* Denotes events that are $15 or less
Beat Connection *
This seems like an excellent time to designate the boys in Beat Connection as Official Chancellors of the Seattle dance scene. Their sets at summer’s Capitol Hill Block Party are consistently explosive crowd-gatherers, and their New Year's Eve shows at Neumos are now an established tradition. These four handsome young gentlemen have an exceptional knack for electrifying crowds with their funk-infused dance pop. Their local draw is so good their show on the 31st has already sold out. Luckily, the band added a show on the 30th. What better excuse to get the party started early?
If you go: Beat Connection, Neumos, Dec. 30 ($15) All ages. — J.S.H.
New Year’s Eve Dinner at the Gastropod
Gastropod, the brewpub outfit of Epic Ales Brewery, changes every expectation one might have a brewpub. You won’t find any burgers with ale-infused sauces here or the usually requisite fries (as much as fries have their place), and there are no TVs blaring ESPN. In fact, you’ll find only a cozy, understated space with a seasonal menu, one that changes at least weekly, with food provided by a short list of local purveyors such as Hama Hama Shellfish and Green Man Micro greens. Chef Travis Kukull creates dishes that are just the right amount of adventurous, and nothing short of magic — like butternut squash and sunchoke soup with kimchi, steamed clams with blood orange, sake, and pork belly. Kukull and brewer Cody Morris are always changing their offerings and this year they’re serving what is sure to be a memorable, impeccable 4-course New Year’s Eve Dinner. The menu looks to be a surprise so start dreaming.
If you go: New Year’s Eve Dinner, Gastropod, 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 31 ($65) — N.C.
If partying with bubbly is not your thing then here’s a different approach to ushering in the new year — at the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center. Singers and dancers from various tribal nations will perform; a community potluck will be enjoyed by all; and prayer will take place just before the stroke of midnight. Artists who are scheduled to appear include violinist and storyteller Swil Kanim from the Lummi Nation; drummer Blake WhiteWolf Shelafoe and flutist Paul “Che oke ten” Wagner (at left) from the Wsaanich tribe of southern Vancouver Island. What you bring to the potluck depends on your last name: A-H (non-alcoholic drinks and cups); I-R (main dish); S-Z (plates and silverware).
If you go: Sacred Hoop New Year’s Eve Event, Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center, 8 p.m. Dec. 31 ($10-$20 sliding scale admission fee) — F.D.
New Year’s Eve Moulin Rouge Sing-Along *
Lately I find myself looking back on movies from my teen years with a lot of idealism. Take Baz Luhrman’s musical extravaganza Moulin Rouge, which I continue to remember as completely perfect. Is it Ewan McGregor’s performance as the penniless artist, or that gilded, crushed velvet interior elephant, or the reworking of hits like “Roxanne” and “Like a Virgin” that make Moulon Rouge rise when so many other movie musicals sink right to the bottom? Whatever the reason, just go belt out every single word (you still know them), while gazing deep into the eyes of someone nearby and guzzling champagne. Here’s hoping SIFF shows the Lady Marmalade video before and after the film.
If you go: Moulin Rouge Sing-Along, SIFF Cinema Uptown, 9 p.m. Dec. 31, All Ages ($15) — N.C.
Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction
For all the pomp and circumstance, year's end simply marks one more lap of our planet around the sun. There is no better way to celebate that circuit then with some celestial-sounding hip hop music. Avant-garde Afrofuturists Shabazz Palaces and their artsy neo soul counterparts THEESatisfaction are great bands to see together because the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts. The two groups often perform as a cohesive unit when sharing the bill — a somewhat rare treat even though both perform in Seattle fairly regularly. THEESatisfaction's sophomore album is also about to drop. Hopefully they break out some new material in honor of the 2015.
If you go: Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction, The Neptune, Dec. 31 ($25). All ages. — J.S.H.
Reignwolf and Rose Windows
Listening to Canadian bluesman Jordan Cook (AKA Reignwolf) is an anachronistic experience. He sounds like he was born 50 years too late. The first time I saw him perform, at Sasquatch 2013, I was amazed that one man could make so much noise with only a black electric guitar, kick drum and his gravely country road voice. He drew the audience to the stage like a magnet attracts iron filings. These days he performs with a band, which opens up a whole new spectrum of delightful sonic possibilities for the scruffily charismatic front man. Opening is Rose Windows, whose guitar-driven psychedelia is an equally good fit for a dimly lit dive bar — or The Lord of the Rings soundtrack.
If you go: Reignwolf and Rose Windows, Showbox, Dec. 31 ($27.50) All ages. — J.S.H.
Resolution Run 5K & Polar Bear Dive
If dousing yourself in frigid Northwest water is your thing then here you go: a 5k run in Magnuson Park followed by a plunge into icy Lake Washington. The polar bear dive is optional but I figure if you’re the sort of person who decides to get up on New Year’s Day to go running then you’re not likely to skip (ha, get it?) the dip. There’s a free chili feed afterwards, as well as a beer garden. And here’s the important stuff: There will be two heated tents (girls and boys) so you can change out of those cold, wet clothes. There’s also a free kids dish for children 10 years old and under.
If you go: Resolution Run 5K & Polar Bear Dive, Magnuson Park, 9 a.m. registration and 10:30 a.m. race start time Jan. 1 ($45 on-site registration fee). — F.D.
New Year’s Day Book Sale
There are a lot of reasons Ravenna Third Place Books ranks #1 on my Seattle bookstore list, including its too-smart organization system of stocking books by author (with new and used books right next to each other!); the adorable café; the even more adorable Hobbit hole of a pub; AND sales like this one. On New Year’s Day, everything will be 20 percent off. You can buy yourself the gift you didn’t get (start fantasizing now), or the books you need to get 2015 started off right. This book lover also asserts that browsing is only made better when it is fueled by a homemade baked good or tapenade.
If you go: New Year’s Day Sale, Jan. 1. All Ages — NC