Once upon a time, New Years Eve on a Friday night was the perfect storm for revelers, the perfect weekend get-together, and the ultimate party night.
The times have changed. The club’s shows from the last night of the year have been on the decline for some time now and, with COVID restrictions in place during the holiday season, those numbers are further reduced.
But wait, that doesn’t mean you’re relegated to watching the Twilight Zone Marathon. (Although “Monsters Are Due On Maple Street” is still worth watching.)
You can get your pre-New Years fix on Thursday when the Blarney Rebel Band performs a New Years Eve show at 5 Points Public House at the Irish Cultural Center on Varick Street at 6. Then it’s the weekend of vacation proper.
After a forced hiatus last year, the Bank of Utica is once again hosting the region’s biggest New Years party right in downtown Utica with live music from Grupo Pagan, Ladies of Soul and Atlas, as well as other entertainment. And it’s free.
But even if that’s not how you want to sound in 2022, there are other choices if you know where to look.
The Turning Stone Casino in Verona features two of the region’s favorite bands at The Gig, Gridley Paige and Last Left starting at 10 p.m., while Casino’s Tin Rooster features country artist Jake Dodds.
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Along the way, Soundbarrier will be performing at the Vernon Downs Casino from 9th to 2nd.
In the valley, attend Spoony & The Tone Chasers New Years Eve party at Cacciatore’s in Ilion. Dinner is from 4 to 8, with music from 9 to 12. There is $ 5 blanket and a champagne toast at midnight.
Country and country rock fans can refuel at the Nothin ‘Fancy Country Rock Saloon in Vernon, with Grit & Grace from 9-1. The area’s best honky tonk goes all out to bring in the New Year, with dinner specials and a buffet breakfast available with a champagne toast.
Piggy Pat’s presents Josh Breen from 6 to 9, while the Handsome Bob Duo with special guest Cait Devin will be at 7 Hamlets Brewing Company from 7 to 10.
Saturday, – if the day before has not made you noise – start 2022 on the right foot with Nervous Rex in Lukins on January 1 from 9 p.m.
As always on special evenings, some places may charge for admission (even places that usually don’t), some will have special times, and some may require reservations, so it’s always a good idea to call advance and check. This is even more important this year, as you also need to check what protocols are in place.
And while we’re on the subject, keep in mind that the doorman, the bartender, your waiter – they are not responsible for the restrictions and have no control over their implementation. They are just trying to do their job under difficult circumstances. If you give them a hard time about it, you are not “defending your freedom” or “protecting your rights”.
Mark Sisti is an experienced performer who writes about local music for the Observer-Dispatch. Email him at [email protected]