Preview | Ten Stories To Watch This New Years Week

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2014 has been an insane year on the news front as we detailed in our list of the year’s biggest surprises, so why should the end of the year be any different? Over the next week or so there’s a number of developing stories jam fans should keep their eyes on. Here’s ten things to watch this New Year’s Week:

1. Yonder Mountain String Band schedules guests galore for New Year’s Run in Boulder

There was no more fitting way for Yonder Mountain String Band to end 2014 and begin 2015 than by welcoming many guests to share the stage at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colorado. Catching just the four members of the band before they parted ways with Jeff Austin or just the three after his departure was a rare occurrence. Allie Kral and Jake Jolliff have by far spent the most time on stage during YMSB shows this year, so it’s fitting the pair will guest for the entire weekend. John Popper, Shawn Camp and The Motet‘s Dave Watts and Joey Porter will sit-in on January 1, while TAB sibs Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman guest on the 2nd. Finally, on the 3rd, Yonder Mountain String Band will wrap it all up with special guests Andy Hall and Andy Falco from The Infamous Stringdusters.

2. Phish starts run on New Year’s Eve

Ever since 1992, with rare exceptions, Phish has ended the year with a four-night New Year’s Run that spanned December 28 -31. This year, the Vermonters will begin the run on New Year’s Eve and conclude the four-night stand in Miami on January 3. On the plus side, a December 31st start gives the band and Phish Inc. plenty of time to setup American Airlines Arena and rehearse for whatever this year’s gag will be. On the glass half empty side, the band begins the run with its most high-profile performance giving them little time to shake off any rust that may have accumulated since Vegas. What impact will a New Year’s Eve start have on the run? Stay tuned!

3. Umphrey’s McGee extends run to five nights for the first time

Umphrey’s McGee breaks new ground for the band this week with an unprecedented five-night New Year’s Run at The Tabernacle in Atlanta. The sextet smartly begins on December 30, which allows them to work out any kinks before the next night’s three-set spectacle. However, we’re interested to see what they’ll have in the tank by the time January 3’s finale rolls around. If past UM NYE runs are our guide, expect a fair amount of cover debuts, bust outs, guest spots and perhaps a new original or two over the course of the run.

4. Phil Lesh teams with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead for three nights

Who would’ve ever guessed when Joe Russo put together a Grateful Dead tribute act for a one-time-only performance at Brooklyn Bowl for the Freaks Ball last year that less than two years later the one-time-only project would’ve fully blossomed into one of the most exciting GD tribute acts to ever step on stage? JRAD blew minds that first night at Brooklyn Bowl and have left a trail of impressed Deadheads at each show since.

Phil Lesh has barely lost a step since Jerry Garcia passed in 1995 and it could be argued that the hundreds of gigs he’s played over the past few years have him laying down some of the most inventive bass work of his career. In a dream pairing, Phil will team with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead for three nights at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York between December 29 -31. We can’t wait to see what PhilRAD has in store and as much as we’re trying to temper our expectations, we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s among the most exciting music to come from a member of the Grateful Dead since Garcia died.

5. Who will be behind the kit for Widespread Panic?

Widespread Panic announced Duane Trucks would keep drummer Todd Nance’s seat warm, while Todd dealt with “personal matters” for fall tour. There’s been no official word yet on whether Todd or Duane will be behind the kit for the band’s upcoming Tunes For Tots (December 30) and New Year’s Eve shows in Charlotte. We’ll soon find out which drummer will join Panic as they end 2014.

6. Skrillex and Diplo take over Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve

For the first time since 2009, someone besides Phish will play Madison Square Garden in New York City on New Year’s Eve. While Phish was able to sell out MSG for New Year’s Eve in the same amount of time it’s taken to write this paragraph, EDM giants Skrillex and Diplo only sold “just over half of the show’s tickets” as of last week according to Wall Street Journal. Look to see if the Skrillex/Diplo pairing succeed in filling up MSG by showtime as the DJs representatives predicted in that same WSJ article. We’re also wondering how full the AA Arena in Miami will be for Phish. New Year’s is officially sold out (though tickets could be bought on secondary ticketing websites for less than the cost of a six-pack), but tickets remain available for each of the other nights.

7. STS9 schedules special New Year’s Eve event

When STS9 announced this year’s New Year’s Run, they left an opening on New Year’s Day. We recently found out what the band had in store for January 1, with the announcement of an event that will feature STS9 “like you’ve never seen them before, as we transform the Fillmore Auditorium for this special occasion.” Color us intrigued.

8. Myles Kennedy to front Gov’t Mule for AC/DC set

Yes, Gov’t Mule announces a theme for each New Year’s Eve performance, but they don’t usually go into detail about exactly what they have in store. Warren Haynes at first wouldn’t confirm the band’s intention to perform a tribute to AC/DC with vocalist Myles Kennedy at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on New Year’s Eve. In more recent interviews, Haynes does confirm that’s exactly what’s in store. What songs will they pick? Will Myles meld well with the Mule? Will Warren and Co. take any of the AC/DC covers beyond their normal structures? We’ll soon find out.

9. moe. to ring in 25th anniversary on New Year’s Eve

By our completely unofficial statistical analysis, we’d guess only one of every ten thousand bands who’ve formed at colleges, high schools and in basements worldwide make it to their 25th anniversary. So we’re glad moe. has full intentions of celebrating the milestone starting on December 30 and New Year’s Eve at Albany’s Palace Theatre. You can usually count on moe. to have at least a few tricks up their sleeves for special shows and we’d be surprised if the group’s Albany New Year’s Run is an exception. Here’s hoping for a “History of moe.” Storytellers-esque set along the way.

10. What songs will form the Disco Biscuits’ countdown medley?

The Disco Biscuits have counted down to New Year’s a few times over the years with a medley featuring brief portions of different songs seamlessly woven together. tDB usually nail these medleys as does the band’s LD Johnny R. Goode, who flawlessly switches between the familiar lighting patterns of each tune in the suite. We can’t wait to see what tunes will form this year’s medley at NYC’s Best Buy Theater if indeed the Biscuits go that route.