We hope some noise canceling earplugs were in your Christmas stocking, because the sounds of the Bay are gonna amp up a notch or two this week with New Year's concerts cropping up everywhere. Here's our our top 7 picks for ringing in the New Year with a ring in your eardrums:
Dylan in the Movies, Tuesday, Hotel Utah
Three reasons to see this show:
1) The band name references a Belle and Sebastian song, and any band aware of Belle and Sebastian should have a special place in their collective heart for thoughtful songcraft.
2) Hotel Utah in mid-winter feels like a Swedish log cabin in the middle of a snow storm, its relative warmth helped by the fully stocked bar.
3) Oakland multi-instrumentalist Brian Sullivan's songs resonate on multiple levels, particularly for anyone who knows nostalgia, redemption and loss intimately.
Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band, Wednesday, Regency Ballroom
At a time when jazz needs all the champions it can get, Woody Allen is a welcome marquee name. Fans of his movies know Allen has a soft spot for America's oldest native art form — his film (and their soundtracks) move with the same haphazard cadence as New Orleans jazz — so it's only natural he give the genre a go himself. See him Wednesday night on the clarinet with some old friends and seasoned pros. And check this SFGate preview for a bit more background of this side project in motion.
Further, Thursday through Saturday, Bill Graham
What better way to look back on a year in San Francisco than a walk down memory lane with some of the city's most storied musical icons, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, et. al. The New Year's Eve show promises to be especially poignant, as Weir and Lesh and co. will jam their way into 2012.
John Vanderslice, Friday, Dark Room
Another local hero plays a home-court show when Vanderslice takes the Dark Room stage Friday night. The prolific troubadour has had another busy year, releasing an album early in January to widespread acclaim, and touring relentlessly in support of it. If you haven't seen this celebrated S.F. treasure and his verbose, enunciated songwork in action, the intimate confines of the Dark Room is a perfect time to get your ears and eyes acquainted.
Trombone Shorty, Friday and Saturday, Fillmore
The New Orleans jazz train keeps rolling through town when the young virtuoso sensation plays the Fillmore Friday night. It's been a banner year for Trombone Shorty, thanks in no small part to the success of the HBO show Treme, and other cultural factors related to the revival of New Orleans.
Sonny and the Sunsets, Friday, Amnesia
The whimsical musings of the fast-rising local oddballs Sonny and Sunsets grow on hearts and minds fast. Our Laura Mason was impressed enough to put the band's album Hit After Hit on her top 8 Local Albums of the Year List.
Kreayshawn, Saturday, Regency Ballroom
Does Kreayshawn really want 2011 to end? The Oaklander's career took on a life of its own this past year, finding YouTube stardom and rap game controversy. You know you've made it when 28 million people watch your music videos and Rick Ross wants to talk a little trash about ya. Now that Columbia Records and MTV have called, our East Bay spokeswoman has a serious platform to bust her insanely idiosyncratic rhymes.