Annie Haslam

For the third year, singer Annie Haslam, the soaring voice of '70s Brit prog-rockers Renaissance, brings her relaxed-vibe, holiday-themed show to the intimate Sellersville Theater. The longtime Bucks County resident and her five-octave range will tackle everything from traditional Christmas carols to contemporary holiday songs such as "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" or John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" to a smattering of songs from her solo career and work with Renaissance (including the always-dramatic "Carpet of the Sun"). It has been a busy couple of years for Haslam, who, in addition to her musical career, is also an oil painter (some of her work will be exhibited at the two weekend shows). She and fellow Renaissance alum Michael Dunford relaunched the band for a successful anniversary tour, and plans are under way for new Renaissance material to be released in the coming year. For her holiday shows, Haslam will be backed by her longtime four-member band. The banter is lighthearted and warm, and the audience is encouraged to join in the vocal festivities.

- Nicole Pensiero

Blue Man Group

Blue Man Group started as an East Village NYC performance-art trio in 1987, and somewhere along the line, they became pop stars. Certainly, theirs was a tongue-in-cheek brand of music celebrity, as the wet, bright-blue-painted dudes played self-made instruments and PVC tubes as percussion or horns. The plainly named


(1999) and the "How to Be a Megastar" tour (2008) came off as sarcastic, even though their slickly electronic songs featured such names as Esthero, Tracy Bonham, and, in the riskiest thing he has ever done, Dave Matthews. Fast-forward to the present. The tour that brings BMG to Philly is derived from the trio's intimate New York City shows, with the music brought down to size (how can it not? - the Men don't speak) by music director/zither player David Traver, Clem Waldmann (percussion/kit); Jerry Kops (Chapman Stick/strings), and Jeff Wright (percussion/kit) without losing their original sense of dramatic weirdness.

- A.D. Amorosi

Jesse Malin / Marah

Rock-and-roll street-poetry brothers-in-arms Jesse Malin and Marah are teaming up for a sudsy two-date Christmas show jaunt. The "It Came Upon a Midnight Beer" tour starts Saturday at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, N.J., and closes out Sunday at the World Cafe Live. Dobro marvel Mike "Slo-Mo" Brenner is also on the bill. It's a Toys for Tots fund-raiser. Santa hats will be worn, eggnog will be quaffed, and both Malin and Marah (which, these days, means Conshohocken native Dave Bielanko without brother Serge) will rock out with a mix of non-holiday originals plus lots of holiday tunes, several of which undoubtedly will be pulled from Marah's joyous 2005 collection

A Christmas Kind of Town


- Dan DeLuca