It's the most rip-roaring, fist-pumping, beer-slopping party night of the year. So, pressure's on, Kansas City: Where will you spend those first few minutes of 2011? Around here, we're trying to decide — among these worthy New Year's Eve shows — where we'll spend the most time.
Mac Lethal and Coalesce at the Riot Room. This one's going to be a rager. Mac Lethal's marching-band ode to booze — the ever-instructive "Pound That Beer" — won't be just a call to action but an anthem. You've also got hard-core heroes Coalesce, Cherokee Rock Rifle, BluntRap, and DJs Chadillac & HoodNasty to look forward to — and several secret guests, too.
Donkey Gong Show at RecordBar. If you suffer from secondhand embarrassment, steer clear of this one. Some ridiculous people are invited on (and then subsequently booed off) the stage. It's a lot like the '70s TV show The Gong Show, except more fun because it's with people you know.
The Republic Tigers, with Saharan Gazelle Boy and Roman Numerals at the Beaumont Club. This is the "oh, duh" choice of the night. The Republic Tigers — the one local band that every non-scenester is keen on — will be rocking a lot of new material alongside the Record Machine's Saharan Gazelle Boy and local stalwarts Roman Numerals.
The Floozies, with Beans and Cornbread and Inflect at the Bottleneck. Jonesing for something that's funky and danceworthy but isn't Top 40 in Power & Light? The Floozies, a local duo composed of brothers, make every dance track and remix live, in the flesh. They call it "funk for aliens." Bonus: They promise lasers.
Yeeeah Buddy. Of course, if you're partial to ass shaking, one of the finest bass-thumping dance parties in Kansas City happens at the Czar Bar. DJ Sku and Brent Tactic step up wax spinning to a new level with Dutch Newman as host.
Appleseed Cast and Approach, with Minus Story and the Willnots at the Jackpot Music Hall. Two longtime, flagship Lawrence talents come back home to ring in 2011, and Minus Story reunites for the evening, too. Heat up with Approach's verses, then sail the night away on Appleseed Cast's otherworldly soundscapes.
Kenny Neal, Big Bill Morganfield and Levee Town at Knuckleheads Saloon. Knuckleheads knows how to do it up right, including (says its website) "champagne for the midnight toast, a full night of entertainment, party favors, and late-night munchies." The only thing not included is a ride home. (We're pretty sure you can con a cab driver into making a trip to the East Bottoms, if he doesn't get lost, that is.) Neal is a modern swamp-blues player, and Big Bill Morganfield is Muddy Waters' son. Also featured: local bluesmen Levee Town.
Murder by Death, with Black Christmas, BaioWolf and Mansion at The Granada. Murder by Death's dark and twisted Americana has more than a few lyrics about whiskey, so if that's your flavor of choice for New Year's Eve, this is your best bet. World-weary souls are likely to find Murder by Death's music a perfect balance of rage and moroseness: I drink whiskey instead of water/'cause I can't stand to be sober in this place.
Hearts of Darkness, with DJ P and DJ Just at Crosstown Station. Hearts of Darkness threatens to take your Afrobeat virginity. (Don't tell your dad.) Les Izmore recently tweeted: "If last night was your first date with us, then NYE is the night we'll 'go all the way.' " DJ P and DJ Just plan to spin dancers into a funky haze upstairs in the Press Lounge, too. It's a bit steep at $25, but it's going to be packed — and well worth it.