New Year’s Eve music, from Latin rock to Motown.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Change has been the key word for 2008. At times, the recent presidential campaign seemed to be a contest between McCain and Obama over who could utter the word more often in campaign speeches. Over the past 12 months, Britney Spears has transformed herself from a celebrity train wreck to a pop music force once again. And the United States economy went from being an international powerhouse to an institution on life support.
It may not have as many geopolitical consequences, but there are a lot of different New Year’s events afoot in Monterey County.THE CHICANO ALL STARS AT THE KULA RANCH ISLAND STEAKHOUSE (MARINA, 883-9479)
For the past four years, the Salinas Latin rock band The Chicano All Stars have been performing on the main stage at Monterey’s First Night as the year ended. Bandleader Sam Martinez recalls looking out over a sea of spectators while playing Santana covers and Mexican cumbias during those lively celebrations.
But this New Year’s Eve, the group is moving over to Marina’s Kula Ranch Island Steakhouse to close the year. Martinez says playing a more intimate gig is only one way this show will be different. The bandleader promises to debut Santana’s “What Does It Take” and a cumbia titled “La Serenita.”THE JOE SHARINO BAND AT EMBASSY SUITES (SEASIDE, 393-1115)
Since 2001, The Joe Sharino Band has been changing it up on New Year’s by playing different local venues, including the Portola Plaza Hotel & Spa, the Hyatt Regency and the Embassy Suites. This year, the popular party band returns to Embassy Suites for their second New Year’s in a row. This time around, they will debut their versions of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”WASTED NOISE AND CALI NATION AT GIOVANE’S (SALINAS, 444-6717)
For the first time ever, Salinas’ Giovane’s will be offering up a New Year’s Party, with party favors and raffles for gift certificates. In addition, the venue will host performances by local reggae rockers Wasted Noise and Cali Nation.
In the past, Cali Nation has rung in the new year by doing shows at defunct clubs including Club Octane and Viva’s, but frontman Andrew Nack is thrilled to be doing a New Year’s gig in Salinas. “It’s a homecoming for us,” he says.
Nack also promises 45 minutes of new material. “It’s a little rootsier and a little heavier,” he says of the new stuff.FANTASMAS DEL SABOR AT EL PALOMAR (MONTEREY, 372-1032)
The folks over at El Palomar have been so inspired by the success of their Friday and Saturday nights of music that they decided to throw their first New Year’s party in several years. Fantasmas del Sabor, the six-piece local act that has been playing the restaurant most Saturday nights, will be headlining a spicy Latin themed party with salsa and cumbia music. Attendees will be treated to party favors and champagne toasts.BEST INTENTIONS AT THE HYATT REGENCY (MONTEREY, 372-1234)
The Las Vegas based Motown tribute group The Best Intentions will visit Monterey to perform four hours of Motown hits by acts including Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Marvin Gaye and The Temptations.
During their first Monterey performance, the five-piece band will get the crowd in the holiday mood while revelers are treated to party favors, champagne toasts and a balloon drop.HALLWAY BALLERS AT PELICAN TAVERN (PACIFIC GROVE, 647-8200)
The Moss Landing reggae rockers, the Hallway Ballers, performed at last year’s Pelican Tavern New Year’s celebration. This time, the Pacific Grove watering hole will have the band back with more amenities including a champagne toast.NEW YEAR’S PARTY AT BAJA CANTINA (CARMEL VALLEY, 625-2252)
Baja Cantina is going to try something different by attempting to get its crowd involved in bar games this New Year’s Eve. One card game that will be unveiled will allow players to drink a special cocktail created by their fellow revelers. There will also be a black and white theme to the evening with servers dressing up in evening wear.
“You will feel like you are at a million dollar party, but you won’t have to spend that much,” says Baja Cantina owner Gina Phinny.DARKTOWN ROUNDERS AT FERNWOOD BAR (BIG SUR, 667-2422)
A year ago, Monterey rock band Mouth of the Valley performed Fernwood’s New Year’s bash with assistance from Big Sur local Levi Strom, who did a set. This time around at the no-frills party, the music will be provided by roots music rockers Darktown Rounders.NEW YEAR’S PARTY AT THE HIPPODROME (MONTEREY, 646-9244)
With DJ Teeto spinning house music and a trio of DJs playing hip hop music, the Hippodrome’s holiday celebration will have a great variety of danceable tunes by 10 DJs. The festivities will also include a champagne toast, a balloon drop and V.I.P. packages.SOUL FINE AT SLY MCFLY’S (MONTEREY, 649-8050)
It might sound like an oxymoron but Soul Fine is a new “old school” group that plays funk and soul. The group, led by trombone player Tom Daly, will be making their Sly McFly’s New Year’s debut. Hungry revelers should arrive early for a special New Year’s dinner.