Arkansounds Guide to Arkansas’ Best New Year’s Eve Live Music
Don’t have New Year’s Eve plans set in stone yet? No worries, Arkansounds has you covered with all the top options for every area in Arkansas!
(And if you work in the service industry and are interested in celebrating on New Year’s Day, when you’re off work, may we suggest a road trip to Tulsa for Cain’s Ballroom’s Hangover Ball? See details at the bottom of this page.)
In Northwest Arkansas, there are a ton of great options, depending on your tastes and preferences.
FAYETTEVILLE NYE LIVE MUSIC
LAST NIGHT FAYETTEVILLE (MULTIPLE ACTS)
Want a variety of music, live entertainment, and stages that are also family-friendly?
Then Northwest Arkansas’ biggest party of the year, Last Night Fayetteville, is your best bet. (Wanna hear the bands performing instead of reading about them? Check out our Arkansounds Last Night Fayetteville playlist on Spotify here.)
This year’s Last Night schedule includes so many indoor options for live entertainment: 18 musical acts on 4 different downtown stages, several comedians at Art Ventures NWA, 4 cabaret acts at The Chancellor Hotel stage, 5 kids’ acts on the children’s stage at Experience Fayetteville, and 3 theatre performances, all followed up by the “Hog Drop” and fireworks at midnight on the square. Tickets, available online now, are $30 GA in advance or $40 day of, and $5 for kids 12 and under; there are VIP ticket options, too.
Last Night Fayetteville is headlined by one of Arkansas’ best-kept secrets: Randall Shreve & The Devilles, scheduled on the indoor Fayetteville Town Center stage starting at 10:15. Randall Shreve’s latest project, like his previous ones, puts on a GREAT live show, with mind-blowing covers and originals, vocals that’ll leave your jaw on the floor, and a level of musicianship not seen on the regular in Arkansas venues. Videos on YouTube don’t do them justice, but here’s an idea below.
Shreve actually got his start as a teen contemporary Christian standout, with his brother, Benjamin del Shreve. The duo’s original claim to fame began during their time playing and singing in the Christian Rock band GS Megaphone, which was nominated for multiple Dove Awards and American Music Awards before it disbanded and the Shreves struck out on their own. Since then, they’ve continued to make their mark on their respective music scenes.
Randall and his previous band, dubbed “Randall Shreve & The Sideshow” 5 years ago were nominated for two Independent Music Awards: Eclectic Album of the Year and Song of the Year. IMA judges that year included Keith Richards, Tom Waits, Michael Franti, Ozzy Osbourne and Tori Amos.
Performing earlier on NYE on the Last Night Fayetteville Town Center stage is one of Arkansounds’ favorite folk acts ever to come out of Arkansas: National Park Radio. If you like indie folk (think Mumford & Sons, Avett Brothers, or The Decemberists), you MUST go see this band. Added bonus: gifted fiddler Dylan Hawf of Eureka Springs will be playing with National Park Radio for this show!
No Depression magazine writes that Harrison-based National Park Radio is “maybe America’s newest musical treasure,” and Popmatters called their music “joy filtered through the lens of Americana.” We couldn’t say it better ourselves, so we won’t even try.
National Park Radio goes on at 7:30. You can listen to their music on our Arkansounds Featured Artist: National Park Radio playlist here.
Other bands on this year’s Last Night schedule include funk-rockers The 1 Oz. Jig; cello-rocker Serrano Torres; country-rockers Trumann Rail Boys and Route 358; The Lark & the Loon; folk duo (and Deadhead favorite) Woody & Sunshine; EDM standouts Fractal Sky, No.Faces, Meesh, and Nugstufr with Purp Loder; reggae-rockers The Irie Lions; Shannon Wurst; Jamie Lou & the Hullaballo; and Foggy Bobcat.
ARKANSAUCE AT GEORGE’S WITH THE MIGHTY PINES AND THE TOOS
If you’re kid-free and like it that way for NYE, and if you like progresive bluegrass/jamgrass type music, the place for you in Arkansas on December 31 undoubtedly is George’s Majestic Lounge, for Arkansauce’s rowdy roots throwdown guaranteed to leave you breathless and beaming.
The year 2017 has been, in many ways, a turning point for Fayetteville-based progressive bluegrass quartet Arkansauce. From an outside perspective, Arkansauce has enjoyed a big year: the April release of its third album, If I Were You, which enjoyed great reviews from publications like GratefulWeb and others that are jamgrass-heavy; the band continued expanding its fan base with new tours in New Mexico, Colorado, Missouri, Mississippi, and Kansas; they played twice to huge, enthusiastic crowds on the Main Stage at Fayetteville’s Bikes, Blues & BBQ in September (and one show in between those, at Bikes, Bluegrass & BBQ in Eureka Springs); they played a sold-out show at George’s Majestic Lounge for Fayetteville Roots Fest; and they were one of 11 bands selected from across the country to compete in June’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition.
Arkansauce headlines at George’s NYE, with The Mighty Pines, another Telluride competition alum, and The Toos set to open. It’s not sold out yet, but it probably will be by the time the music starts at 9 pm. Doors open at 7, ages 18+. Tickets are $15 in advance, available now online.
