Live music and more, tonight through Thursday, compiled by Shaun Brady, Tom Di Nardo, James Johnson, Sara Sherr and Jonathan Takiff.
POP . . . plus
Good Old War: Sweet-harmonizing indie popsters with strummy guitars and slaphappy percussion actually seem very much at peace. With like-minded citizens East Hundred and the Great Unknown. TLA, 334 South St, 9 tonight, $18, $11.25 (4 pack individually), 800-745-3000, www.livenation.com.
Mason Porter: Listening to these down-home, back-porch pickers/singers, you might think Philly was on the other side of the Mason Dixon line. Join 'em for their latest record-release celebration, with conscious folkster Johnny Miles on first. That Jersey guy's got a new album too, "When the Saints Sleep." Upstairs at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 9 tonight, $12, 215-222-1400, worldcafelive.com.
Zappa Does Zappa: Dweezil celebrates what would have been dad Frank's 70th birthday with a complete performance of "Apostrophe." Show's sold out, so play the album! Keswick Theatre, Easton Road and Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 8 p.m. tomorrow, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com.
Jewmongous: Remember how John Lennon raised eyebrows and ire by declaring the Beatles "bigger than Jesus"? Sean Altman is more interested in tickling funny bones with tunes like "Taller Than Jesus," pointing out "he was long on love, but short of limb," and promising "if you want to change that lightbulb call me, I'm divine." Combine with a dinner in Chinatown, for the perfect Festivus night out. Tin Angel, 20 S. 2nd St. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, $15, 215-928-0978, www.tinangel.com.
Annie Haslam & Friends: Britain's loss, Bucks County's gain, Haslam (of Renaissance fame) promises lilting music "In the Spirit of the Holidays." So nice, she's doing it twice. Jann Klose is special guest. Sellersville Theater, Main and Temple streets, Sellersville, 8 p.m. tomorrow (sold out) and Sunday, $35, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com.
Oud Blues: Here's a different slant on contemporary world music fusion, with a lead singer who howls and strums his oud in gypsy blues fashion, with modal Sahara/Slavic party horns, jazzy standup bass, hand percussion and drum kit fleshing out the East-meets-West impression. Sci-fi instrumental prog rockers Consider the Source and the equally eclectic, rock- to classic-influenced iFiNien are also on tap. North Star Bar, 27th and Poplar streets, 9 p.m. tomorrow, $10, 215-787-0488, northstarbar.com.
The Bigger Lights: The city calls and these guys are ready to explore and conquer, with a time-honored, punchy power pop attack. Betcha they'd answer if you called out "867-5309"! The Scenic, For the Foxes and Victory in Numbers count 'em out first. The Barbary, 951 N. Frankford Ave., 5:30 p.m. Sunday, $12, 215-821-7575, r5productions.com.
Cuddle Magic: We love this Philly-based troupe's offbeat, progressive variants on art-pop. No surprise, most members are conservatory-trained. Given the holiday theme of their latest publicity shot, we might expect a musical nod or two to the season, but "all original." With Oh! Pears plus Alec Gross. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, $10, 215-739-9684, www.johnnybrendas.com.
Ace Enders: Pop-rock belter has an amazingly pliant voice with material to match, in one song (that he briefly appropriated as his band name) declaring himself "a million different people" from one day to the next. Now he calls the band I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody's Business. Hope not. Also on the bill, You, Me and Everyone We Know, plus Robin Gazzara. North Star Bar, 27th and Poplar streets, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, $12/$14,215-787-0488, www.northstarbar.com.
Blue Man Group: Thunderously percussive music scores the equally strange and wonderful antics of these miming, interplanetary performance artists. Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St., opening 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, through Jan. 2, $45-80, 215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org.
Kalob Griffin Band: If you saw British singer/songwriter Bobby Long his last time through, these were the guys he adopted as his U.S. backing band. On their own, the State College-spawned, now Philadelphia-based band veers more to bluegrass than folk balladeering. With The Looks of It, Spitting Seeds, Spirit and Dust. North Star Bar, 27th and Poplar streets, 8 p.m. Thursday, $8, 215-787-0488, northstarbar.com.
Savoy Brown: Forty years after, this original British blues-rocking band of the "Invasion" era is still at the game, with original singer/guitarist Kim Simmonds. Sellersville Theater, Main and Temple streets, Sellersville, 8 p.m. Thursday, $29.50, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com.
