As far as years go, 2011 wasn't one of the best. Sure, getting out mitts on Tom Waits' latest album was pretty sweet, but we coulda lived without the major tragedies and the never-ending financial nightmare. We're eager for this year to end, but not before we send it out on a positive note with a memorable New Year's Eve. If you're also hoping for high jinks and high adventure on Auld Lang Syne, check out the list of potent parties taking place around the Valley on Saturday, December 31. And you also could be the winner of a case of Bud Light, 10 Harkins Movie Passes, and a $50 gift card to Coach & Willie's. Just count the number of Bud Cards in this guide (all of them) and enter your guess online at www.phoenixnewtimes.com/budweiser. Winners must be 21 and older. Winner will be selected at random and notified by phone Thursday, December 29, 2011. — Benjamin Leatherman
SPECIAL EVENTS & CONCERTS
New Year's Eve guide
440 N. 32nd St.
Fans of Mötley Crüe and David Lee Roth-era of Van Halen won't wanna miss KUPD's New Year's Eve affair starring tribute acts Motley, Inc. and The Atomic Punks. Doors are at 8 p.m.; $5 general admission, $10 reserved seating. Call 602-267-1600.
Fort McDowell Casino
10424 N. Fort McDowell Rd., Fort Mcdowell
Enjoy free appetizers, party favors, a free champagne toast at midnight, and music from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the Lucky 7 Saloon from The Whip-its. Call 602-843-3678.
Montelucia Resort & Spa
4949 E. Lincoln Dr., Scottsdale
Radio Junket and DJ XXXclusive will be the featured entertainment at the resort's New Year's Eve gala, which also promises dancing, champagne, and more. 7 p.m.; $45-$75 for general admission, $1,500 for VIP entry. Call 480-627-3200.
203 W. Adams St.
It wouldn't be Auld Lang Syne without a concert by perennial New Year's Eve favorite Jerry Riopelle, who will present an evening of his blues-rock hits with support from Garland Jeffreys. 9 p.m. $45-$100. Call 480-784-4444 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
The Marquee Theatre
730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe
Jason DeVore and the boys from Mesa's Authority Zero will be celebrating New Year's Eve in front of a hometown crowd with an evening of ska-punk along with the Voodoo Glow Skulls. Valley bands Lookoutlook, Inept Hero, and Riot Act are also scheduled to appear. 6 p.m., $22. Call 480-829-0707.
Scottsdale's Ultimate Block Party
Craftsman Court, Scottsdale
The Old Town fete mixes champagne, cocktails, and bands aplenty, as well as the usual staples, like a fireworks show at midnight. Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers headline the main stage, which also includes performances by Veragroove and The Black Moods. Various food, beverage, and street vendors also will be on hand. 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door. See www.scotts dalesultimateblockparty.com.
225 E. Adams St.
The Phoenix Symphony presents its annual New Year's Eve concert, offering its rendition of Broadway hits, as well as a selection of Strauss waltzes. 7:30 p.m., $37 and up. Call 602-495-1999.
US Airways Center
201 E. Jefferson St.
The King of Pop will be feted in grand fashion when Cirque du Soleil stages Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour to downtown Phoenix. 8 p.m., $50-$175. Call 480-784-4444 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino
5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler
The Ovations Live! Showroom hosts an evening of rock 'n' roll action from Powerdrive. 8 p.m., $25-$250. Call 800-946-4452.
The Compound Grill
7000 E. Mayo Blvd.
Texas roots rockers Uncle Lucius will serve up an enticing sonic stew combining country twang with R&B grooves for the Compound's patrons during its New Year's Eve celebration. The Sugar Thieves will open the show. 8:30 p.m., $20-$25. Call 480-585-5483.
El Hefe Super Macho Taqueria
4425 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale
DJ Diesel will be in the mix all evening at what's sure to be a packed party, which will feature penny drinks all night. A wealth of table service and seating options are available, ranging from $800 for the personal tap booths to $1,000 for the stage above the bar. 8 p.m., $50 and up. El Hefe will also reopen at 6 a.m. on January 1 for the "New Year's Day Wake & Bake," which offers a complimentary buffet, bottomless mimosas, a Bloody Mary bar, and house music from DJ Thomas James. Call 480-241-2682.
430 N. Power Rd., Mesa
This East Valley eatery will offer a special $24.99 dinner for two featuring a shared appetizer and dessert, champagne toast at midnight, two entrees, and more. Live music will also be offered throughout the night. 5 p.m. Call 480-924-8778.
