It is an annual tradition. Exactly halfway through the holidays, the overwhelming call to escape the family for loud music and hard drink arrives. Not that I don't enjoy the time off work to be with loved ones, but live music is a tender love that needs to be nurtured just like a mother-in-law.
The Christmas cheer starts this week at Club Fire, which is quickly becoming the premiere place to rock in central Mississippi. Wednesday, Dec. 10, rockers 12 Stones and Lynam return to Fire to help you through the work week, 10 p.m. $15. MissUsed will fire it up Friday, and '80s tribute rock outfit The Molly Ringwalds will perform at Fire on Saturday.
On Thursday night, right down the road from Fire, southern juke/blues band Thomas Jackson Orchestra performs at Martin's at 10 p.m. Also Thursday night, Naked Eskimos rocks north Jackson at Electric Cowboy.
Guitar bluesman and regional icon Eddie Cotton will headline a blues Christmas bash in the Hal & Mal's Big Room Friday night at 9 p.m. This is the first of several big blues Christmas jams in the Big Room over the next two weeks, so expect downtown to ring in the New Year in high order. Mark your calendars for next Thursday, Dec. 18, for Jesse Robinson's Annual Christmas Blues Bash, also in the H&M Big Room at 8 p.m. These two guitar legends throw two of the biggest parties of the season, and they draw from a huge friend base to join them on stage. I'll keep you posted on the line-ups as new information comes in.
Back to this weekend, R.L. Burnside's adopted son Kenny Brown will bring his North Mississippi hill country troubadours to lay it down at Martin's this Friday, Dec. 12, 10 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 13, if you're looking for great seasonal music on a budget, the Belhaven College Center for the Arts (835 Riverside Dr.) will host the Mississippi Community Symphonic Band with a free Christmas Concert, 7 p.m. Find out more about this great organization and the concert at mcsb.us.
The eclectic, indie-pop triple-bill of the week is this Saturday at 121 Studios on Millsaps Avenue. Beginning at 10 p.m., John Barrett's Bass Drum of Death, Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele and Ape Champ perform. John Barrett's BDOD just released their first EP on Fat Possum, and you may know Dent May from local power-pop band The Rockwells. Since that time, Dent has found his home as a kitschy self-styled pop showman with an uncanny talent for hooks that can only be unleashed properly on a ukulele. Animal Collective's Paw Tracks label recently signed Dent. Google him and see a tour de pop force that is unhinging from our little dot on the map and spreading across Pitchfork, Fader, SXSW, CMJ and beyond. Show up at 121 Studios this Saturday, and you can say, "I knew him when," before he outgrows us. Look for his Paw Tracks debut Feb. 3.
Another great seasonal tradition for the whole family happens next Wednesday, Dec. 17. The internationally acclaimed Trans-Siberian Orchestra will bring their classic Christmas concert back to the Mississippi Coliseum. Purchase tickets at Be-Bop, Ticketmaster or at the coliseum box office for 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. shows; $35-$45. It's a great way to surprise your loved one and ring in the season in style. Cheers.