We've never seen a partridge in a pear tree, we don't know why you'd need four calling birds when one would do, and we haven't a clue about what would possess 10 lords to leap over anything. What we do know is that San Diego will see plenty of drummers drumming, singers singing and guitarists—uh—guitaring during the next two weeks and a helluva lot more than nine ladies will be dancing as a result.
That's because December always brings a slew of concerts celebrating the spirit of [Insert Your Preferred Holiday Here]. In fact, there are more seasonal concerts than you can shake a Festivus pole at these days. Ah, but few reach the magnitude of the radio-sponsored holiday show.
At least one (93.3-FM's “Holiday Show” featuring Fall Out Boy, Gym Class Heroes and Plain White T's) has already passed us by. But four still remain. We've taken a look at the list. Hell, we've checked it twice. And we've compiled the following guide to help you decide which shows are naughty and which are—well, you get the point. Show: Rock 105.3-FM's “Rock Before Christmas” (Part II)
Specs: Friday, Dec. 7, at San Diego Sports Arena, $31.50
Headliner: Avenged Sevenfold
Stocking Stuffers: Atreyu, Suicidal Tendencies, Fair to Midland, Operator
Goes well with: Hot Topic gift cards, Black Christmas, Black Sabbath, studded dog collars, Bad Santa, bad goatees
Tastes like: Overcooked ham and Wild Turkey.
Sounds like (holiday remixes): “I Saw Mommy Killing Santa Claus (The Ice Pick Song),” “Deck the Halls, Then Steal
Their Wallet,” “All I Want for Christmas is to Knock Out Your Two Front Teeth”
Gift list (target audience): Anyone who regularly wears heavy black eyeliner and white cover-up; teens whose parents totally don't get them; parents whose parents didn't get them, either; people who use empty beer cans as Christmas-tree ornaments.
Naughty or nice: This show wants to put the “slay” in “sleigh,” the “claws” in “Claus” and to not just light the menorah, but burn that mutha to the ground. In reality, these are the leftovers after Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie (in “Rock Before Christmas” Part I) delivered the main course on Dec. 2. Combined, the two shows make a holiday beast. Alone, Avenged Sevenfold doesn't quite have enough headlining star power. Atreyu, Fair to Midland and Operator deliver a fresh jolt, but it's been a long time since anyone thought enough of Suicidal Tendencies to accuse the band of killing their children.
Show: Star 94.1-FM's “Jingle Ball 2007”
Specs: Sunday, Dec. 9, at San Diego Sports Arena, $57.50-$257.50
Headliner: Duran Duran
Stocking Stuffers: Lenny Kravitz, Matchbox 20, Vanessa Carlton
Goes well with: Macy's gift cards, It's a Wonderful Life, U2, stock options, girls on film, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Tastes like: Gingerbread and spiced wine
Sounds like: “Soy to the World,” “Away in a Manger (Where Have our Careers Been?),” “Rudolph, the Caramel Macchiato-Drinking Reindeer.”
Gift list: Account executives, cougars, 30-somethings, people who love I Love the '80s and I Love the '90s, parents who considered naming their daughters “Rio,” young women named “Rio”
Naughty or nice: This lineup has a lot of silver and tinsel when it comes to mainstream appeal, but only two words can possibly explain why somebody would pay $257 (on the high end) to see it: “Duran” and “Duran.” Kravitz and Carlton can hold their own—and somebody likes Matchbox 20 enough to keep them around—but the wild boys from Birmingham would probably fill seats if the opening act was Bubbles the Chimp playing “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” on the xylophone. Actually, we'd pay $257 to see that.
Show: 91X-FM's “Nightmare Before Xmas 2007”
Specs: Sunday, Dec. 9, at Cox Arena, $25.75-$35.75
Headliner: Angels & Airwaves
Stocking Stuffers: Bad Religion, Seether, Against Me!
Goes well with: Hollister gift cards, Eight Crazy Nights, blink-182, hookas and pukas, The Nightmare Before Christmas
Tastes like: Candy canes and Corona
Sounds like: “Nuclear Winter Wonderland,” “Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer… Which is Totally Going to Exacerbate My Abandonment Issues,” “Hark! The Herald Angels & Airwaves Sing”
Gift list: Suburban punks (all ages), anyone who has participated in or watched an X-Games, Pacific Beach residents, people who had (or have) Black Flag stickers on their Trapper Keepers
Naughty or Nice: This is the sort of mixed bag that holiday concerts concoct. Overall, the vibe is more “Holiday in Cambodia” than “Santa Baby” with Bad Religion and Against Me! lamenting society, Seether lamenting themselves and Angels & Airwaves lamenting both. The lineup might look a little funny, but you eat it up anyway. Kind of like fruitcake.
Show: FM 94/9's “Holiday Hootenanny”
Specs: Saturday, Dec. 15, at UCSD's RIMAC Arena, $37
Headliner: Queens of the Stone Age
Stocking Stuffers: Louis XIV, Pinback, Rogue Wave, The Kooks, Mute Math
Goes well with: Buffalo Exchange gift cards, A Christmas Story, Pixies, vintage band apparel, iPhones, irony
Tastes like: Cookies and PBR
Sounds Like: “First Noel Gallagher,” “White Christmas is Kind of a Racist Title for a Song,” “Let it Snow Patrol!”
Gift list: College students, indie kids, hipsters, registered voters, people who sing Joy Division covers on karaoke night, anyone who has “Free Trade items” or “Velvet Underground box set” on their holiday wish list
Naughty or nice: This is the show for the discerning (and/or condescending) holiday-concert patron. This is the least radio-friendly lineup (if you exclude college radio, which we do) with a healthy slate of local (Louis XIV and Pinback), national (Rogue Wave and Mute Math) and international (The Kooks) indie-rock luminaries. But there's also a palatable, ass-kicking headliner (Queens of the Stone Age) for people who don't subscribe to NME, making this (arguably) the best all-around holiday show this season.