Danielle Chenette

We wouldn’t have believed it either, but somehow, 2017 turned out to be even worse than 2016. (And we think we know who’s to blame—let’s just say he drinks A LOT of Diet Coke.) So we couldn’t be more ready to kick this flaming diaper pail of a year out the door, as we ring in a 2018 that is most assuredly, undeniably, without question going to bring better, brighter things into our own lives, the lives of our loved ones, and the lives of our fellow citizens. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. Next year will be a time for working hard, for fighting for what we believe in, and for standing up to the liars, cheats, bigots, and thieves who are trying to run this country into the ground.

But before all that, there’s time to forget your troubles for a night. New Year’s Eve is an occasion to dance and drink with friends (if you wanna), to dress up in your nicest duds (if you wanna), to laugh your ass off (if you wanna), and to remember all of the good things that happened over the past 12 months (yes, there were some). Look: We all realize that New Year’s Eve often deserves the bad rap it gets as an annual haven for screeching amateurs, douche-nozzle behavior, unfortunate drunkenness, and overpriced champagne toasts. So here are the Mercury’s handpicked, sure-fire, guaranteed ways to have a fantabulous time this December 31, and to introduce yourself to 2018 in the best way possible!

Most importantly? Be good to yourself this New Year’s Eve—you absolutely deserve it.

All events are 21 and over.

Explode Into Colors Megan Holmes

Explode into Colors
w/Maarquii, Jvnitor, Blossom

Way back in the late 2000s and early 2010s—ancient times, y’all—three Portland women turned weird sounds into a white-hot band called Explode into Colors. The city’s music scene has had its share of breakthroughs, of course—mostly by bands playing folk music and indie rock and sludge-pop. But XIC went full buzzworthy on the strength of its oddball dub-funk-art-rock-whatever, powered by two percussionists (Heather Treadway and Lisa Schonberg) and a baritone guitarist (Claudia Meza). Sadly, the trio broke up not long after it burned so brightly... until last year, that is, when all three reunited for a fundraiser. This New Year’s Eve, they’re reuniting again, and will play new material, as well as some old classics, presumably. This’ll be the sweaty-ass dance throwdown for the Peak Portland heads out there. BEN SALMON Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, 9 pm, $25 adv, $30 door

Shitney Houston and Hydrangea Strangea Eric Sellers

w/Casual Aztec, DJ Pocket Rock-It, Jonny Guava, Chanti Darling DJs, Shitney, Drama Club, Hydrangea Strangea, Buckmaster

Courtesy of the artist

New Year’s Eve is never complete if it doesn’t include a drag queen or two—that’s why it’s great that characters like Shitney Houston and Hydrangea Strangea will be at Function to periodically entertain the masses. Holocene’s Function party is setup to be a “backroom disco” party hosted by Patrick Buckmaster, founder of the monthly series of drag-inclusive “Sad Day” pity parties that have been held at the Lovecraft. Function’s lineup of DJs features some of Portland’s most exciting nightlife personalities, like futuristic funk and disco artist Chanti Darling (who I hope will be performing in addition to DJing), and plenty of twerk-worthy cuts from Casual Aztec, Jonny Guava, and DJ Pocket Rock-It. As one would expect, there will be a toast at midnight. In short: Come here if you desire drag, endless dancing, and good vibes galore. JENNI MOORE Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, 8 pm, $25

Caleb Klauder’s NYE Rhinestone Bash
w/Western Centuries

Caleb Klauder Country Band
courtesy of the artist

There’s a reason this has become a New Year’s Eve tradition at the Spare Room: The Caleb Klauder Country Band rocks and they know how to put on a show. If you—for some reason—missed their NYE shows at the bar the past few years, now’s your chance pull on your cowboy boots and don that non-ironic western shirt to remedy the situation with the band’s Rhinestone Bash. Portland’s Klauder has been a Pacific Northwest bluegrass and Americana staple for more than two decades and his band is really fun to dance to. It’s genuine country music that doesn’t suck. They’ll be joined by great Seattle country band Western Centuries. The Spare Room, 4830 NE 42nd, 9 pm, $15 adv, $18 door DOUG BROWN

