Matthew Billington

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS: One final night, one final party, one final showdown to exercise (and/or exorcise) all your hopes, dreams, wishes, fantasies, and dance moves for the year 2015. You're only gonna get one shot at this. So don't blow it!

Fortunately, the Mercury is here with our annual New Year's Eve party guide, carefully hand-selecting the craziest, funnest, absolute bestest places in town to ring in 2016. There's live music galore and dance parties aplenty—if you want to spend a quiet evening drinking cocoa, playing board games, and sitting in rocking chairs with cats on your lap, this is not the New Year's Eve guide for you. (In fact, New Year's Eve may not be the holiday for you.)

It's easy to get overwhelmed, though; if you choose poorly, New Year's Eve can be an amateur-hour trainwreck. So get informed, then make your move. Your New Year's Eve has the potential to be a bang or a whimper, and we'd like you to have the biggest bang possible. Save the whimpering for January 1.

But the clock is ticking, and December 31 is just around the corner. So get ready—it's the final countdown!

  • Woodphone Records

Weinland NYE Supergroup
w/Liz Vice
Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell, Thurs Dec 31, 9 pm, $25-28

Seven years! That's how long the BEST New Year's party, the Weinland NYE Supergroup, has been rolling—and why not? For people who love to get down, Portland folk-rock band Weinland comes at you HARD every December 31 with a superstar roster of the best guest singers and performers in town, playing your absolute favorite dance hit covers! And for their seventh anniversary, Weinland will be welcoming Laura Gibson, Jim Brunberg, Brian Koch, Lewi Longmire, and many, many more, PLUS super-duper special guest Liz Vice, whose powerful, gospel-infused pipes will undoubtedly lay waste to any number of booty-shaking disco hits. Is that not enough reason to attend? Then listen to this: This year marks the FINAL Weinland NYE Supergroup performance EVER. So if you're a fan of history and epic parties, you won't want to miss this one. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY


The Fix
w/Rev Shines, Ohmega Watts, Kez
Dig a Pony, 736 SE Grand, 8 pm, $15

We all committed a grave and unnamable sin in letting the Someday Lounge close. Before it shuttered in 2013, the Old Town nightspot was the premier place to see and hear good hip-hop in this city. And at the vanguard of that movement was the Fix, the unmissable Thursday night party where you could watch local artists work, while rubbing elbows with luminaries passing through (Erykah Badu, Questlove) and dancing yourself assless. The Someday's former space has become an awful bridge-and-tunnel club now, but the Fix lives on—at least for one night. Dig a Pony and XRAY.fm have lined up the event's three founding DJs for what promises to be one of this New Year's most noteworthy shindigs. DIRK VANDERHART


  • Eric Jon Evans

Chanti Darling, Ancient Heat
w/Shy Girls (DJ set), DJ Nathan Detroit, DJ Ben Tactic, DJ Bobby D
Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, 8 pm, $17-20

Sure, you could spend New Year's Eve watching people you don't know make out in Times Square as glitter falls like snow on the TV, or you could BE THE GLITTER, carousing into the tiny hours at Holocene, as you treat yourself to the pitched-high, dancing-inside-Tron stylings of Chanti Darling (with Chanticleer Trü on vocals, plus members of Gossip, you're welcome), the witchy disco soul of Ancient Heat, and no fewer than FOUR DJs, one of whom is Shy Girls' Dan Vidmar. If you like your synthpop with a side of out-of-leftfield saxophone, and/or your Spotify Year in Music smugly declares "indietronica" your top genre (it was news to me!), here! Now you have New Year's Eve plans. MEGAN BURBANK


Magic Sword
w/Minden, Foul Weather
Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside, 9 pm, $15-20

Boise keyboard wizards Magic Sword are caped figures of mystery, shrouded in darkness, danger, and sine-wave synth patches. Their instrumental dance rock is like a powered-up version of every '80s movie soundtrack you've ever heard, given a modern spin—as if Vangelis and Tangerine Dream teamed up with the flame-thrower-guitar guy from Mad Max: Fury Road. So if you can't decide whether you want to close out your old year in the company of either robots or druids, the Doug Fir basement is your place to get down. Magic Sword will be joined by mustache-funk alchemists Minden, so those glutes of yours are gonna get one fine dance-y workout. And you haven't even started your New Year's resolution yet—BONUS! For best results, wear something slithery and glittery. NED LANNAMANN


  • Jason Quigley

Sallie Ford
w/Y La Bamba, Cat Hoch
Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, 9 pm, $25-30

I cannot imagine a better New Year's Eve than this—swimming around in the aural sea of Portland's most kick-ass musicians. Sallie Ford and her band of merry women are absolutely guaranteed to tear the roof off one of Portland's best venues with their catchy garage rock. Ford's wonderful, distinctive voice makes one want to start a fire just to watch it burn, baby, burn—but DON'T! The firebug urge will pass like the sands of the 2015 hourglass. Openers Y La Bamba and Cat Hoch gild the lily with soulful Latino folk and dreamy shoegaze, respectively. This stacked bill is as musically diverse as it is delightful, so ditch the traditional noisemakers in favor of these ladies' far superior sounds. COURTNEY FERGUSON


