Live music and more, tonight through Thursday, compiled by Tom Di Nardo, Shaun Brady, Sara Sherr, Jonathan Takiff and Damon C. Williams.
Chris Barron: The bittersweet tunesmith and Spin Doctors front man returns to a favorite little haunt, not far from his Princeton, N.J., hometown. We're guessing friends and family will show up to add to the intimate reunion vibes. John & Peter's, 96 S. Main St., New Hope, 9 tonight, $15, 215-862-5981, johnandpeters.com.
"Ain't Misbehavin'": Seasoned belter Melba Moore co-stars in this revue devoted to the sassy, swinging tunes of Fats Waller. Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut St. 8 tonight; 2 and 8 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday; 3 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 31, $40, 215-569-9700, www.princemusictheater.org.
Frank Bey & the Swing City Blues Band: Let them blow your holiday blahs away. Warmdaddy's, 1400 S. Columbus Blvd., 8 and 10 tonight and tomorrow, $15, 215-462-2000, www.warmdaddys.com.
"A Prairie Home Companion": Garrison Keillor and company deliver Christmas 2007 offerings to Bethlehem — that's Bethlehem, Pa. — at the Zoellner Arts Center of Lehigh University. Tickets are sold out, drat, to both tonight's preview and tomorrow's nationally broadcast show, but you can enjoy the fun (including the inevitable double-edged regional references) live on the radio, 6 p.m. Saturday, WHYY (90.9 FM).
Melissa Ferrick: Dark and passionate songstress lays out her personal truths on a bill with another tough, forthright female folky, Chris Pureka. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, $20-$35, 215-222-1400, worldcafelive.com.
Sarah Borges: She's based in Beantown and was just named best local female vocalist at the Boston Music Awards. But Borges is devoted to earthy, down-home country music, surrounding her twangy voice with rockabilly dudes the Broken Singles. Go figure. Upstairs at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 8 p.m. tomorrow, $10-$12, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com.
Holiday Hop: You'll be hearing the "Yakety Yak" as "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," so "Please Mr. Postman" come out and enjoy these golden-age rock-'n'-roll tunes and their guardians. There's probably not an original member in the bunch, still they do carry on as the Cornell Gunter Coasters, the Platters and the Marvelettes. Sellersville Theater, Main and Temple streets, Sellersville, 3 and 8 p.m. tomorrow, $45, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com.
In the Round: No one will wear out her (or his) welcome performing in this round-robin song swap. The worthy crop includes the cute-'n'-quirky Birdie Busch, edgy Devin Greenwood, Chris Kasper and Adrien Reju. Tin Angel, 20 S. 2nd St., 7 p.m. tomorrow, $10, 215-928-0770, www.tinangel.com.
Ike: We like Ike, a Philly-based band led by John Faye that upholds power rock's most crafty melodic values. They're celebrating the release of a polished new album, "Where to Begin." Sharing the bill, Jealousy Curve, Fat City Reprise and Ian Walsh. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 7 p.m. Wednesday, $16-$10, 215-222-1400, worldcafelive.com.
Greyboy Allstars: After a six-year hiatus, the group is living up to that "all-stars" billing. For on their own, members have achieved much higher visibility in funk, rock and jazz fusion circles: guitarist Elgin Park (aka Mike Andress) with film scoring and solo projects; horn and flute man Karl Denson with Tiny Universe; heavy organ and piano stylist Robert Walter with his own 20th Congress and the Headhunters; the rhythm section of bassist Chris Stillwell and drummer Zak Najor working out with the likes of Inara George and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Now they're reconnected with producer/groovemeister DJ Greyboy on a sound that builds on the stomping, superfly, soul-jazz best of King Curtis, Junior Walker, Curtis Mayfield and others. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 7:30 p.m. Thursday, $25-$40, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com.
Modern Man: Get over the post-holiday blahs with musical cut-ups David Buskin, Rob Carlson and George Wurzbach doing originals like "Life Sucks and Then You Die" and "Jews Don't Camp." Sellersville Theater, Main and Temple streets, Sellersville, 8 p.m. Thursday, $17.50, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com.
