Trekky Records Christmas
Cat's Cradle—The joy of the holiday season courses through The Trekky Yuletide Orchestra's "Christmas Like No Other," pounding tom-toms driving behind an anthemic chorus—"So many days are in a year/ and let's make this one last." Whether it's one of their half-dozen original holiday tunes or a cover of an old standard, arrangements plow forward like an indie Wall of Sound.
"Putting 25 people up on stage, it's a bit of a spectacle," admits Martin Anderson, co-founder of Trekky Records. "It's a cool thing to watch that many people work together."
This is the fourth year that members of various Trekky Records acts—The Never, Embarrassing Fruits and Lost in the Trees, for example—take the stage as a holiday collective. The group evolved out of label Christmas parties that, of course, evolved into sing-alongs as individuals remembered Christmas favorites and instruments changed hands. The orchestra still serves as a retreat for musicians after a long year. "It's a time for us to cut loose a little bit and just have fun," says Anderson. For proof, see Jonny Tunnell's Mariah Carey-matching vocals on "All I Want for Christmas is You."
The band plays both religious and secular music, but the overall meaning of Christmas conveyed by Trekky's annual Christmas celebrations seems to be about friendship and community. And thanks to the label's general cheer, opening acts for Christmas at the Cradle—all non-Trekky groups—have never repeated. This year features the holiday stylings of Dex Romweber, The Love Language's Stuart McLamb and Missy Thangs, Des Ark, Whatever Brains, Organos, Veelee, Birds and Arrows and Mount Weather. Billy Sugarfix hosts.
Proceeds from ticket sales and a raffle go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. It's an organization whose cause hits home for Anderson and the Trekky roster: "Steven Tunell [of Vibrant Green], he has MS. A lot of it's based around our love for Steven." Pay $8-$10 for the 7:30 p.m. show. See www.catscradle.com. —Andrew Ritchey
A Special Holiday Evening with Allan Gurganus
The Regulator Bookshop—Hillsborough resident Allan Gurganus is best known as a novelist, but as many can attest, he's also one heck of a raconteur. Tonight he'll perform an unpublished short story that is, nonetheless, well-known: "A Fool for Christmas" was first broadcast on NPR's All Things Considered on Christmas Eve 2004. The story concerns a middle-aged man named Verne who takes in a pregnant teen and gives her a part-time job at his pet store in the mall. No word if this pet store sells donkeys or if there are visitors from the East—you'll have to come to find out. The event starts at 7 p.m., and festive refreshments will be served. Visit www.regulatorbookshop.com. —Sarah Ewald
Local 506—Despite a troubled childhood and an ongoing substance abuse problem, rapper Cage signed to a major label before he was 20. No album materialized, but his 1997 indie single, "Agent Orange," garnered substantial underground cred. Still, it wasn't until the debut of his troupe Smut Peddlers in 2001 and his solo debut the following year that Cage's career gained any momentum. His songs are shaded with the darkness and abuse of his youth, though he's moved away from the gratuitous drugs, misogyny and angst with his latest albums, culminating in Depart From Me, which works more of a rock angle, thanks to the help of ex-Hatebreed guitarist Chris Martin. The album explores greater positivity ("Fat Kids Need an Anthem," "Captain Bumout") as he attempts to escape the shadowy corner his debauched persona painted him into. ("This intellectual black hole reeks of cologne and lies," he sings on the anti-hook-up track.) It's certainly more mature, if not quite wholeheartedly adult, with an as-yet unseen measure of circumspection that puts him in the neighborhood of Atmosphere, if not quite so damn touchy-feely. Big Hell opens at 9:30 p.m.; pay $10. See www.local506.com. —Chris Parker