(Showbox) What a rock 'n' roll dad Shuggie's Andrew McKeag is. A mere month since daughter Emma's urgent arrival canceled Shuggie's last Showbox date, the proud frontman is back on stage delivering more of that heartfelt, '70s-influenced rock that's become his trademark. And speaking of babies, I hear there's plenty of luck to be had just by being in the same room as expectant rock 'n' roll mom Lulu Gargulo. If there's one thing I love about this city -- and I think there is -- it's the ever-growing crop of rock 'n' roll tots. KATHLEEN WILSON

(Crocodile) See Stranger Suggests.

(Tractor Tavern) Christmas in Texas is a weird thing. Most Texans prefer Thanksgiving, actually, because the Dallas Cowboys are usually whipping the hell out of some fancy northern team on television. The Texans that do peddle Christmas are either trying to sell you things or save your soul. No wonder Bad Livers has come up from Austin for the holidays, bringing their rocking mongrel folk music to Ballard, where Christmas just feels right. NATHAN THORNBURGH

(Fenix Aboveground) Oh, I suppose you could conceivably consider this a musical cleansing of the palate. Hit Explosion on the eve of the millennium, doing all your favorite hits one last time, providing you with your final opportunity to catch those tunes in the decade -- the century -- the MILLENNIUM that they were written in! If only this meant that in the years ahead people would place more value on original music. BARBARA MITCHELL

FRIDAY 12/31

(Tractor Tavern) The Picketts play a high-energy, tight-knit brand of honky-tonk and classic country with a slightly punkish (or maybe rockabilly) edge, and they look fabulous doing it. There's the energized visual appeal of the upright, upstanding Leroy Sleep -- singing and pounding away on a tinny snare -- which augments the charming chemistry he shares with spirited co-vocalist Christy McWilson, not to mention the overall pleasure of seeing veteran musicians put forth material they obviously enjoy and truly believe in. The world, if it ends tonight, will not go out on a sour note. Line dancing permitted. RICK LEVIN

(Century Ballroom) Here's my kind of swing party: one with two meals, pajamas, and permission to sleep if you feel like it. Oh, and champagne. REALLY my kind of swing party. KATHLEEN WILSON

( No big surprises here. The usual local favorites will preside -- the ad says, "every damn Seattle DJ and they mamas," and that's not far off. So what makes it special? Some fancy decorations, a crew of nearly naked go-go boys, and the feverish desire of all involved to go really fucking crazy. No sloppy shirts and bad haircuts this night. Wax those backs, press those pants, and get ready to ring in the new year in truly mind-altered madness. Think of this party as a farewell to more than the millennium... much will be changing around January 1 at this venue. LEAH GREENBLATT

(Breakroom) Y not? If The Stranger's brilliant Wm. Steven Humphrey is behind it, you can BET it's going to be a blast -- and besides, what better way to bring in a whole new MILLENNIUM than making a complete and utter ass of yourself in front of fellow revelers? So dust off those old albums and get to practicin'. You don't want to be remembered as the person who forgot the words to that Journey song, do you? BARBARA MITCHELL


(Fremont) You can always count on the Fremont neighborhood for good-natured arty fun, even if there are times when Fremont's passive-aggressive maintenance of its own eccentricity is nearly enough to send you on an Old Navy conformity binge. This certainly won't be one of those instances, however, with a music lineup that includes the eclecticism of the six-man Dudley Manlove Quartet, plus salsa, Cuban big band, and something called "Trans-elvestite." Combine that with plenty of costumes, a giant spaceship, indoor cinema, an Elvis tribute, the retirement of Miss Management from Glamorama, and charitable donations to The Bra Show and Baby Cupboard, and you'll find that it all adds up to a suitable extravaganza. JASON PAGANO

(Stadium Exhibition Hall) He may have burst into public consciousness with that delicious "Wicked Game" single, but Chris Isaak has proven to be more than a one-hit wonder with pouty lips and great hair. He's a star in the classic sense, full of class and charisma. And that voice.... Meanwhile, the Squirrel Nut Zippers exist in a space all their own, putting a uniquely modern spin on music you probably could've only dug up in your grandparents' old gramophone collection. Tonight, if you don't feel like getting dressed up or drinking something a little more civilized than a Budweiser, you're just not getting it. BARBARA MITCHELL

(Stadium Exhibition Hall) In the movie, Barbarito Torres stood out from the other members of Ry Cooder's Buena Vista Social Club. He was a good deal younger than Compay, Ferrer, or Gonzalez. He played the laud, a type of lute that is much less common than the Cuban tres. And he also talked crazy: Fast and thick with his dialect, as opposed to the carefully chosen and clear words of his older counterparts. But his concert at the Showbox this fall was great because of the things he had in common with Ibrahim Ferrer and Compay Segundo: He was self-assured and self-promoting, with a great band that burned the floor under your feet and forced you to dance for hours. NATHAN THORNBURGH

(Graceland) Simply put, the Supersuckers are one of the best rock 'n' roll bands on the planet -- and they've been working that angle for years, before Johnny-come-latelies like Buckcherry and openers New American Shame decided that "rawk" was cool again. In fact, I'll bet the 'Suckers could mop the floor with either of those bands -- a hypothesis that will be proven this evening. BARBARA MITCHELL

(Rainbow) If you're bummed about missing the Afro-Latin dance party of Cuba's Barbarito Torres due to the high ticket prices ($175/$250), don't overlook this worthy option, as Freestyle Candela (led by guitarist Leif Totusek, also of One Two Three, the Romales, and JR) is full of similarly vibrant instrumental flights. Leif's the next finest Caribbean-styled string bender you'll find on a Seattle stage this evening. He's itchin' to get back to his roots, so expect a festive vibe. JAMES KIRCHMER

