Before the mystics take to the streets as early as next month, locals can treat New Year’s Eve as a preparty/warmup for the Mardi Gras season. In a city with many excuses to throw a good party, ushering in a new year is great reason to celebrate. As with all celebrations in Mobile, music becomes a major aspect of the festivities.

Of course, Mobile isn’t the only city that enjoys a great local soundtrack. Cities along the Gulf Coast also seem to enjoy accenting their New Year’s Eve parties with excellent music. With this in mind, Lagniappe is once again providing a guide for New Year’s Eve events along the Gulf Coast featuring great music.

Azalea City venues typically tend to slack with the musical entertainment on this night. However, this year will be quite different, with numerous LoDa venues providing musical entertainment for their New Year’s Eve patrons. With this in mind, the best place to start would be one of the city’s biggest gatherings.

MoonPie Over Mobile has quickly become one of Mobile’s most popular New Year’s Eve celebrations. The party begins at 7 p.m. with a screening of the Alabama/Michigan game on the screen of the MoonPie Drop’s main stage. The slicing and serving of the “World’s Largest MoonPie” will follow at the Riverview Plaza Hotel Courtyard. The Excelsior Band will lead a second line featuring its festive Mardi Gras brass sounds. Before the giant MoonPie drops into 2016, ‘90s vocal superstars En Vogue will perform on the MoonPie Drop’s main stage.

(Photo/ Downtown Mobile will be alive with activity to ring in 2016.

(Photo/ Downtown Mobile will be alive with activity to ring in 2016.

En Vogue was one of many talented R&B vocal groups to emerge from Oakland in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s. When its first hit, “Hold On,” appeared on the charts, the world was introduced to the group’s intricate mix of harmonies, which helped the group release hit after hit, with songs such as “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It),” “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” and “Free Your Mind” earning impressive album sales and radio rotations.

Even though the MoonPie Drop will be Mobile’s biggest New Year’s Eve party, several LoDa venues will be featuring local music that’s sure to generate good times.

Soul Kitchen will be have a “Home Grown New Year’s Eve” that will be jamming way past the midnight hour. Kristy Lee & Dirt Road Revival will provide a large helping of Southern-fried soul. The Mulligan Brothers will ring in 2016 with a set of original Americana sounds. After 2016 arrives, Soul Kitchen’s local-centric New Year’s Eve celebration will conclude with a late-night jam session featuring Eric Erdman, Rick Hirsch, Harrison McInnis and Lee Yankie.

The Mystic Lounge will be filled with funky grooves. Phunk Blue Moon has established itself as one of Mobile’s most prolific party bands featuring original music. Its blend of rock, funk and hip-hop generate an electric vibe that is felt long after the last song. For New Year’s Eve, Phunk Blue Moon is guaranteed to be in prime form, which will result in one epic New Year’s Eve party.

Right around the corner, The Merry Widow will feature two local favorites from both the past and the present. Underhill Family Orchestra will represent the present. This collection of hip, talented musicians has been busy performing its folk rock anthems around the Southeast. The Merry Widow will be bringing its patrons the sounds of the past with an L.F. Knighton reunion. With its classic garage rock sound, this band has gathered numerous fans along the Gulf Coast. Currently two of the band’s members are introducing the sounds of Violent Sons to the Azalea City. For those who have yet to venture into The Merry Widow, this will be an opportunity to get acquainted with one of the most sonically and aesthetically pleasing of LoDa’s establishments.

After leaving The Merry Widow, those wandering the streets of LoDa on New Year’s Eve should make their way to Alchemy Tavern. This local venue will use its two floors to feature a diverse lineup of New Year’s Eve entertainment. Downstairs, Gregg Fells will be performing. This beloved local songwriter has used his soulful voice and insightful life observations to create numerous unforgettable songs. The band performing upstairs will create quite a contrast to Fells, with frequent visitor Black Irish Texas filling New Year’s Eve with Celtic punk sounds handcrafted in Austin, Texas. The crowd can expect live cuts from the latest Black Irish Texas album, “An Ode to St. Cecilia.”

This musical New Year’s Eve journey through LoDa will end at The Blind Mule, where Mobile’s underground scene will take over The Attic for New Year’s Eve. Three edgy bands from Mobile will provide a furious introduction to 2016. Commodus is a relatively new band that focuses its sound on melodic rage. Its set is sure to force the crowd to finish out 2015 in a mosh pit. Satan & Sunbeams will be a flashback to the early days of the ‘90s alt. rock scene with its mix of clean vocals and grimy instrumentation. Jaguarundi has become a Blind Mule regular. Its New Year’s Eve set will feature its brand of modern garage rock.

New Year’s Eve in the Azalea City will be the perfect opportunity to observe the growth and advancement of the local music scene. The addition of new bands and new venues have combined to create a New Year’s Eve that will feature an abundance of music for any musical taste. Locals need look no farther than their hometown for quality musical entertainment on New Year’s Eve.

With all these choices, Lagniappe would like to leave its dedicated readers with one bit of advice: Those spending New Year’s Eve in downtown Mobile should explore the local music scene and all its wonderful sounds. You could discover your new favorite band or 2016’s next big thing.