"A Jew Grows In Brooklyn": Jake Ehrenreich's one-man musical traces his family's roots with Borscht-Belted rock music and comedic storytelling. Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce streets, opens 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, through Dec. 28, $45-$80, 215-893-1999, www.kimmelcenter.
Seven Inches Or Better: No, this isn't a "that's what she said" joke, just two of the East Coast's best DJs spinning 45s all night long. Featuring all vinyl sets from Cosmo Baker and Rich Medina. Fluid Nightclub, 613 S. 4th St., 10 tonight, $7, ladies free before 11 p.m., 215-629-3686, fluidnightclub.com.
So Special: DJs Emynd and Bo Bliz return for their every-3rd-Friday jam. With no cover for the early arrivals, cheap drinks and great hip-hop, it's a fantastic way to start your weekend. Silk City, 435 Spring Garden St., 10 tonight, free before 11 p.m., $5 after, 215-592-8838, silkcityphilly.com.
Double Entendre: Monthly event will feature hip-hop group 5 O'Clock Shadow Boxers as well as soul singer/pianist Lydia Rene. Instead of a cover, bring unwrapped toy donations for local families in need. Hosted by Curly Castro. Slingluff Gallery, 11 W. Girard Ave., 8 tonight, free with unwrapped toy, all ages, 215-307-1550, www.slingluffgallery.com.
The Boom Bap: Monthly hip-hop party with resident DJs Lil' Dave, Apple Juice and Case Bloom, with special guest DJ Apt One of Philadelphyinz. Medusa, 27 S. 21st St., 10 p.m. tomorrow, no cover, 21-plus, 215-557-1981, www.medusalounge.com.
Das Racist: Brooklyn-based hip-hop group is here for one of three Redbull Public Assembly parties. Featuring Dutty Chutney DJs Mandip and M-Ski; hosted by Hennessy Youngman. Silk City, 435 Spring Garden St., 9 p.m. Tuesday, $3, 21-plus, 215-592-8838, silkcityphilly.com.
Theotis Joe & the Playbacks: Local rapper/producer makes some of the most melodic beats in you could ever hope to hear. Catch him here, along with Paradise Movement and Johnny Showcase & the Lefty Lucy Cabaret. Silk City, 435 Spring Garden St., 9 p.m. Wednesday, $6, 21-plus, 215-592-8838, silkcityphilly.com.
Winter Desolateland: Digital Ferret's Fourth Friday series (a week early for the holidays) is a book release and art show from Salvation's Matt Adis and Heartworm Press. Music by Blood Rhythm, Cold Cave's Max Morton and DJ Johanna Constantine, a solo performance artist seen with Antony & the Johnsons. Digital Ferret Compact Discs, 732 S. 4th St., 7-10 tonight, free, all ages, 215-925-9259.
Blue Christmas: Retro fashion bloggers Vintage Muse host a '50s event with the Speedwells, Amy Rose & Her Troublemakers and Ang Bocca, plus burlesque by the Infamous Miss Mae and Kiki Berlin. El Bar, 1356 N. Front St., 8:30 tonight, $8 in '50s attire or $10, 215-634-6430, www.vintagemuse.tumblr.com.
Eddie Spaghetti: Supersuckers ringleader brings his outlaw country side project. With High Irons, Hidden River Construction and Philly's answer to the Supersuckers, American Speedway. The Fire, 412 W. Girard Ave., 9 tonight, $8, 267-671-9298, www.iourecords.com.
Making Time $2 Bill Holiday Freakout: Includes the record release by Sun Airway, former members of the A-Sides, celebrating the release of their debut, "Nocturne of Exploding Crystal Chandelier" on the Dead Oceans label. Light Asylum, a Yaz-ish synth-pop NYC duo, opens the show, which includes three floors of DJs. Voyeur, 1221 Saint James St., 9 tonight, $2, 215-735-5772. http://igetrvng.com/events/286.
The Ball: The return of the "Paris Is Burning"-inspired event, with house music from DJ Apt One and Robotique's Billy Werner. Kung Fu Necktie, 1248 N. Front St., 10 tonight, $5, 215-291-4919, kungfunecktie.com.