Mastro's City Hall Steakhouse
6991 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale
Dine on selections from the à la carte menu and enjoy live entertainment by The Nate Willams Band before partaking in the midnight champagne toast. Private dining rooms are also available for parties. 5 p.m. Call 602-264-2655.
Mastro's Ocean Club
15045 N. Kierland Blvd., Scottsdale
Mastro's private dining rooms will be available on New Year's Eve, an à la carte menu will be served, The Joey and Link Band offers live entertainment, and a champagne toast takes place at midnight. 5 p.m., $50-$100. Call 602-264-2655.
7373 E. Camlelback Rd.
Chef Johnny Chu will provide a five-course repast featuring orange chicken puffs, wasabi shu mai, asian mint shrimp, black dragon fish, and sweet wontons during The Mint's "Vintage" celebration. 7 p.m.; $50 for guys, $20 for gals, $35 for dinner. Call 602-264-2655.
9343 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale
Partake in a three-course dinner during two seatings (from 5:30 to 6 p.m. and 7:45 to 8:15 p.m.), each of which includes music by singer-songwriter Alan Dequina and a glass of champagne for each adult. $65 per person. Call 480-614-9400.
4232 E. Chandler Blvd., Phoenix
New Year's Eve dinner with two seatings available. Reservations requested. 5:30-11 p.m. Call 480-706-2200.
Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill
2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe
A special dinner menu featuring rock salt prime rib, crab-stuffed Atlantic salmon, grilled sirloin and scampi prawns and other delights will be served. A video DJ kicks off the New Year's countdown starting at 9:30 p.m., leading up to the midnight champagne toast. 5 p.m. Call 480-968-2920.
BARS & CLUBS
910 N. McClintock Dr., Tempe
Power 98.3 will broadcast live from this New Year's Eve affair, which will also offer hip-hop performances, a fashion show by New World Culture, $2 drinks until 10 p.m., champagne toast at midnight, and more. 7 p.m., $15. Call 480-966-0707.
5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler
The bubbly starts pouring just before midnight while DJ Decipha from 101.5 Jamz will dropping Top 40, house music, and hip-hop all evening. VIP and table service will be available via reservation only. 9 p.m., $30. Call 800-946-4452.
7340 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale
If the upcoming Guns N' Roses concert doesn't completely satisfy your appetite for destruction, head for Axis/Radius for its epic "Welcome To The Jungle" New Year's Eve party. Sport your trashiest rock star attire and hang out with Steven Adler, the band's original drummer, who is scheduled to appear. 9 p.m.; $25 per person, $45 per couple. Call 480-970-1112 or see www.eegtickets.com.
7341 E. 6th Ave., Scottsdale
Celebrate on all three floors this towering tavern, which will feature a special dinner menu, DJs and live entertainment, and plenty of libations. Call 480-949-6535.
The Blooze Bar
12014 N. 32nd St.
The hair rockers of Lit-Up are the featured performers at this New Year's Eve hootenanny, which also will offer party favors and a midnight champagne toast. 8:30 p.m., $5. Call 602-788-4574.
1017 N. Dobson Rd., Mesa
New Year's Eve party with DJs and dancing, $2 Coors and Miller pints, and a midnight champagne toast. 8 p.m.; free for ladies, $3 for guys. Call 480-833-2226.
2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe
Live music from local bands, DJ J. Paul in the mix, bottle service, dancing, and more. 8 p.m., $5 (or free for those who RSVP on Facebook). Call 480-894-1111.
CK's Tavern and Grill
4142 E. Chandler Blvd., Phoenix
Music by Angry Inch, drink specials, party favors, and more. 9:30 p.m. Call 480-706-5564.
2155 E. University Dr., Tempe
The buxom beauties of Romantasy Cabaret will provide thrills aplenty during their New Year's Eve Masquerade Gala, which will include a spectacular Vaudeville-style variety show full of skits, dancing, comedy, magic, and live music by Tucson's "flamenco fusion" act Tesoro. 9:30 p.m., $25-$50. See www.brownpapertickets.com.
28244 N. Tatum Blvd., Cave Creek
New Year's Eve party with food and drink specials, party favors, live music from The Crown Kings, shuttle service, and complimentary champagne toast at midnight. 6 p.m. Call 480-538-8008.
