First Night Raleigh 2002 is the Triangle's premier alcohol-free New Year's celebration. Besides theatre, dance and comedy performances in 36 locations throughout downtown Raleigh, you can gather 'round the main stage, where you can witness a fireworks display after listening to the fine alt-country sounds of Yep Roc artists Greg Hawks & the Tremblers and folk-rocker Claire Holley, as well as local rockers Runaway Cab (pictured). Elsewhere, there'll be performances ranging from Celtic and bluegrass to jazz and gospel--even traditional Chinese orchestra music. At the Raleigh Convention and Conference Center, there'll be four dance rooms with live music featuring such acts as Kimbute and Lil' Brian and The Zydeco Travelers. Call 832-8699 or visit www.firstnightraleigh.com for more information.
If listening to the blues is you're idea of a good way to end the year, The Berkeley Café is featuring The Lil' Dave Band, Tony's Bourbon Street Oyster Bar hosts Mighty Lester & The Blues Kings and Skeeter Brandon is playing Margaux's Restaurant. For live jazz, try Sullivan's or Bogart's American Grill, which has music by the Thom Wilkinson Trio.
Tir na nOg, modeled after a traditional Irish pub, hosts a New Year's party, complete with a champagne toast and party favors, featuring NY DJ Kris Kross, who'll be spinning a variety of musical styles.
Rock-wise, in the G-105 sense, Far Too Jones (pictured) and Athanaeum double-team for the Lincoln Theatre's New Year's bash, which will also feature party favors and snacks, while The Pour House will throw down to the newgrass, jam-band sounds of Barefoot Manner.
If you like your rock raw, not broiled or fried, Kings Barcade's New Year's party will feature Good Times, Dalak (hip hop from NYC), Allnight and Party Time (former Mercury Bird Jon Sherman's new band), as well as "cheap champagne and tasty food." There'll also be a get-down dance party, speaking of which, Kings is throwing a pre-New Year's party with Archon (Mike from Shiny Beast) followed by a warehouse performance (behind Kings) by The Cherry Valence. Damn!
George's Garage is holding their annual big fiesta (last year it drew close to 500 people). General admission to bar, which opens at 9 p.m., is $25, which includes dancing, live music by Big Rick & The Bombers and a champagne toast at midnight.
Heck, you don't even need to leave Hillsborough to celebrate this year. Jimbo Mathus and his Knockdown Society play Tupelo's on New Year's Eve, while The Big Barn Dance on Saturday, Dec. 29, also features Mathus' band along with Hobex, Jackson Road, Taz Halloween and more. Hobgood's is providing the beer and grub.
The Cat's Cradle will ring in 2002 with Tift Merritt & The Carbines with Chatham County Line (see story page 41), while Carrboro's Go! Room 4 sponsors a triple-threat bill consisting of muscular post-rock trio Fin Fang Foom, along with the guitar-oriented sounds of Transportation and up-and-coming indie rockers Prospekt.
Local 506, in keeping with its reputation as the place to cut loose, has punk night with old-school thrashers Iron Cross headlining the bill. Liquor will be served.
Up the street, descend the stairs from Franklin Street into the festively lit, neighborhood-bar atmosphere of The Cave, where The Dave Spencer Band will keep you company as the midnight countdown begins.
And remember, either drink sensibly or bring cab fare 'cause the Man will be out.