6259 N. College Ave.
Well, there's no headliner at the Vogue this year. But that just means that those so inclined can dance, dance, dance. DJ Marcus will take care of that, along with a few surprise guests as the night wears on. Those maniacs on the floor may have to clear out for a few minutes during the cash balloon drop - we wonder how that doesn't turn in a stampeding, free-for-all, though I'm guess the Voguers have our safety in mind - but they can get back right to it after the ball drops and they've enjoyed their complementary toast and party favor.
Tickets: 9 p.m., $20, VIP packages for two starting at $150
Contact: www.thevogue.com, 259-7029
Vollrath Tavern, 118 E. Palmer St.
The near-southside's Vollrath Tavern will host the hip-hop New Year's event of choice, headlined by Rusty Redenbacher's long-lived Mudkids (playing behind a couple of EPs released this fall - MKEP and Free Money) and featuring the up-and-comer Brad Real with interstitial sets by DJ Dan. Doors at 8 p.m.
Contact: 632-5199, www.vollrathindy.com
The rest, in alphabetical order
8 Seconds Saloon, 111 N. Lynhurst
8 Seconds Saloon has both kinds of music: country and western. Check out their 2009 Country Battle Winner, Steve Trent and Small Town, on New Year's Eve. Can the band live up to their win against 23 other groups in HANK FM's Battle of the Bands at 8 Seconds earlier this year?
Contact: 317-486-1569, www.8secondssaloon.com
Adaggio's, 5999 Memory Lane
Large ads for this party are posted all over the Toy Factory Band's website. They're excited to play.
Contact: 317-489-3333, www.adaggios.com
Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, 9301 N. Michigan Rd.
Singing, Santa, Dancing, and the Grinch. Beef & Board's Christmas show has it all. Enjoy the last performance New Year's Eve, followed by a luscious breakfast buffet. Ticket prices vary.
Contact: 317-876-0503, www.beefandboards.com
Birdy's, 2131 E. 71st St.
The "rock and roll nesting ground" will feature classic rock bands New Addiction and Northern Kind.
Contact: 317-254-8971, www.birdyslive.com
Blu Martini, 4705 E. 96th St.
Blu Martini always does New Year's up right by bringing in Martini regular Cool Hand Lex to DJ, offering complementary Polaroids as well as a complementary champagne toast and giving out psychic readings in the early evening for those who aren't so sure of their own free will. Plenty of sushi is, of course, available for those who come in time for dinner, as is bottle service.
Tickets: No tickets before 10pm, $10 advance, $15 door, VIP bottle service reservation beginning $150
Contact: www.blumartini.net, 847-0757
Champps Americana, 49 W. Maryland St.
Champps presents a classic New Year's celebration: great food (check out the package deals - $50 per person for a super salad, entree, and drink), a champagne toast and fun rock music (by Mosey).
Contact: 317-951-0033, www.champps.com.
Crackers Comedy Club
Broad Ripple: 6281 N. College Ave.
Downtown: 247 S. Meridian St.
On New Year's Eve, you'll have a mighty difficult choice to make: see comedian Todd Yohn in Broad Ripple or Dwight Slade downtown. They'll both be performing at 9 p.m. Present your bar, restaurant or hotel paystub for free admission.
Tickets: $25 Regular, $30 for Preferred Seating
Contact: Broad Ripple (317-255-4211), Downtown (317-631-3536), www.crackerscomedy.com
Fionn MacCool's, 8211 E. 116th St., Fishers
Maybe it's a bit corny, but we like how Fionn MacCool's - that far-northside Irish restaurant on Fishers' main drag - celebrates with two champagne toasts on New Year's, one at 7 p.m. when the New Year arrives in Dublin, and one at midnight when it really arrives here. Music is provided after the 7 p.m. toast by Celtic rock group Mother Grove.
Tickets: Reservations accepted for 5pm dinner and toast, 7:30 dinner, band and midnight toast
Contact: www.maccoolsirishpub.com, 863-2100
Fortyfive Degrees, 765 Massachusetts Ave.
The sounds of DJ Deanne are even more enjoyable when her events are free like this one. She'll be spinning from 9 p.m. until well after the ball drops (3 a.m. to be exact.) Complementary champagne toast at midnight.
Contact: 317-634-4545, www.fortyfiveindy.com
Indiana State Museum, 650 W. Washington St.
From 6 to 9 p.m., get swept away by holiday magic and music from The Tides. While you enjoy their breezy tunes, you can take a ride with Santa, paint your face, joke around with clowns and indulge in all the other wonders of childhood, regardless of your age.
