Champagne toasts and balloon drops are common at New Year's Eve celebrations, if only because most hosts lack the gumption to offer a clown as a party favor.
Not Nevada Backwards. The Sacramento rock-country-bluegrass band's New Year's Eve gig at the Blue Lamp will include an appearance by Scratchy the Clown.
"It is a friend of ours who dresses up as a crazy clown," said Nevada Backwards singer and guitarist Brian Ballentine.
Scratchy is flying in from North Carolina to reunite with Nevada Backwards. Ballentine is coming from Seattle. He moved there from Sacramento in 2010 with his other band, the rootsy BLVD Park.
"I haven't been in Sacramento and hanging out with everybody in a while," Ballentine said.
Nevada Backwards, which retains an avid local following, plays only every six months or so in its hometown. The built-up demand for the band's live shows means the Blue Lamp crowd won't be distracted by the usual New Year's Eve temptations: drunkenness and pinpointing who should be the object of one's sloppy midnight-kiss attempt.
"Our fans pay attention," Ballentine said.
The Blue Lamp and other venues are offering special shows even though New Year's Eve falls on a Monday, least celebratory day of any week.
To honor these stalwarts, our annual selective roundup of New Year's Eve live-music events includes only Monday shows, not "pre-New Year's Eve" celebrations held this weekend.
It's not a New Year's Eve party until 2013 happens during it.
Nevada Backwards, Scratchy the Clown and opening band Storytellers.$10. 9 p.m. 400 Alhambra Blvd., Sacramento. www.bluelamp.com, (916) 455-3400
Cover band Notorious gets it rockin' in the ballroom. The hotel also is offering a party and room package and, best of all, a 11:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.chicken' 'n' sweet-potato waffles buffet where you can soak up all that celebrating. A New Year's Day brunch at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday means a shot at back-to-back waffle meals. $45 party. $199 room and two tickets to the party. $15 for the chicken 'n' waffles buffet. $22.05 for Tuesday brunch. The party starts at 8 p.m. Monday. 2001 Point West Drive, Sacramento. Reservations for the party and the room deal: (916) 929-8855
The new Sacramento sausage kitchen and beer hall (in the former Lounge on 20 space) will celebrate New Year's Eve with a show by Brooklyn electropop artist St. Lucia, a.k.a. Jean-Philip Grobler. Clay Nutting and Michael Hargis, principal Lowbrau owners, put on this past summer's Launch music and design festival. "We have always wanted to work with St. Lucia," Nutting said. A planned set at Launch did not work out, but Hargis and Nutting persisted.
Submerge magazine and Ace of Spades are helping with Monday's show, which includes a full band behind St. Lucia and a DJ set by Lipstick's Roger Carpio and Shaun Slaughter. $20. 9 p.m. 1050 20th St., Sacramento. www.lowbrausacramento.com, www.aceofspadessac.com
THE HIDEAWAY BAR & GRILL
Hillbilly and honky-tonk band the Alkali Flats, fronted by the dreamy-voiced Sasha Prawalsky, headline, with reggae band Sacto Soul Rebels also on the bill. $10. 9 p.m. 2565 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento. (916) 455-1331
Two options for party people: Dance to the R&B and old-school sounds of long-running local band Midnight Players in the main bar or groove to entertainment by DJ Krave at the upstairs Momo Lounge. Harlow's: $35. 10 p.m. Momo Lounge: $25. 9 p.m. 2708 J St., Sacramento. (916) 441-4693. www.harlows.com
MINERS FOUNDRY CULTURAL CENTER
Nevada City during the holidays means quaint Victorian Christmas celebrations and hot chocolate sipped around fires. And also, the funk. On Monday, Reno's Jelly Bread brings a funk so funky the band sings about "infectious grooves" while playing them. World-music-inflected Achilles Wheel opens. Admission includes a glass of champagne. $25 advance, $30 at the door. 9 p.m. 325 Spring St., Nevada City. (530) 265-5462, www.minersfoundry.org
Slide-guitar wiz Roy Rogers and his Delta Rhythm Kings will perform. The dance floor will be open for the occasion, and a champagne toast comes with the admission price. $45. 9:30 p.m. 13 Main St., Winters. www.palmsplayhouse.com
Celebrate NYE and the Power House Pub's stimulating décor with the always-entertaining local country band Whiskey Dawn. $20. 10 p.m. PowerHouse Pub, 614 Sutter St., Folsom.
(916) 355-8586, www.powerhousepub.com. Plus, Lake Natoma Inn is offering specials for revelers who want to stay close. $149 plus tax for a room at Lake Natoma Inn and two tickets to the PowerHouse Pub dance party. Lake Natoma Inn: 702 Gold Lake Drive, Folsom. (800) 808-5253.
SAMMY'S ROCKIN' ISLAND BAR & GRILL
The Red Rocker isn't scheduled to play, but there will be music from Apple Z, a New Wave-leaning Northern California cover band whose members dress like gentlemen, in suits. The restaurant's surfboard-adorned interior gives off more of a hang-loose vibe. It's so casual you might be tempted to wear shorts on New Year's Eve. Don't. $20. 10 p.m. 238A Vernon St., Roseville. www.sammysrockinisland.com
TOBY KEITH'S I LOVE THIS BAR AND GRILL
No Toby, either, but local fixture Brodie Stewart will perform on a night that includes a balloon drop and a champagne toast. Masquerade masks will be available, allowing people from Folsom to pretend to be from Roseville. $20 single tickets, $30 couples, $50 for single VIP tickets, which include dinner. 9:30 p.m. 440 Palladio Parkway, Folsom. www.countrybarfolsom.com
Fresno's MOFO Party Band will coax blues lovers onto the Torch Club's dance floor. The cover charge includes a champagne toast and party hats. $25. 7 p.m. 904 15th St., Sacramento. (916) 443-2797, www.torchclub.net