MARQUETTE - One week from tonight, the world will say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012.
Many revelers will be out and about on New Year's Eve, looking for fun. And many venues will be providing live music that evening to help make the evening festive.
For bands playing on New Year's Eve, the night can prove interesting. Just ask Danzo McCracken of Nudge.
The band Nudge plays on a past New Year’s Eve. From the left, Tim Prisk, Danzo McCracken and Bob Libick. Partly obscured in the background is Eric Schlumpf, drummer. New Year’s Eve gigs can see folks who don’t normally go out hitting the bar scene to welcome in the new year, band members say. (Kimberly Hicks photo)
"It's a very fun vibe. The crowds are usually bigger, and it's usually made up of people that don't normally go to bars, so it's a fun change for the band as well as the crowd," McCracken said.
Karyn Johnson of Kickback agreed.
"It's a night you see a lot of people you don't see out normally," she said. "It's a big night out, although for some the change to non-smoking bars has impacted the crowd but we hope people will still be out to support live music, no matter what."
Places featuring live music on New Year's Eve:
~ Bayou Bar, Harvey: Sukker Punch
~ Fat Boyz South, Gwinn: Nudge
~ Hereford & Hops, Escanaba: Slave to Gravity
~ Holiday Inn, Marquette: The Reveal
~ Mayrands-Little Mike's, Escanaba: Love Dose
~ New Moon, Eben: Trippline
~ Rookies, Negaunee: Kickback
~ Sturgis Saloon, Skandia: Sick Like Frank
~ Upfront & Co, Marquette: The Jimmy Almen Trio (6 to 9 p.m.) and Gizzae
~ Villa Capri: Jim & Ray
After a number of years of playing on New Year's Eve, Michael Hozz of Slave to Gravity remembers one Dec. 31 most vividly.
"The 1999 gig was surreal," said Hozz, who was playing with Uncle Ugly that night at Treetops Resort in Gaylord. "Everyone was expecting something drastic at the end of the countdown ... That doesnt happen too often."
McCracken recalls one NYE gig where a glitch led to laughter amongst his bandmates.
"We always make a joke about what song we will play to kick off the new year right after 'Auld Lang Syne.' It's usually some song that has been played hundreds of times and we get a good laugh about it later," he said. "I also remember one year I put a few different versions of 'Auld Lang Syne' on my iPod to play after the countdown. Well this particular year I decided to go with some weird techno version that I previewed earlier that day, but I didn't notice the song length. I started rolling it after the countdown, and as cool as the version was, we all noticed how long and drawn out it was. It just kept playing.
"Finally, after about 3 minutes I looked at the rest of the band and they were laughing like crazy. I stopped the song and looked at the length ... over 8 minutes. We thought that was pretty funny at the time.
"Had we left it run until the end of the song I think the whole crowd would have turned on us."
On New Year's Eve, Michigan law allows bars to stay open until 4 a.m. and while some venues don't keep things going that late, McCracken said he doesn't mind the extended hours.
"We will play until they make us stop," he said. "Once we get rolling, we like to pull out some surprises and even try some one-offs of songs we barely know."
This particular New Year's Eve will be special for both Kickback and Nudge for a particular reason.
"It'll be out with the old, in with the new," Johnson said. "Our current drummer, Tim Rousseau, will be leaving us to go to play for Nudge, so (NYE) will be his last gig with us. Tim's an excellent rock drummer. And Kickback will be welcoming back Tim Krause on drums. He was in the band before and he's great."
McCracken said NYE is indeed marking the switch for Nudge as well.
"Tim (Rousseau) is sort of REjoining the band in a sense. He was the drummer for Buzz Factor (Nudge's predecessor band) before Eric Schlumpf took over and is now taking over for Eric in Nudge. Eric is leaving to focus more time on family and other weekend commitments. We will miss him dearly and wish him well," McCracken said.
"Tim is a talented drummer and old friend, so we are looking forward to getting this rolling in 2012. Eric's final night with us is New Year's Eve. It's gonna be a sad but very fun night for us, as we send him off in style."
Johnson said Kickback will have gigs the first two weekends of January, then transition into a new band called Vent that is in search of a male vocalist and front man.?The band will announce more information soon.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.