There are many ways to ring in the New Year. There's always the Megabus ticket to New York to see the ball drop, or the turnpike drive to Lebanon, Pa., to watch them drop a huge stick of bologna. Or you could go out on the town in Pittsburgh and see some music — and there are plenty of opportunities for that. Here's a roundup of some of the notable events happening on the 31st.
The biggest New Year's Eve event in town is always First Night, Downtown. As usual, the Cultural Trust's event features a good bit of live music. At the August Wilson Center (980 Liberty Ave.), AcoustiCafe is hosting a number of local singer-songwriters: Ben Shannon, Joy Ike, Mark Dignam and a slew of others play kid-friendly sets all evening. Elsewhere, WYEP hosts a stage at 121 Seventh Street that features local bands Broken Fences and Young Brokaw. Cello Fury plays a series of sets at 805 Liberty Ave., and the main-stage performance comes from headliner Dirty Dozen Brass Band, who will ring it in on the Highmark Stage on Penn Avenue.
First Night isn't the only place to find national headlining acts on New Year's Eve, though. At Altar Bar (1620 Penn Ave., Strip District), all-woman Led Zeppelin tribute act Lez Zeppelin gets top billing. At Mr. Small's (400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale), Foxy Shazam plays (see Critics' Picks, page TKTK).
At Round Corner Cantina (3720 Butler St., Lawrenceville), New Jersey's Mike Simonetti is the big-name DJ; the Troubleman Unlimited label owner founded Italians Do It Better, perhaps the best-known purveyor of contemporary disco. And if you go to Cantina before you hit 6119, the VIA space (6119 Penn Ave., East Liberty), you'll get a discount at the door there to see Brooklyn bass producer Brenmar headline along with house DJ MikeQ. That bill is rounded out by Shisa, Lauren G, Edgar Um, Keeb$ and Aaron Clark, of Humanaut and Honcho. Plus, it's a VIA event, so there will be visuals from plenty of local artists to help keep it weird.
Or you could go the locavore's route and ring in lucky '13 with all-Pittsburgh music. At Thunderbird Café (4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville), City Dwelling Nature Seekers play with Triggers. A few blocks away at Cattivo (146 44th St., Lawrenceville), the Sinferno/Hanging Garden series welcomes guests The Bloody Seaman. Up the hill at Brillobox (4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield), an unexpected alliance is formed between country rockers The Harlan Twins, Pittsburgh Track Authority and the Pandemic DJs. At Howlers (4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield), The Bessemers headline.
Down on the South Side, local-boys-gone-west 28 North play, along with The Old E All Stars and Poogie Bell, at the Rex Theater (1602 E. Carson St.). In East Liberty, Shadow Lounge (5972 Baum Blvd.) hosts its last New Year's Eve celebration as it prepares to relocate to places yet-unknown; DJ Nate Da Phat Barber, Selecta, SMI and Big Phil will be spinning there.
And the punkest New Year's Eve in town will be at The Shop (4312 Main St., Bloomfield): Zeitgeist, Come Holy Spirit, Drug Lust and a host of others play, in a benefit for pirate-radio station WSDR.