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Eve of Consumption 

Our guide to kissing 2004 goodbye

This year, don't stay home twiddlin' your thumbs, watching blabbermouth Regis Philbin and lip-syncher Ashlee Simpson on Dick Clark's woefully creaky "New Year's Rockin' Eve." No! Get outta that trailer, and make your own New Year's Eve rockin'.

Here's our completely biased guide to some Dec. 31st highlights. But first, a word of warning: Beware of inflated drink prices, steep cover charges and pools of vomit from amateur partiers.

One of the most intriguing New Year's Eve destinations will be the much-hyped new nightspots at Underground Atlanta. (They join the pre-existing Irish Bred Pub and Grill and the restaurant Jamaica Jamaica.) The main selling points are that clubs can pour liquor until 4 a.m., and, because of the relaxed open container law, patrons can bounce from club to club with drink in hand. But the mix of clubs is a bit odd. There are multiple Latin and Caribbean offerings, but no hip-hop. Here's a list of the new joints and what you can expect:

Alley Cat, a sort of rock 'n' roll Playboy club where the all-chick staff dons kitten attire. Appropriately enough, the gal-only garage-rock trio Catfight! plays a special New Year's Eve performance.

Future, a campy, space-aged "faux fetish" club, which will pump high energy dance beats, potentially causing all the leather-clad patrons to work up a funky sweat.

Charlie Brown's Cabaret, the new home for the once-reigning drag queen of Backstreet and all of her imposturous pals. (Cautionary note for newcomers: No, that is not really Madonna with the bad wig and the Adam's apple.)

Latin Sol, an upscale spot that will serve up a range of Latin rhythms from salsa to merengue.

Koco's, a Caribbean restaurant/karaoke bar.

Oasis, a haven for frozen drinks, Jimmy Buffett music, and bottle-twirling bartenders doing their best Tom Cruise-in-Cocktail impersonations.

But if these Underground clubs aren't your thang (and we can't really blame you if they're not), here's a host of other New Year's Eve events to choose from:

So, ya wanna Rock?

PEACH DROP -- Yes, Times Square has the biggest ball, but Atlanta has a giant peach. The gargantuan 800-pound fruit drops 138 feet at the stroke of midnight. But music on the main stage kicks off with 7 Sharp 9 at 6 p.m.; the swanky Kingsized at 7:15; bewitching vocalist Aslyn at 8:15 p.m.; singing/songwriting stalwart Edwin McCain at 9:30; and those jangly Floridians Sister Hazel at 11:30. Last year, attendance was estimated at 145,000, so get there early for a good spot.

NEW YEAR'S EVE DEBACLE -- The Echo Lounge and The Earl host this joint bash. For $15, you can stroll back and forth on Flat Shoals Avenue to enjoy sets from the Close, Tiger! Tiger!, and My Siamese Self at the Echo, and the Tom Collins, Luigi and Untied States at the Earl. Mix and match bands all you want, just be somewhere at midnight to toast the New Year. $15. 10 p.m. Echo Lounge. 404-681-3600. The Earl. 404-522-3950.

DEREK TRUCKS BAND -- The youthful guitar whiz ends a two-night stand at the Variety with special guests Alvin Youngblood Hart and Kevn Kinney's Sun Tangled Angel Revival. Jamming will no doubt ensue. $25-$30. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-521-1786.

THE WOGGLES,THE FORTY-FIVES, YOUNG ANTIQUES -- Three of the region's best rock and garage bands converge on Moreland Avenue to rock in the new year with a mighty yelp. Galleon opens. $10. 8 p.m. Star Bar. 404-681-9018.

SOUNDTRIBE SECTOR 9, TORTOISE -- A journey into space and beyond with progressive jam explorations of the cerebral kind. With Collective Efforts, Psyche Origami, Richard Divine, Telefon Tel Aviv and Phoenix Rising. $35. 8 p.m. The Tabernacle. 404-659-9022.

NASHVILLE PUSSY -- The Masquerade says this is its last New Year's Eve event, so it is offering a special advance price of $10 for this heavy-rockin' show. It's a helluva deal. In Heaven, you get the always entertaining and exciting Nashville Pussy (and who knows what sort of debauchery they'll instigate at the stroke of midnight), Super X-13, Artimus Pyledriver, the Heart Attacks and Gonzalez. There's rock 'n' roll karaoke in Purgatory, a dunk tank and devilish, scantily clad girls, of course. $10 (advance). 7 p.m. (doors). Masquerade. 404-577-8178.