50 W. Jefferson St.
Live music by EastonAshe, midnight champagne toast, and more. Discounted table and dinner packages are also available. 6 p.m., $20 pre-sale. Call 480-719-5005.
308 N. 2nd Ave.
DJ Sean Watson will provide cheap thrills aplenty at his "New Years Eve Pahtay" inside the Crescent's popular lounge as he spins indie rock and obscura along with cohorts BC/AD, Benni Beatnik, Ariel, Aaron Hempsey, HartBreaks, and others. A midnight champagne toast and $3 drink specials also are promised. 7 p.m., free. Call 602-716-2222.
3432 E. Illini St.
The beefcake male dancers will be strutting their stuff all night during the "Cock 'n' Tail New Year's Eve Party," which will also feature a champagne toast at midnight. 7 p.m., $20 (includes first beverage free). Call 602-274-3425.
Dubliner Irish Pub
3841 E. Thunderbird Rd.
Live music from Spectrum, party favors, midnight champagne toast, and more. Reservations recommended. 8:30 p.m., $5. Call 602-867-0984.
4312 N. Brown Ave., Scottsdale
New Year's Eve extravaganza with a complimentary hosted Ciroc bar from 8-10 p.m., beats by DJ Death to the Throne, VIP packages, a midnight champagne toast, and more. 8 p.m. Call 480-747-1633.
Flanny's Bar & Grill
1805 E. Elliot Rd., Tempe
The Drive will perform, drink deals and a special menu will be offered with a champagne toast at midnight. 8 p.m. Call 480-659-0870.
Goat Head Saloon
1423 S. Country Club Dr., Mesa
Joan Jett tribute Bad Reputation and local cover band Rock City Rebels will lay down some licks. 8 p.m., $12-$13. Call 480-464-8030.
2610 W. Baseline Rd., Mesa
Punk bands 80-D and The Jerk Officers will perform. 8 p.m., $5. Call 480-820-7117.
1371 N. Alma School Rd., Chandler
Spend the waning hours of 2011 drinking, dining, dancing, and debauching at this East Valley establishment's "Playboy Mansion Party." Go-go dancers will strut their stuff, spirits will flow down an ice luge, complimentary champagne will be served, and both Bootleg Frantic and DJs will perform. A four-course steak and shrimp dinner will be also available for $18.95 per person. 5 p.m. Call 480-899-6735.
4280 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale
Hip-hop beats and Top 40 tracks will be spun by DJ Dario during Surge Entertainment's New Year's Eve soiree. VIP packages offering Magnum Moet White Star, Ciroc, and Patron are available for $750. 10 p.m.; $20 presale, $25 at the door. Call 480-429-4494 or see www.surgenights.com.
13825 N. 32nd St.
New Year's Eve bash featuring live R&B music. 8 p.m.; $8 presale, $10 at the door. Call 602-992-1007.
Marc's Sports Grill and Nightlife
4494 W. Peoria Ave, Glendale
DJs and dancing in the main bar, karaoke in the MarcTini Lounge, party favors, a complimentary champagne toast at midnight, and four balloon drops. Food specials include 35-cent wings until 8 p.m. Free before 9 p.m., $4 thereafter. Call 623-842-1053.
7295 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale
Guitar guru Reynaldo Moreno will strum up a storm on New Year's Eve. 8 p.m. Call 480-970-0500.
Monkey Pants Bar & Grill
3223 S. Mill Ave., Tempe
The pranksters at this goofy Tempe bar will hold the "New Years Shirtless Rocking Eve and White Sale," which may or may not include hourly champagne toasts for all the European time zones, as well as "hug tag and deep tissue massages from our security guy Elliot." 8 p.m. Call 480-377-8100.
2120 W. Guadalupe Rd., Mesa
Bid farewell to 2011 with music from Rock Addix, drink specials, dancing, party favors, midnight champagne toast, and a complimentary shuttle service (within a five-mile radius). 8 p.m., $10. Call 480-756-6069.
4338 W. Bell Rd., Glendale
J. David Sloan and Western Bred will provide a country-filled countdown to 2012 this party, which also features party favors, a midnight champagne toast, and more. 7:30 p.m., $10. Table reservations are $25, which can also be applied towards food and drink purchases. Call 602-547-9406.
1019 E. Indian School Rd.
New Year's Eve party with music from Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns, party favors, and a midnight champagne toast. 8 p.m., $15. Call 602-265-4842.
