Thursday, December 20: A Very BITBY Christmas at Ortlieb's Lounge
Philly-based video collective Bands in the Backyard, http://bitby.tv/ or BITBY, has impressed us all year long with their collection of live vids of local and touring bands, and this Thursday, they'll celebrate with a festivity-filled holiday party at Ortlieb's. Philly funny lady Juliet Hope Wayne hosts this magical evening, which also feature holiday videos, the premiere of BITBY's December episode (featuring folk artist Heyward Howkins), AND performances from BITBY faves Shorty Boy Boy, St. James & the Apostles, Thee Idea Men, and Blayer PointDujour. Did we mention admission is free before 10 p.m.? Talk about a great way to get in the holiday spirit!
8:30 at Ortlieb's Lounge, 847 N. 3rd St., free before 10 p.m., $5 after. Tickets available at the door.
Friday, December 21: Juston Stens and the Get Real Gang at KFN
Juston Stens is no stranger to a great melody, having learned guitar at the age of 7, and logged several years as drummer for Dr. Dog before forming his own group in 2010. As front man of The Get Real Gang, Stens crafts fun, high-energy rockers exploding with vintage charm. The band's forthcoming record, Share the Road, was recorded Summer and Fall 2011 during an epic, 4-month motorcycle journey across America, and will be released alongside a documentary video detailing Stens' travels. But since this is a holiday show, we're hoping they bust out some covers…like this amazing take on "The Chipmunk Song," available as a free download via Bandcamp.
7:30 at Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front Street, $8. Tickets available here.
Friday, December 21: The Mayan Apocalypse with Norwegian Arms at Johnny Brenda's
Norwegian Arms is Brendan Mulvihill and Eric Slick, mandolinist/scholar and drummer extraordinaire, respectively. Since forming in 2009, the band's turned heads with their unique brand of weirdo pop, which has evolved, over the years, from impassioned Tupperware-banging to a complex blend of lush, percussive, and melodic folk. Their band's debut record, Wolf Like a Stray Dog, was inspired by Mulvilhill's journey to Siberia, where he spent a year teaching English as a Fulbright Fellow, and deals with Big topics like wanderlust, identity, and finding your place in an unfamiliar land. Should the world truly end on Friday, we can't think of many places we'd rather be than JB's, beer in hand, listening to Mulvihill let loose. Stream the record here ahead of time, so you can sing along on Friday.
9:15 at Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $10. Tickets available here.
Saturday, December 22: The Babies at KFN
Originally formed in 2009 as a low-key side project for pals Cassie Ramone (of Vivian Girls) + Kevin Morby (of Woods), The Babies soon established themselves as a legit musical force, thanks to high-energy performances and a unique blend of fuzzed-out folk punk. Since then, the duo has expanded to a four-piece (with the addition of drummer Justin Sullivan and bassist Brian Schleyer) and released 2 full-length records, including 2012's Our House on the Hill, a stirring journey through Western-tinged lo-fi, made sweeter thanks to the band's on-point story-telling, and a smattering of fuzzed-out harmonies.
7:30 at Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front Street, $10. Tickets available here.