Animal Liberation Orchestra and Honeycut
628 Divisadero St., San Francisco
Details: 9 p.m., $85 (includes open bar), TheIndependentSF.com
Go if: You want to hear the jam band thing (wah-wah Meters guitar lines, accordion, traditional soul chord changes, and driving 4/4 beats) done really well — and if you think you can get a good price on a scalped ticket. But mostly go for Honeycut, undoubtedly the most imaginative Quannum project in recent years.
What to expect: A collegiate crowd that's teetering on the edge of hipness, and some ardent Bart Davenport fans who would have gone for Barry Manilow in the '80s.
Drink of choice: Does weed come in liquid form?
Beware of: Jam band wankery.
Blaqk Audio, Moving Units, Katy Perry, Junior Boys, Popscene DJS Aaron, Nako, and Omar, and a Radiohead In Rainbows release party
444 Jessie St., San Francisco
Details: 9 p.m., $60-$100, TicketWeb.com
Go if: You want to see an up-and-comer who's almost mastered the Fiona Apple slur, or want to expand your dating pool beyond the prospects on ImGoth.com.
What to expect: The equivalent of a giant twee pool party.
Drink of choice: Whiskey sour or Stella on tap.
Beware of: A giant twee pool party.
"Champions of the Arena III: Clash of the Titans," featuring Crown City Rockers, Rico Pabón, Melina Jones, Orukusaki, Shinehead & JFX, Apollo, Sake 1, and DJ Fuze
60 Sixth St., San Francisco
Details: 8 p.m., $40, TicketWeb.com
Go if: You're partial to hip-hop and dancehall, but don't mind a nostalgia-based show (à la Rock the Bells).
What to expect: A happy blending of the often fractious hip-hop scene.
Drink of choice: Blue Hawaii with two maraschino cherries
Beware of: Massive entourages.
"Eclectic Fever: A New Year's Eve Extravaganza" with Sila & the Afrofunk Experience, B-Side Players, Native Elements, Nonstop Bhangra Collective, Sambamora Dance Company, bellydancer Roz Wood, DJs Felina and Dragonfly, and DJ Jeremiah with Afrobeat Nation
The Gift Center Pavillion
888 Brannan St., San Francisco
Details: 9 p.m., $65-$115, EclecticFever.com
Go if: You'd like to start the year off on a charitable note (proceeds benefit the World Action for Humanity and the House of Hope School in Uganda).
What to expect: A world music crowd that could have easily been transplanted from Berkeley's Shattuck Down Low. But also expect a tremendous live show — Sila's horn section is really killing.
Drink of choice: Crystal Geyser and wine
Beware of: Body odor, and the white girl dance.
Faye Carol, Howard Wiley & the Freedom Now Band, and David Murray
EastSide Cultural Center
2277 International Blvd., Oakland
Details: 9 p.m., $20, EastSideArtsAlliance.com
Go if: You have children and/or live in the San Antonio neighborhood of East Oakland.
What to expect: The world's most under-appreciated jazz singer paired with two generations of (also underappreciated) world-class tenor saxophonists.
Drink of choice: Martinelli's cider
Beware of: Sincerity.
The Germs, the Adolescents, Switchblade Riot, and the Mae Shi
1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
Details: 9 p.m., $18, TicketWeb.com
Go if: Punk's not dead, it's just getting older.
What to expect: Crusty old punks mixing it up with eager young ones in the pit, while the brave and inquisitive stand by.
Drink of choice: Pabst Blue Ribbon
Beware of: Flying elbows.
Les Claypool and Madame Blavatsky Overdrive
1805 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
Details: 9 p.m., $59.50, TheFillmore.com
Go if: He's still got it.
What to expect: Migrating jam band fans who never really liked Primus, and Primus fans who'd never miss a New Year's Eve with Les.
Drink of choice: Anything with fruit juice or something that could be made in a Mason jar.
Beware of: Rampant air bass.
Shattuck Down Low
2284 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley
Details: 9 p.m., $35, ShattuckDownLow.com
Go if: You want to see how Quannum rapper Lyrics Born became one of the first "crossover" artists (besides known gateway drugs Cypress Hill and the Beastie Boys) to get airplay on Live 105. (Hint: His secret weapon is wife and backup singer Joyo Velarde).
What to expect: A stalwart Berkeley crowd of frat boys, backpackers, budget music heads, and everyone else who didn't make it across the bridge for "Champions of the Arena."
Drink of choice: Long Island Iced Tea or Miller High Life
Beware of: Multi-genre everything.
The Mars Volta, Peanut Butter Wolf, the Eternals, Nobody, and DJ Dennis
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
99 Grove St., San Francisco
Details: 8 p.m., $55, TicketMaster.com
Go if: You have the stamina for a seven-hour performance featuring psychedelic light shows, acoustic and electric sets by prog rockers the Mars Volta, plus DJ sets by Dennis and Peanut Butter Wolf, and opening performances by Nobody and the Eternals.
What to expect: Melodic music that veers away from the pop template with weird time signatures and altered chord changes.
Drink of choice: Monster M-80 Energy Juice
Beware of: Hipsters, overstimulation.
Melvins, Comets on Fire, and Triclops!
333 11th St., San Francisco
Details: 9 p.m., $40, Slims-SF.com
Go if: Anything more would be too civilized.
What to expect: An exhilarating cornucopia of smoke, sweat, and rock 'n' roll.
Drink of choice: The hard stuff, then ice water.
Beware of: Hearing loss.
Mos Def and Goapele "Sneakers Required" New Year's Eve Ball
511 Harrison St., San Francisco
Details: 9 p.m., $125 (includes open bar), Going.com/terranye08
Go if: You think the halcyon era of hip-hop capped off with Mos Def's Black on Both Sides album, or you want to see Goapele in a chic nightclub that isn't Yoshi's.
What to expect: A "grown and sexy" crowd that actually fulfills the bottom-line requirements of being "grown and sexy." And since sneakers are required, expect to see Asics, Chuck Taylors, shelltoed Adidas, and checkerboard Vans.
Drink of Choice: Sour apple martini
Beware of: Dress and sneaker combos.
Neurosis, Earth, and Saviours
Great American Music Hall
859 O'Farrell St., San Francisco
Details: 9 p.m., $40, $64.95 with dinner, GAMH.com
Go if: You like metal.
What to expect: A sea of black hoodies, tribal tattoos, and dreadlocks nodding in unison to a pummeling mix of '70s hesher metal and world-is-ending-worthy gloom.
Drink of choice: Guiness
Beware of: Stinky pits.
Drunk Horse and Total B.S.
2330 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
Go if: You wanna rock but can't be bothered with traffic or large crowds.
What to expect: Retro hipsters in tight bell-bottom jeans and shaggy haircuts getting lit in celebration of ten years of hot licks from Drunk Horse.
Drink of choice: What's cheapest?
Beware of: Claustrophobia.
Scissors for Lefty, Von Iva, and the May Fire
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St., San Francisco
Details: 9 p.m., $19.99 in advance, $25 at the door, BottomoftheHill.com
Go if: Nothing beats homegrown indie rock.
What to expect: A cozy night with San Francisco's best-dressed hipsters.
Drink of choice: Jack on the rocks.
Beware of: Irony.