Rich Hillen Jr.: Leader of the World Famous Crawlspace Brothers signs copies of his first novel, "Yellow Socks: Confessions of a Non-Don Juan." He also reprinted all five issues of "The Best of the Serial Killer Coloring Book." Germ Books and Gallery, 2005 Frankford Ave., 2 p.m. tomorrow, free, 215-423-5002, http://richhillenjr.wordpress.com.
Citizens Arrest: Late '80s New York hardcore band reforms for two shows tomorrow with Mind Eraser, Ardmore Assault, Pink Coffins and others. Kung Fu Necktie, 1248 N. Front St., tomorrow 2 p.m., all ages; 7 p.m., 21+, $10, 215-291-4919, www.kungfunecktie.com.
Legendary Dobbs Reopening: Includes Carfax Abbey, Sinclarity, Ducky & the Vintage, Fifteen Fleeting and others. Legendary Dobbs, 304 South St., 7 p.m. tomorrow, $8, 267-594-0885, dobbsphilly.com.
Garage, Punk and Rock-'n'-Roll: And this is the best place for us, with Ex Humans, Tijuana Panthers, Foster Care and Mean Streets. Jr's, 22nd Street and Passyunk Avenue, 9 p.m. tomorrow, $5, myspace.com/sickchattelproductions.
Ross Bellenoit: Amos Lee tourmate celebrates the vinyl release of "Eight Track Mind," recorded with Lee's rhythm section. With Birdie Busch and Zach Djanikian. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9 p.m. tomorrow, $10, 215-739-9684, www.johnnybrendas.com.
Fingerbanger: Queerpunk party finds a temporary home this month at Barbarella, where the new wave/post punk party 6EX 6EX 6EX rages on the first floor. The Barbary, 951 Frankford Ave., 10 p.m. tomorrow, $5, http://thebrbry.blogspot.com.
Procrastinator's Holiday Bazaar: Nonprofit artist community group Positive Space hosts 20 vendors offering glass, jewelry, paintings, prints, one-of-a-kind crafts and artwork. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., noon-4 p.m. Sunday, free, 215-739-9684, johnnybrendas.com.
TV Casualty As Minor Threat: All-star punk tribute band includes members of Amateur Party, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Paint It Black, Atom & His Package and Franklin. Also includes Gorilla Biscuits tribute band Lighten Up and the England Belongs To Twee DJs. Kung Fu Necktie, 1248 N. Front St., 3 p.m. Sunday, $8, 215-291-4919, kungfunecktie.com.
Cold World: Wilkes Barre hardcore band raises money and toys for the family of their cousin Seth Kleintob, who died in a car accident in August. With Bane, Breakdown and Down to Nothing. First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., 5 p.m. Sunday, $15, all ages, 215-821-7575, www.r5productions.com.
Stinking Lizaveta Benefit: West Philly mainstays Buffalo Stance, Serpents of Wisdom, Extreme Fishkin and Barbary DJ Jane Pain rock to raise money for cover medical bills that Willis Nortey, a father and artist in Accra, Ghana, faces after being hit by a car. The Ox, 2nd and Oxford streets, 7 p.m. Sunday, $5-10, all ages, myspace.com/theoxphiladelphia.
Primitive: DJs Jane Pain and Laura Lawless are starting a new post-punk/scuzzrock night with Birth Noise and Acid Kicks. Kung Fu Necktie, 1248 N. Front St., 9 p.m. Tuesday, free, 215-291-4919, www.kungfunecktie.com.
Rad Bromance: Local male Lady Gaga tribute promises flamboyance, glitter and men. Who wears the meat dress? Hey Guy opens. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 8 p.m. Wednesday, $13-15, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com.
Secret Pants: Sketch comedy troupe presents its Yuletide variety show, "Nobody Ever Dies on Christmas (Except Toshiro Mifune)." Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9 p.m. Thursday, 215-739-9684, www.johnnybrendas.com.
Rock to the Future Benefit: Rock to the Future is a new, free, after-school music education and youth development program. On hand to help are the New Motels, the Best Westerns, the Big Terrible and the Josh & Pete Band. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 8 p.m. Thursday, $12, 215-222-1400, worldcafelive.com.
Denise King: West Philly vocal favorite recently filed lawsuit against University of Pennsylvania Hospital for an MRI gone awry that allegedly left her without the ability to learn new songs, but she'll be doing a set of jazz standards and holiday classics here. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street & Ben Franklin Pkwy., 5:45 and 7:15 tonight, free with regular museum admission of $16, 215-763-8100, www.philamuseum.org.
