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Thursday 18
It’s time for hometown hit Gary Shuffler’s (Honey Glaze) birthday extravaganza, when Shuff dons his “screwed-up eyes and screwed-down hairdo” as Ziggy Shuffledust and the Spiders from Mars. If you’ve never seen a Shuffler trib, which include Bauhaus, Queen, and GNR, among others, then you’re in for a treat, Bowie fan, as the performer and his all-star band rock the Thin White Duke right over the top. And donja forget to buy the birthday boy a belt. The Tighten Ups open tonight’s Casbah sets.... Tempe pop-rock act the Maine bring their MTV looks and radio-ready hooks to teen scene Epicentre. They’re out to tout this year’s Billboard climber Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop and will treat the room to a taste of spanking-new holiday disc And a Happy New Year. With Eye Alaska (insert Sarah Palin joke here), This Century, Radio Racer, and Foto:graph, that’s a lot of bang for your bucks, kids.... SoCal vocal group Venice bring their Christmas show to Belly Up. Bend an ear to the seasonal sounds of Christmas with Venice for a preview. Your mom’d love this one.... Back downtown, SanDago surf rockers Secret Samurai smack the lip at Beauty Bar.

Friday 19
Party like a rock star! SoCal locos Sprung Monkey swing through House of Blues Friday night. The quintet’s catchy dub rock has landed the band movie cuts and face time on Conan. Bill reads like a locals-only, homers, with Poway punks Unwritten Law, hometown hits Critical Me, and alt-rock faves Buckfast Superbee.... ‘Round downtown, L.A.’s Jon B joins Slim of Atlanta Grammy winners 112 for a night of R&B at 4th&B...Creepy Creeps and Braaiins! rock your nightmare before Christmas at Casbah — looks like that might be a free one...and big-horns band Detroit Underground rolls up on Anthology.... Uptowners, ya got MEX at Bar Pink...Tiltwheel, Madison Bloodbath, and the Bible Brothers at the Ken Club...and Batar-Zan, Metrons, and Heavy Cessna land at Radio Room.... Else: it’s a Very Celtic Christmas at Belly Up with the Young Dubliners, Colin Armstrong, and the L.A. Scots Pipe Band.

“This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race.” Mira Mesa’s all-ages Epicentre catches Illinois’s favorite sons Fall Out Boy Saturday night. December 16, Pete Wentz and his pop-punk supergroup dropped their fifth Decaydance disc Folie à Deux. At this writing, no telling how far up the Billboard charts the “current face of rock and roll” landed with this one. Check the Space takes for a taste.... Casbah fills a big-rawk bill with groomed but gritty locals Dirty Sweet and Angelino psych-rock acts Lemon Sun and Night Horse.... English chanteuse, Disney darling, and the ex–Mrs. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sarah Brightman, lights up Sports Arena with her super-soprano renditions of big show tunes (Phantom) and classical crossover hits. Take a gander at Diva: The Video Collection for a prevue.... 40 Oz. to Freedom (Sublime trib) and Stepping Feet (Dave Matthews thing) ape their faves out at Canes.... While in town, the Modlins, Wendy Darling, and Joanie Mendenhall coif at Beauty Bar...and the Donkeys haul a load of psych-folk into the Ken.

Sunday 21
The Vandals return ‘80s party punk to House of Blues. Interest in the Huntington Beach band was rejuvenated when the throwbacks joined this past summer’s Warped Tour. For the tongue-in-cheek team’s best, revisit early-effort reissues Peace Thru Vandalism and When in Rome Do as the Vandals. Wild Weekend and the Phenomenauts set the downtown stage.... Irish drunk-punks the Downs Family bring their riverdance rave-ups to North Park hot spot Bar Pink.... Scarlet Symphony, Say Vinyl, and the Drowning Men wash up at Casbah for a rock, pop, and folk Sunday nighter.

Monday 22
Gets thin Christmas week, but here y’are: Casbah’s Anti-Monday team tags “acousmatic” locals Tape Deck Mountain, Zonie indie kids Madison County, and “the new wave of rock and roll,” Portland band Black Mamba...while Belly Up books a 91X Loudspeaker joint, featuring up-and-comers Years Around the Sun, Apes of Wrath, and Scarlet Symphony.

Tuesday 23
It’s Rub-a-Dub Tuesday at Belly Up, hosted by Dub Traffik Control, with the Devastators and Stranger.... Beauty Bar bills an all-country night featurin’ John Meeks and the Old Palominos.... Fuzz Huzzi, Astro Zombies (Misfits covers), and Plane Without a Pilot crash into Casbah.

Wednesday 24
ExMas Eve, babies, and time for the annual Exile on Kettner sets at Casbah, with all your fave local players rolling bones and dishing up Stones! Merry hangover.
Barnaby Monk

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