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Music Source: Holiday celebrations fill the festival void in December

Peter Mongillo
Husband and wife duo Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis perform at the Paramount on Dec. 15 with the Gourds.

Wait, there are no three-day festivals this month? No international auto races? Yes, things have slowed down a bit, but with the holiday season approaching, plenty of Christmas-themed events will help get you through to Free Week in January, or maybe even South by Southwest.

Patrice Pike, Jitterbug Vipers, Matt Hubbard, Greezy Wheels and others perform at the Saxon Pub to benefit the Candlelight Ranch, which is re-releasing its “Candlelight Carols” compilation (Sunday); Austin band the Eastern Sea brings their new holiday album, “First Christmas,” to the Parish with Graham Wilkinson (Dec. 8); and the Paramount will host the annual Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison Holiday Show featuring the Gourds (Dec. 15). After that there’s Robert Earl Keen’s Merry Christmas From the Fam-O-Lee with Terry Hendrix and Lloyd Maines at ACL Live (Dec. 22). Finally, there are a slew of New Year’s Eve events, including Grupo Fantasma, who ring in 2013 at Beauty Ballroom with Foot Patrol (Dec. 31).

The promo material for Alejandro Escovedo’s Dec. 29 show at ACL Live reads like a weird and awesome version of Bill Hader’s “Stefon” character from “Saturday Night Live”: special guests (Jon Dee Graham, Joe Ely and others), drum circles, mariachi bands, people in Day of the Dead makeup, children’s choirs. Other shows at ACL Live in December include Neon Trees (Dec. 5); comedian Louis CK (Dec. 13-14); Bryan Adams (Dec. 15); and two nights of Willie Nelson and Friends (Dec. 30 with the Mavericks, Dec. 31 with Iron and Wine).

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears celebrate New Year’s Eve at Emo’s East with Jess Dayton (Dec. 31). Elsewhere in the month is the Sufjan Stevens Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice (Saturday, sold-out); the Mountain Goats (Dec. 5); Odd Future (Dec. 7); Bloc Party with the Chevin (Dec. 12); and the Sword with Gypsyhawk and American Sharks (Dec. 19).

At Stubb’s: Dethklok with Machine Head, All That Remains, the Black Dahlia (Saturday); Mice and Rifles EP Release party with Little Radar and My Golden Calf (Dec. 8); Songseed’s Austin Music Showcase: A Holiday Benefit for Grounded in Music (Dec. 20); T Bird and the Breaks with Henry and the Invisibles (Dec. 31).

Glammy and gritty Nashville garage rock band Turbo Fruits, who recorded their recent album with Spoon’s Jim Eno, play Mohawk with Austin’s Sweet Talk, who have their own record coming next year (Dec. 13). Talib Kweli (Saturday); Of Montreal with French Horn Rebellion (with an aftershow featuring Bobby Jealousy, Netherfriends and the Zoltars, Dec. 4); Good Field, Black Books and the Baker Family (Dec. 7); the Babies and Deep Time (Dec. 14); and Big Freedia (Dec. 29) also happen at the Red River club this month.

Shows at Beerland include Sweatlodge, Owl and Hot Rails to Hell (Dec. 4); Daniel Francis Doyle, Math the Band (Dec. 7); and Sabbath Crow (Dec. 8).

At the Cactus Cafe, it’s Graham Colton and Jay Nash (Sunday); Ruby Jane (Dec. 6); Slaid Cleaves (Dec. 7); and MilkDrive (Dec. 15).

At Antone’s, the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians celebrates the recent release of the HAAM Holiday Jam CD with performances from Invincible Czars, Shurman, Drew and Jess, Carolyn Wonderland, Guy Forsyth, members of the Mothertruckers and the White Ghost Shivers, among others (Dec. 12). Other shows include Wanda Jackson (Saturday); Whiskey Shivers, who continue their Tuesday variety show residency; the Suite 709 “Christmas Soul Jam” with Tje Austin, Ben Baxter and Good Shive (Dec. 7); the Austin Chamber Music Center with “A Charlie Brown Christmas” - The Music of Vince Guaraldi (two shows, Dec. 9); Marcia Ball and the New Orleans Suspects (Dec. 16); End of the World Juke Joint Apocalyspe with the Cedric Burnside Project, Old Gray Mule and Black Squeeze (Dec. 21); Hayes Carll (Dec. 29 and 30); and the Dirty River Boys with Crooks and Lincoln Durham (Dec. 31).

The Continental Club offers live music on Christmas day with Dale Watson and his annual Christmas Show and Dance (Dec. 25). Amy Cook (Dec. 5); Beaver Nelson (Dec. 12); the Preservation (Dec. 13); Paul Ray and the Cobras (Dec. 22); and the Relatives (Dec. 29) also perform.

At the Flamingo Cantina, the Mau Mau Chaplains continue their Wednesday residency; other shows include Dark Matter, the Inverter, Miss Diagnose and Tone Monkeys (Dec. 6); the Meditations and Tribal Nation (Dec. 8); and a New Year’s Reggae Bash with Don Chani and the Mau Mau Chaplains (Dec. 31).

In addition to Kelly and Bruce, Asleep at the Wheel’s Holiday Show happens Dec. 20 and Bob Schneider celebrates New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) at the Paramount.

At the Parish, in addition to the Eastern Sea, it’s former Pedro the Lion frontman David Bazan (Saturday); David Ramirez with Seryn and Blue Bear (Dec. 29); and the Original South Austin Jug Band with Warren Hood and the Goods (Dec. 31).

At Red 7 this month: SpaceGhostPurrrp with Raider Klan and Trash Talk with an Odd Future DJ set (Dec. 7); The Well, SsserpentssS, Markov and Vegatron (Dec. 8); Zlam Dunk with the Couch (Dec. 14); White Ghost Shivers (Dec. 15); Party at the End of the World with Recover, At All Cost, Employer Employee, Krum Bums, Pack of Wolves and more (Dec. 21).

Holy Mountain continues its opening run with the Couch, Royal Forest and Featherface (Saturday); Leopold and His Fiction (Dec. 6); The Young, Skycrawler, Crooked Bangs and Feral Future (Dec. 7); Morning Glory and Dead City Riot (Dec. 12); and Eagle Claw, Smoke and Feathers and the Blind Pets (Dec. 15).

Beto and the Fairlanes (Dec. 7); Elias Haslanger (Dec. 14); Ephraim Owens (Dec. 15); and the Brannen Temple Group (Dec. 22) are among the acts performing at the Elephant Room this month.

Patty Griffin, “driver” to perform at Michael Fracasso benefit. Last week, the Continental Club announced that Patty Griffin and her “driver” would play a special early show on Saturday, Dec. 15 to benefit Austin songwriter Michael Fracasso, who injured his hand in a car accident a few weeks ago. Tickets for the show, which were $43, sold out quickly, probably partly because of speculation that Griffin’s “driver” is none other than famed English rock singer Lemmy (wait, is that right?).

Clapton, Bon Jovi coming to Erwin Center. Bon Jovi will play the Erwin Center April 10. No word yet about when tickets will go on sale, though the band’s website has some kind of pre-sale set for Friday. In other Erwin Center news, tickets for the March 17 Eric Clapton show that was announced last week will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday,through the Texas Box Office.