Rips Ales & Cocktails
3045 N. 16th St.
The dance floor is likely to be packed when Roya and Adrian Flanagan spin indie, '80s, and Britpop songs during Obscura's Final Countdown. As always, cheap drinks will be served and giveaways of CDs and concerts tickets will be doled out. 8 p.m.; $5 before 10 p.m., $10 thereafter. Call 602-266-0015.
The Sail Inn
26 S. Farmer Ave., Tempe
Musical hybrids and hyphenates will be in excess during this New Year's Eve event, whether it's the breathy ska-folk of Sara McAllister, the blues-laced Americana of The Sugar Thieves, the jazzy funk of Four Year Plan, or even the "psychiatry-couch rock" of Strange Young Things. Free food, party favors, and primo views of the Tempe fireworks at midnight are also promised. 7 p.m., $10 (which includes top-shelf liquor the entire night). Call 480-966-9565.
4343 N. 7th Ave.
The Baroque digs of this cathedral-like dance club will be transformed into a Batcave of sorts for the "dark and gloomy" Necropolis party. Post-punk, death rock, gothic, early EBM, and darkwave will be spun by DJs Noiz.Fkr, AKA, Benom, and Aeternum. 9 p.m.; $5 after 10 p.m.
1001 N. Tatum Blvd.
7200 W. Ray Rd., Chandler
All you'll need during the "Fast Times at Sandbar High" parties taking place at either location are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and you'll be fine. If you require something more, bartenders will pour such retro cocktails as Harvey Wallbangers, Tequila Sunrises, and Slow Comfortable Screws. Complimentary Coronitas will be available at midnight and rad BMX bikes will be given away during the event. 8 p.m., free. Call 480-961-1700 or 480-585-5900.
The Shout! House
6770 N. Sunrise Blvd., Glendale
Burlesque-themed dueling piano show and New Year's Eve celebration featuring a prime rib buffet dinner, souvenir glassware, champagne toast at midnight, party favors, and more. 6 p.m., $20-$85. Call 623-772-1500.
7333 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale
Hoping to spy someone famous up in the club? The promoters of this New Year's Eve extravaganza are promising that "only the Valley's most influential" will be poppin' bottles inside Suede all evening while listening to hits laid down by DJs and toasting 2012 with champagne at midnight. VIP packages are available if you'd like to join 'em. 9 p.m. Call 480-406-0838 for cover and reservations.
Steel Horse Saloon
1818 W. Bell Rd.
Toast the new year with rock from High & Tight, free party favors, drink special, and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight followed by a breakfast buffet. 8 p.m. Call 602-942-8778.
2808 E. Indian School Rd.
New Year's Eve with live music by Headroom, drink specials, and more. 9:30 p.m. Call 602-840-0991.
1810 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe
Tempe music scene veterans Dead Hot Workshop offer a special New Year's Ever show with The Persuaders, and Ghetto Cowgirl. 9 p.m. Call 480-794-1706.
9201 N. 29th Ave.
An open bar featuring import drafts (Smithwicks, Guinness, Bass) and premium spirits (Jameson, Captain Morgan, Three Olives) will be available from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at this North Valley pub. A midnight champagne toast, giveaways, party favors, and rock music from Jim Gregory are also planned. 7 p.m.; $25 for ladies, $30 for men. Call 602-997-2323.
Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill
1065 N Dobson Rd., Mesa
White Trash New Year's Bash with country tunes from Marshal Reign, a champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight, and more. 6 p.m.; $20 for singles, $35 for couples, $50 for VIP. Call 480-844-8629.
2915 N. 68th St., Scottsdale
Booze-a-palooza party with music from TT's renowned jukebox, drink specials, and free champagne at midnight. Open until midnight. Call 480-947-8723.
What the Hell Bar & Grill
10262 E. Apache Trail, Apache Junction
Music by Hardride, party favors, champagne at midnight, and a breakfast buffet. 9 p.m., $5. Call 480-986-8974.
Yucca Tap Room
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29 W. Southern Ave., Tempe
Nintendo nerds will mix with Mohawked punks and garage rock fans as 8-bit cover band Minibosses and retro foursome The Love Me Nots team up for what's certain to be a memorable show. San Francisco indie pop act The Bruises and locals High Horse and Scorpion vs. Tarantula are also scheduled to perform. 9 p.m. Free. Call 480-967-4777.