Calexico, Blind Pilot
w/Ages and Ages
Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside, 8:30 pm, $35-40 (VIP tickets $90-95)

The sun-bleached Americana of Calexico has its roots in the deserts of Arizona, but it's always been perfectly suited to damper Northwest climes, too. Ringing in 2016 with their triumphant, trumpet-flourished tunes will be like giving yourself a gift that lasts all year long. But to make things even better, Oregon folk-rockers Blind Pilot will emerge out of an extended period of hiding to play a special set. With a new album scheduled for 2016, hopefully they'll have some new tunes to share as well. If you're looking for a perfect New Year's date night, this is your jackpot. Expect swaying couples, hand-holding, and lots of tasteful making out at midnight. With luck, it could be you doing all those things. NL


  • William Anthony

The Helio Sequence
w/Wild Ones, Kyle Craft
Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark, 9 pm, $25-30

There's something about the Helio Sequence that sounds like the songs were written with their eyes on the stars—which makes for an appropriately outward and upward-looking evening of live music on the auspicious turning of a new year. One of those local music outfits that knows better than to overplay in their own backyard, a Helio performance is just rare enough to feel like a special occasion. The fact that this will be a grown-up, "fully seated" concert—not just a show, a concert—makes the evening grander still. It would definitely not be remiss to dress up for this one, especially since it makes sanctioned drinking in the hallways of a high school all the more elegant. MARJORIE SKINNER


The Parson Red Heads
w/Poison Beaches, Lindsay Clark
White Eagle, 836 N Russell, 9 pm, $10-12 (special New Year's Eve packages $125-135/couple)

It's become a ball-dropping tradition: the Parson Red Heads covering a full album, front to back. (Past years have involved the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night and some obscure Fleetwood Mac joint called Rumours). This year, the Portland folk-rockers take on David Bowie's 1972 masterpiece The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, perhaps the perfect soundtrack for everyone's favorite year-end activity of looking nervously into a terrifying dystopian future. But tonight offers more than simply freaking out in a moonage daydream, as two more acts will perform full-album covers. Poison Beaches take on the Velvet Underground's brilliant sunshine-pop aberration Loaded, and Lindsay Clark breathes melancholic ennui into Nico's lovely Chelsea Girl. Best of all: With a special New Year's package, you can book a room at the White Eagle for the night and feel free to party the night away—worry about the future later. NL


  • Caleb Klauder

Caleb Klauder Country Band
w/Eli West
The Spare Room, 4830 NE 42nd, 9 pm, $15-20

The Caleb Klauder Country Band is back for their annual New Year's Eve performance at the Spare Room. Dubbed a "honky-tonk rhinestone bash," it's also a boot-scootin' dance party. Klauder's twanging tunes feature originals as well as country classics that beg for you to grab your partner and swing in 2016 by twirling around the dance floor. Opening act Eli West is half of the Cahalen Morrison and Eli West duo. His music is a blend of "old honky-tonk and the new tough country," and he just might join you on the dance floor. SHELBY R. KING


Brew Year's Eve
w/Appetite for Deception, Motorbreath, Sacred Heart
Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie, 8 pm, $30-40

For some starry-eyed naïfs, this time of year is about promise—the glittering potential of a new year that's eager to forgive all our pathetic failures and humiliating fuck-ups. But for those of us who know better—who know that New Year's is simply a gateway to an entire new realm of pathetic failures and humiliating fuck-ups—there's an another tactic: Embrace the past. And not just the past few months—we're talking the deep past. Tonight, 105.9 The Brew's "Brew Year's Eve" ignores whatever shiny new bullshit 2016 might bring and instead digs deep into the rock of ages, trotting out three tribute bands who'll do their damnedest to convey the hard-driving thrills of Guns N' Roses (Appetite for Deception, "the most authentic Guns N' Roses tribute on the planet Earth"), Metallica (Portland's Motorbreath, "your humble metal servants"), and motherfucking Dio (Sacred Heart, who do a pretty goddamn solid "Holy Diver," and who also hail from Portland). Does this, to you, sound like a perfect way to get stupid drunk and tell 2016 to go fuck itself because it'll never equal that long-ago, possibly mythical era when the airwaves were ruled by Ronnie James, Axl Rose, and the Brotherhood of Ulrich, Hammett, Hetfield, and Burton? Then you and I are of the same mind. Whoa. (Side note: As with all crazy, fun, balls-to-the-fucking-wall New Year's parties, uh, "this show allows minors if accompanied by an adult"? I... I do not know how Dio would feel about that.) ERIK HENRIKSEN


  • Ester Segarra

Dwarves
w/Lord Dying, Gaytheist
Dante's, 350 W Burnside, 9 pm, $15

Fancy dress and schmancy cocktails not your thing? Good news—punk legends Dwarves are here to ring in your New Year in the most tasteless way possible. They're performing all of 1990's Blood Guts and Pussy, but since that album is only 13 minutes long, you can expect there will be a lot more debauchery to take place over the course of the night. Portland metallurgists Lord Dying will put the pound in your poundcake, and Gaytheist's gloriously loud guitars will have your head banging right from the get-go. NL