It's your last chance to make the year count. Your options are wide open, but if you're in a mind to ring in the new year with rock, pop or R&B, here are my picks for your best alternatives.
Primus: It's always a wacky good time whenever vocalist-bassist Les Claypool takes the stage, with any of his numerous musical projects. It's also usually a mind-blowing evening of rock, which can range in flavor from avant-garde to jam to alternative to progressive. And, oh, yes, there will be bass -- performed by one of the true modern masters. The best time to see Claypool, of course, is when he's fronting Primus, the Bay Area band that has produced so much memorable music over the years. The band is currently on its
Details: 9 p.m. Dec. 30-31; Warfield, 982 Market St., San Francisco; $49.50-$95; www.axs.com.
Erykah Badu: The Grammy-winning R&B star is always a powerful presence onstage. She remains best known for her first three albums, all of which have been certified at platinum or better, but she's continued to release interesting and successful records throughout her career. Her latest outing was "New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh)," which was released in 2010 and reached as high as No. 4 on the Billboard 200.
Details: 9 p.m. Dec. 31; Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland; $59.50-$75; www.ticketmaster.com.
Furthur: It just wouldn't feel like New Year's Eve around these parts without a heaping helping of Grateful Dead music. That's exactly what you'll get if you attend the three-night New Year's Eve run by Dead spinoff act Furthur. The band features original Deadheads Bob Weir and Phil Lesh and is a real hit with fans -- at least those fans looking for elongated jams, epic guitar solos and an ever-changing set list.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 29-31; Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove St., San Francisco; $55-$85; www.ticketmaster.com.
Dawes: The L.A. act, featuring brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, has charmed fans and critics alike with its two albums, 2009's "North Hills" and 2011's "Nothing Is Wrong." The Goldsmiths and their fellow players describe Dawes as simply an "American rock 'n' roll band," yet it's also one that borrows from the worlds of folk and soul.
Recommended for fans of Wilco, Blitzen Trapper, Buffalo Springfield and The Head and the Heart. Oh, by the way, the ticket price for New Year's Eve includes an open bar -- so secure your designated driver now.
Details: 8 p.m. Dec. 30;
Buckethead: You really can't go wrong with a guy who wears a KFC chicken bucket on his head. Now that's entertainment! Toss in the fact that he's a sensational guitarist, who once stood beside Axl Rose in Guns N' Roses, and you're really talking about a good option for New Year's Eve.
How will Buckethead decide to ring in the New Year? Your guess for a set list is as good as ours. He's covered so much ground, from ambient and avant-garde to funk and plain old rock, that the options seem endless.
Trust, however, that there will be plenty of guitar solos.
Details: 9 p.m. Dec. 31; Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell St., San Francisco; $50; www.slimspresents.com.
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