To read more about Arkansauce, check out our Q&A with the band and videos in our story “Arkansauce Closing Out Big Year With Halloween Concert, NYE Show; Poised to Dig In Next Year.”
Here’s a video of Arkansauce’s raucous daytime set at this fall’s Hillberry The Harvest Moon Festival outside Eureka Springs:
VINTAGE PISTOL AT CARNALL HALL SOIREE
If you like to get a lil dressed up, and particularly if you’re a fan of alt-rock with a little jam thrown in, check out The Swanky New Year’s Eve Soiree With Vintage Pistol, held at the historic Inn at Carnall Hall on the UA campus.
I’ve said in the past that Vintage Pistol is “kinda like what might happen if North Mississippi Allstars, Phish, and Jonny Lang had a baby band — and perhaps the drummer from Mutemath was the “mailman” (ha ha) — and that baby band played furiously. This band has some of the most consistently great rock and jam-rock originals we’ve heard out of Arkansas in years. Below is a video of the song and the performance that first made us believers! Openers at the NYE show include Josh Mullens and pianist Meiling King. Music starts at 9 pm. The event includes live art and art displays, hors d’oeuvres, and a champagne toast. Tickets are $30 and are available online now. Also, the Inn at Carnall Hall is offering rooms for $99 for event ticketholders; call 479-582-0400 and mention Vintage Pistol to get the discount.
EUREKA SPRINGS NYE LIVE MUSIC
OPAL AGAFIA & BLUE DREAM BLUE AT CHELSEA’S
Another top pick for NYE in Arkansas is Deadhead Productions’ New Year’s Eve Showcase at Chelsea’s Corner Cafe & Bar in downtown Eureka Springs. The party features live music from mountain-soul-roots standout Opal Agafia & The Sweet Nothings (10 pm) with opener Blue Dream Blue (7 pm), a really great blues, soul, and vintage honkytonk show led by one of our favorite guitarists Mike Hopper, with guest performers David Blankenship of Los Roscoes, Melissa Carper of Sad Daddy and Camptown Ladies, and singer-songwriter-drummer Brian Martin, also a member of Sad Daddy. Ages 21+. Admission is only $5!!
Opal Agafia is “one of Arkansas’ most dynamic, unique, and stunning female voices we’ve heard in years,” Arkansounds wrote recently. (See the full article, watch videos and stream the band’s music here.)
Agafia, a native of the Russellville/Dover area, has been singing in public for a mere two years. But she sounds as though she’s trained her entire 24 years for her new role as a gifted and powerful singer, prolific songwriter, and capable frontman of Opal Agafia & the Sweet Nothings, based in Eureka Springs. Agafia writes songs that are spunky, honest, and moving. The upbeat tracks make you wanna get up and move, celebrate your strength, or figure out how to find said strength; the slower-tempo tunes are likely to make the listener wanna love harder, live better, or laugh louder.
Her voice oozes soul – and she has a helluva lot of it, particularly for a white girl from the Arkansas backwoods. She also has a lot of country twang. While these attributes seem like they might not jive, Agafia combines them and many other unique qualities to create a stew of outstanding musicianship and showmanship that doesn’t simply “work” – it works wonderfully.
BENTONVILLE NYE LIVE MUSIC
CRYSTAL BRIDGES DANCE PARTY
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is hosting a snazzy dance party called New 365. Dance into the New Year and see the Great Hall transformed into a glowing disco room headlined by Chicago-based act Jack Novak mixing her popular electronic hits, opened with funk and soul by Fayetteville DJ Robe Flax. Popular Oklahoma City band Matt Stansberry & the Romance will be performing in the Eleven jazzy swing room. Between dances, visit the temporary exhibition Stuart Davis: In Full Swing, and experience a hallway of living art installations by local artists Emily Chase, Kat Wilson, and more. The ticket cost includes light appetizers and complimentary champagne for the midnight toast. Tickets are $60 or $48 for members and are available online now.
ROCK HARD AT METEOR GUITAR GALLERY
Meteor Guitar Gallery in downtown Bentonville is hosting a NYE party with hard-rock act 90Lb Wrench and ’80s rockers Throwback Jack. Tickets for the 21+ event are almost sold out as of Thursday, December 28; tickets are $15/individual or $25/couple and are available online.
ALMA NYE LIVE MUSIC
JESSE DEAN & FRIENDS + ISAYAH’S ALLSTARS AT WARREN’S REC ROOM
Warren’s Rec Room hosts a NYE Celebration Jesse Dean Style, featuring live music by Tessa Kate, Isayah’s All-Stars, &and Jesse Dean and Company. Doors open at 8; Tessa Kate will start around 8:30, followed by Isayah’s All-Stars Allman Brothers Tribute, then Jesse Dean and friends.
Ticket price incldes snacks, champagne toast at midnight, door prizes, surprise giveaways, best costume prize, a dance contest, and more. Tickets are $20/individual or $35/couple and are available online while they last.
