By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Dec 28, 2009 at 5:24 AM

While a lot of venues go underground between Christmas and New Year's Eve, when they come back alive for the big countdown, The Rave -- while it might slow down -- doesn't stop.

On Tuesday, Dec. 29 at 8 p.m., the Avenues West venue hosts Rusted Root. The band makes its second visit to Cream City since the release of its disc, "Stereo Rodeo," in summer.

The band was here to play at Summerfest, too, upon the release of its first new disc in seven years. Now, they're riding on the crest of a new single, a cover of Elvis Presley's beloved "Suspicious Minds."

Tickets are $20 and Tom Fuller opens.

On the following night, check out Big Head Todd & the Monsters with Ken Valdez at 8 p.m. Tickets for that New Year's Eve Eve show are $19.

Then, put your dancing shoes on to ring in the new year as Stellar Spark 7 featuring Benny Benassi rolls into The Rave bringing Qbert, DJ Funk, DJ Rozz, Chris Grant and David Boggio along, too. There will be more than 60 DJs rockin' the crowd in eight rooms in The Rave building.

The show -- centered in the ballroom -- starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $36 and $46 for the VIP balcony.

The venue will also stream the Rusted Root and Benassi events on its new social media site," --Bobby Tanzilo

It's going to be a great New Year's Eve here in Milwaukee. While the bar scene can be overrated and house parties can be overcrowded, The Riverside Theater is hosting a bash that promises to be the perfect balance between getting crazy and taking it rather easy.

The evening begins at 9 p.m. and the party includes  a balloon drop, live DJs all night, free video games, a photo booth, beer tastings and snacks. Then, of course, there are the guests of honor: indie rock darlings Spoon and the one and only JayReatard, who is guaranteed to make your transition from 2009 to 2010 a memorable one. Spoon is set to release it seventh studio album, "Transference," on Jan. 19, but we're willing to bet the band will play plenty of its new stuff as a sneak peak. Tickets are $35 and $55 and doors open at 7 p.m. Happy New Year, Milwaukee! -- Julie Lawrence

I've never been one for huge New Year's Eve packages with open bar, all-you-can-eat and a list of DJs rotating on and off the tables. That's why this year's gig at the Cactus Club is more than ideal.  The Championship and John the Savage, two long time Milwaukee favorites, captivate a celebratory crowd in the back room and even without the all inclusive package, you'll still find plenty of drinks, merriment and local good cheer at the bar. The show starts at 10 p.m. with a small cover. -- Maureen Post 

Some other shows on tap this week include:

La Dispute, Native, Sleep Serapis Sleep, Northless, Red Knife Lottery, The Felix Culpa, Cougar Den, The Reptilian, Former Thieves, Maidens, Hail Archer, The Dynasty, Hey Rog, and Black Pentagon all play at a gig today -- Monday, Dec. 28 -- that starts at 1 p.m. and will run you $12.

Circle A in Riverwest hosts Tag-Team DJs from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. on New Year's Eve with AmAndy, Keef & Angie Oakley, Paul Finger, Miss LaFontaine, Sextor and from 5 a.m., "whoever's left standing." No cover. On Saturday, Jan. 2 Circle A has The Unheard Of and DJ Mister Action and Sunday features Jude Kinnear and DJ Fazio.

Then, on Saturday, Jan. 2, the Bay View rock and roll club hosts Masonry, Absolutely and The Naima at 10.

Pat McCurdy rings in the new year on Friday, Jan. 1 at Shank Hall with a $6, 10 p.m. show. If you didn't wear yourself down too badly the night before ...

Shank then hosts Philip Gatewood's mix of blues and latin and traditional jazz at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 2. Cover for the smoke-free show, which also includes a performance by Chris Kohn, is $10 at the door, but just $7 in advance.

Project/Object performs the music of Frank Zappa -- and reunites Zappa alumni Ike Willis and Ray White for the first time in a quarter century -- at the Miramar Theatre on Sunday, Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. Admission is $20.