A previous version of this story had incorrect Web sites for the bars Saint-Ex and Iron Horse Tap Room. This version has been corrected.
New Year's Eve in the Washington area FAQ
Let's get this out of the way: There's no New Year's Eve party that's right for everyone. No matter how you look at the end of 2010, we have you covered in this special list of frequently asked questions about New Year's Eve. Looking for all-inclusive parties with open bars? Hoping for an event with no admission charge? Would you rather do something cultural? Want to bring the kids along? Read on for our staff's expert advice about welcoming 2011.
- Fritz Hahn
I'd like to ring in the new year with some live music. Who are the bands to see?
New Year's Eve in Washington is long on tradition: the Seldom Scene at the Birchmere, Peaches O'Dell and her Orchestra at the Black Cat. But if we had to pick just three concerts, we'd send you to these:
New Year's Eve is the biggest party night of the year and Gogol Bordello is on the short list of best party bands in the world. So this is pretty much a match made in heaven. The New York group can broadly be categorized as gypsy-punk, and it does put a rowdy, Balkan spin on rock music. As if that wasn't enough, Washington's own Trouble Funk is the opening act, and the go-go legends have been soundtracking parties for more than 30 years. Their hit "Pump Me Up," remains one of the city's definitive anthems.
The New York-based, D.C.-rooted quintet the Walkmen have successfully transitioned from indie upstarts to elder statesmen, an impressive feat in a time when bands often have a shelf life of only a few months. Sometimes their songs become wild romps; other times they remain laid-back and languid.
Driving a long distance for your New Year's Eve celebration generally isn't something most people want to do. But if the only thing you're concerned with is hearing some great rock-and-roll, it's worth a trip up to Baltimore for J. Roddy Walston and the Business. This is rambunctious, roadhouse rock at its best.
Bordello show 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 202-265-0930. www.930.com. Doors open at 8 p.m. $55.
Walston show Rams Head Live, 20 Market Pl., Baltimore. 410-244-1131. www.ramshead live.com. Doors at 8 p.m. $20.
- David Malitz
I want to welcome 2011 on a dance floor. Who's spinning in town?