Ah, yes, Christmas. About this time of year, I start to seriously feel like the narrator of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Bells," the guy who goes crazy because of all "the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells!"
I swear, if I hear one more chorus of "Jingle Bells" or "Deck the Halls" tied to a sweater ad, I'm going to throw a brick through my TV.
Of course, I have personal reasons for disliking Christmas music.
Let's say your name is "Bob Tucker," and there's this big holiday where all the music associated with the holiday has the words "Bob Tucker" stuck somewhere in each and every song. Imagine putting up with this heavily musical season each and every year of your life, and you'll start to get a picture of why Christmas music is such an anathema to someone named "Holly Day."
At this time of year, I find myself desperately clawing my way towards anything that sounds unlike traditional Christmas music. So it was with great glee that I discovered that Hoobastank is coming to Minneapolis during the holiday week.
Hoobastank, that band with the funny-sounding name that plays funky, highly accessible post-grunge music. Hoobastank, who, instead of singing "Duck in the halls/Here comes Holly!" offers, "I'm not afraid to let it out/I'm gonna show you how I'm free/I'm not afraid to let it out/who cares if you don't like it?" (Yeah, I don't know what "it" is, either, but it's kind of fun to think about what the song could mean, and a little open-endedness is downright refreshing at this time of year.)
If you need to shake the treacly holiday barnacles out of your head, this is the band to see. They're ultraserious, dark, very angry-sounding and lots of fun to dance to.
Oh, and Happy Bob Tucker, everyone!
Monday, Dec. 20, 5 p.m. The Quest, 110 5th St. N. $23.50. 338-3383.
Trailer Trash has been performing their "Trashy Little Christmas" show at Lee's Liquor Lounge for 11 years now. The Christmas show is especially special, both because the Christmas night show is their special Orphans' Christmas Party, and for the fact that if you're at a bar on Christmas night, you couldn't find a friendlier "family" to hang out with than the Lee's crowd.
Come for the honky-tonk. Stay for the love.
Saturday, Dec. 25, 9 p.m. Lee's Liquor Lounge, 101 Glenwood Ave. N. $10. 338-9491
A cappella cheer
In the tradition of rockappella, the Blenders and the Bobs, a cappella five-piece Four Shadow proves that the human voice is indeed the most versatile of instruments.
Four Shadow uses no drum machines, synthesizers, sampling or prerecorded material. Every sound -- melodic, percussive, thumping or riffing -- comes live from the mouths of these five young men.
This Minnesota-based group takes the stage to present their special holiday show, presenting novel arrangements of favorite holiday tunes for a fun family show.
Tuesday, Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. Hennepin Stages, 824 Hennepin Ave. S. $16. (651) 989-5151.
And the winner is . . .
Congratulations to local funk-rock group Murge for winning the Twin Cities leg of the Zippo Hot Tour! The quartet -- Brian David, Gregory Grand, Robert Ellis and Justin Engles -- is one of eight U.S. bands left to compete for the grand prize: a trip to New York to perform for Island Records executives and a set of new top-quality gear for the entire band.
Holly Day can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.