There's a big, two-day hole cut into our concert schedule this week, on account of Jesus' birthday (observed), but I'll be damned if this weekly Phoenix-concert-listings feature goes dark on my (and Jesus') watch.
We may or may not get to five shows, but let's give it a shot.
A Very Crescent Christmas - Crescent Ballroom - Today
Full disclosure: Mondo Twang is a podcast from Shane Kennedy, who
, and Jason Woodbury, who was kind of the music editor here for a while.
They're presenting this particular jamboree.
But let's be honest: we'd probably highlight this show anyway. Jim Adkins and Robin Vining will be joined, on an otherwise inconsequential Christmas Eve Eve, by Gospel Claws, Cherie Cherie, and Hands on Fire (which, yes, also involves our erstwhile music editor.)
Snake! Snake! Snakes! - Crescent Ballroom - Wednesday, December 25
Granted, if you don't have Christmas dinner waiting for you anyplace in particular--or you just eat early and are interested in preparing to get out of the house before the small-talk sets in--Snake! Snake! Snakes! has you covered with a free show that probably does not involve our erstwhile music editor.
If your first exposure to Snake! Snake! Snakes! is the exclamation points, you're likely to misperceive them--they're more like a less theatrically depressed, more anthemic Interpol, shouting choruses deliberately over smooth, propulsive beats and echoing guitar. You could certainly find worse bands to prepare you for the abrupt transition from Christmas music to New Years music.
Jason DeVore - Tempe Tavern - Thursday, December 26
Authority Zero is the kind of local-band-makes-good you think you'd be, if you just made good already. Jason DeVore and company, despite having a fanbase that took them across Europe and Russia and just about anyplace bands have fanbases, are almost impossible to avoid around town, playing shows and watching them and generally being Elder Statesmen types.
Their fifth full-length, The Tipping Point, came out this past April, and the band toured hard on it. Now DeVore is bookending their New Years Eve show at the Marquee Theatre with two solo shows--a January 4 date at Last Exit Live and a Boxing Day special at Tempe Tavern. Solo, DeVore is somewhat less fiery than he is with Authority Zero, playing in a percussive, soulful acoustic style that--predictably--will appeal to Authority Zero fans without sounding much like them. (The reggae influence is present, but you'll have to dig for it.) There's no way of knowing whether you'd be as available as Authority Zero is, because you're probably not as big a deal as they are. But we can be glad they're available anyway.
Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers - Talking Stick Resort - December 27-28
Roger Clyne's easy-going, laid back personality radiates through his music; at Circus Mexicus, the Peacemakers' annual Rocky Point retreat, it leaves their fans dancing and singing and tipping back drinks on the beach. The energy inside a Peacemakers crowd is loving, peaceful; fans of all ages stand side-by-side and sing along, some dancing with their kids and others waving glow-sticks over their heads.
There will be no beachside soccer tournament when Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers play "Adios 2013," a two-night run at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, but there will be legions of RCPM and Refreshments buffs and the sense of community that comes with them. 15 years have passed since the abrupt end of the Refreshments, but Clyne and company haven't missed a beat--they still possess every ounce of the charisma that took them through the '90s. The way they'll pack their fans in to ring in 2014 at Talking Stick is evidence enough of that. -- Caleb Haley"
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ROAR, Vial of Sound, Bogan Via, Future Loves Past - Crescent Ballroom - Saturday, December 28
December 28, even when it isn't a Saturday, is maybe the least essential day of the year. You're still stuck firmly in the middle of the Holidays, but the holiday that's the reason for the euphemistic season is already past, leaving the red and green decorations around town looking a little ratty. You've gotten your gifts, and you've just begun to confront the reality of New Years Eve, which is that you're going to be sitting in a bar only more people will be there than usual.
If you're willing to sit in a bar with more people there than usual a couple of days early, you can rehabilitate December 28 with four Valley stalwarts at a President Gator Records showcase: ROAR (our 2013 Best Local Band), Vial of Sound, Bogan Via, and Future Loves Past.