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Got your New Year's Eve plans dialed in already? If not, here are some shows worth considering.

Let's start with the Triple Nickel Tavern, where the ever-popular El Toro de la Muerte will headline the festivities, along with the second coming of Mike Stephens' Men of Deep Throat, who made their promising debut at the venue last month. If it weren't for my three-year addiction to seeing Slim Cessna's Auto Club at Denver's Bluebird Theater, I'd totally be there myself. Other than that, no other excuses will be accepted.

Unless maybe you're a rabid devotee of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, in which case you might be justified in heading over to the Loft. Once there, you can celebrate with headliner Jade Castrinos, who's moonlighting from her gig singing and playing guitar with the Zeros.

Moving forward into the past, let me just say that you really haven't lived until you've stood in darkness watching a guitarist in a pig mask, top hat and skull-spiked shoulder pads performing in front of two big-screen projections of Max Schreck's vampire Nosferatu — and then been blinded by the headlight of a lowrider motorcycle as it rumbles to the exit you happen to be standing in.

Yes, I did go to see Seven Days Lost at Sunshine Studios, and yes, there was a chopper from Steel City Bike Works parked next to the soundboard, and no, I didn't get there in time to see the Graveyard Girlz dance group.

In regard to 7DL, you can hardly fault a band with the dedication to sweat out 10-minute-plus metal opuses in kabuki makeup, devil horns and pig masks. There's a guileless quality to Michael Trejo and his colorful brood's obvious affection for their chosen genre.

While I didn't get a chance to talk to the band, Sunshine Studios owner Tony Korte did assure me that they're "semi-serious." He also gave me a tour of the recording facilities, which include two isolation booths, Neumann mics and a 48-track mixing board. If you're a musician looking to move up from basement project studios, you might want to check it out.

As for the coming week, the Triple Nickel is commemorating its sixth anniversary Thursday through Saturday with three shows at $2 each. (Note the hidden math equation that I'm guessing is intentional, since they're pretty smart over there.) You can read our interview with Friday's headlining Hooten Hallers on p. 48, then stop back here to check the listings for the other two shows.

Over at Zodiac, Dave Mansfield & the L.A.M.F's will glam it up for free on Friday, with special guests the Evilettes and Good Morning Accordion Terrorist. Dave and Mike Steckley will also be doing DJ sets, and if you don't hear them play anything by Johnny Thunders or Mötley Crüe, I'll buy you a drink.

Also Friday, you can witness the birth of a new venue as Luke Blanton from Murder Hat opens his performance space called ... well, no name yet, actually, but I'm told it's at 2361 Platte Place, next to Tino's Bar, behind the Subway, can't miss it. Blighter, CATHETER and Grindscape will all be on hand for the christening.

Saturday brings us the debut of Sandusky Youth, a band whose half-life will hopefully exceed that of its name. The Zodiac headliners feature former Lo-Fi Cowboys Chuck Snow and Collin Estes, Lazy Spacemen Alan Stiles and Jerry Minson, and a repertoire that includes songs by Joy Division, Big Star, the Replacements and Mission of Burma.

And finally, for that one person who reads Reverb and nothing else in the paper, you need to get over to the Black Sheep on Sunday night for the Che Bong CD release show. He's the guy on our cover.

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