Eugene Weekly : Music : 12.27.07

Oh, What a Night
What to do on the first day of the rest of your year


Samba Já

Few nights pose as much pressure to have fun as New Year’s Eve. Celebrating (or mourning) the waning moments of another year lived, embracing new possibilities; something about this combination compels people to party up to (and, in many cases, well beyond) their full potential. While the tradition of spending New Year’s drunkenly declaring your love for total strangers requires no adjustment in our book, this year’s festivities offer lots of options to make your last memories leading up to the blackout not only enjoyable, but even enriching.

Finding the inspiration to get up and shake it should be no problem at Cozmic Pizza this December 31st. Eugene Celebration Parade and Whiteaker Block Party favorites Samba Já will be crowding the house with their rafter-shaking “afrocaucasiobrazilian” percussive super-sound, courtesy of 30 performers all marching to the beat of their own funky selves. Joining them will be Ala Nar, featuring music and dance of the Middle East, “merging sweet melodies with dynamic rhythms.” Prepare to be seduced onto your feet by bellydancing performances and infectious, old world musical intrigue. (9 pm, $8 or $6 with costume).

For those with tastes more in the “Americana” vein, John Henry’s can scratch your toe-tapping, PBR-sloshing itch with a lineup including the Whopner County Country All-Stars, Heavenly Oceans, and eternal crowd-pleasers Hillstomp (9 pm, $5, 21+). Or take a trip south of the border at Sam Bond’s Garage, where Los Mex Pistols del Norte will be filling the small bar with some big sounds with the help of Ed Cole and the Underlings, Tom Heinl and Touch Force (9:30 pm, $5, 21+). Fellow local favorites Eleven Eyes and Disco Organica will illuminate the stage at Luckey’s with two sets of jazz-infused electronic originality and beats utterly worthy of your finest New Year’s Eve dance moves (9:30 pm, $5-$10, 21+).

If you’re yearning for a more traditional party to welcome 2008, Indigo District, Taboo and Diablo’s Downtown Lounge will all be hosting hot-and-heavy DJ-fueled ragers. The Downtown Lounge will also feature the rock stylings of Johnson Unit to round out their “Hell of a Party” black-and-white themed New Year’s bash (9 pm, $6, 21+). For those who would prefer to groove out to music from the past rather than the present, The Floydian Slips will be unleashing their psychedelic sounds at the McDonald Theater, playing Pink Floyd covers so faithfully you might want to watch the ceiling for flying pigs (9pm, $20 adv., $25 door).

If the usual ball-dropping and Auld Lang Syne singing has you bored to tears, consider entering a mythical realm of music and entertainment at the WOW Hall’s Faerieworlds Masquerade Ball. Featuring headliners Woodland, The Wicker Men and “sphereplay” performer Chris Murdoch, this event will be a far cry from the alcohol-soaked revelry going on elsewhere (think harps and didgeridoos rather than synthesized drum beats). Woodland will perform two sets including a faerie light show highlighting U.K. artist Brian Froud. The Wicker Men describe their music as influenced by “Druid imagery, folk storytelling, rhythm of rock, and the passion of the gypsies.” Throw in a guy who can juggle and spin up to eight glass spheres at once, and you’ve got an evening of enchanted escapism designed to ease you into the New Year on newly sprouted wings (8:30 pm, $18 adv., $20 door).