Peter Paulsen Quintet: West Chester University bass instructor celebrates the release of his new CD, "Goes Without Saying," leading a quintet headlined by trumpet great Dave Ballou. Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St., 8 & 10 tonight, $15, 215-568-3131, www.chrisjazzcafe.com.
Bowerbird: Experimental music programmer offers three unique duos: the viola/bassoon twosome Architeuthis Walks On Land, turntablist Maria Chavez and audio engineer Daniel Neumann, and frequent local collaborators Jesse Kudler (guitar and effects) and Ian M. Fraser (laptop). The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St., 8 tonight, free, www.bowerbird.org.
FreeFormFunkyFreqs: Dizzying free-jazz-rock-funk trio of Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid and the Philly rhythm section best known for their years with Ornette Coleman's Prime Time, bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and drummer G. Calvin Weston. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9 tonight, $15, 215-739-9684, johnnybrendas.com.
Michael Pedicin/Johnnie Valentino: With the leaders split between two coasts, this is a rare showing by a quintet co-led by Philadelphia saxophonist Pedicin and South Philly-born, California-based guitarist Valentino. Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St., 8 & 10 p.m. tomorrow, $20, 215-568-3131, www.chrisjazzcafe.com.
Truth & Consequences: Saxophonist Daniel Peterson has spent this year performing a series of shows meant to workshop new material for his octet. Six new songs were recorded in October, so this gig serves as a final summation. Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St., 8 p.m. Monday, $5-$10, 215-568-3131, chrisjazzcafe.com.
Dahi Divine & Souls Open Wide: The saxophone prodigy leads a quintet anchored by the last local prodigy-made-good, drummer Justin Faulkner, whose also-astounding 10-year-old brother also occasionally fills Divine's drum chair. Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St., 7 p.m. Wednesday, $5-$10, 215-568-3131, chrisjazzcafe.com.
Pennsylvania Ballet: Tchaikovsky's perennial "Nutcracker" is always a colorful emblem of the season, with its redesigned, resplendent production. In its 42nd year, this magnificent staging by George Balanchine features full orchestra and the Pennsylvania Boys Choir, the battle with the Mouse King and the famous specialty dances of the finale. Academy of Music, Broad and Locust streets, 7 tonight; 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. tomorrow; noon and 4 p.m. Sunday; and 2 p.m. Thursday, with nine more performances through Dec. 31, $30-$139, 215-893-1999, www.paballet.org.
Mummenschanz: Legendary Swiss troupe that combines shapes, creatures, puppetry, theater and dance to tell its stories, returns after 10 years to perform "3 x 11," a work that combines many of its signature characters with new material. The five-member company's shows are hard to describe but easy to enjoy. Zellerbach Theatre at the Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut St., 8 tonight, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. tomorrow, and 2 p.m. Sunday, $24-$48, 215-898-3900, www.annenbergcenter.org.
Brandywine Ballet: The company's 31st production of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" is presented in a production by founding artistic director Donna Muzio, with Jae Hoon Lim as guest artist. Asplundh Concert Hall, Philips Memorial Building, West Chester University, 701 S. High St., West Chester, 2 p.m. tomorrow and 6 p.m. Sunday, $22-$37, 610-696-2711, www.brandywineballet.com.
Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine: Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" is performed by the 18 professional Ukrainian dancers and 45 from the International Ballet Exchange. Kurtz Center, Penn Charter School, 3000 W. School House Lane, 6:30 p.m. tomorrow and 2 p.m. Sunday, $28, 215-849-7950, www.internationalballet.org.
Philadelphia Orchestra: With a host of anthems from their best-selling holiday album, "The Glorious Sounds Of Christmas" will be given the most upholstered treatment imaginable. Associate conductor Rossen Milanov conducts these classics, with the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia as the chorus, plus excerpts from Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker." William Holcombe's "Twas The Night Before Christmas" is on the bill, with CBS-3 broadcaster Pat Ciarrocchi narrating tonight and Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy doing the honors tomorrow. Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce streets, 7 tonight and tomorrow, $20-$108, 215-893-1999, www.philorch.org.
