Three proved to be the charm for EVE last year.
The Downtown Alliance-sponsored New Year’s Eve celebration, then in its third year of being a three-night event, ended with the greatest crowds it had ever experienced, from thronged houses at Temple Square’s Tabernacle to a packed Salt Palace Convention Center.
In 2011, there were four times as many participants on the first night of EVE than the similar night the previous year, and on the second night there were twice as many participants as the same night the prior year, said Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance.
So while the Downtown Alliance wouldn’t have been faulted by following the same blueprint during the planning for this year’s EVE — dubbed EVE 4.0 —instead officials are revamping the game plan to lure more people downtown during the three days leading up to 2013.
Besides moving the headquarters of the 11-venue celebration from the Salt Palace Convention Center to The Gallivan Center, the biggest change this year is the addition of nationally touring acts, rather than strictly local acts. While Utah performers such as David Williams, the Joshua Payne Orchestra, the No Nation Orchestra and Night Sweats will still receive the spotlight, national acts Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Nick Waterhouse, Blind Pilot and !!! (Chk Chk Chk) will grace the outdoor stage at The Gallivan Center.
Critics could carp that the emphasis on national acts rather than homegrown acts deprives Utah acts from the spotlight, but, if truth be told, crowds in the past three years had not been turning out to support the local acts.
So, with the new help from Casey Jarman, founder of the wildly popular Twilight Concert Series during the summer, national acts are being brought it to help capture the one demographic that has not been coming to EVE in the past: twentysomethings and thirtysomethings.Don’t
Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Blind Pilot, in particular, have performed at the endlessly hip Red Butte Garden in recent years, and Downtown Alliance officials are hoping that the same young audiences that turned out in droves to see Blind Pilot last summer (in a sold-out show with The Shins) will come out into the cold to see Blind Pilot and the like again.
"I really like that we take a risk and do it outdoors," said Mathis. "We’re not afraid of cold weather."
Los Angeles-based neo-soul bandleader Nick Waterhouse is relatively new to the national music scene, and said he is looking forward to his first performance in Utah. Closing out the first night of music at The Gallivan Center, the fresh-faced throwback Waterhouse is bringing two horn players, a rhythm section, a keyboard player, and a duo of back-up female singers who will party like it’s 1969.
"I’m thrilled at the novelty of playing in a snow place," Waterhouse said. "I’m scared, but in a roller-coaster-way."
Waterhouse joked that while he isn’t sure if his fingers will warm up enough to play his guitar, he has full trust in the two members of his rhythm section, both from Minnesota.
Waterhouse will follow a set from the New Orleans-based Dirty Dozen Brass Band, who are known for showing off the "Laissez les bons temps rouler"-spirit of the French Quarter. The group is known for its inventive repertoire that honors the tradition of Mardi Gras while turning out unexpected covers such as Rihanna’s "Don’t Stop the Music," which is included on the band’s latest CD, "Twenty Dozen."
The group is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, said founding member Roger Lewis, player of the baritone and soprano sax. The band is usually on the road all year long, Lewis said, so cold weather doesn’t scare him. "We played an outdoor concert in Colorado last month," he said. Then he made his Dec. 29 resolution: "We’re going to make a lot of people happy."
The only problem Lewis cited with playing around the New Year’s holidays is that it can be difficult to find the ingredients for the traditional Southern New Year’s dish Black-Eyed Peas With Collard Greens, which his mother would serve every Jan. 1 when he was a child. (The collard greens represent cash money, and the black-eyed peas symbolize coinage, with the hope that by ingesting them on New Year’s Day the eater will have a fruitful year ahead.)
Lewis said that if he can’t find black-eyed peas and collard greens around New Year’s Day, he will settle for red beans and rice at Popeye’s fried-chicken stores along the road. I didn’t have the heart to tell him there are only two Popeye’s in Utah, with both of them relatively inaccessible — one is on an Air Force base and the other is behind the security lines at Salt Lake International Airport.
On Sunday, Dec. 30, David Williams and the Joshua Payne Orchestra will play the Gallivan Center stage, with the pairing of the acoustic folk-singer and genre-bending jazz-style trio an inviting appetizer for supporters of Utah music.
Williams, a Salt Lake City resident who was born and raised in southern Florida, said he usually prefers to spend the holidays on solitude in the desert. (Up until his performance, he is house-sitting for friends in Moab.) But performing with the Joshua Payne Orchestra is "my dream trio," Williams said.
As a proud Utahn, cold weather the night of the show doesn’t bother him. "A blizzard might add a lot to the mood," Williams mused. "It’d be a bummer with loading equipment and driving ... There will be a lot of interestingly tuned guitars that night."
The Oregon-based folk-pop ensemble Blind Pilot will follow Williams’ set, and it will be one of the last dates of the touring cycle for the band’s sophomore album, "We Are the Tide."
With plans to perform with the Portland Symphony in 2013, Blind Pilot is looking forward to the future, with plans to begin writing material for a third album after the holidays, said Israel Nebeker, singer and guitar player.
When the talk turned to cold weather, Nebeker laughed and said the previous night he car was stuck in one of the few driving snowstorms he has ever been in. But weather too didn’t scare him; after all, Blind Pilot is famous for getting its start in 2008 by touring from Bellingham. Washington, to San Diego, Calif., on bicycle, toting their instruments on custom bicycle trailers.
"Cold makes me alive and in touch with the environment," Nebeker said.
For those who don’t feel alive in the cold, note that this year EVE officials are offering a VIP pass for $40, which gives passholders the chance to warm up inside the second level, enclosed upstairs area at The Gallivan Center.
— EVE 4.0
When • Saturday, Dec. 29 through Monday, Dec. 31
Where • Broadway Centre Cinemas, Clark Planetarium, Discovery Gateway, The Gateway, Gallivan Center, Off Broadway Theatre, Temple Square Assembly Hall, Joseph Smith Memorial Building, Temple Square Tabernacle, The Leonardo, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
Tickets • $15 for three-day GA pass; $40 in advance, $50 at door, for VIP three-day pass (includes access to the AMEX top-level balcony for priority viewing of Gallivan Center music acts and fireworks, ice-skating at Gallivam Center, and access to "Da Vinci the Genius" exhibit at The Leonardo). VIP Tickets are limited to 500.
More • A new Family Festival at The Gateway will also be held all three days of the event from 3 to 7 p.m. A three-day pass that allows access at all 10 downtown venues will cost $15 and will be available at Harmons Grocery Stores, The Gateway Concierge and at EVEslc.com.
Info • eveslc.com
Music schedule at Gallivan Center
Saturday, Dec, 29, 7 p.m. • Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Saturday, Dec. 29, 8:30 p.m. • Nick Waterhouse
Sunday, Dec. 30, 7 p.m. • David Williams with Joshua Payne Orchestra
Sunday, Dec. 30, 8:30 p.m. • Blind Pilot
Monday, Dec. 31, 7 p.m. • Night Sweats
Monday, Dec. 31, 8:30 p.m. • No Nation Orchestra
Monday, Dec. 31, 10 p.m. • !!! (Chk Chk Chk)
Highlights of Temple Square Tabernacle
Monday, Dec. 31, 9:05 p.m. • Octappella
Monday, Dec. 31, 9:55 p.m. • Katherine Nelson
Monday, Dec. 31, 10:30 p.m. • Nashville Tribute Band
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