HOT YOUNG PRIEST -- Mary Bryne's literate and rockin' Hot Young Priest trio headlines what should be a good, steamy night at the subterranean 10 High. The Mary-ment will start at 12:30 after sets from Lights Out (10:30 p.m.) and OpenSkySeparator (11:30). $8. 9 p.m. (doors). 10 High. 404-873-3607.

JENNIFER NETTLES -- Before she was on radio and taking the stage at the Grand Ole Opry with her group Sugarland, Jennifer Nettles had a successful solo act. She will mark the New Year by revisiting her intensely personal solo material. Due to demand, there are two shows. The late show, with special guest Jennifer Daniels, is almost sold out, but the club will offer a few tickets on the night of the performance. Free party favors and champagne toast at midnight. $25. 7 and 9:30 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976.

PYLON, ELF POWER, KRUSH GIRLS -- A rare reunion show from one of the pioneer bands of the Athens music scene. This is the first announced Pylon show in 13 years, so who knows when (or if) there'll be another one. Elf Power opens at 10:30 p.m., Pylon plays at 11:30, and the energetic Krush Girls spin dance music into the wee hours. $20. 9 p.m. (doors). 40 Watt Club, Athens. 706-549-7871.

How 'bout some good ol' country music

BIG AND RICH -- Goofy but likeable, this country duo has been yuckin' it up all the way to the bank. With country-folk-rock troubadour Pat Green. Special packages available, call venue for details. $45-$65. 8 p.m. (doors). Arena at Gwinnett Center. 770-813-7554.

TRICK PONY -- This energetic, '70s-fueled country-rock machine features sassy vocalist Heidi Newfield and a saddlebag of catchy tunes. The band's slick harmonies and upbeat attitude should be perfect for the festive occasion. $20-$40. 11:30 p.m. Cowboys. 770-426-5006.

Singing the blues

ROUGH DRAFT -- The enjoyable blues combo features former CL contributor Bryan Powell on guitar and his brother Dana on drums. Price includes party favors and a complimentary glass of champagne for a toast. $10. 9 p.m. 37 Main, Buford. 770-614-7197.

DELTA MOON -- Ready for an end-of-the-year evening of honky-tonk, Delta-billy blues? Here ya go! Tunkelwood Trio opens. $25. 10 p.m. Jake's Toadhouse. 404-633-8090.

MUDCAT -- Traditional blues from a true historian of the genre. $15. 10 p.m. Northside Tavern. 404-874-8745. out the old, spin in the new

APACHE CAFE'S UNDERGROUND NYE -- Apache features a fiesta of local talent, including Phace Oraklz, Fresh Air Foundation, Venuseven, Rev Rebel, Gbanjah, Womackk and DJ Notech. Ticket price includes a free champagne toast. $10. 9 p.m. (doors). Apache Café. 404-876-5436.

Q100 NEW YEAR'S EXTRAVAGANZA -- A DJ fest featuring Mike B, Daniel Gresham, Lil' Steven and Fahrenheit. Other highlights: appearances by radio personalities and four different themed rooms. $40 (advance). 9 p.m. Compound. 404-872-4621. and

ELEVEN50 -- A sensual overdose with carnival acrobats, aerialists, percussionists, cheerleaders, queens on swings, balloon drops plus DJs Rachel, Kevin O. and J-Luv. Call for price. 9 p.m. (doors). Eleven50. 404-874-3006. and

HALO LOUNGE -- A chill New Year's Eve featuring DJs Shaun Duval, Chris Grass and Dr. Katz. Ticket price includes chocolate fountain and dessert spread and complimentary champagne toast at midnight. $15. 9 p.m. Halo Lounge. 404-962-7333.

ELEVATION AT LUXE -- Flavorset Productions' latest wacky adventure. Open bars and complimentary food with atmospheres by DJ's Brett Mauro, Chris Baker, Jefferson Tyler and Paolo Mentonelli. $60. 9 p.m. Luxe. 404-389-0800.

HEATHEN CHEMESTRY -- It's billed as a laid-back place to hang out. Ticket price includes an open bar all night and late-night breakfast with a toast at midnight. 99X DJ Jay Harren will be spinning Brit pop, new rock and old school. Iain Bluett, Lauren McGinnis (Avenge Vegas), Randy and Chaz (the Booze) and Jordan Jeffares (Snowden) will be spinning as well. $50 (advance). 9 p.m. Vinyl. 404-885-9198.

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