Music » Critics' Picks

Mannheim Steamroller

8 p.m. Friday, December 5 , 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, December 6. The Fabulous Fox Theatre, 527 North Grand Boulevard.

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Mannheim Steamroller plays neo-classical Yuletide prog, which celebrates the joys of Christmas with an epic fruitcake of orchestral instruments, synths and overwhelming laser lights. That said, it should not be confused with Trans-Siberian Orchestra; Mannheim takes a lighter approach to its music that's more akin to new age. Also, don't mix up the ensemble's tunes with those of easy-listening pianist George Winston, because Mannheim's arrangements are craftier and edgier. And furthermore, don't confuse the group with Canadian sludge-metal band Steamröller (uh, I just made that up). After three decades, Mannheim's 2008 Christmasville proves its continued willingness to break new ground. The album, loosely based on How the Grinch Stole Christmas, is the group's first to feature vocals, which may be the neo-classical Yuletide prog equivalent to Dylan plugging in.

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