New Year's Eve, the millennium minus one, promises to be a night of introspection, intoxication and celebration. It's the night when ordinary people, broke from Christmas and overweight from all that food, do extraordinary things, like drink more than they should, then dance as if they know how.
As usual, plenty of places in the county will have plenty of bands to provide a hopefully suitable soundtrack for all that whoopee.
More than half of these venues have hired classic-rock cover bands to play the same old song for the revelers. Other clubs have karaoke or DJs. Cover charges vary from club to club. So, what follows is a listing of places with live music of the rock 'n' roll persuasion, from the east county and heading west. Here we go:
With the exception of the Jumpin' Joe Band doing that swing thing at the Radisson Hotel, it's pretty much classic rock all over Simi Valley. At the largest and most popular dance club, the Tree House, it's classic rock from Studebaker Hawk. Elsewhere, it's the Saints with Vicki Thomas at the Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill. Hot Wired plays Season Ticket, while across the street at Schooner Time it's Replay.
Over the hill in the Conejo Valley, it's the Copy Cats doing the classic-rock thing at the Hyatt Westlake, where a variety of specials will be offered, including a meal, dancing and even a room to flop in after all that fun. The most popular artist that plays the Lounge, "Rockin' Rick" Hunter, will be doing the classic-rock thing. A few miles away at the Hungry Hunter, Daniel Richards and Matt James and their musical pals will do the big-band thing.
At Azar's Red Robin in Newbury Park, Good to Go will do--guess what?--the classic-rock thing. Down the Conejo Grade in Camarillo, the Jony Parker Band will play original and classic rock at the Crab House Restaurant. A few miles north at A & M's Roadhouse in Oxnard, across the freeway from all those malls that now cover some of the best farmland in California, it'll be the Roadhouse Rockers, featuring Art the Owner and his pals doing classic rock.
A 12-piece funk band, the Soul City Survivors, will be responsible for spontaneous outbreaks of dancing at the Whale's Tail in Oxnard. Rich Geddes & the Mystery Band will be doing nothing more mysterious than classic rock at Champs. Societe will do big-band swing at Casa Sirena Hotel, and the Hux Reid Orchestra will do likewise at the Mandalay Beach Resort.
In one of the better shows of the evening, the Pontiax out of Santa Barbara, led by charismatic front man Mitch Kashmar, will do the rockin' blues at Port Royal in Channel Islands--a venue from where one can sit comfortably at the bar and watch rich people cruise silently by on their yachts.
Damian & Thunder will shake east Ventura with some classic rock at the Keynote Lounge. A few miles away at O'Leary's Side Bar, count on more classic rock from Night Train. At the Victoria Pub, Global 33 will provide original rock.
At Alexander's, located at the entrance to the Ventura Harbor, Nemo & the Boomerangs will play some classic rock for the tourists and some of the local boat people. Not far away, Blue Stew, one of the best local blues bands, will be playing at Hi Cees, a seaside bar with no spelling skills but always plenty of dancers. The Doubletree Hotel, which usually hires DJs, will instead have two groups on New Year's.
One is a hot swing band out of L.A., the Zoot Suit Review; and for those desiring something a bit mellower, the Chet McCracken Band will play jazz and blues.
In Midtown Ventura at the Red Cove, where pool is still just a quarter, Bang Crosby will play loud and hard rock. Downtown at the Ventura Theatre, expect nothing but the hits from Westlake local Eddie Money, who still hasn't lost that New York accent.
Crosscut will do the classic-rock thing for all the tourists at the Holiday Inn. Two blocks away up California Street at the Bombay Bar & Grill, the two greatest bands in all of Oxnard will share the bill, No Regrets and those Ska Daddyz.
Meanwhile, a third band, Custom Made, will play dance music for the older crowd in the front bar. Close by at California 66 will be a veritable who's who of local rock stars, including the legendary Jimmy Adams, Dan Wilson and Suzanne Paris hosting an all-star jam session.
At Nicholby's, it'll be the end of an era when the Polyester Pimps do the disco thing one last time upstairs. (Nicholby's will have original rock six nights a week beginning in January.) In one of the better shows of the evening, the Guy Martin Group will play very electric blues at Cafe Voltaire. Down at the Derby Club, located at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, Floyd "Hey, Bartender" Dixon and Tony Matthews will play the blues at the popular off-track betting site, yet another birthplace of the blues.
Heading up Highway 33 toward Ojai, Jimmy Legs, a band that knows about 500 songs, should satisfy most classic-rock requests at Mojo's in Oak View. Considerably mellower will be Julie Christensen, a subtle jazz and blues singer who will be performing at Gael's Restaurant. And Jerry Pugh & Studebaker will play rockin' blues at the world famous Deer Lodge in Meiners Oaks.