From what you've come to expect from emo groups, Novi Split -- which visits Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt, on Tuesday, December 14 -- fills the void in the way only the sensitive side of post-punk can. Offering sound design that is as adverse to "over-production" as slugs to salt, it's as if being anywhere else but the intimacy of the band members' living room at an after-midnight jam would penetrate their thin, oozing veneer and suck out all their creative juices. Barely audible guitars behind whispering vocals like, And you're talking soft and low -- from their song "The New Split" -- summarize the mood of their music, found somewhere out in the suburbs, lamenting beneath the open starry sky. Make sure to bring a latte. The City on Film opens the show at 8 p.m. Admission is $5. See www.modified.org. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Festival fills American West with song
Mariachi isn't just for Cinco de Mayo anymore. The 13th annual Christmas Mariachi Festival is strumming its way back to America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson, at 7 p.m. Saturday, December 11. And because one mariachi band certainly is not enough to celebrate the season, there will be at least two -- Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan and Mariachi los Camperos de Nati Cano -- as well as the Ballet Folklorico San Juan dancers, plus a few extras. Just to make sure this fiesta is, uh, bueno, Linda Ronstadt also performs. For tickets, $37.50 to $67.50, call Ticketmaster at 480-784-4444. -- C. Murphy Hebert
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Herberger hosts Christmas Cabaret
Banish the holiday humbugs at iTheatre's Christmas Cabaret, which begins Friday, December 10, and runs through December 19, at the Herberger Outreach Theater, 222 East Monroe. Christmas carolers might as well stay home and roast their chestnuts ("no burn" days be damned), since the show should satisfy any hankering for holiday harmonies. Performances of traditional songs, along with some jazz, Broadway, pop and country ditties, are a few of the sundry seasonal stylings planned for the night. Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. For tickets, $12 for students and $15 for adults, call 602-347-1071.-- C. Murphy Hebert