Liebesfreud String Quartet: To celebrate Beethoven's 240th birthday, this excellent ensemble will play two of Ludwig Van's most popular Quartets: Op. 59/2 and the penultimate Op. 131. The concert benefits the community outreach group Wintershelter. Trinity Memorial Church, 2212 Spruce St., 5:15 p.m. today, $10, 215-588-8693, www.liebesfreud.org.
Temple University Horn and Trombone ensembles: Led by Philadelphia Orchestra members Jeffrey Lang and Matthew Vaughn, they'll fill the Plaza with holiday cheer, from choral transcriptions to jazz arrangements. Commonwealth Plaza, Kimmel Center, 5:30 tonight, free, 215-204-7600, www.temple.edu/boyer.
Piffaro: Our Renaissance wind band celebrates the season and the winter solstice traditions with sprightly music. Guest artists are soprano Laura Heimes and tenor Philip Anderson. Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Ave., 8 tonight, and St. Mark's, 1625 Locust St., 8 p.m. tomorrow, $35-$40, 215-235-8469, www.piffaro.com.
Anonymous 4: These glorious voices have thrilled audiences for decades, singing with astonishing intonation and repertoire from medieval times to many premieres. In their holiday concert, they feature favorite chants, hymns, carols and motets from their many best-selling recordings. Holy Trinity Church, 1904 Walnut St., 8 tonight, $23, 215-569-8080, www.pcmsconcerts.org.
Camerata Ama Deus: Valentin Radu leads a "Christmas With Mozart" program, which includes the "Eine Kleine Nachtmusic" Serenade and the magnificent Symphony No. 40. Paul Rosenberg solos in the Horn Concerto No. 2 and Radu heads to the keyboard for the Piano Concerto No. 20. Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center, 8 tonight, $20-$60, 215-893-1999, www.voxamadeus.org.
Center City Opera Theater: The company is offering Edward Rushton and Dagny Gioulami's surreal comic opera "The Shops," spoofing our consumer obsessions. Eight singers are featured, backed by chamber orchestra, in this North American premiere. Market and Shops at Comcast Center, 1701 JFK Blvd., 8:30 tonight and tomorrow, 5 p.m. Sunday, $29, 215-238-1555, operatheater.org.
Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale: Jeffrey R. Smith leads the 80 young voices, men's choral and full orchestra in seasonal music. The program will feature an arrangement of "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," written 150 years ago in Philadelphia. Church of St. Isaac Jogues, 3 Lord Place, Marlton, N.J., 8 tonight, and Proclamation Presbyterian Church, 278 S. Bryn Mawr Ave., Bryn Mawr, 8 p.m. tomorrow, $40, 215-222-3500, ext. 200, www.phillyboyschoir.org.
Voices Chorale: Lyn Ransom leads the chorus in "Totus Tuus" by Gorecki, Ken Guilmartin's "Happy Holiday Time," a new work by Ryan Brechmacher, "In Nightly Stillness," Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Midnight Mass for Christmas and season carols. St. James Church, 115 E. Delaware Ave., Pennington, N.J., 8 tonight, and St. Paul Church, 214 Nassau St., Princeton, N.J., 8 p.m. tomorrow, $20, 609-637-9383, voiceschorale.org.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops: Nero is going all out for his annual holiday program with his hot band plus Broadway actress/singer Rachel York, Wanamaker organist Peter Richard Conte, the Pops Festival Chorus, the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir and the Philadelphia Boys Choir. The audience will sing along with nearly all 300 artists onstage at the finale. Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, 3 p.m. tomorrow and 8 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, $25-$110, 215-893-1999, www.phillypops.org.
Vox Ama Deus: The uncut 1749 Covent Garden version of Handel's evergreen "Messiah," performed with Baroque instruments and conducted by Valentin Radu. St. Katharine of Siena Church, Lancaster and Aberdeen avenues, Wayne, 4 p.m. Sunday, $25, 610-688-2800, voxamadeus.org.
Philadelphia Orchestra: For the 50th consecutive year, the orchestra will present Handel's ubiquitous "Messiah," this time in a single performance. Paul Goodwin is the guest conductor, along with soprano Lisa Saffer, mezzo Margaret Lattimore , tenor Gordon Gietz, baritone Christopheren Nomura and the Philadelphia Singers Chorale. Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, 2 p.m. Sunday, $18-$105, 215-893-1999, www.philorch.org.