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Soundtracking the War on Christmas

By Mike Breen · December 21st, 2011 · Spill It

With Christmas falling on a weekend this year, there are far fewer live music shows in the area this season. But on the weekdays there are some excellent options. 

• Walnut Hills hotspot The Greenwich shows its holiday spirit on Thursday at 8 p.m. with “Jazz at Christmas,” a night of live Jazz performed by the excellent Mike Wade and the Ambassadors. The show will also feature guest William Menefield, the former “wiz kid” piano master who recently earned a music Ph.D. at the University of Texas. The $10 admission fee gets you a free dinner. 

• Relatively new on-the-rise Jazz ensemble The Chris Comer Trio hosts what it’s calling a holiday blowout/variety show at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine Wednesday. A reprise of the trio’s likeminded event last year in Northside, the free, 9 p.m. MOTR show will feature tons of special guests from varying genres, including Jason Arbenz (Goose, ex-Throneberry), Boogie Woogie piano genius Ricky Nye, Mike Ingram of Indie Pop superheroes The Seedy Seeds, bassist/songwriter Benj Clarke (who now lives and works in L.A.) and many more surprises. 

• When you live in a city with a great music scene (and rich musical past), the holidays bring some of the more enjoyable shows of the year, often from musicians who have moved away but want to play for old friends.

This year’s best example — the widely acclaimed, locally beloved Folk/Pop/Rock band Plow On Boy (one of the finest local acts of the ’90s) is reuniting at the Southgate House this Monday, joined by Magnolia Mountain and Filthy McNasty (a.k.a. Poke). 

• Also on Monday at the Southgate (in the Parlour), the One More Girl on a Stage series comes back for one night only. Though it ended somewhat recently, organizer Kelly Thomas is bringing the show back for one more ride at the Southgate before it shuts down Jan. 1. Thomas will be joined by Kristen Kreft, Wonky Tonk, Blue Shivers, Veronica Grim, Ma Crow, Whitney B. and many others. There is no cover, but donations for the Susan Komen cancer support organization are encouraged.

• If you want to visit the Southgate House before Christmas — and you don’t even celebrate Christmas — head to Newport Wednesday as local indie publisher Aurore Press (the people behind the annual Jockey Club reunion shows) presents “A Hanukkah Punk Xtravaganza,” featuring several old-school Punk/Post Punk-era vets. Scheduled to appear: Uncle Dave Lewis & William Gilmore Weber, SS-20, Snare and the Idiots and The Mudlarks (Jimmy D., Todd Witt, Bob Lambert and Max Cole). Cover is $5-$8 for the 9 p.m. show in the Ballroom.

• Last but far from least, gifted young Blues/Rock singer/guitarist Natalie Wells and her band present a holiday shindig at Oakley’s 20th Century Theatre on Wednesday at 8 p.m. Wells just released her magnificent full-length album Mind the Gap, an instantly alluring, soulfully heavy affair dripping with inspiration from some of the all-time Blues and Rock greats, from The Beatles (one of the more obvious influences, especially on the cover of the legends’ “Hey Bulldog”) and Cream (and the ’60s/’70s Blues Rock explosion, in general) to contemporary acts like The White Stripes and The Black Keys. (Keep an eye on the music blog at citybeat.com for a full review.) There are often a few records that are released right before the end of the year that catch me off guard and instantly end up shooting up the rankings in CityBeat’s annual “Year in Local Recordings” feature (running in next week’s issue). This year, Mind the Gap leads that class by a long shot. (www.nataliewells.net)

CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen@citybeat.com



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