Matt Braunger Mindy Tucker

Matt Braunger

Ever since the terrible Louis C.K. news came out, I’ve been unable to tolerate most self-deprecating male comedians. Whenever I hear a beard/Tinder/psycho ex-girlfriend joke, I basically sprout Fury wings and seek vengeance. But there’s an exception to every rule, and I make one for good ol’ Matt Braunger. If you’re not a fan of fireworks or getting squished in a crowded bar, you should definitely celebrate the end of 2017 with Braunger. He’ll make you feel better about the world. He’s also from Portland, so he won’t make any dumb “LOL, yr town is soooo cuuuuuuuute” jokes. He’ll just be happy to be here. So will you. MEGAN BURBANK Helium Comedy Club, 1510 SE 9th, early show 8 pm, $39-49, late show 10:30 pm, $54-64

Lamar LeRoy courtesy of the artist

Dance Hard Kiss Soft
w/DJs Maxx Bass & Lamar

If the dance floor is calling to you this New Year’s Eve, there’s no better place to move that moneymaker at midnight than Dig a Pony, the inner Southeast bar that’s become ground zero for Portland’s record-spinning culture. To that end, DAP’s repeating their ecstatic Dance Hard, Kiss Soft New Year’s Eve party, and they’ve got two of the city’s finest, hardest-working DJs to soundtrack that ass all the way into next year. Boogie connoisseur and crate digger Maxx Bass knows exactly which bottom-heavy joint will best electrify that booty, and Lamar LeRoy layers head-nodding grooves, reverie-inducing Italo disco rhythms, and off-kilter sonic delights into can’t-stop marathons of rapture. You’ll find no surer hands on the wheels of steel this New Year’s than these chauffeurs of sound—plus they’ve got some special guests in store. NED LANNAMANN Dig a Pony, 736 SE Grand, 8 pm, $15

New Year’s Extravaganza & Midnight Chocolate Buffet

Pix Pâtisserie sold me on their New Year’s Eve event with just three words: FREE. CHOCOLATE. BUFFET. We’re not talking about a couple of Crunch bars and some Ho Hos. Pix will reveal an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord at the crack of midnight that promises mousse, cake, meringue, ice cream, AND truffles. And as one of Portland’s most long-standing and well-regarded pastry spots, this joint has that legit European shit on lock. Just purchase a single beverage—Pix has a world-class champagne selection—and proceed to stuff yourself with an obscene amount of creamy, melty goodness. Bid farewell to 2017 with a fistful of cake in one hand and a pile of truffles in the other. BRI BREY Pix Pâtisserie, 2225 E Burnside, buffet at midnight, FREE

SalsaNova Orchestra courtesy of the artist

New Year’s Eve Salsa Live
w/SalsaNova Orchestra, DJ Adrian Mayen, DJ Zafiro, DJ Antonio Torres

There’s plain ol’ dancing, and then there’s salsa dancing, and if you’ve ever done the latter, you’re not gonna be satisfied with a New Year’s Eve without it. Luckily, the Imago Theatre’s brand-new salsa venue Imago Salsa Club is offering a full night of exactly what you need: all salsa from start to finish. Featuring the 12-piece SalsaNova Orchestra, the place will be packed with dancers dressed to the nines, displaying skills that will make this the sexiest, salsa-iest NYE party in town. Wallflower tip: Salsa dancing is almost as much fun to watch as it is to actually do, so even if you’re shy you’re bound to have a great time. You’re not likely to be able to resist the dance floor for long, though, so if you’re a true novice, there’s a beginner salsa lesson at 9:30 pm to gear you up for the rest of the night—and who knows? Maybe the rest of 2018, too. NL Imago Salsa Club, 17 SE 8th, 9:30 pm, $20 ($50 VIP seating)

The Parsons Red Heads Robbie Augspurger

The Parson Red Heads perform Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
w/the Moody Dudes performing the Verve’s Urban Hymns

