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Yes, New Year's Eve is on a Monday night, but you can still party close to home 

I don't know about you guys, but I have to work on Monday, Dec. 31, so I'm not leaving town this year for New Year's Eve. Yes, that's definitely a sad face emoji—the one with blue waterfalls of tears streaming down both sides of its unhappy yellow face.

click to enlarge PEACE AND UNITY Get your ska love on with The English Beat at The Fremont on Monday, Dec. 31. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ENGLISH BEAT
  • Photo Courtesy Of The English Beat
  • PEACE AND UNITY Get your ska love on with The English Beat at The Fremont on Monday, Dec. 31.

There are plenty of shows to hit up in town this year if you don't feel like sitting on your couch and watching that ball in New York drop through your television. Even if it is in HD, it's just not the same as being there in the big city, being crushed by thousands of people behind one of the gated off streets, smelling urine, and freezing your ass off while the too drunk person next you struggles to stand up straight.

Lucky for you, the weather's much nicer here, and you don't have to spend a bunch of money on flights to celebrate. You can catch an Uber or Lyft to somewhere close and then fall asleep in your own bed after the final countdown takes us into 2019.

Maybe you wanted to move on over to the other side of the pond to connect with this country's British heritage. The English Beat headlines at the Fremont Theater on Monday, Dec. 31 (8 p.m., 16-and-older, $22.50 to $45 at eventbrite.com and Boo Boo Records). It all started on a weird and wild weekend in March 1979, when The Beat played their first concert in Birmingham, England. With a message of love and unity, The Beat's part in the British ska movement is undeniable. Dave Wakeling keeps The Beat alive by playing all the band's hits and songs off the first new album in 36 years (released in May), Here We Go Love.

click to enlarge DANCE OFF Play some craps and dance to the lively horn(y) sounds of Brass Mash on New Year's Eve at the SLO Brew Rock Event Center. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BRASS MASH
  • Photo Courtesy Of Brass Mash
  • DANCE OFF Play some craps and dance to the lively horn(y) sounds of Brass Mash on New Year's Eve at the SLO Brew Rock Event Center.

Feeling like it's a Vegas kind of night? The SLO Brew Rock Event Center is hosting a Casino Royale New Year's Eve bash with Brass Mash. You can shake your ass to some brassy dance-worthy tunes all night in between rounds of blackjack, craps, and roulette. Your ticket will include chips for casino play, appetizers from Chef Thomas Fundaro, and a champagne toast at midnight. The party on Monday, Dec. 31, starts at 8 p.m. (21-and-older, $59 at slobrew.com).

Or maybe that Venice, Italy, flair is more your game. Dance your way into the New Year in downtown SLO at SLO Brew with the New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball starting on Monday, Dec. 31, at 10 p.m. DJ Amy Robbins will get the dance floor bumping (21-and-older, $30 at slobrew.com), so head to the craft store for feathers, fake flowers, and plaster and get that hot glue gun plugged in. You're going to need a mask for this one.

A funky trip back a few decades could also be sweet. Bell bottoms, loud shirts, and butterfly collars with big hair and possibly some neon sequins and platform pumps should do you right if you head to The Siren in Morro Bay on Monday, Dec. 31, where the Humbolt-based super funk group Diggin' Dirt will help you groove your way into 2019 (doors at 8 p.m., 21-and-over, $25 at ticketfly.com or Boo Boo Records).

click to enlarge STEP BACK Celebrate with Unfinished Business and a 1960s Rock'n'Soul bash at Embassy Suites on Dec. 31. - PHOTO COURTESY OF UNFINISHED BUSINESS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Unfinished Business
  • STEP BACK Celebrate with Unfinished Business and a 1960s Rock'n'Soul bash at Embassy Suites on Dec. 31.

Not far back in time enough for you? Step back one more decade with Unifinished Business and guest vocalist Roy Henry as they play a '60s Rock'n'Soul New Year's Eve Bash at the SLO Embassy Suites on Monday, Dec. 31. All tickets include a buffet dinner with cash bar service and special overnight hotel rates (doors at 6 p.m., dinner buffet at 7 to 8:15, music from 9 to 12:15 a.m.; $85 to $95 at my805tix.com).

Other poppin' beats

Before Mötley Crüe, one band was already pummeling their instruments in rock joints across the nation. In the 1970s, when members of Y&T were sweating all over stages, they didn't know what would come in the future when hard rock bands like RATT and Metallica would light up the charts. Born in Oakland as Yesterday and Today, the band shorted their name to Y&T in the '80s.

click to enlarge HEAD BANG Sweat to the hard rock jams of Y&T at the Fremont on Dec. 28. - PHOTO COURTESY OF Y&T
  • Photo Courtesy Of Y&t
  • HEAD BANG Sweat to the hard rock jams of Y&T at the Fremont on Dec. 28.

Three greatest hits collections and 18 albums later, Y&T has sold more than four million albums since 1974, and the band's most recent single, "I'm Coming Home," has roughly 1.5 million views on YouTube, according to press materials. "Prepare to have your face melted" as Y&T plays The Fremont on Friday, Dec. 28 (doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m., 16-and-older, $25 at Boo Boo Records or eventbrite.com).

click to enlarge FAST FEET The house and trap stylings of Ookay will beam the Fremont into a dancehall of sound on Dec. 30. - PHOTO COURTESY OF OOKAY
  • Photo Courtesy Of Ookay
  • FAST FEET The house and trap stylings of Ookay will beam the Fremont into a dancehall of sound on Dec. 30.

San Diego's Abraham Laguna—the artist also known as Ookay—will bump the Fremont Theater on Sunday, Dec. 30, with his house music and trap-style productions (doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m., 16-and-older, $24 on eventbrite.com or Boo Boo Records). Ookay began producing electronic dance tracks in his early 20s under the name Leisure. Ookay's 2016 hit "Thief" reached No. 27 on Billboard's Dance/Electronic Digital Songs chart and earned millions of digital streams. In May 2018, the artist released his first full-length album, Wow! Cool Album!

Charlie McNeal takes over The Siren on Friday, Dec. 28, with The Creston Line opening (doors at 7:30 p.m., 21-and-over, $10 to $12 at Boo Boo Records and ticketfly.com). McNeal's debut single, "A Little Less Coke (And A Lot More Whiskey)," is just a taste of what he offered on his first full-length EP Remember the Time, which he released in 2016. He released his sophomore album in 2018, Runaway Train, before he turned 18. Despite his age, McNeal sings full-throated country songs about heartbreak and despair.

Burning James and the Funky Flames' subgroup, Burning, Bad & Cool, bring funk and soul to Puffers of Pismo on Thursday, Dec. 27, at 6:30 p.m. and the Blacklake Golf Resort's "Inside" concert series on Saturday, Dec. 29, at 5 p.m. if you head to Blacklake, be ready for some Temptations, Sam Cooke, and soul classics! Δ

Editor Camillia Lanham is ready for 2019 and filling in for Glen Starkey this week. Keep up with New Times Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey via Twitter at twitter.com/glenstarkey, friend him at facebook.com/glenstarkey, or contact him at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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