Like it or not, this season brings a ton of spirit and good cheer, including the kind you can see and hear. Scrooge would opt out of these shows, but anyone else that's looking to have a good time to get through winter should read on.
Here are ten great holiday-themed concerts to see this month, presented in chronological order. Did we miss something you're particularly stoked about? Let everyone know what else is going on in the comments, and RFT Music will keep it in mind for future previews throughout the remainder of this chilly month.
Third Annual Hanukkah Hullabaloo Wednesday, December 4, 8 p.m. w/ Brothers Lazaroff, Rabbi James Stone Goodman, The Eight Nights Orchestra, Nostalgia, Tom "Papa" Ray, DJ Boogieman, Thelonius Krpyonite @ Plush - $10-$36 This soulful all-star casts convenes for an evening of Hanukkah-themed fun. Look forward to doo-wop, poetry set to experimental Klezmer soundscapes, DJ sets, freshly fried latkes and more. All proceeds benefit the One Life Whole World Project. For $36, get a VIP pass that includes a pre-show dinner with the performers and a collective of St. Louis rabbis.
Ugly Sweater Christmas Concert Thursday, December 5, 9 p.m. w/ Red Letter Days @ Foam - free Red Letter Days dons sacred spirited sweaters and takes the stage at Foam, performing a set that includes tracks from its latest EP -- read our review of Sounds Like a Plan to get a taste. Admission is free, but bring a few bucks for a good cause; Proceeds from the performance benefit charitable organization Dignity U Wear.
St. Louis Symphony: Bach's Christmas Oratorio Friday, December 6, 8 p.m. Saturday, December 7, 8 p.m. @ Powell Symphony Hall - $30-$109 When it comes to classic Christmas, no one does it better than the St. Louis Symphony. Besides these performances of Bach cantatas, check out a packed schedule that includes Handel's Messiah, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, a holiday celebration with Christmas carols, and for a special post-holiday treat, the music of John Williams.
Metro Link Holiday Magic Train Saturday, December 7, 1 p.m. w/ Beth Bombara @ Metro Transit Red Line - free Metro puts musicians on trains and sends them crooning down the tracks for a couple hours. Catch local singer-songwriter Beth Bombara on board the Red Line at 1:02 p.m. sharp, beginning and ending at the Fairview Heights MetroLink station. Music groups are also scheduled to perform at a couple of stations over the next couple of weeks -- get the schedule here.
Feliz Navidad with Musica SLESA Friday, December 13, 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. Saturday, December 14, 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. @ Jazz at the Bistro - $10-$25 We've named Jazz at the Bistro best jazz club more times than we can count, and for good reason. Visit the city's premier jazz listening room for the holidays. For a festive spin on things, the St. Louis Educators Salsa Association turns out latin jazz, salsa and bebop. Alternatively, check out Duke Ellington's Nutracker Suite performed by the Jazz St. Louis Big Band there.
The 10th Annual Rough Shop Holiday Extravaganza Benefit Friday, December 13, 8 p.m. Saturday, December 14, 8 p.m. w/ Rough Shop @ The Focal Point - $12/$15 Local modern folk band Rough Shop performs original as well as traditional holiday songs during this typically sold out event, featuring special gusts including Danielle Aslanian of One Take Band, Merv Schrock of Ransom Note and Steve Carosello of the Love Exports, just to name a few. Proceeds benefit the Focal Point and Tenth Life Cat Rescue.
The Fortnight Before Christmas Saturday, December 14, 9 p.m. w/ Cat Purse, Ellen the Felon, Shark Dad @ The Heavy Anchor - $5 Christmas comes early this year at the Heavy Anchor. Warm up with cheap drinks at the bar and head to the venue side to catch a couple of new local acts. Cat Purse promises cowpunk while Shark Dad plays self-described loud trash can rock music. Hear some tracks via the latter via Bandcamp. And if you missed Ellen the Felon's album release party at the Skatium last month, now's the chance to catch her again. Read our review of her album in Homespun.
The 12 Bassists of Christmas Saturday, December 14, 9 p.m. w/ Bruiser Queen, Middle Class Fashion, Sleepy Kitty @ Off Broadway Bruiser Queen invites a dozen of its favorite St. Louis bassists to join its standard two-piece set-up for a song each. "Being a guitar and drums duo is fun, but sometimes we miss what a bassist brings to the live show," says drummer Jason Potter. "In this season of overindulgence, this is us eating all the pie." The cameo cast includes Matt Harnish of Bunnygrunt, Syrehea Conaway of Syna So Pro, Kevin Schneider of the Blind Eyes and many more. Besides the special guest appearances, look out for "the world's largest tambourine ensemble," what Potter describes as a rock'n'roll style gospel choir.
Stag Night Holiday Shit Show Wednesday, December 18, 8 p.m. w/ Skarekrau Radio, Pet Rock the Musical, Little Big Bangs, Animal Teeth @ Livery Company - $5 In September, local impresario Johnny Vegas officially moved his south city shindig, Stag Nite, to Livery Company. Grab a dollar Stag and check out one of his most raucous line-ups yet. Pet Rock: the Musical releases a cassette while an all-star cast of noisy punk and rock misfits meet up to wild out with guitars on. The following Stag Nite happens on Christmas Day, featuring Arson for Candy, the Hobosexuals and Jack Grelle.
Funky Butt Brass Band Holiday Brasstravaganza Friday, December 20, 8:30 p.m. Saturday, December 21, 8:30 p.m. @ Off Broadway - $12-$18 This fifth annual event features funky holiday songs, photos with Santa to benefit Stray Rescue and fun surprises all night long including special guests Steve Ewing of the Urge (Friday night only) and Big Mike Aguirre. Expect holiday joy in the form of live burlesque, raffle prizes and Christmas cookies.
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