Photo by Pamela Rody
As we approach the last days of the year, we think back on the great times that were had in 2002. From the first notes of the new year, through the summer festival season and fall's numerous cross-country runs, it has been a year of soaring highs and excruciating lows. Many bands emerged as forces on the scene and festivals defined the world in which we live with a wide array of talent. With birth you must have death, and the music world lost some of its most beloved brothers and sisters in 2002. While we will never forget them, now is the time to celebrate their lives and the good times that were had this past year. Try to keep up as we roll through the standout New Year's Eve shows of 2002-2003. Also keep checking the New Year's Eve page on JamBase for up to date show information for this year's festivities!

RANA will rock CBGB's
In the Northeast expect to see the sun rise and possibly set on New Year's Day, as the big names drop in on the big cities and play through the night and into the next day. The lineup in the Big Apple is strong from start to finish. Gov't Mule hit the Beacon Theater for two shows on the 30th and 31st while Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Robert Walter's 20th Congress, DJ Z-Trip and the Marco Benevento & Joe Russo Duo play a pair of shows (evening and late) at B.B. Kings Blues Club on 42nd St. Also in NYC are four bands playing post-Phish sets. Particle, being late night troubadours, have a 2:00am door time for their show at the Bowery Ballroom, as do Bay Area hipsters OM Trio at Tribeca Rock Club. Psychedelic Breakfast tears up Tobacco Road and Addison Groove Project headline the Mercury Lounge. Down on the Lower East Side at the legendary CBGB's, rock revivalists RANA will be throwin' down the hard-edged licks for the purists of the music scene. Can you say rad? In the other cities around the region, there are more than a few reasons why not to be in NYC. In Providence, RI The Slip make moves for Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel with an all ages show that is sure to bring out the best of this energy-driven trio. In the City of Brotherly Love (Philly), high-octane groovemasters The Disco Biscuits head back to the Electric Factory for one night of mind-bending jams, while ulu and Uncle Sammy play Wilkes-Barre, PA at Murray's Inn.

Photo By Pamela Rody
Down the coast and along the Gulf of Mexico, def jams are a given. This year things are looking to be taken to the next level as several bands have announced their plans to bring in the New Year. As always, Widespread Panic will be feelin' good and makin' you shake at Phillips Arena in Atlanta on the 30th and 31st, while Moonshine Still and Perpetual Groove will leave you screaming for more at the Georgia Theatre in Athens. At The Tabernacle, New England jam rockers Strangefolk play to the Southern faithful. Southward in Florida, Donna the Buffalo and their free-range fans (The Herd) will be spreading the love in St. Petersburg at The Coliseum. Over in Jacksonville Beach, hometown boys MOFRO will play an all ages show at the Freebird Café. We cross the bayou to the usually raucous setting of New Orleans, LA where things are a little quieter than normal this year, save for the corner of Tchoupitoulas and Napoleon (Tipitina's Uptown) which will be going off, to say the least, with Robert Randolph & the Family Band offering up the sweet sound of the pedal steel guitar.

moe. havin' a ball!
The heartland of America will see its share of New Years Eve shows in 2002, as many bands return home to the familiar venues and supportive fans who have helped them along the way. In Tulsa, OK the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey will host a New Years event with Life on Earth and Harmonious Monk at Curly's. At the Murat Theater in Indianapolis, IN the Dark Star Orchestra recreate Grateful Dead setlists to an uncanny perfection. Chicago's own Umphrey's McGee will be playing its last two shows with original drummer Mike Mirro on the 30th and 31st at The Vic, before auditioning prospects for the vacant seat. Also in Chicago are jam-scene stalwarts moe., who will be performing at the Aragon Ballroom along with The Big Wu. In recent years moe. has gained a newfound respect for their tireless journey on the road of life. Led by guitar shredder Al Schnier, these boys will have the Aragon on fire this New Year. They start out their New Year's run with two shows with Particle on the 27th and 28th at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, PA. Back in Ohio, the PromoWest Pavilion hosts a double bill with local rockers ekoostik hookah, and the not-so-local reggae legends The Wailers. If you're North of the border, Canadian trio The New Deal are playing on home soil at The Opera House in Toronto, Ontario. Down in Newport, KY at the Southgate House, Ray's Music Exchange has the historic room all set for their last show of the year.

Photo by Brent Stevens
You can pray for snow and gods may appease, but these shows are locked in. New Years in the mountain states is a pretty special place to be, from Idaho to Colorado with a few secret stashes in between, the crowds are small and the bands are pumped. In scenic Idaho, just South of the famous skiing hamlet of Sun Valley, lies the small town of Hailey, ID and the Mint Bar. This year, the 300-person venue will be the sacred turf of Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons as they turn the volume to 11 and blow minds with the powerful sermons delivered at each show. About two or three ranges over lie the Teton Mountains and the town of Jackson, WY. On December 31st, the powder hounds can either sleep or go see Carlos Washington & the Amazing Giant People. Judging from past trips to the Hole, I think you can guarantee a sold-out show at the Mangy Moose. In Colorado the local theaters are booked with acts that are ready to rock the heavily populated Boulder/Denver area. Starting off in Denver, the Paramount hosts the Yonder Mountain String Band while the Fillmore make way for Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Also in Denver are Cabaret Diosa at the Sherman Events Center and the all-star players that make up Garaj Mahal, who will join forces with the Global Funk Council at Quixote's True Blue. In Englewood, CO our winner of "Halloween Show of the Year," Steve Kimock, goes for two in a row with a NYE performance at the beloved Gothic Theatre. Up the Boulder expressway, stop in on Tulagi's and catch the local flavor of The Motet or head on over to the Boulder Theater to see local boys Leftover Salmon play their Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass. Also in Boulder are the North Mississippi Allstars at the Fox Theatre.

Photo by Liz O'Keeffe
West Coast
The West Coast is quickly becoming the place to be on New Year's Eve. The weather is almost nice and, well… it's the West Coast! This year San Francisco is once again going head to head with New York for the New Year's crown. First lets head to the Pacific Northwest, and the city of Seattle. The Living Daylights are sure to ring in the year firing on all cylinders with their show at the Tractor Tavern. If you're feeling stylie, and I wouldn't blame you, Maceo Parker is cruising in style through the New Year at Pier 66. Down the coast we catch up with the Bay Area's own Kooken & Hoomen when they'll tune in to 2003 at the Goodfoot Lounge in Portland, OR. Then we arrive in San Francisco, home to the Grateful Dead, not to mention several transplanted East Coast bands. With the list of usual suspects heading back to the Bay and a few solid newcomers, this is the year to be in the small town that's dressed up as a big city. At the legendary Fillmore, Colonel Les Claypool gathers the Frog Brigade for the annual New Year's Eve Frogout, while Galactic are taking over the Warfield on Market St. once again for their New Orleans-style blowout. Over in SOMA, Soulive are getting involved at the DNA Lounge while the String Cheese Incident drop the ball with Keller Williams at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. At the seldom used but historic Regency Ballroom, Anon Salon Presents the Sound Tribe Sector 9 in an event that has to be seen to be believed. Last but certainly first in this scene, The Other Ones mark their first New Year's engagement since the end of the Grateful Dead's 30-year run at the Oakland Coliseum with Medeski Martin & Wood and Hot Tuna Acoustic in support. The strange trip takes yet another turn!

Happy New Year!

Andrew J. Warren
JamBase | Mill Valley
Go See Live Music!
[Published on: 12/26/02]

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