5 Vancouver artists share their worst New Year’s Eve tales

New Year’s Eve isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, is it?

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New Year’s Eve is for amateurs. Or so the saying goes. But how is the evening for professionals?

We reached out to five B.C. entertainment insiders to get their take on the festive affair.

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Somewhat surprisingly, they all had positive reviews for the night, in terms of work. Noting that you usually get paid a lot more to do less for people that are in the right state of mind to have a good time, they all had good reports. Which isn’t to say that they didn’t have some bad NYE stories.

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Here are five memorable NYE moments shared by local entertainment insiders:

The Funk Hunters

The Funk Hunters

The Vancouver-based DJ duo of Nick Middleton and Duncan Smith has been playing seasonal parties so long that the group’s annual Funk The Halls Christmas tours are now a tradition. The two artists have also rocked a lot of new year’s bashes. Both recall the worst one they ever played.

“In 2019-2020 we headlined Blue Nightclub in Nelson and the power cut out due to this really heavy, wet snowfall, and never came back on,” said Smith. “Everything was going fine until we hit the stage around midnight and, 15 minutes into the set, the whole town turned off. I grabbed a big Bluetooth speaker to use and played some singalong-type stuff until its power ran out.”

Look for the Funk Hunters to be fully powered-up to play festivals this summer.

Mo Tarmohamed

Mo Tarmohamed, owner/operator of the Rickshaw Theatre

Most music venues host NYE shows. But, after one epicly dud of an event, the Rickshaw Theatre stopped hosting year-end parties.

“I pulled the plug after one particularly under-attended DJ headlined thing that drew maybe 100 people,” said Tarmohamed. “It seemed so sparse and sad, and then the countdown clock froze at around five seconds to midnight. At that moment, I decided that I would spend New Year’s Eve at home or doing something else.”

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The new year gets going at the Rickshaw with the 9th Annual Bowie Ball B.C. Cancer Foundation Fundraiser on Jan. 13. The show is sold out.

Dan Mangan

Dan Mangan

Fresh off a triumphant tour finale at Vancouver’s Vogue theatre, singer/songwriter Mangan has played plenty of NYE shows at an assortment of venues. He thinks that the night is more often than not a “bit of a letdown that winds-up with you standing out in the rain trying to get a cab or an Uber to get home.” His bad NYE memory is of a rager of a dance party, and what followed it.

“It was the first year that my wife Kirsten and I were together. And I proceeded to get utterly ramshackled, such an amateur at being in a relationship that I didn’t walk her home when she said she wanted to leave,” he said. “Eventually, I stumbled back to her place where she was utterly annoyed with me and spent the rest of the night in her bathroom. The reward at the end was endless regrets and the romantic repercussions you would expect to follow such action.”

No word on whether Road Regrets will get a companion song titled NYE Regrets by Mangan in the coming year.

Aaron Chapman

Aaron Chapman, author of Vancouver after Dark: The Wild History of a City’s Nightlife and others

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As an historian of local entertainment culture, as well as a long-serving musician in groups ranging from the Real McKenzies and the Town Pants to the Hard Rock Miners and Bocephus King, author Chapman has plenty of good NYE memories. If he could work the night, he did. And he logged in 17 years in a row. His bad memory is more of a cautionary tale.

“In 2020, the Town Pants played a bar in Coquitlam and everyone was all concerned about the world coming to an end because none of our computers were going to be able to manage two zeros,” he said. “After that didn’t happen, it became the hero’s journey to get a cab and get to the next party before it was already over. My advice is — like any military campaign — have a clearly worked out strategy that includes transportation options.”

Daniel Moxon

Daniel Moxon

As frontman for Bend Sinister and piano bar balladeer, singer/keyboardist Moxon has a fair share of NYE gigs to his credit. As far as he recalls, none of those went badly. But there was one year that the band van went out on the highway for NYE that wasn’t for a gig. It was a nice trip to the Interior for a holiday chill that turned terrible, although there is a happy ending.

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“I loaded up the band van with six friends to go to my parent’s cabin for a few days including NYE, and the transmission blew out on the Coquihalla,” he said. “The tow truck could only take two people, so the rest had to try and hitchhike back to Vancouver. I wound up holed-up in a pie shop in Hope facing a really big bill and an overnight there.But somehow my friends sourced another car in the city, came to pick me up, and we made it.”

Bend Sinister plays its first show of 2024 at the Band Together: B.C. Children’s Hospital Fundraiser on Jan. 20.

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