What to Do This New Year’s Eve

Our critics weigh in on the best options for nerds, burners, jazzheads, slackers, consumers of PBR, and underage partygoers.

The Coup

Emma Goldman famously — and apocryphally — declared that if she couldn’t dance, she didn’t want to be part of your revolution. More than half a century later, Boots Riley and Pam the Funkstress came along and made doing both look easy. It’s been four years since they came out with an album, but we’re willing to bet they can still hold it down. See for yourself when they’re joined by frequent collaborator Lyrics Born. (E.C.)

Details: At the New Parish (579 18th St., Oakland). 9:30 p.m., $40-$50.

Go if: You prefer your polemics with a backbone and a beat.

What to wear: An A’s cap and some aviators.

Hipster quotient: 3/5

Inebriation: 4/5

Meat market: 4/5

The Slackers

Stylish as they may still be, forget your checkerboard Vans. Such nostalgic trappings only obscure the fact that ska lives and breathes. Contemporary acts serve tight-knit communities of self-identified young misfits across the country, with New York’s The Slackers leading the way. Expect more skanking than drinking at what’s sure to be a festive, if sweaty evening of traditional ska for 2011. (N.S.)

Details: At the Great American Music Hall (859 O’Farrell St., San Francisco) with Boss 501. 9 p.m., $35.

Belt alternative of choice: Suspenders.

Beware of: Acne.

Hipster quotient: 3/5

Inebriation: 1/5

Meat market: 2/5

Dresden Dolls

Any band that has been known to employ stiltwalkers, fire-breathers, and other cabaret-style pyrotechnics in its much-loved live show is an automatic perfect fit for an evening as steeped in excess as New Year’s Eve. The self-described “Brechtian punk” duo will also be joined onstage by up-and-coming indie-rockers Pomplamoose, as well as what are being sold as “very special mystery guests.” (E.C.)

Details: At the Warfield (982 Market St., San Francisco). 9 p.m., $32.25-$47.25.

What to wear: Your finest can-can dress or top hat, a pair of thigh-highs, and a faceful of mime makeup.

Beware of: The aforementioned fire-breathers.

Hipster quotient: 3/5

Inebriation: 3/5

Meat Market: 2/5

Flight Night w/ Kalri$$ian

There apparently weren’t enough gratuitous dollar signs in underground hip-hop, until six local emcees took it upon themselves to rectify the situation. The members of Kalri$$ian are medallion-wearing, cocaine-snorting, stealth-operating, licentious playboys. They combine the allure of Seventies British spy films with the decadent lifestyle touted by commercial hip-hop. (R.S.)

Details: At Shattuck Down Low (2284 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley). 9 p.m., $5-$20.

Drink of choice: Cuba Libre.

Beware of: Pickup lines beginning with the phrase, “Girl, you so fine, you make me want to get a job.”

Hipster quotient: 3/5

Inebriation: 4/5

Meat market: 5/5


Furthur ain’t getting any younger. Yet by the looks of its headlining performance at this summer’s Outside Lands Festival, that doesn’t mean a thing. Phil Lesh and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, both four-and-a-half decades deep into jam-bandery, prove age is just a number by leading Furthur through rollicking sets on stages from coast to coast. (N.S.)

Details: At the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (99 Grove St., San Francisco). 7:30 p.m., $65.

Rolling paper of choice: Whatever you got.

Beware of: Divorcees.

Hipster quotient: 1/5

Inebriation: 3/5

Meat market: 3/5

Not Your Normal New Year’s Eve

Brent Weinbach and Moshe Kasher built their careers with jokes about male fragility and obsessive compulsive disorder. Now they’re two of the best absurdist comedians in the biz. This year they’ve teamed up with Drennon Davis, whose artistic ventures include the web series “Drennon’s Deviant Sexual Acts” and “Messiah High.” (Think: Jesus goes to high school.) “Burlesque granny” Lynn Ruth Miller also performs, along with host Jill Bourque. (R.S.)

Details: At Herbst Theatre (401 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco). 8 p.m., $25-$29.

TV character you’ll most likely see there: Vicky the Robot from Small Wonder.

Beware of: “Stink ass.”

Hipster quotient: 4/5

Inebriation: 2/5

Meat market: 3/5

Los Rakas

Truly a band for our time, Los Rakas is the aural equivalent of globalization, of boundaries being crossed and smudged, of rampant multiculturalism. The Oakland-based bilingual Panamanian duo blending hip-hop, reggae, and dancehall is thus embraced by dancers and rappers and postmodernists and hipsters and anyone else appreciating artful juxtaposition and urban beats and rhymes. Throw in a few cocktails and that’s one hell of a New Year’s Eve show. (N.S.)

Details: At Club 6ix (60 6th St., San Francisco). 8 p.m., $20.

Bird tattoo of choice: Quetzal.

Beware of: Bathroom hookups.

Hipster quotient: 4/5

Inebriation: 4/5

Meat market: 4/5

924 Gilman 24th Anniversary

The West Berkeley mainstay famous for helping kickstart the careers of AFI, Green Day, and Rancid is now three years legal, even if none of its patrons are. To celebrate 24 years of raising all-ages hell, the club will host a two-day anniversary celebration, featuring street punks Monster Squad, gloom-and-doomers In Desperation, SoCal hardcore/thrash outfit Media Blitz!, pop-punkers Chump Change, and Oakland’s own Short Attn. Span on New Year’s Eve, and a slew of others the following day. (E.C.)

Details: At 924 Gilman (924 Gilman St., Berkeley). 7 p.m., $5.

Go if: You’re underage.

Beware of: Unruly elbows.

Hipster quotient: 2/5

Inebriation: 0/5

Meat market: 2/5

Ray Band & 8 Legged Monster

Mike Irwin Johnson is a serial launcher-of-projects. His aptly named swing band, 8 Legged Monster, started with four horns and a four-member rhythm section, and gradually accumulated more personnel. Meanwhile, he set his sights on a more ambitious project: a fifteen-person ensemble to play the music of Ray Charles. The Ray Band also features three female singers — Allegra Bandy, Karen Fremont, and Rashida Calendening — who model themselves after Charles’ original Raelettes. (R.S.)

Details: At Coda (1710 Mission St., San Franscisco). 6 & 8:30 p.m., $25-$27.

What to drink: Sidecar martini or a sloe gin fizz.

Beware of: Anything “breezy.”

Hipster quotient: 3/5

Inebriation: 3/5

Meat market: 4/5

Lalah Hathaway

Not all musical dynasties fall in a perfect line of succession. But the Hathaways are solid. Lalah has as much soul and emotional heft as her father Donny, who sang every tune as though it were a spiritual. She plays with a top-notch band, to boot, with local favorite Michael Aaberg on keys. (R.S.)

Details: At Yoshi’s (510 Embarcadero, Oakland). 8 & 11 p.m., $50, $100.

Drink of choice: Ginjo Sake.

What to wear: Think “tuxedo gala.”

Hipster quotient: 1/5

Inebriation: 2/5

Meat market: 2/5

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