Amp up for the holidays

Concerts: Radio stations, venues ready to rock

December 3, 2010 

So what says Christmas better than James Mercer singing "Your Head Is On Fire?"

Well, a lot of things, actually. But that’s beside the point. Turkey Day and Black Friday are behind us, and Mercer’s Broken Bells is just one of the rock bands headed this way to help spread Chrismahannukwanza cheer.

Some of Puget Sound’s most popular radio stations and music venues will hold their annual holiday pre-funk in the next few days. Here’s a scorecard to help you keep track of who’s playing where:


Holiday Hangover Le-Ball-ski

Host: KISW-FM (99.9)

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., Seattle

Tickets: $30 in advance, $40 day of show

Lineup: Hellyeah, Hail the Villain, Wratchet Head, Hartwood

The skinny: KISW’s Hangover party will sport a “Big Lebowski” motif this year with the Men’s Room Bowling team, “dancing Maudes” and clips from the Coen brothers film. (You know, the Dude? German anarchists? That stuff says, um, Christmas.)

Heavy metal super-group Hellyeah headlines, but some of the biggest buzz surrounds Wratchet Head, a new side project of Queensryche guitarist Michael Wilton.


Jingle Bell Bash

Host: KBKS-FM (Kiss, 106.1)

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle

Tickets: $41

Lineup: Paramore, 3OH!3, All Time Low, the Maine, Mayday, A Rocket to the Moon, Cartel and Runner Runner (plus a performance by a surprise guest artist.)

The skinny: Colorfully coiffed Hayley Williams and Paramore headline this orgy of emo-pop, with dance duo 3OH!3 injecting a bit of quirky crunk into the mix. Kiss will also announce a surprise guest at the show. Could it be Katy Perry, who seems to be free that night and who has collaborated with those 3OH!3 boys? Or will it be more along the lines of Kiss-FM joke band Ball Flaggs? (My money is on Ball Flaggs.)


Deck the Hall Ball

Host: KNDD-FM (The End, 107.7)

When: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle

Tickets: $44.50

Lineup: Broken Bells, Black Keys, Sleigh Bells, Jimmy Eat World, Cake and Temper Trap

The skinny: Broken Bells has released a new cut, called “Meyrin Fields,” since headlining Seattle’s Showbox at the Market in May. But the hottest “bell” band on this bill is Brookly duo Sleigh Bells.

Information: www.1077the

KMTT-FM’s (The Mountain, 103.7) Winter Warmth Concert

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle

Tickets: $32

Lineup: Michael Franti & Spearhead

The skinny: This marks the third time Franti and Co. will have delivered their uplifting reggae-folk fusion to local fans this year, following appearances at Redmond’s Marymoor Park and KeyArena. This time they’re armed with a new album “The Sound of Sunshine.”

Information: www.1037the

The Wolf Hometown Holiday Concert

Host: KKWF-FM (The Wolf, 100.7)

When: 7 p.m. Dec. 11

Where: Rialto Theater, 310 Ninth St., Tacoma

Tickets: $15

Lineup: James Otto, The JaneDear Girls

The skinny: Otto has been on a hot streak these last couple of years, between smash hit “Just Got Started Lovin’ You” and Jamey Johnson’s “In Color,” a song he co-wrote. And this is sort of a homecoming show for the country singer, who was born at Fort Lewis. A portion of the show’s proceeds will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Information: 253-591-5890, or


Countdown to Christmas

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Where: The New Frontier Lounge, 301 E. 25th St., Tacoma.

Tickets: $5 at the door

Lineup: Girl Trouble, the Dignitaries and the Riffbrokers

The skinny: Tacoma’s Girl Trouble has been putting on this garage-rock Christmas celebration since the tail end of the Reagan Administration. Expect the set list to include the Ventures’ version of “Sleigh Bells,” scrappy takes on “Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me” and “Holly Jolly Christmas,” and maybe a little “Blue Christmas.”

“I should be in a Santa suit at some point,” adds front man Kurt Kendall. You know, before he takes his shirt off and starts go-go dancing.

Information: 253-572-4020 or www.thenewfrontierlounge. com

A Big Band Christmas

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Tacoma Community College, 6501 S. 19th St., Tacoma

Tickets: $10 in advance or $15 at the door

Lineup: Legendary jazz trumpeter Mike Vax with Rich Wetzel & the Groovin’ Higher Orchestra

The skinny: Wetzel and company have celebrated the music of Stan Kenton during past installments of their Christmas show. But this year, they’ll change things up with a tribute to big band leader Tom Kubis.

Information: 1-800-838-3006 or

Friends of the Holidays

When: 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: The Swiss Tavern, 1904 S. Jefferson Ave., Tacoma

Tickets: $10 donation at the door

Lineup: Mercedes Nicole, Malcolm Clark Band, Fingertips, the Randy Oxford Band, Junkyard Jane, Mojo Overload, Jumpin’ Josh & His All-star Friends

The skinny: Local blues all-stars raise money for the Emergency Food Network, a nonprofit organization that helps feed the hungry in Pierce County.

Information: 253-572-2821 or

Jingle Bell Jam

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, 1500 Broadway, Tacoma

Tickets: $125 per person

Lineup: Vicki Martinez

The skinny: This is a formal event, black tie optional. Proceeds will benefit the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Center. Martinez, one of Tacoma’s most popular and dynamic performers, will go on at 9 p.m. in the venue’s ultralounge.

Information: 253-403-3095 or foundations/events/jingle bell-jam

Tacoma Musicians’ Networking and Holiday Party

When: 7 p.m. Dec. 10

Where: Hell’s Kitchen, 928 Pacific Ave., Tacoma

Tickets: $5.99

Lineup: DJ Parallel, DJ Neema, Tubaluba, Angie and the Car Wrecks, 1776, Poorsport

The skinny: Local musicians are invited to network and take the night off while talent from out of town does all the hard work. There will also be drawings for prizes from Union Jack Amps, Supernova Hair and Tattoo and more.

Information: www.hells

Ernest Jasmin: 253-274-7389,,

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