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The Short List

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WEDNESDAY: The String Cheese Incident needs no (predictably derogatory) introduction at the Lyric. Don’t miss: Young Buffalo, a Mississippi band making a sort of rockier, witty version of Animal Collective-style avant-pop, performs at the Metro Gallery with Dead Mellotron.

THURSDAY: Jawboxer J. Robbins’ current band Office of Future Plans celebrates a new Dischord record at the Ottobar with Thrushes, Caverns, and Regents; upstairs at the club, punk-plus DJ night Terminal Love returns. Kylesa offshoot Niche makes Southern rock of the heaviest sort at the Sidebar with the Pilgrim, Melungeon, and Whoarfrost. Sac au Lait does Dixieland at Joe Squared Station North. Florida jam band the Heavy Pets explore the outer limits of jazz-funk-rock with reggae-fusion influences at Baltimore Soundstage. Hot Pink Delorean guests at Mosiac’s kinda self-explanatory Bass Drop party.

FRIDAY: DNL Nation, what looks like an Ocean City/Delmarva-focused nightlife web site, brings two rooms’ worth of hip-hop to Sonar, including Minlus and McCracken, Cheyne, Oz, Jade Fox and Rebel Nation, Fresh Competition, Grant, Cutthroat and Sayne, and still plenty more. Baltimore rock favorites J Roddy Walston and the Business sweat it out at the Ottobar with the Matrimonials; upstairs finds the return of dance weekly Physical Education, with DJs Antonio Harper and James Nasty The Save Your Soul dance party takes over the Metro Gallery with Washington, D.C.’s Soul Call Paul, Robbie Fearless, and King Gilbert. Future-soul force of nature Erykah Badu brings her Cannabinoids to Rams Head Live. Alabama rap duo G-Side guests at this month’s Deep in the Game party at the Hippo with night regulars Mark Brown, Cex, and the Schwarz. The Home Cookin’ Jazz Trio does a bit of everything—swing, Latin, blues, jazz—at An die Musik. Fires, a Baltimore band making a pretty yet artfully broken kind of early-days screamo-y postrock hybrid, celebrates a record release at the Sidebar with Voyage in Coma, R&R, and Seas of Words. Meters bassist George Porter Jr. brings his band the Running Partners to the 8X10 with Higher Hands. The Red Room at Normal’s Books and Records hosts a night of way-more-than-music, certainly mind-expanding video/performance with works from Andy Hayleck, Jorge Martins, M.C. Schmidt, Eric Franklin, and Bonnie Jones. Don’t miss: Right on schedule, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra floors the Meyerhoff with Handel’s Messiah. Ace New York free-jazz/noise/rock alloy Little Women plays the Windup Space with Deradoorian and Susan Alcorn.

SATURDAY: Recent Cash Money signee Big Chief takes the mic at the Talking Head. Future Islands play a homecoming show/take a victory lap at the Ottobar with Ed Schrader’s Music Beat and Digital Native. Baltimore alt-rock—in the ’90s radio-indie heyday sense—duo Saddle of Centaur celebrates a record release at the Metro Gallery with the Degenerettes and Sal Bando. Cryptic Warning heads up Cryptic Christmas, a Toys for Tots benefit, at Rams Head Live with Crimson Orchid, A Normal Kill, and more. Pianist Xavier Davis guests with the Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra at An die Musik. D.C.’s Borracho makes “a groove-laden and epic heavy rock sound” at the Sidebar. Baltimore party band cornerstones All Mighty Senators (and friends) come out of hiding at the 8X10. Roots heavy Delbert McClinton performs at Baltimore Soundstage. Canonical alt-emo band Dashboard Confessional plays Towson’s Recher Theatre. Maria Broom StoryDancer and Jali D, the Drum Talker, lead a pre-Kwanzaa celebration at the Creative Alliance. Don’t miss: The two-night Creative Differences-organized Labyrinths festival celebrates the brightest side of piano innovation at the Windup Space with an impressive assortment of players (including some non-piano collaborators), including Dave Burrell, Lafayette Gilchrist, Marilyn Crispell, and Michael Formanek.

SUNDAY: The Labyrinths festival of piano exploration continues at the Windup Space. Noted Juggalo favorite ABK, ne Anybody Killa, doesn’t make anybody look good at Sonar with Critical Bill, Smokehouse Junkiez, and the usual assortment of area Juggalo-type outfits. Say Anything’s Max Bemis goes solo at the Ottobar. Ryan Adams breaks hearts at the Lyric. The Herd of Main Street brings its well-oiled brand of storytelling/Americana to Joe Squared Power Plant.

MONDAY: Life as Ghost makes progressive hardcore at the Ottobar. DJ James Nasty gives some life to Monday night at Joe Squared Power Plant. Seattle rapper Macklemore performs at Baltimore Soundstage.

TUESDAY: The Out of Your Head collective returns to the Windup Space for another round of improv/new music with Mike Ross, Mike Cerri, Jake Leckie, and Anna Meaders. Landis Expandis and DJ Napspace’s Dig funktime breakdance party returns to Joe Squared Station North. Scottie B spins at Joe Squared Power Plant. Raul Malo, lead singer of the defunct Mavericks, hosts his Christmas bash at Baltimore Soundstage.

WEDNESDAY: Postrock duo the Water returns to the stage after what seems like a bit of a break at the Windup Space with the Deaf Scene, Grandfather, and USSA Pleasuredome. German death-metal band Obscura takes on the Talking Head with Abysmal Dawn, Enfold Darkness, and more. New Jersey rock-rock outfit the Parlor Mob plays the Ottobar with Pandomonia. Vince Gill and Amy Grant bring their 12 Days of Christmas tour/program to the Lyric. Don’t miss: Kyuss Lives!, a mostly intact version of desert-rock legend Kyuss, performs at Rams Head Live with the Sword.

IN THE WINGS: Kix is right on time with its Kix-Mas party at Rams Head Live on Dec. 23. (For more information visit or call [410] 244-1131.) Mass Movement, a fairly bonkers free festival of assorted fuck-you/tough-guy/straight-edge hardcore, takes over Sonar with Trapped Under Ice, Next Step Up, Down to Nothing, and much more on Jan. 7, 2012. (For more information visit or call [410] 783-7888.) Baltimore postpunk band of yore the Grey March puts on a second reunion show at the Ottobar with the Unknown and Condor. (For more information visit or call [410] 662-0069.)

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