Music for the Holidays

B.B. King

B.B. King

December is filled with great local performances.

by John D


2013 is winding down, and I must say, this year has flown by. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that Birmingham Mountain Radio has had a banner year (what with going to the FM dial from the Internet and all that) and therefore a busy year. I look forward to next month’s column (and dread it a little bit) as I pick the best albums of the year, but right now, we should probably just address what is happening now. Birmingham has had a lot of great shows come through town this year, and 2014 is already shaping up to be a big year show-wise. Of course, we still have the month of December to discuss, so let’s start with that.

First and foremost, we have the Birmingham Mountain Radio Acoustic Christmas: ’Twas 12 Days Before Christmas (12/11 @ Iron City) to talk about. At BMR, we launched as an Internet station almost three years ago to the day, and we wanted to have a party to celebrate. We realized it was close to Christmas, so we decided to make it our (and your) unofficial Christmas party. What better way to do that than with a night of great music? We have Michael Franti headlining and The Wild Feathers, Judah and The Lion, and Shannon Labrie rounding out the bill. It will definitely be a solid night of music, from established names to up-and-comers, with a little bit of something for everyone. Two days later  (12/13) Alabama native and former Drive By Trucker Jason Isbell will be stopping at Iron City for his third appearance in Birmingham in less than a year. Iron City is giving the people what they want.

The Bottletree does not have many big acts booked for December, but they do have some of the better local acts, such as The Dead Fingers, consisting of husband-and-wife duo Kate Taylor and Taylor Hollingsworth, on 12/27 and the 80s-themed Neon Electric Dance Party to help you ring in the new year on 12/31. For more information on both of these shows, go to

WorkPlay has a pretty solid December lined up. Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue hit the Soundstage on 12/5. Shorty (Troy Andrews) is the next generation of great New Orleans musicians. At 27 years old, he has a new album that features a reunited Meters (the actual Meters), and a sound that blends traditional and what grabs his attention; he is one of the next greats. Don’t miss your chance to catch this show. Several members of Moon Taxi will be coming back home when they come to town on 12/20 with a new album under their belts (Mountains Beaches Cities). The band has morphed since their first album, leaving the jam band genre behind and moving into a more progressive rock stance, which works for them. WorkPlay is also hosting the Black Jacket Symphony for three nights at the end of the month (12/27, 12/28, and 12/31) as they perform Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.” The Black Jacket Symphony’s skill is recreating classic albums in a live environment. If you plan on going (especially on New Year’s Eve), you had better buy tickets now.

Trombone Shorty (photo by Jonathan Mannion)

Trombone Shorty (photo by Jonathan Mannion)

These are just a few of December’s shows, but you can always check out the concert calendar on Birmingham Mountain Radio for a more extensive listing. Now, let’s move onto upcoming shows in 2014.

B.B. King (1/14) at Iron City. The B.B. King. I should not have to say anything else. The next night (1/15), Iron City will be hosting one of the godfathers of southern rock, Gregg Allman. Tickets for both shows on sale now. WorkPlay already has some solid acts booked for February. Lord Huron (2/14) is one of those bands you should have heard of by now but may not have. They did play the inaugural Cask and Drum Festival earlier this year, and in my humble opinion, they were one of the best bands in a very good lineup. Another Cask and Drum alum, husband-and-wife duo Shovels and Rope, is going to be playing the WorkPlay Soundstage (2/28). Each time they come to Birmingham, they play the next biggest venue, so plan ahead and get your tickets now if you want to see them this time around.

So, there you go, a look at December and the beginning of the new year. Have a safe and happy holiday season and remember, you can live without music, but life is a lot better with it.


December Events

•12/13 @ Bottletree: 7 Chinese Bros: Local musicians come together for a one-night-only performance paying homage to early R.E.M., one of the most influential alternative bands of the 80s.

•12/14 @ Bottletree: The Dean and Company Christmas Special Premiere. Not strictly music (but there will be music!) but definitely a Birmingham treasure.

•12/20 @ WorkPlay: The Blind Boys of Alabama. A show originally scheduled for earlier this year. New album from a group that has been performing their unique brand of gospel since the mid-1940s.

•12/20 @ Iron City: Comedian Brian Posehn. Character actor, writer, and a hilarious stand-up comedian. Google the name, you’ll know who he is.

12/28 @ WorkPlay: Birmingham-based St. Paul and The Broken Bones. Expect a lot of new music as they will be releasing a full-length album and getting ready to go back on the road soon.

Leave a Reply