The Parson Red Heads are ringing in the New Year with an old tradition: playing an iconic record start-to-finish at the White Eagle Saloon. Last year the local Americana folk band covered Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever, and this year they’re tackling Oasis’ 1995 sophomore album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? It’s the English group’s most enduring record, with hits like “Wonderwall,” “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” and—perhaps appropriately for New Year’s Eve—“Champagne Supernova.” No word on whether the Red Heads will be in character while they sing the songs of the embattled Gallagher brothers, or whether they’ll have someone playing the scissors or peeling potatoes onstage. White Eagle, 836 N Russell, 9 pm, $10 adv, $12 doors CIARA DOLAN

Lumbertwink Wayne Bund

Lumbertwink New Year’s Eve
w/DJ Tank Top, DJ Don’t

If you’re a man who loves men—especially men of the lumberjack variety—you are cordially invited to the Lumbertwink’s fourth annual New Year’s Eve blast. You’ll meet hundreds of hot, bearded lumber-dudes from all over the Pacific Northwest who are gonna be ready and willing to chop down the dance floor (with turntable assistance provided by DJ Tank Top and DJ Don’t). As always, those dressed in true lumberjack finery—flannel shirts or union suits—will receive discounted admission, and will be properly attired for the photo booth and midnight countdown (when god knows what will happen). So get your plaid on! WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Analog Theater, 720 SE Hawthorne, 8 pm, $15 ($10 with plaid or union suit)

Jon Currier Courtesy of the artist

Ponderosa New Year’s Eve Bash
w/Jessie Leigh, Rekless Company

The Ponderosa Lounge and Grill, housed in the Jubitz Truck Stop, has been operating up at the northern edge of Portland since 1969, hosting concerts by country artists like Brad Paisley and Miranda Lambert over the years (along with dozens and dozens of slightly less famous but no less great country performers). That’s why the past seven months—during which the Lounge has been closed for a major renovation—have been a weird time for local country-music lovers. But good news! The Ponderosa reopened earlier this month with a second bar, a new menu, and a VIP lounge, and tonight, it’ll twang in the new year with Pondo faves Jessie Leigh and Rekless Kompany, accompanied by a champagne toast, balloon drop, party favors, and more. BS Ponderosa Lounge at Jubitz Truck Stop, 10310 N Vancouver Way, 9 pm, $30 ($50 VIP)

Mark Farina Chris Arson

Levitate: NYE 2018 with Mark Farina
w/Champagne Drip

For three full decades, Mark Farina has been one of the hardest-working men in house music. Not just in the way he takes great pains to handcraft his sounds, carefully building layers of transportive groove like a wizened combination of shaman and architect—but also in that dude does literally hundreds of shows every year. So if he’s choosing to spend the biggest party night of the year in Portland? Something extra special is bound to go down. If your New Year’s plans involve sweating out the alcohol faster than you can absorb it, Mr. Farina’s set at 45 East is the move. BOBBY ROBERTS 45 East, 315 SE 3rd, 9 pm, $20-25 advance, $30 doors

Pastic Cactus clifford king

Michael Hurley, Hearts of Oak, Plastic Cactus, Mouth Painter

The New Year’s Eve celebration at Turn! Turn! Turn! doubles as your annual reminder that you don’t need to subject yourself to loud and unpleasant dance parties to have a great time while counting down to midnight. Portland treasures don’t shine any brighter than folk legend Michael Hurley, and while the singer/songwriter can easily be found playing around town on the regular, his five-decade career is more than worthy of the pomp and circumstance that accompanies tonight’s performance. Elsewhere on the bill you’ve got local up-and-comers Plastic Cactus, who were responsible for one of the year’s best debuts with their EP, Pricks. The quartet swirls elements of surf rock and spaghetti western into a tight and melodic package, perfect for swaying the night away alongside good company and a refreshing beverage. CHIPP TERWILLIGER Turn! Turn! Turn!, 8 NE Killingsworth, 8 pm, $8

