How the hell did that happen? Wasn’t it just Thanksgiving, like, a week ago? And yet here we are, a week away from Christmas. Oh, how the time flies.
It may surprise some of you to learn this, but I’m actually a big fan of the holiday season. Not so much Christmas Day itself, which I find rather anticlimactic and, as the product of a “broken” home, forced to split time between parents, kind of a pain in the ass. But the season? That I dig.
You’ve got your holiday parties, and your twinkling lights on the Marketplace. Nifty retro holiday specials on the teevee. The bizarre ritual of watching a large pine tree die slowly in your living room. And, naturally, holiday music.
That’s right. I like holiday music. And I bet, deep down in your heart of hearts — even if it’s a Grinch-like two sizes too small — many of you do, too. You can admit it. We’re all friends here. Well, at least until we all go back to being assholes after New Year’s Day. But I digress.
This being the week before Christmas means that this weekend is, well, the weekend before Christmas — brilliant insight, right? As such, the calendar is positively bursting with holiday happenings of all stripes. OK, mostly candy-cane stripes. But you get my meaning. Anyway, this means a smorgasbord of holiday-themed shows featuring sleighsful of local talent. There are two such shows in particular that I want to draw your attention to.
First up — mostly because I dig the name of the show — is “A Crapulous Christmas” at The Monkey House this Saturday, with Nuda Veritas, Paul & the Mystery of Gravity and, of course, The Crapulous Christmas Band. I wonder if that last band is anything like the River Bottom Nightmare Band from Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas? ’Cuz that would rock.
The word from Ms. Veritas — aka Rebecca Kopycinski — is that the whole thing started when she recorded a few Christmas tunes for her mother, which you can check out at the songwriter’s website, nudaveritasmusic.com. And I recommend that you do — but, again, I like holiday music. That simple gesture has since morphed into a whole night of, as Kopycinski puts it, “festive imbiberies,” for which she suggests clearing your calendar on the 19th … as well as the first half of the 20th. Now that’s a Christmas party.
In addition to sets from the aforementioned acts, the evening will also feature an ugly Christmas sweater contest, Christmas karaoke and a raffle for which all proceeds will go to Toys for Tots. Now, here’s my favorite part: Rather than simply giving Toys for Tots a boring old cash donation, Kopycinski is actually going shopping to buy actual toys. I love it.
The next show isn’t technically this weekend — it’s Wednesday, December 23. But over the years, versions of it have become a local yuletide staple. I am referring, of course, to Brett Hughes’ annual Holiday Ho-Ho-Ho-Down.
The thing is, he’s not calling it that anymore, and hasn’t for a long time. But that’s how I choose to remember it, and this is my column, dammit. So there.
The annual holiday extravaganza has undergone some other changes in recent years, most notably moving to various venues around town. This year, it’s slated for the cozy confines of the 1/2 Lounge, so the evening should take on a slightly more low-key feel than in previous years. But regardless of where it happens, the gist is the same: Brett and every local elf he can muster up deliver fun, often campy takes on holiday favorites. Some years — provided I’ve had enough eggnog to think it’s a good idea — that includes me. But don’t let the threat of me embarrassing myself onstage stop you from going. This year Hughes will be joined by, among others I’m sure, Mia Adams, Elden Kelly and the rest of the Sirenix crew.
It’s not specifically holiday related, but the next installment of DJ A-Dog and Nastee’s True School Wednesday at Nectar’s, certainly fulfills the “goodwill to all” requirement. Wednesday, December 16, the True School crew hosts a benefit for the Burlington Food Shelf called, succinctly enough, “Feed Burlington.” Joining local hip-hop’s dynamic duo are Malbourne, Mertz, Woogmatic, Face-One and Colby Stiltz.
Speaking of local hip-hop, The Neighborhood (MCs Manus and Peter, and the estimable DJ ZJ) are set to release their new album at Club Metronome this Thursday. Unfortunately, I won’t have the chance to give it the proper review treatment until after the New Year. But if you dig hip-hop in the 802, you should definitely check ’em out.
And speaking of Club Metronome, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the local all-star tribute to The Beatles’ Let It Be happening Wednesday, December 18, and featuring Bob Wagner, Bill Mullins, Lowell Thompson, Ray Paczkowski, Rob O’Dea and Frank Zamiello.
Last but not least, The Jazz Guys’ final show. I’ve already written about this before, but I likely won’t have a chance to plug them ever again. And that sucks, because they’ve been one of my favorite local acts for a long time and are always fun to write about — except this time. Anyway, say goodbye this Friday, December 18, at Muddy Waters. We’ll miss you guys.
Dept. of Corrections
Before I bid you adieu for yet another week, we have a few loose ends to tie up. In no particular order, they are:
My Thanksgiving column drew some pretty interesting responses, most notably from Plus One, who pointed out that I wrote about being thankful for my dog … but not my girlfriend. Yikes! In self-defense, I intentionally didn’t mention friends or family because I figured that fell under “well, duh.”
You know what else that column didn’t have? A photo credit for the snazzy picture of Gang of Thieves. The pic was shot by Ivy Sienkiewycz. My apologies, Ivy.
Last week’s review of Zach DuPont’s stellar debut, Paths, misleadingly suggested that he is no longer a member of local prog-rock outfit Japhy Ryder. In fact, he’s still in the band. And if you don’t believe me, check out their show at Parima this Saturday. (Actually, check ’em out either way. They’re really good.)
And finally, last week’s column riff about A.A. Bondy’s performance at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge contained a colossal, sloppy goof. And frankly, I’m disappointed more of you didn’t catch it. What gives, people? Typically, my inbox would have blown up within 20 minutes of that issue hitting the streets.
Anyway, in the column I referred to Bondy’s tongue-in-cheek attempt to cover Pink Floyd’s “Money (That’s What I Want)” in response to Floyd-tribute band The Machine playing next door in the Ballroom. The only problem? That’s not a Pink Floyd song. It was written by Barrett Strong and subsequently covered by everyone from The Beatles to Buddy Guy. The Floyd song Bondy lampooned is just called “Money.” Thanks to alert reader — and former 7D staffer — Rick Woods for keeping me honest.