(Jazz Alley) It's too bad only Eastsiders and Microsoft techies can afford to see the amazingly percussive jazz stylings of pianist McCoy Tyner (formerly of the John Coltrane Quartet) on New Year's Eve: The fabulously bourgeois Jazz Alley is offering both a "dinner package" ($250) and a "cocktail package" ($75) for this elitist gala event, which is just so goddamned typical of Seattle's inveterately clean-cut and antiseptic jazz scene. We suggest you put on the mirror shades, get really liquored up on fortified wine, and storm the pearly gates of upper-class entitlement. Tyner's worth it. RICK LEVIN

(Elysian Brewery, $15/$35, includes dinner) Cryptic "all-star" assemblages promising appearances by members of distinguished local bands are, by nature, enticing -- but with so many choices on New Year's it's important that you make fully informed decisions. With that in mind, here's tonight's core band lineup: Steve Gauci, Jessica Lurie, and Aaron Birrell on saxes, Joe Doria on Hammond B3, Chris Hinderaker on guitar, Paul Kemmish on bass, Elizabeth Pupo-Walker on percussion, and Guido Perla on drums. They're gonna kick out some full-on Maceo and James Brown vibes designed to shake everythin' you've got. JAMES KIRCHMER

(Various Clubs) "What're you doing New Year's Eve?" This traditional holiday season query has always bugged me, but this year it's been particularly irritating -- especially since people have been asking since March. If Y2K is going to blow the world to bits, shit, I wanna spend my last moments livin' it up, not shivering away in some dank basement. Anyway, come December 31, you can find me at any one of the following events. One glaring omission from's Version 2.0 Release Party ($80) lineup is longtime Seattle DJ Riz, who'll be kickin' it live at his regular Friday night gig at the Backdoor Ultra Lounge ($50). Busy man Donald Glaude will split his time between the aforementioned gig and the Last Supper Club's New Year's Eve Party. There, LSC regulars Brian Lyons and Topcat will round out the lineup. At the 700 Club ($40 general admission, $55 reserved), you can rock on and on 'til the break of dawn with some live soul, hiphop, and R&B. DJs E.E.G. and Vitamin D will work the turntables, but ever-so-gently, as the vibe here promises to be low-key. The performance of the night at 700 Club promises to be by drum 'n' bass band FCS North, who're joined by San Francisco transplant DJ Diskyze. For those of you who want to ring in the new year with a bit more class (and for a bit more cash -- tix are $200 a pop), you'll want to be at Once (happening at Entros, 823 Yale Ave N). Hosted by Internet radio pioneers Groovetech, the night features the disc-twiddling talents of the pioneering Stacey Pullen, a founding father of the Detroit techno scene. Once is one high-class event, which starts with a five-course dinner presented by acclaimed Chef John McNabb, and finishes with a complimentary champagne toast (but dancing will continue well into the morning, you can count on that). For more info on Once, go to COURTNEY REIMER

(I Spy) Every journalist I know who's tried to interview Nebula has had their questions answered not by one member, but by all of them all at once. As in, "Who has the brain today?" "Not me." "Me neither." "I had it yesterday!" "Oh, I guess I've got it. Now where did I put it.... What was the question?" Rockers. Can't live with 'em, pass me a Budweiser. ERIN FRANZMAN

(Showbox) I'm not exactly sure how the tame soul of Maktub got matched up with the rowdy rock of the Murder City Devils. Anyone who's lonely for the WWF can probably count on some Devils fans putting the beat down on some Maktub fans tonight. The Showbox? Here's hoping it'll be more like a boxing show! ERIN FRANZMAN

(Crocodile) I know those tattooed rockabilly boys can raise hell, but doesn't this seem a bit low key for a Crocodile New Year's Eve celebration? Especially in 1999? KATHLEEN WILSON


(Tractor) It's nice to see that someone's taking full responsibility for the watered down (an affliction otherwise known as "radio-friendly") traditions of this Vancouver, BC-based band. Via the use of superficial stylistic splashes and authentic instrumentations, this increasingly popular group has created the public impression that they're a Celtic-cajun-bluegrass-world-folk band -- but don't be fooled by frontman Tom Landa's marketing illusions and delusions. This is giddy, mediocre pop at its finest. JAMES KIRCHMER


(Tractor) Vancouver's the Paperboys are the Celtic-influenced band that have quite possibly never disappointed an audience. While some may argue that high-energy folk/pop/bluegrass isn't the best way to nurse a severe hangover, it sure is fun, and the Paperboys will be serving it up by the steaming bowlful at the Tractor Tavern. JASON PAGANO


(Bohemian) In most cases, suggesting that the general public attend an open mic night for purposes of entertainment is simply not recommended. As concluded in many thorough and well-funded studies of attendance, the open mic exists for two groups of people: the participant, and the non-performing, insufficiently excuse-prepared friend of the participant. Only for this segment of society is the open mic a viable source of amusement. For anyone else it is certainly a mirthless garbage-dump where even the slightest aspect of merriment cannot be found. JASON PAGANO


(Ballard Firehouse) I love tuna fish when it's hot with melted cheese on toasted rye bread with mustard and onions. Yum. I can't believe this band is still together. Have a tuna melt instead. ERIN FRANZMAN


(Tractor Tavern) An amazing number of very talented, slightly graying musicians cram the stage of the Tractor Tavern for this intimate, warmhearted, and nicely reverent weekly tribute to the drunken genius of Hank Williams. Talk about authentic: Every once in a while the band will cut all power to the sound system in order to re-create the original conditions under which Hank was forced to fill a room with his tear-jerking ballads and honky-tonk stompers. RICK LEVIN

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