Slay Bells

THU 12/23

What better way to get in the holiday spirit than to bang your noggin with a bunch of heavy-metal maniacs? You already may have missed out on the 12 Bands of Christmas show and the Merry Fucking Xmas Bash earlier this month at the Clubhouse in Tempe, but don't worry: Satan -- er, Santa -- hasn't forgotten you, dear little metal head. The monthlong lineup of holiday cheer continues with the Merry Metal X-mas Holiday Show on Thursday, December 23. The all-ages gig features local rockers A Feast Unknown, in addition to Red Headed Stepchyld, Todd Staples Project, Sinner Lane, Helliphino, and Steel Tow. Doors open at 6 p.m., but the caroling doesn't start until 7. Tickets are $5 at the door, or call 480-968-3238. The Clubhouse is located at 1320 East Broadway. See for more information. -- Ashlea Deahl

Cordes Juncture

The laughter comes home

12/23, 12/26

Local, struggling funnymen who work the open-mic nights and laugh about eating ramen noodles, take heart: Scottsdale comic Mark Cordes started out just like you, and now he's all grown up, headlining the Tempe Improv, at 933 East University, on Thursday, December 23, and Sunday, December 26. Cordes has opened for acts like Chicago, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Warren Zevon, and the Temptations, and he's had television spots on Comic Strip Live and An Evening at the Improv. The recently wed Cordes comes home for the holidays with jokes in tow. He'll begin the crack-ups for both shows at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Call 480-921-9877. -- Niki D'Andrea

Reed and Tell

Jazz great plays the Rhythm Room

FRI 12/24

When Francine Reed lived in Georgia, Bonnie Raitt walked onstage with Reed's album and announced, "You folks have a national treasure here in Atlanta." Lucky for us, Reed moved to Phoenix, so she's our treasure now. In addition to performing with Lyle Lovett's band for more than a decade, Reed's done solo gigs opening for Miles Davis, Smokey Robinson, and Etta James. Her latest album, Shades of Blue, expands on her jazz legacy, with heartbreaking gems like "Wrong Man for the Job" and "The Man That Got Away." Reed performs at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School, on Friday, December 24. Doors open at 7 p.m. Admission costs $10. Call 602-265-4842. -- Niki D'Andrea