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Thursday, December 22nd The Dynamite Brothers, The Greatest Hits, Kings
Take a break from singing songs about socially inept reindeer at full voice with your pathetically drunk aunt, and head out to Kings for a Holiday Bash that'll boast a few more tolerable drunks and much, much more rock. Raleigh's Greatest Hits deal in broken-down jagged pop, the likes of which their Chapel Hill compatriots Dynamite Brothers would be proud. The Bros wriggle and writhe to frenetic boogaloo and rocky blues stomp, replete with spazzy, almost holy abandon. Free food and cheap drinks abound, but don't expect Rudolph or Frosty to put in any token appearances--you left your aunt, her gaudy candy cane sweater and nog-soaked tongue at home. --RM

L In japanese, savvy & Merlin, local 506
Local producer/emcee/Cat's Cradle lighting engineer L in Japanese stopped blogging from Paris in December of 2004, and he's been back on the Triangle scene since the turn of the year. In that time, he's been responsible for the most interesting beat ("The Downpour," a slinky roots-turned-funk subversion) on Cesar Comanche's third album, and he's back on the live scene with new fire. This is a good glimpse into some of the Triangle's promising alt. hip-hop strains, with the slithery stylistics of Mic Savvy & DJ Merlin, Social Memory Complex and Adam Rottin, formerly of Ill Rottin Intelligence. $6/10 p.m. --GC

Friday, December 23
Freak Machine, Rusty Trick, Downfall, A.O.I., Berkeley Cafe
What better time for some mascara-ed dark metal rock bands to congregate in Raleigh than Christmastime, right? Scare up the ghosts of Christmas present with Raleigh's own Freak Machine and their cohorts. This silent night, deadly night starts off the holiday weekend with a jolt. 9:30 p.m. --CT

Holidaze DJ Sessions, Fuse
The evening's highlighted by a pair of top-notch San Francisco DJs: Kid Kameleon and Ripley. Kameleon has done mash-ups that demonstrate his penchant for genre-mixing, running from drum'n'bass into ragga and dancehall. Ripley has a similar booty-shaking aesthetic, mixing jungle, dub, bhangra breaks and club breaks. Locals Yugen and One Duran will be adding to the party atmosphere. --CP
Emily Waszak, Dexter Romweber, Michael Kelsh, Stu Cole, The Cave
Emily Waszak, whose take on folk-country is as lovely and rustic as mountain laurel, has the early shift at the Cave on Christmas Eve eve. Headlining the late shift is the matchless Dexter Romweber, the area's premier primal rocker and a guy comfortable with a dozen other styles as well. Openers Stu Cole and Nashville-by-way-of-Tarboro's Michael Kelsh make it an all-Carolinian evening. Early: pass the hat/7:30 p.m., Late: $5, 10 p.m. --RC

Acoustic Christmas Show, Local 506
I can't imagine a better collection of local songwriters. It's a terrific lineup, from the gentle lilt of Erie Choir's Eric Roehrig and Regina Hexaphone's Sara Bell to the rambunctious pop of Velvet's Jane Francis and the New Town Drunks' Roberto and Diane. Interesting sets should follow from Lud's Kirk Ross, Cities' singer Josh Nowlan and brothers Matt and Seamus of SNMNMNM. Shannon O'Connor and members of Snatches of Pink are also on the bill. $5/9 p.m. --CP

Bass Lake Drifters, The Pour House
This is traditional bluegrass in its most dictionary sense, delivered by a six-piece ensemble that can hammer out delightful trad. faves or convincingly yellowed originals. But while the sterile description above is accurate enough, the Drifters deserve some wider eyes and a bit more romance. See, Christine Kelly and Carol Perriccio have a gift: the ability to harmonize like crystal-voiced angels. These women are musicians designed specifically for bluegrass, with voices bursting out of some dusty past where the genre's acoustic-based, praise-derived aesthetic didn't beg qualifiers like "old-timey" and "worn." In short--this is back porch music, instead of Back Porch Music. Free/10 p.m. --RM

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