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The last 10 days of 2012 sure seems to be one of the strangest in recent memory. Christmas on a Tuesday, New Year's Eve on a Monday and throw in the ridiculous media frenzy over the Mayan end of the world as we know it, and you've got some serious looniness.

Well, hope you've made you plans to ring out 2012 and ring in 2013. There are plenty of things going on, with First Night Monterey celebrating its 20th year of celebrating the arts in our community (see story in this issue of GO!) and a unique Brazilian Carnaval celebration at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas.

That event not only features samba dancers from Rio, capoeira martial artists/dancers, samba band Olodum and DJs, but an open bar and three admissions, including general (only $55, whch for New Year's Eve is pretty reasonable), VIP and Super VIP!

The event is presented by a Hollywood Production Company, Ariel DeMundoPresents and all the details are at

Check out our listing of events for New Year's Eve for more festivities, many of them with free admittance, such as a bluegrass New Year's Eve with Microtonic Harmonic at London Bridge Pub; Cheeky Spanks rocking the Fuse Lounge in Carmel; Band of Ninjas at the newly renovated Bullwacker's on Cannery Row; and BTA playing R&B and funk at Casa Sorrento in Salinas.


The interesting thing about New Year's Eve being on a Monday is that there's a lot of time — a whole weekend, in fact — for some pre-New Year's Eve frivolity in local clubs.

For example, The Money Band bassist Michael Chatfield has only one gig in about 10 days and he's itching to play, so he decided to call up a few musician friends to put on a "Pre-New Year's Eve All-Star Bash" Sunday night at Flanagan's in The Barnyard shopping village in Carmel.

Joining Chat will be "Guitar Bob" Ohsiek, keyboardist Donny Dickman, fellow Money Band member Steve Moseley on guitar and a drummer to be announced. My guess is there will be a lot of classic rock, a few blues tunes and who knows, a surprise guest or two.

It all gets going at 9 p.m., no cover charge of course, a full bar and full menu at Flanagan's, whch has a nice deck with fireplace to enjoy if this infernal rain ever stops!

Some other intriguing pre-New Year's Eve shows include:

· Santa Cruz retro soul band Harry & The Hitmen with Battlehooch playing Friday night at Fernwood Resort in Big Sur.

· Chicago-born brother/sister duo, Hey! Little Sister plays Thursday night at the Golden State Theatre in Monterey. Christopher Brian Heerdt (aka "Cowboy") and younger sister Jenna Heerdt ("Little Bird") started writing together while little sister was still in high school.

Cowboy has been active on the local music scene with his Cowboy Starr Project and free monthly Songwriters Showcase at Carbone's, while sis completed a West Coast tour last year and visits during the holidays.

Jenna is a classically trained jazz vocalist, arranger and composer whose style has been likened to Norah Jones and Ingrid Michaelson, while Cowboy is more of an indie rocker that some say is The Killer's Brandon Flowers crossed with Bright Eyes' Conner Oberst. They hope to record an EP while Little Bird is visiting.

Opening at 8 p.m. will be Salinas two-piece indie-pop-reggae band Button Face, $10 door.

· Don't have a whole lot of details on this show, but the East Village Coffee Lounge in Monterey goes punk psychedelic with four acts Saturday night, kicking off with old school punk rocker Soda Gardocki of '90s L.A. punk band Wax.

Gardocki will play solo, playing a 12-string banjo and stomp box in a styles that draws from punk, swamp rock, blues and garage rock. With a voice that sounds like he's channeling Captain Beefheart and gutbucket blues instrumentation, Gardocki is a force of nature, whether he's playing solo or in a 12-piece band, which he also does.

Sean Schievely then showscases his band The People, followed by a new '60s-inspired rock band The Tomb Weavers, which features Vinyl Revolution owner Bob Gamber and rock promoter Keigan Skydecker.

The headliners will be The Mystery Lights, a Salinas hard rock band with psychedelic tendencies. It's all only $8 for what organizers describe as having a "house party feel."

· Guitarist, singer and songwriter Jay Burriss returns to the London Bridge Pub Saturday night for a show of ecelctic music, from blues and rock to forro and other Brazilian styles. Lots of guests, as usual, will sit in with the Jayster.

· Celtic/folk trio Grumbling Ginger plays Saturday night at Plaza Linda in Carmel Valley. The show starts at

7 p.m., $10 donation a the door.

· Singer John Michael will do his Sinatra thing (and more) Friday night from 6-9 p.m. at Bistro 211 in The Crossroads shopping center. No cover, reservations advised.

· Legendary Monterey rock band the Fabulous Bagtones' Clampett Bash New Year's Eve party will be held from 8-12:30 p.m. in the Monterey Room at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairground Road, Monterey. Jet opens at 8 p.m., The Bagtones go on at 10 p.m. Full bar, $10 suggested donation.

Happy New Year!

Brooklyn's Afrobeat heavyweights Zongo Junction returns to Moe's alley in Santa Cruz for a special double bill with Brooklyn funk favorites Turkuaz at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30. Doors opoen at 8 p.m., $9 advance, $12 door.

Boston-based "dream-folk" singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler performs Thursday night, Jan. 3, at 9 at Don Quixote's in Felton. $10 advance, $12 door, 21 and older. She's touring in support of her new album, "The Sister."