Seasoned partiers always speak of “laying the foundation,” or preparing oneself mentally and physically for an epic celebration. For many Mobilians, New Year’s Eve has become a way of “laying the foundation” before the festive madness of Mardi Gras.
With music being a major part of local culture, a variety of venues will be providing an eclectic mix of entertainment, both on the streets and in the clubs. The abundance of options and their corresponding celebrations should have no one wondering what to do on New Year’s Eve.
The “MoonPie Over Mobile” celebration has become the centerpiece of New Year’s Eve on the Alabama Gulf Coast. In addition to numerous associated events, this Azalea City street party in downtown Mobile keeps spirits high with live music from reputable artists.
Alabama country duo The Springs will be the crowd’s first musical offering. This project pools the talents of husband and wife Stewart Halcomb and Holly Helms. This couple met in Nashville, but extensive touring keeps them away from Music City. Selections from The Springs’ latest album “Stop” will keep spirits high with impeccable, tandem harmonies and upbeat modern country anthems.
The event will also summon “the Mothership” to the streets of downtown Mobile. George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic will be returning to the Azalea City to provide celebrators with a dose of the funk.
For decades, this rotating lineup has reigned as the supreme leaders of everything funky. The crowd never knows what Clinton and his crew have in store for them, both musically and aesthetically. P-Funk is known for their versatile, extended funk jams that can sometimes be accompanied by spontaneous spoken-word sessions by Clinton himself. This group will bring a bright, colorful circus to usher in 2018.
Elsewhere in LoDa, The Listening Room of Mobile will host Skate Mountain Recording artist Abe Partridge. This singer-songwriter is preparing for the Jan. 26 release of his debut, “Cotton Fields & Blood for Days.” For this special performance, Partridge has recruited Courtney Blackwell (Honeyboy & Boots), Molly Thomas (Molly Thomas & the Rare Birds), Emily Smith and Josh Smith.
Over on Conception Street, The Merry Widow will feature hip-hop twosome Beamin & Timmy. Fresh from the road, Underhill Family Orchestra will keep the party going with their charismatic folk rock and stage presence. Mutemath drummer/founding member Darren King will headline the Widow’s NYE celebration.
Alchemy Tavern will be flashing back a decade with a performance by Yesterday Tomorrow. This quartet takes its audience into alt. rock’s past with a set filled with emo punk from some of its most notable bands. Alchemy will also invite its patrons to take a break from the emo with its famous karaoke downstairs.
Levelz Bar & Lounge’s “2018 NYE Party” will bring three local artists to its stage. Singer-songwriter/hip-hop artist Ras Apollo Yahson, Brittany Agee and Elijah McCreary Jr. will entertain. McCreary’s clever mix of thought-provoking lyrics and flawless vocal syncopation has made him one of the local hip-hop scene’s most impressive artists.
LoDa honky-tonk Saddle Up Saloon will bring Nappie Award winner Bruce Smelley to its countrified setting, complete with a full band. Those heading to Saddle Up for Smelley can expect country favorites from across the decades as well as Smelley’s original songs.
Another band from Nappies past is Yeah, Probably. They will be heralding the coming year at Dauphin Street Blues Co. The party band won last year’s Lagniappe-sponsored “Mobile Bay” and “New Southern Music” showcases at SouthSounds 2017. This group’s mellow grooves of funk and soul resonated not only with the judges but also the crowd.
Even though downtown Mobile will be the epicenter of local New Year’s Eve celebrations, those wanting to avoid the “MoonPie Over Mobile” crowd and still enjoy live music have other options on both sides of Mobile Bay.
• Progressive blues rockers Johnny No will be at The Blues Tavern. In addition to their original catalog and rhythm and blues standards, Johnny No will be performing a number of songs from their soon-to-be released third studio album.
• Midnight Rodeo patrons will be entertained by DJ Rock. When not performing solo, DJ Rock spins for country star Luke Bryan.
• In Fairhope, The Red Clay Strays will be at The Bone & Barrel. With their bright mix of country rock originals and covers, this Skate Mountain Records band never leaves a crowd unsatisfied with their unforgettable show.
• The Flora-Bama is the last stop for New Year’s Eve musical entertainment. From Big Earl to Mario Mena, this beachside roadhouse has an extensive lineup of bands stretched throughout their seasoned confines.
Needless to say, the Alabama Gulf Coast is ready to entertain the masses as the MoonPie drops. Happy New Year!
(Photo | Tad Denson / myshotz.com) New Years Eve features live music on both sides of the bay, from George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic on the streets of Mobile to the Red Clay Strays in downtown Fairhope.