Tickets: Members, $5, non-members, $10
Contact: 317-232-1637, www.indianamuseum.org
Jazz Kitchen, 5377 N. College Ave.
The Jazz Kitchen ushers in the New Year with the always solid vocals of Brenda Williams.
Tickets: 8 p.m., $25
Contact: www.thejazzkitchen.com, 253-4900
Jillian's, 141 S. Meridian St.
The classic rock cover band, The Splurge is back in action and ready to rock the downtown New Year's Eve bash. They play at 10 p.m., cover charge starts at 9.
Contact: 317-822-9300, www.jilliansindianapolis.com
Krazy St. Grille, 404 E. Thompson St.
Well-loved alt-rock cover band Spanky's Clubhouse holds down the fort at Krazy St. Grille.
Lulu's Restaurant and Cocktails, 8487 Union Chapel Road
Tru Nightclub, 6235 Guilford Ave.
Radio Now's Little Black Dress New Year's event is split between two clubs: at Keystone at the Crossing, Lulu's hosts the Scotty Show, while Tru Nightclub features deejays Reka, Raynes and Riggs. One ticket affords entry to both clubs.
Tickets: $20 advance, $30 door
Moon Dog Tavern, 4825 E. 96th St.
Blonde Sonja claims to be Indiana's "best high-energy classic rock band." You be the judge when they grace the Moon Dog Tavern stage from 9 to midnight.
Contact: 317-575-6364, www.moondogtavern.com
Morty's, 3625 E. 96th St.
Start the new year off with a laugh or two. Comedian Dan Wilson is coming and bringing his fun, breezy style of humor. No dirty stuff. Door prizes are included in the mix.
Tickets: 8 p.m., $30; 10 p.m., $35
Contact: 317-848-5500, www.mortyscomedy.com
The Mousetrap, 5565 N Keystone Ave.
Hyryder transports you back to the late 60s with its breezy, trippy tunes. The band members even sport hippie 'staches.
Contact: 317-255-3189, www.myspace.com/mousetrapbar
The Rathskeller, 401 E. Michigan St.
For New Year's, this fine German restaurant will feature fun, lighthearted rock from indie up-and-comers, The Working Hour (7:30-8:30), and the encyclopedic cover band, Zanna Doo (9-1 a.m.), which plays everything from classic rock to Motown. Step out of the heated tent in the Biergarten at your own risk; there's no better way to welcome the New Year than a painful case of frostbite.
Tickets: $55, Advanced: $50
Contact: 317-636-0396, www.rathskeller.com
Red Hot New Years Eve, Conrad Downtown Indianapolis, 50 W. Washington St.
Playmate, model, actress and Evansville native A.J. Alexander hosts this swanky Conrad Hotel based party. Tunes provided by DJ Limelight and DJ E.D.I.
Tickets: $50, VIP sold out (Conrad packages starting at $99 for attendees)
Slippery Noodle Inn, 372 S. Meridian St.
New Year's Eve comes in twos at Slippery Noodle. Two bands: Perry Weber & the Devilles in the back and the dependable Gordon Bonham Blues Band (feat. Phoebe) in the front, both of which will kick off around 10 p.m. Two ticket options: an all-inclusive package that includes reserved seating, a split of champagne, hats and noisemakers and a buffet dinner (which runs from 7 to 9:15 p.m. and sneaks a little more champagne into the proceedings via a "sauteed champagne chicken breast"), or for those eating elsewhere, general admission after 10 p.m.
Tickets: $200 in advance for four-person table in the all-inclusive package ($240 after Christmas)
Contact: 631-6974, www.slipperynoodle.com
Tip Top Tavern, 1341 N. Capitol Ave.
The revived Tip Top Tavern has been experimenting with different genres throughout the year - metal, hip-hop, dancehall - and will keep up that trend by hosting a night of singer-songwriters for New Year's. Featured performers are Thomas Foust (who will be releasing a new CD), the suave and mysterious Gideon Wainwright, Jason Wells and Brad Otto.
Contact: 602-3878, www.tiptopindy.com
Wyndham West, 2544 Executive Dr.
This classy hotel is letting loose with an indoor fair featuring everything from face painting to psychic readings. Eclectic cover band, Lemon Wheel will be there as well.
Contact: 317-248-2481, www.wyndham.com
Zanies Too, 5914 E. 10th St.
Aw shucks - Mandy Marie and the Cool Hand Lukes are headlining Zanies Too for New Year's Eve, bringing in the new with a little of the old, that is, Mandy and the band's interpretation of the rock and country of the '50s and '60s, before anyone heard of countrypolitan or prog-rock.
Contact: 357-6022, www.Zaniestoo.com