It’s less than a week before Santa does the Down-The-Chimney Shimmy, so the fact that there are some seriously cool holiday-themed live shows going on this weekend should come as no surprise. What may surprise you (and what will surely make your live music choices true agony for the next three days) is how many great non-holiday shows lie in waiting. Consider this heads-up my Christmas gift to you. Happy Holidays, folks.
Friday, December 19 (tonight!)
Dancer and Prancer’s Xmas Extravaganza with Shannon and the Clams, La Luz, The Fe Fi Fo Fums, DJ Brian Foss @ Chop Suey. 21+. $15 at the door. Show at 9 p.m.
In case you didn’t know, Capitol Hill venue Chop Suey becomes the latest local music venue to fall victim to grabby developers come January. That means you’d better get your fix while you can, and this second night of holiday hijinks should be just the ticket. Shannon and the Clams play retro rock that plumbs surf music, rockabilly, and lo-fi pop, La Luz’s swaggering garage-surf remains crucial live, the Fe Fi Fo Fums bash out lovingly sloppy rock that makes the Black Lips sound like Yes, and hosts Dancer and Prancer do the Ventures’ surf-Christmas schtick with irresistible panache. All that, and pictures with Santa, and a DJ set by booking God/former Funhouse Santa Brian Foss? Smells like Christmas-palooza.
Kinski, Spoils, Low Hums @ The Blue Moon Tavern. 21+. $8 at the door. Show at 9 p.m.
Kinski have been kicking around Seattle for long enough (since 1998) to officially be taken for granted, but do so at your own peril. Their most recent full-length, 2013’s Cosy Moments, saw them pounding out some lean and menacing hard rock with vocals, but fans can rest assured that the band’s dreamy/gothy/atmospheric/freaky instrumental soundscapes remain intact–and mesmerizing live. Low Hums most definitely live up to their name, generating a slow-rolling and likewise-atmospheric wall of sound that adds some roots twang to the trip, as if Ennio Morricone’s slide guitar player dropped acid and joined a shoegaze band.
X, The Blasters, Girl Trouble @ El Corazon. 21+. $25 advance/$30 at the door. Show at 8 p.m.
If the words ‘seminal’ and ‘legendary’ didn’t already exist, some rock critic or music nerd would have had to invent them to describe X. The LA punk band influenced a couple of generations of indie musicians by draping a roots-rock canvas over punk rock. They still give it their all onstage and sport an astonishing back catalog. Roots-rock stalwarts The Blasters and Tacoma’s own Mount Rushmore of Garage Rock (Girl Trouble) form a super-powered opening one-two punch.
Funky 2 Death @ Seamonster Lounge. 21+. Free! Show at 10 p.m.
I’m a relatively late convert to Wallingford’s Seamonster Lounge, but it’s a great little scrapper of a venue with decidedly funky leanings. Local ensemble Funky 2 Death have pretty much served as the Seamonster’s informal house band for awhile now, and they’re capable funketeers with a surplus of chops. The grooves don’t come more organic and durable, and when guitarist Jabrille “Jimmy James” Williams begins firing off molten licks you best look out.
Saturday, December 20
Xmas Maximus, Cathy Sorbo, The Candy Cane Dancers @ Darrell’s Tavern. 21+. $10 at the door. Show at 9 p.m.
Last year’s Xmas Maximus Holiday Show provided some seriously good times, serving up plenty of holiday-themed original and cover songs that took plenty of goofball paths (yes, Christmas tunes and prog rock can be combined, if you’re as bent as these guys are). This year’s installment continues the madness, with the best dive bar in North Seattle once more standing in for the North Pole, an all-star cast of local musicians (including singer Barbara Trentanange, who belts out “At the Christmas Ball” below) populating the band, comedian Cathy Sorbo turning the air blue, and the Candy Cane Dancers bringing the burlesque.
My Goodness, Haunted Horses, Chrome Lakes @ Sunset Tavern. 21+. $12 at the door. Show at 8 p.m.
In case you haven’t gotten the news, My Goodness crafted what might be the best epic rock record of 2014 with their full-length Shiver and Shake (further elaboration here). Why they’re not filling giant venues at this point is one of life’s true mysteries, so enjoy seeing them in the cozy confines of Ballard’s Sunset Tavern while you can. The strong, stacked bill also includes the drony and scary Haunted Horses, and some potently forceful post-punk from local boys Chrome Lakes.
X, The Blasters, Boss Martians @ El Corazon. 21+. $25 advance/$30 at the door. Show at 8 p.m.
See Friday, December 19, give or take the very awesome stylings of another local garage rock ensemble, Boss Martians, in lieu of Girl Trouble.
Joe Purdy, OK Sweetheart, Sophia Duccini @ The Neptune. 21+. $29 advance. Show at 7 p.m.
Joe Purdy‘s tremulous folk stylings offer the requisite earthy charm, but for my money, the two opening acts make this bill damn near irresistible. Local girl Sophia Duccini‘s sidelong folk songs with pop tinges would impress even if she wasn’t a tender 18 years old, and former New Yorker/current Seattleite Erin Austin lends some powerhouse pipes to her ongoing project/band OK Sweetheart, combining sixties pop, folk, and Muscle Shoals soul to shimmering effect.
Santa Claus @ Scarecrow Video. 21+. Free. Show at 8 p.m.
Before you go to any of the above music shows tomorrow night, you’re cordially invited to visit the world’s greatest video store, knock back a beer, and watch Santa Claus score wacky dust from Merlin the Magician before going mano-a-mano with a devil. My sworn mission to make this bizarre bon bon an enduring holiday classick continues. First ten people receive a suitably bizarre door prize, courtesy of Santa!
Sunday, December 21
Piano Starts Here: A Charlie Brown Christmas @ The Royal Room. All Ages. $5 advance. Show at 6 p.m.
Gigantor, Lushy @ The Royal Room. 21+. No Cover, Suggested Donation $5 to $15 at the door. Show at 9 p.m.
Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas never fails to wrap a warm scarf around one’s heart, so hearing several talented local musicians wending their way through those jazzy chestnuts roasting on an open fire should be a treat. Stick around at Columbia City’s great new-ish venue for what will surely be sterling turns by Gigantor (fab reggae/ska fronted by Lynval Golding of ska legends The Specials) and Seattle’s finest cocktail/bossanova/space-age pop ensemble, Lushy.