For performers, things get tricky as midnight approaches on the final night of the year.
“It’s a weird juggling,” says Davina Lozier, whose band Davina & the Vagabonds will play its eighth consecutive New Year’s Eve gig at the Dakota in Minneapolis. “Sometimes I have to cut a song short to be on time.”
To make sure she doesn’t miss the official welcoming of the new year, the big-voiced, big-fun singer/pianist consults an app: “I keep track on my phone and count down from 15 seconds.”
Playing his 40th-something New Year’s gig, Pat Hayes of Lamont Cranston also relies on a smartphone app. Well, one of his younger, more tech-savvy bandmates does. “We have a countdown, everybody sips their Champagne and we play ‘Auld Lang Syne’ — a blues version,” said Hayes.
Playing their ninth consecutive year at the Doubletree Hilton in Bloomington, the Cranstons will be joined by two special guests: former members Bruce McCabe on keyboards and Larry McCabe on trombone. “When you’ve got Bruce, you always sound good,” says Hayes, referring to the songwriter behind “Upper Mississippi Shakedown” and other Cranston favorites. The night will end with a jam featuring opening acts Scottie Miller and the Reverend Raven.
Hayes has performed on New Year’s Eve everywhere from the old Prom Center in St. Paul (in tuxedos) to a Hell’s Angels party in a hall on Lake Street in 1970. He was invited to sit in Monday with Dan Aykroyd’s current incarnation of the Blues Brothers at Treasure Island Casino in Red Wing — the Cranstons actually inspired Aykroyd and John Belushi to create the group. But the logistics obviously make that impossible.
“It’s a real bummer,” Hayes said. “I played with them a year ago last fall. It was a lot of fun.”
Lozier doesn’t plan on any special guests at the Dakota but she has some special surprises — at least, for the second of two shows. She’s trying out some new songs destined to be recorded in 2019.
“For the [6 p.m.] dinner show, we try to be as mellow as we can be, which is still pretty energetic. It’s a nice, even-keel, digestible show,” Lozier said. “With the cocktail show, we hit ’em over the head. We do a Champagne toast, lots of noisemakers, confetti and lots of kissing and hugging. We play ‘Auld Lang Syne’ slow and then we swing it, kick it up very New Orleans style. We’ve had conga lines go over the stage. People have so much fun. It’s not a crowded club atmosphere.”
Lozier has performed for New Year’s ever since she relocated to the Twin Cities 15 years ago. In fact, she can’t remember the last time she went out on Dec. 31.
Hayes can. He vividly remembers a party in 1983 or ’84 at a warehouse hosted by a bunch of local musicians.
“I wore a tweed jacket with a button-down shirt and tie. Very conservative,” Hayes recalled. “I always regret that. I brought along my own cassette and I made them play it. It had some bad songs on it.”
Now Hayes knows better about the songs — and the wardrobe.
A guide to live music on New Year’s Eve
Third Eye Blind: Revisit the ’90s with Stephan Jenkins and crew doing “Semi-Charmed Life,” “Jumper” and “How’s It Going to Be.” (Mystic Lake Casino, Prior Lake, $49-$149)
The Bad Man & Co.: These grooving, sax-spiked punks top a lineup of young, buzzed-about Twin Cities bands, including the Graveyard Club, Kiss the Tiger and Dem Yuut. (7th St. Entry, Mpls., $10-$15)
Ike Reilly: Imagine a fiery Bob Dylan fronting the Clash. This smart Illinois rocker will work solo for a change, at the Minneapolis supper club where he showcased his new solo album “Crooked Love” in a residency earlier this year. (Icehouse, Mpls., $35-$100)
The Killer Vees: The sons and nephews of ’60s pop star Bobby Vee celebrate his legacy, including “Rubber Ball” and “Devil or Angel.” (History Theatre, St. Paul, $40)
The Blues Brothers: Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi don black suits, shades and fedoras to reprise their retro soul-man routine. (Treasure Island Casino, Red Wing, $99-$129)
Snowta: Grammy-winning EDM star Skrillex headlines this third annual dance party. (The Armory, Mpls., $140)
Southside Aces: Get ready for a swingin’, New Orleans flavored dinner show. (6 p.m., Vieux Carre, St. Paul, $70-$75)
Joyann Parker: This powerhouse from Andover kills it, whether covering Etta James or Patsy Cline or doing her own knockout originals in blues, R&B and rock. (10 p.m. Vieux Carre, $40)
Connie Evingson: Another great one from Hibbing, she’ll warm you up with her cool jazz stylings. (5 & 7:30 p.m., Crooners, Fridley, $40-$85)
Belfast Cowboys: Terry Walsh and his horn-punctuated Twin Cities band deliver the songs of Van Morrison and other classic-rock revelers. (9 p.m., Crooners, $85)
Jaybee and the Routine: It’s vintage R&B and funk featuring man-about-the-twin-towns Jellybean Johnson on guitar. (Minnesota Music Café, St. Paul, $10)
Dr. Mambo’s Combo: For 30 years, this group of Twin Cities rock ’n’ soul veterans has been playing at the same club. And their house gig falls on a magic night. (Bunkers, Mpls., $10)
Fabulous Armadillos: The versatile St. Cloud band is known for its tribute shows to the Eagles and other big acts from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. (Medina Entertainment Center, Medina, $22-$32)
Frogleg: You don’t need a partner to twirl around the dance floor to this popular Twin Cities jam band. (Hook & Ladder, Mpls., $22-$25)
Pho: This Twin Cities instrumental funk septet headlines a bill featuring Purple Funk Metropolis and Radiochurch. (Turf Club, St. Paul, $15-$20)
Free & Easy: Everybody dance now to these soul classics. (Famous Dave’s, Mpls., $15)
You Oughta Know: Relive the ’90s with the hits of Alanis Morissette, the Spice Girls, Weezer, Mariah Carey and others. With the ’90s Preservation Society. (Fine Line, Mpls., $15-$35)
The Minneapolis Sound: It’s a Prince tribute band from sunny Florida coming to Minneapolis, where it always snows in December. (Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Mpls., $5)