ZO2: To date they're best recognized as an opening act for Kiss and Poison. Now this pumped-up, Brooklyn-based threesome has gotten the green light from the IFC channel for 10 episodes of their ad-libbed and (they hope) intentionally funny TV show about toiling in the music business. "It's 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' for rockers," clues their publicist. Until that big break happens (the show probably won't air until next fall), the operative words are, keep slugging away, boys, at any gig you can get. Maybe they'll bring the TV crew? Sweeney's Station Saloon, 13639 Philmont Ave., 10:45 p.m. Thursday, $3, 215-677-3177.
Paul Green School of Rock: The junior rockers salute Southern fried rock, making this is the one show where it's OK to request "Freebird." Millcreek Tavern, 4200 Chester Ave., 8 tonight, 3 p.m. tomorrow, $10, all ages, 215-222-1255, www.millcreektavernphilly.com.
Brown Recluse Sings: One of Philly's finest indie-pop bands, whose music made it to the late, lamented TV show "Veronica Mars," plays with the Neighborhood Choir, Hermit Thrushes and DJ Kyle Intensified. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 8 tonight, $8, 215-739-9684, www.johnnybrendas.com.
Gate: Return of the experimental/electronic night with musician/DJ Mikronesia, Isabel (cello, vocals and vintage electronics from Baltimore's Audrey Chen), Boston violinist Katt Hernandez, Alka and the avant-jazz of M.A.D. Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St., 8 tonight, free, all ages, 215-573-3234, www.foundationarts.org.
Sex Dwarf Snow Ball 2008: The place where you're most likely hear the Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping" is the Robert Drake and Marilyn Thomas-hosted new wave night. If you can't come, listen to Drake's "Land of the Lost" on Christmas Eve on WXPN (88.5 FM). Fluid, 630 S. 4th St., 9 tonight, free before 10, $5 after, 215-629-3686, djrobertdrake.com.
Punk Rock Karaoke: Become your personal Joey Ramone or Darby Crash, backed by a live band. Tritone, 1508 South St., 10 tonight, $5, 215-545-0475, www.tritonebar.com.
The Turnaround vs. Immediate: Ian Svenonius of the Make-Up and Nation of Ulysses spins soul with Cat Power member Gregg Foreman, Making Time's Rusty Seger, and An Albatross' Gieda Brothers. Barbary, 951 Frankford Ave., 10 tonight, $5, www.myspace.com/thenewbarbary.
Punk Rock Flea Market: Rescheduled from last week, the coolest place to do your holiday shopping has records, posters, furniture, clothes and fun. Proceeds go to keeping R5 shows at the church. First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., 10 a.m.-5p.m. tomorrow, 267-765-5210, www.r5productions.com.
Non-Denominational, Completely Secular Philebrity Christmas Pageant: A mix of amateurs and professionals gathers to benefit the Fishtown Free Library; includes Adam Arcuragi, BC Camplight, Chet Delcampo, Feather Mills. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9 p.m. tomorrow, $5, 215-739-9684, www.johnnybrendas.com.
Khyber Holiday Party: Former Khyber booker Stacie George and Anthem magazine editor Julie Gerstein throw a belated Hanukkah party. Khyber, 56 S. 2nd St., 9 p.m. Tuesday, free, 215-238-5888, thekhyber.com.
Gang: Part Blondie and part B-52's, the members of Gang are perfect for every occasion. They're joined by Nine Inch Nails tourmate Popo and Univox. M Room, 15 W. Girard Ave., Sunday, $8, 215-739-5577, www.themanhattanroom.com.
The Zodiac: Sagittarius Edition: These monthly sets keep getting better, but this bill will be hard to top: Reef the Lost Cauze, Nex Millen, taragirl and Sabrina Quie, along with Poesh Wonder's album release set and a special appearance by Digable Planets alum Cee Knowledge. DJs Roxy and Caliph-Now man the tables for this set. World Cafe Live, 2035 Walnut St., 9 tonight, $10, 215-222-1400, worldcafelive.com.
