Funky, folky and fun: The shows of New Year’s Eve

Lawrence is a solid music town with a knack for parties. Even with all the diverse musical tastes that decorate this town, New Year’s Eve is shaping up to be an impressive night of live music.

From the funky to the folky, and everything in between, here’s a rundown of live music kicking off in the downtown area to help revelers ring in the new year.

Split Lip Rayfield/Rolling Foliage/Sugar Britches, 7 p.m., The Bottleneck

The Bottleneck is one of those venues that have consistently delivered delightful New Year’s Eve celebrations recently thanks to Split Lip Rayfield. This powerhouse lineup features the wild and unruly bluegrass of local favorites Split Lip Rayfield, along with Rolling Foliage and the ever-crass Sugar Britches. All three bands recently hit up The Cotillion in Wichita earlier this month.

With 20 years of musical history under their belts, Split Lip tends to draw overflowing crowds to their shows. So if you don’t have a ticket early, you may be out of luck. But if you do, you’ll be wowed by the speed and strain this long-standing favorite has delivered year after year.

Rolling Foliage, another bluegrass party band, has been hitting up festival stages and sepal events all year long. The Britches turned out to be one of the more popular bands of 2015, even though they just fired up their act in late spring. Come for the harmonies, stay for the sexual innuendos.

Gnarly Davidson/Approach/Arc Flash/The Fog, 10 p.m., The Replay Lounge

The Replay is set to host one of the rowdiest shows on New Year’s Eve. While the always impeccable DJ G Train spins outside on the patio, a four-band lineup promises a night of noise on the inside stage. The night mostly features hard rock or punk bands, but it also promises one of the most delightful hip-hop acts in town.

Kansas City’s The Fog, a band with furiously fast strumming, kicks off the night, followed closely by the ever-outlandish space punks Arc Flash. This is a band that plays at the Replay just about every week, and they still draw a crowd every time. The garage rock duo can’t play enough in this town, and the town can’t get enough of them.

Having the powerhouse known as Approach follow is a foolproof idea on the Replay’s part. The venue is almost the rapper’s second home, and we’ve yet to see a show where he doesn’t get everybody worked up, dancing, and throwing their hands in the air. The night finishes out with Gnarly Davidson, a local favorite that will most likely thrash, spit and sweat all over you.

Mouth/Hearts of Darkness/Pink Royal, 7 p.m., The Granada

The Granada’s New Year’s Eve show will be a bittersweet one. Mouth is using this event as a farewell of sorts. The departure of one of the members means an indefinite hiatus for the jazz-infused funk band, who has shared stages with STS9, Bassnectar and more. So they’ll be going out with what is sure to be a bang at the Granada.

They’ll be joined by Kansas City’s Hearts of Darkness, an afrobeat act sporting more than a dozen members and endless good vibes. It’s hard not to dance at a Hearts of Darkness show. Under the vocal leadership of Les Izmore, the band conjures up the soul and funk in everyone. Half the fun of a Hearts of Darkness show is watching the fans, who’ve been known to show up in colorful, sequined attire.

Pink Royal has won the scene over as an adorable pop band with sunny tunes, and they’ll bring light to the dark winter with huggable high notes from their enthusiastic frontman. They’re a barrel of sunshine and are a perfect starter to what will be a nonstop night of hoopla and merriment.

The Band That Saved the World/The Crumpletons, 7 p.m., The Jazzhaus

The Jazzhaus comes to us with a double-header on New Year’s Eve. Starting at 7 p.m., The Crumpletons rock the early show with their classic rock set. Later on, those feeling the need to get down and boogie can indulge in The Band That Saved The World.

Funk’s the name of the game with this one. The band that promises “a good time, every time” is proficient in slow jams (songs you can slowly snap your fingers to) as well as high-energy funk numbers. The band tends to be a regular act at the Jazzhaus, with a horn section that blasts the night away and a suited-up frontman that scoots across the stage.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of


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