LITTLE ROCK NYE LIVE MUSIC
FUNKY ELECTRONIC DANCE PARTY AT STICKYZ
Stickyz Rock N’ Roll Chicken Shack hosts the biggest, funkiest dance party in Central Arkansas, featuring Deep Sequence, a four-piece prog/funk/fusion band based in Central Arkansas and consisting of Brady Cagle (keys/synth), Jonathan DerGazarian (guitar/bass), Jackson Diner (bass/guitar), and Jarrod Ives (percussion). Drawing inspiration from a wide array of influences such as Steely Dan, The Meters, Umphrey’s McGee, and King Crimson, Deep Sequence uses a balance of composition and improvisation to craft high-energy grooves that are both progressive and accessible.
Openers acts are Ryan Viser, an electronic/funk act with Ryan’s funky trumpet over sick electronic beats, and EDM producer Flintwick of Little Rock. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12.50 day of show, and are available online while they last. Show is ages 18+.
FUN, FABULOUS COVER BAND BOOM KINETIC AT REV ROOM
Rev Room is throwing a big ol’ shindig with our favorite Arkansas cover band. If a great act doing the best dance and singalong hits from the last 25 years is your thing, we strongly suggest you get tickets now for Boom Kinetic. Fayetteville-based Boom Kinetic is undoubtedly one of Arkansas’ top cover bands, and every time they play it’s a fantastic party. Don’t worry about not finding a seat (it’s standing room only); you won’t be able to sit still anyway. No opening act. Doors open at 8, music at 9 pm. Ages 18+. Tickets are $20 in advance and are available online while they last, or $25 at the door if they don’t sell out.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK NYE LIVE MUSIC
MIKE DILLON BAND, DAZZ & BRIE AT FOUR QUARTER
Four Quarter Bar in Argenta (downtown North Little Rock) hosts an outstanding lineup for their NYE party, with headliner The Mike Dillon Band of New Orleans with the award-winning R&B duo Dazz and Brie of Little Rock opening.
The Mike Dillon Band, which bills itself as “punk jazz freak funk,” is one of the most interesting, enthralling, and lively bands touring this decade. Combining styles and years of experience, MDB makes a noise that is unique in many ways, led by Mike Dillon playing a vibraphone and ranting in to the mic. The current lineup includes some of New Orleans’ best musicians: Nathan Lambertson is a top-rated upright jazz bassist with a punk-rock heart of gold; Cliff Hines is the backbone of this group providing amazing counterpoint and power on the guitar; and on drums, Paul Thibodeaux and Claude Coleman Jr. take turns battling providing the pocket and percussive artillery. Check out the killer set from this summer, on video below!
Tickets for the 21+ NYE party are $25/person and are available online while they last.
HOT SPRINGS NYE LIVE MUSIC
BIG PIPH & MORE AT MAXINE’S
Maxine’s Live in Hot Springs has a eclectic lineup of outstanding Arkansas music, with openers All The Way Korean, Hot Springs alt-rockers Ghost Bones, and Little Rock’s best hip-hop act yet, Big Piph (video below). Ages 21+, starts at 8, admission $12.
For more on Hot Springs New Year’s Eve live music parties, check out our story, Hot Springs NYE Options Include Jazz, White Chocolate, Stardust Big Band
RUSSELLVILLE/DARDANELLE NYE LIVE MUSIC
MATT STELL AT FRONT STREET GRILL
Front Street Grill hosts a NYE party featuring Matt Stell, and the $10 ticket (available online here) includes appetizers, midnight champagne toast, and even black-eyed peas. From the venue: “Music, hats, fried chicken, desserts served with entrees, football, hoops, blessings, memories, inside jokes, motels with wifi, diesel, etc. … These are all things that make up a Matt Stell song, and you just have to be there to experience it!”
EL DORADO NYE LIVE MUSIC
R&B, HIP-HOP, FUNK PARTY AT GRIFFIN MUSIC HALL
El Dorado’s Murphy Arts District hosts a NYE party at Griffin Music Hall featuring Windstorm, Shreveport, Louisiana’s best-known party band that plays a wide range of songs from soul, blues and R&B, to pop, hip-hop, and of course old-school funk. Tickets start at $40 and a dinner package is also offered; get your tickets online at EldoMAD.com.
Check them out for yourself!
JONESBORO NYE LIVE MUSIC
FUNK DONORS AT CREGEENS
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Gotta work New Year’s Eve?
Here’s an idea: Start the new year off with some fun and reward yourself for a hard-earned 2017 and take a little road trip on Jan. 1 to Tulsa.
Cain’s Ballroom is hosting the Hangover Ball 2018 featuring an outstanding collaboration of top Red Dirt and alt-country performers that you’ll not likely ever see together in one place again – at least not for under $100 a ticket. Scheduled performers include Cody Canada (Cross Canadian Ragweed, Cody Canada & The Departed), Evan Felker (Turnpike Troubadours), Jason Boland, Mike McClure, Wade Bowen, Jamie Lin Wilson, William Clark Green, and BJ Barham (American Aquarium).
Doors open at 7, show starts at 8. Tickets are $22 in advance or $25 day of show for GA and $42 for mezzanine seating.