Philly 50: Exactly what the underground scene needed — a respectable tournament featuring 50 of the city's nicest lyricists, battling over a series of weekends to see who should be crowned king of rhymes. S-Five will host this event, which is sure to feature a performance by Lexx 9 Eleven. Word has it that Tone Trump and Hedonis might take the stage as well. Arts Garage, 1533 Ridge Ave., 8 p.m. tomorrow, $14; $10, optional open bar, 215-765-2702, www.theartsgarage.com.
James Brown Tribute: The good folks who run the weekly "Tastytreats" get-together offer their second annual tribute to the Godfather of Soul. Perpetual hip-hopper Yameen Allworld will host this affair, which features ?uestlove and Mike Nyce on the turntables. Prepare for a deluge of well-known and rare Brown classics. Fluid, 613 S. 4th. St., 10 p.m. tomorrow, $7, 21+, 215-629-0565, www.fluidnightclub.com.
Philadelphia Orchestra: Rossen Milanov leads the Orchestra and the Philadelphia Singers Chorale in "The Glorious Sound Of Christmas," which has become a holiday highlight. He's chosen Holst's "Christmas Day," excerpts from Rimsky-Korsakov's Suite from "Christmas Eve" and Borodin's "Polovtsian Dances" from "Prince Igor" — all works with real sonic splendor. Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce streets, 7 tonight and tomorrow, $33-$103, 215-893-1999, www.philorch.org.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops: "Holiday Pops" has become an annual tradition, expanding to nine performances this season. Nero has invited dancers Priscilla Yokoi and Mikhail Ronnikov to the celebration, along with vocalist Lisa Howard, the Pops Festival Chorus and the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir. Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, 2 p.m. today and tomorrow, 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, $26-$100, 215-893-1999, www.phillypops.org.
Vox Ama Deus: The group's Renaissance Consort of period instruments performs Renaissance Christmas music by Machaut, Dufay, Des Pres and more. The Castle at Arcadia University, 450 S. Easton Road, Glenside, 8 p.m. tomorrow, $25, 215-572-2160, www.voxamadeus.org.
Pennsylvania Ballet: The holiday isn't complete without a performance of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker," complete with stunning choreography by George Balanchine. The production is decked out in completely new sets and costumes. Academy of Music, Broad and Locust streets, 7 p.m. tonight and Thursday; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. tomorrow; noon and 4 p.m. Sunday; 18 more performances through Dec. 31, $13-$112, 215-893-1999, www.paballet.org.
Bobby Zankel: Do Buddhists get upset when their birthday falls on the same week as Christmas? In any case, altoist Zankel brings his always astounding big band, the Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, to Chris' for his annual b-day celebration. Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St., 8 & 10 tonight, $12, 215-568-3131, www.chrisjazzcafe.com.
Blue Salon's Live Jazz Saturday: At any other time of the year, cool jazz would be enough to relax anyone, but amidst the bustle of the holiday season it takes that much more. So Huntingdon Valley's Blue Salon and Spa will add a jazz concert by bassist Rubin Edwards to their usual offerings, along with wine, beer, coffee and refreshments. The Salon plans more jazz programming in coming months. Blue Salon and Spa, 2550 Huntingdon Pike, Huntingdon Valley, 3 p.m. tomorrow, free, 215-947-2963.
Farid Barron: Philly-born pianist has occupied some impressive piano benches in his time, spending time with the Wynton Marsalis-led Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Sun Ra Arkestra, where he filled a huge void after the enigmatic leader "left the planet." Barron leads a quartet featuring prolific Philly saxophonist Victor North. Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St., 8 & 10 p.m. tomorrow, $12, 215-568-3131, chrisjazzcafe.com.
Tony Williams: Can't sleep, anticipating all the presents you'll get in just a few short hours? Then pop over to LaRose, where Philly saxophonist will revive his regular Blue Mondays jam session for a special Christmas Eve performance. LaRose Jazz Club, 5531 Germantown Ave., 6 p.m. Monday, $8, 215-248-4415.