Tuned In by Ken Maiuri: The Flo Ho! Ho! Yuletide Shindig

  • The Ephemeral Stringband

  • Glassberg and the Disasters Joconaut photo

  • Free Range Cats Julian Parker-Burns photo

  • Keb’ Mo’

  • Low Lily

  • Sam Newsome Salvatore Corso photo

  • FlavaEvolution Carly Rae Photography

Published: 12/13/2019 9:16:51 AM
Modified: 12/13/2019 9:16:38 AM

Valley summers are famously full of fun concert events where people and families in the community come out to support and mingle and enjoy each other’s company — why can’t there be a winter event like that to bring folks together and help keep everyone’s spirits up?

Actually, there is, and it’s the Flo Ho! Ho! Yuletide Shindig, with longtime area personality Johnny Memphis as the smiling heart of it all. The all-ages happening takes place in the upstairs ballroom of the Florence VFW on Saturday, December 14, at 6:30 p.m. Memphis and Santa and the gang suggest that everyone bring a can of food to be donated to the Northampton Survival Center.

The annual musical party is in its sixth year, and this time around features performances by Beige (Steve Westfield’s dada ska band, determined to fill the dance floor), Free Range Cats (progressive groove instrumental all-stars with a guest vocalist here and there), Jerks on the Loose (top-notch acoustic trio who expertly cover songs by The Roches, no easy feat), and Big Bad Bollocks (long-running Celtic punk bruisers, described as “The Pogues and The Sex Pistols fused”), plus the Johnny Memphis Singalong, poet of the people Connolly Ryan, Santa Claus doing the limbo and Bell & Howl contributing mind-bending visual projections.

Anti-folk singer/songwriter Rachel Glassberg grew up in Amherst and South Hadley before moving to Los Angeles and finally to Berlin, where she’s been building a following with her witty pop songs and her band Glassberg and the Disasters. They just put out a record called “This Was Inevitable” (song topics include the super-tall guy at the front of the show, and trying to deal with being in your thirties). Glassberg’s solo tour of the northeast includes a show at Bishop’s Lounge in Northampton on Friday, December 13, at 8:30 p.m. Sharing the bill are CT-based bands Balkun Brothers (rock, blues and more) and Px3 (an “apocalyptic organ duo”).

“Le Cirque de Noel” is the latest multimedia gala from the local quarterly arts magazine Meat For Tea, in celebration of its new “Bard” issue. The live music acts for this edition are December Boy (the new project from Matt Silberstein, making its live debut) and The Feldons, and the night will also include art on exhibit, spoken word, films and more. At Sonelab in Easthampton on Saturday, December 14, at 7 p.m.

The Ephemeral Stringband is a trio of guitarist Molly Merrett, banjo player Maggie Shar, and mandolinist Tim Dolan, an old-time Appalachian stringband with early country harmonies. They headline a Sanctuary Fundraiser at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, in Northampton on Saturday, December 14, at 7 p.m.

Unique jazz quartet FlavaEvolution (saxophonists Frank Newton and Jake Weiner, trombonist Dan Hendrix, and bassist David Picchi — no drums, no piano!) plays a holiday show at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Saturday, December 14, at 8 p.m.

Tom Pappalardo brings you a solo set, followed by a “sort-of-acoustic” duo performance by his band The Demographic (with a few special guests) in the cozy corner of The 413 in Easthampton on Saturday, December 14, from 8 - 10 p.m.

Multi-instrumentalist Bruce Molsky is an expert in Appalachian mountain music, and he takes the stage at the Parlor Room in Northampton on Sunday, December 15, at 7 p.m. He’ll also be doing a special workshop at 3 p.m.

Nova One (aka Roz Raskin and friends), Mal Devisa (the art-making moniker of nationally acclaimed Amherst singer/songwriter/bassist/home-recorder Deja Carr), and Old Pam (Vanessa Brewster’s solo music project) make up the triple-bill at 10Forward (formerly The Root Cellar) in Greenfield on Sunday, December 15, at 8 p.m.

Keb’ Mo’ brings his Jingle Bell Jamboree show of holiday music to the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton on Tuesday, December 17, at 7:30 p.m. Alicia Michilli is the opening act.

Americana roots trio Low Lily (Brattleboro-based pop-folk harmonizers) and Grammy-nominated bluegrass mandolinist Matt Flinner (“the next logical evolutionary step to David Grisman’s unique ‘Dawg’ style”) team up for a “winter solstice mini-fest” at the Parlor Room in Northampton on Wednesday, December 18, at 7 p.m.

Simply saying that Sam Newsome “plays solo soprano saxophone” doesn’t get at the deep level at which he explores the possible sounds and the very mechanics of the instrument itself, extending its length with tubes, hanging swinging chimes from its body, and more. It’s been said that Newsome considers himself “a visual artist who paints with notes and sounds rather than shapes and colors.” He appears at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke on Thursday, December 19, at 7:30 p.m. It’s the latest show in the Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares concert series.

Ken Maiuri can be reached at tunedincolumn@gmail.com.

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