Time's flying. The New Year is approaching. The War on Christmas has officially begun. The kids are almost out of school for the winter — I mean, Christmas break. So parents, you need to pack in as much amusement and entertainment as you can [more below] before the kids are at home all day maxing out your Internet plan and before your parents come back into town to visit. Money's also tight this time of year as we all realize that our goals of not buying a bunch of material crap for our loved ones aren't coming to fruition. We'll shop away — like we always do — to alleviate ourselves of the potential of disappointed children who don't get every single thing they want.
Here are some unsolicited suggestions that I may or may not follow in my own life for this holiday — I mean, Christmas season. I know it's not en vogue these days to actually purchase music but consider doing so for gifts (I mean really, would Jesus stream music without ever paying for it?) It's tough to buy music for kids these days partly due to the physical manifestation the music delivery device may take and also because these youngsters don't listen to albums. Buying your kid an LP is out of the question unless your kid is a teenage hipster who has a record player to differentiate him or herself from the earbudded and digitally obsessed masses. A CD? Forget about it unless your kid's in college and needs cheap coasters to put their 40-ounce on. Digital and downloadable is pretty much the way to go. Sure, you could buy an iTunes gift card so he or she can pick out whatever. Nothing wrong with that but as with all gift cards, it's not that personal. Maybe run the risk of buying some music for the kiddos that you think they like and then something that you think they could/should like. If they're still at the age where they don't think of you as an abject embarrassment to every minute of their being, maybe you can even offer to sit down with them and listen to the album with them and they can tell you why they like it, and you can do the same when you have them listen to Willy and the Poor Boys.
If you're looking for a gift for your significant other and/or close friends, think about buying tickets to a music concert that they'd love to see but might not spend the money for themselves. If it's music that you really can't stand, maybe just buy them the tickets to see Lee Greenwood and accept their thanks. If it's music you both love, buy tickets so you can go together. Make a night of it. Make a road trip of it. It may be just as expensive as that Chinese-made-maple-lined electric tie rack you were going to buy them originally but it will last longer in your memories, and it'll never end up in the trash or re-gifted.
The Compost Mountain Boys are doing their bluegrass thing for you tonight at the Mad River Brewery Tap Room at 6 p.m. These fellas have been getting folks up and dancing for over 25 years now, and they're doing it for free tonight. Have a locally crafted beer to get your legs moving, and just know that at least your dancing isn't as bad as that of the guy next to you in the silly hat.
I've been noticing some folks around town wearing some ugly-ass sweaters. Some of the folks know the sweaters are ugly as sin and are celebrating that fact. The others ... well, I'm not going to break it to them. Should you still have your ugly sweater on, or what you think is a super sweet sweater — that no one's ever commented on — head on back to the Mad River Brewery Tap Room at 6 p.m. and see a sea of subtlety-free sweaters while the LaPatinas delight you with songs and stories. It's free. When you combine Frank Anderson on the harmonica, Mark Jenny on the guitar, and Seabury Gould on piano and guitar, you get Legends of the Mind. They play some "FUN" acoustic blues along with some holiday — I mean Christmas-themed songs with some jazz and Americana thrown in for good measure. They'll be at the Westhaven Center for the Arts at 7 p.m. with a sliding scale of $5-$10. After playing its casino gig last weekend, The Trouble is at it again and at the Siren's Song Tavern in Eureka tonight at 8:30 p.m. Trouble drummer Sam Kaplan-Good will be doing double duty as his other band Rogues' Gallery will be on this $5 bill. DJ Dragonfly will be at HumBrews tonight, joined by locals Basstard, Marjo Lak and Andreas with visuals by Marmalade Sky. As Dragonfly asks, "Come. Find and lose yourself" in the music. If you can find yourself, you're already ahead of me. Make sure you find $10 to get into this 9 p.m. show. Local Pink Floyd tribute Money return to the Wave Lounge in the Blue Lake Casino and Hotel at the same time. The bass player (full disclosure: me) tells me that the band is trying to pull something off tonight that it has never done and that he doesn't think any other Floyd cover bands have either, for that matter. It's a free show and it's going late. Back in Arcata, The Jam is hosting David Starfire who mixes beats and live instrumentation to get you groovin' with some Eastern elements thrown in for melodic color. He's joined by Wu Wei and DJ D'vinity at 9:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $20, but if you bring an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots, you'll get $5 off the cover charge.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Night Show on KWPT 100.3 FM weeknights at 6 p.m. He tells people he shops local.