Breakside Ball
w/Kinky Brothers, karaoke, and silent disco

Not that one ever would expect it to, but Breakside Brewery is definitively not fucking around this New Year’s. The brewery, one of the most consistent and best loved beer makers in Portland, is transforming its new Slabtown location into a one-stop shop, with a live band (the Kinky Brothers) in the main room, a karaoke lounge upstairs, and a chilly, eerie silent disco out in the street—plus there’ll be all that great Breakside beer to drink. It’s like the Great Wolf Lodge of New Year’s Eve events, but with more beer, better music, and fewer wolves. Well... maybe it’s safer to expect some wolves, though. Wouldn’t be the end of 2017 if we weren’t all expecting to be pounced by a goddamn wolf all night. More importantly, a portion of the proceeds go to New Avenues for Youth. DIRK VANDERHART Breakside Slabtown, 1570 NW 22nd, 8 pm, $35

Roselit Bone brook dillon

Roselit Bone, Abronia

Roselit Bone is one of Portland’s best country bands. Earlier this year the nine-piece released the haunting Blister Steel, an album inspired by the scores of spaghetti Westerns and punctuated by frontman Joshua McCaslin’s yelps, grunts, and yodels. With his deep, bellowing voice, McCaslin sounds like he’s telling ghost stories about the cosmic cowboys of yore over a campfire, with flurries of horns and pedal steel swelling around him like crackling embers when he reaches the climax. It’s big, dark, and cinematic music—the perfect soundtrack to welcome the uncertainty of the coming year with open arms and warm bellies full of whiskey. CD The Know, 3728 NE Sandy, 9 pm, $8

Battle of the Decades

Time marches on, and leaves everyone behind; each passing year is merely another step on the pain-filled journey to an irrelevant death. So each New Year, we drink to forget: to forget our failures of the past year, to forget that we will inevitably fail again in the next one, to forget that all we hold dear will eventually crumble to dust. Luckily, you can forget all of that at Bunk Bar’s Battle of the Decades, which welcomes the New Year with no fewer than four cover bands—with each band playing the greatest hits of a decade, from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Even better is who’s in those bands: An all-star lineup of musicians from Sleater-Kinney, the Thermals, Blesst Chest, Blitzen Trapper, the Jicks, and even more will combine their musical might. There are lots of things we need to forget, but this night will be one to remember. ERIK HENRIKSEN Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water, 9 pm, $20

Ash Street Saloon’s Farewell to Metal
w/Ditch Digger, Sustainer, Shelter Red, Bewitcher, Othrys, DwarfGiant, Veio

If Ash Street Saloon has meant a lot to you at any point over the past 23 years, then you should already have your New Year’s Eve plans dialed in: Go celebrate the venerable downtown dive bar, because it won’t be open ever again. With redevelopment happening all around it, Ash Street’s owners learned earlier this year that their landlords wouldn’t be renewing the bar/venue’s lease, and they’ve spent just about every night since saying farewell, often by hosting regulars and reunited old faves. That effort intensifies in 2017’s final week, with nights dedicated to indie rock, hip-hop, punk, rock ’n’ roll and, on New Year’s Eve, heavy metal. The metal bill includes seven of the finest, heaviest bands to grace the Ash Street stage, followed by a special surprise closing set. And then, at 1 am, the Ash Street Saloon closes forever. BS Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash, 8 pm, $10

Jenny Don't and The Spurs Michael Picking

Jenny Don’t and the Spurs

Don’t do what Donnie Don’t does, but do do the to-do that Jenny Don’t and the Spurs are doin’ up at Landmark Saloon, the Division Street neighborhood’s bastion of twangy good times. The country outfit released their Call of the Road full-length earlier this year, and its lonesome, high-desert sound does the outlaw country tradition proud while inventing a few traditions of its own, like injecting a few morsels of punk rawness and West Coast surf guitar into their addictive, boot-scootin’ sound. If your ideal way to ring in the New Year involves leather, whiskey, and echoes of Patsy Cline, Jenny Don’t and the Spurs have you covered. NL Landmark Saloon, 4847 SE Division, 9 pm, FREE