Rockin' Christmas parties becoming annual rituals in Memphis


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Magic Kids

Magic Kids

Keia Johnson

Dwight E. Show

Keia Johnson

Amy LaVere

Amy LaVere

The days leading up to Christmas are a hectic time for families, shoppers, travelers and revelers. For Mid-South music fans, it will be a week filled with plenty of worthwhile concerts as well.

On Thursday, local roots-rockers Lucero will host their second annual Holiday Concert at Minglewood Hall. The event, proceeds from which will go to the Grammy MusiCares Foundation, will also feature a performance from singer-songwriter Amy LaVere.

While Lucero's Christmas show is a still-developing tradition, several other local music institutions will also be marking the holiday season with concert events that have become annual rituals.

Local music retailer Shangri-La Records, label/record store Goner Records and indie-pop outfit Snowglobe will return with musical fetes at the Hi-Tone Café during the next week or so.

The Shangri-La Christmas concert, which takes place Saturday and features The Magic Kids, Fraysia and DJ Buck Wilders, has been a tradition since the mid-'90s.

"It's gotta be at least the 15th party we've done," says Shangri-La owner Jared McStay. "I've been doing it for the last 13 years, and I believe (former Shangri-La owner Sherman Wilmott) was doing it a couple years before that."

The show will serve as a benefit for the Memphis Food Bank; admission is set at $5 with a donation of a canned good.

McStay says the year-end concert blowout allows for a more open format. "We just try to have cool local bands play, and try to do a bill that's not the typical thing -- pairing bands that might not necessarily fit. Or bands that do fit but in a weird way," he says.

On Sunday, the Cooper-Young based Goner Records crew will close out 2011 with a concert featuring several roster-affiliated acts including punk-pop trio Sharp Balloons and noise merchants True Sons of Thunder. Canadian artist and Gonerfest alum Peach Kelli Pop, new band Toxie and DJ John Hoppe also will perform.

For Goner co-owner Eric Friedl, the show, which has been an annual happening since the store opened in 2004, is a topper to what has been an active year for the company -- one that included the eighth edition of its Gonerfest concert extravaganza and the release of more than a dozen records.

"We definitely put out a lot of stuff, including two double albums, and were really busy," says Friedl, who notes that 2012 will kick off just as actively for the label, with titles from John Wesley Coleman and Lost Sounds coming in January and February.

While Memphis indie-pop band Snowglobe has been maintaining a lower profile in town of late, the group will continue its nine-year tradition and reunite for its annual Christmas night concert.

The show will be a prelude to the release of a new Snowglobe album -- its first since 2010's Little More Lived In -- which is slated for next year.

Elsewhere in the city, Downtown's Rumba Room will go formal to host the second "Wishing Carols" event, an annual fundraiser to aid the Make-A-Wish foundation. This year's bill will feature a bevy of local soul, R&B, jazz and pop up-and-comers including Keia Johnson, Markevius Faulkner, Marcella Pinilla, Carla Marie and Shemika Seacrest.

"It's really part of an urge to give back," says event organizer Claude Hinds III. "Last year, I found out about what the Make-A-Wish Foundation was doing, and we felt like we wanted to be a part of that effort."

"There's a lot of giving going on; we're giving a great show to music lovers, and they're giving their money to Make-A-Wish," Hinds says. "It's just that time of year where that spirit is in the air."

Shangri-La Records Christmas Party

With the Magic Kids, Fraysia, DJ Buck Wilders; 9 p.m. Saturday at the Hi-Tone Café, 1913 Poplar. Cover is $5 with a canned food donation to the Memphis Food Bank. For more information, go to, or call (901) 278-8663.

Goner Records Christmas Party

With Peach Kelli Pop, True Sons of Thunder Sharp Balloons, Toxie and DJ John Hoppe; 6 p.m. Sunday at the Hi-Tone Café. Cover is $5.

'Wishing Carols' concert

With Keia Johnson, Markevius Faulkner, Memphis High, Marcella Pinilla, Carla Marie, Shemika Seacrest, Marcus Hurt, Cameron Bethany and more; Sunday at the Rumba Room. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 at the door. For ticket information, go to, or e-mail

Lucero's Second Annual Christmas Concert, with Amy LaVere

8 p.m. Thursday at Minglewood Hall, 1555 Madison. Tickets: $19 in advance, available at the box office, or (901) 312-6058.

Snowglobe Ninth Annual Christmas Night Concert

9 p.m. Dec. 25 at the Hi-Tone Café. Cover is $7.

© 2011 Go Memphis. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments » 2

TheHiToneCafe writes:

FYI, the Shangri-La Christmas Party is SATURDAY, and the Goner Christmas Party is SUNDAY. However, we're pretty sure tonight's Tiger High christmas show will gladly accept any confused holiday refugees.

memphishin writes:

and Tonight's Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors Presents " A Very Neighborly Christmas" show is now in it's 3rd year up at Minglewood Hall. Doors at 7pm

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