CONCERT LISTINGS The Best Shows of December 2007

Quit Cramming for Finals and See Shows Now

The end of the semester is only a few weeks away, and if your workload looks anything like mine, I bet everything will pile up right about … now. This won’t stop me from going out to shows, of course, and I should hope you’ll be out doing the same. Lots of not-so-well known but totally fantastic bands are headed to Boston this month, so if you’re thirsting for something new, now’s the time to see what’s on the scene. You know, before Built to Spill starts touring for the fiftieth time this year.

As usual, special interest shows (and there are more than a couple) are marked with stars, and you can always e-mail if you know of some rocktastic musical event that’s evaded our detection.

Saturday, Dec. 1

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

The Roxy, All Ages, $16.50, 6:30 p.m.

The last and only time I saw Mr. Leo and Co., they were opening for Death Cab for Cutie at the Orpheum. Now they’re headlining their own tour and based on the (lack of) age restrictions and early start time, I’m betting they’ll sell well in Boston.

Hopewell (with The December Sound [CD release], The Brother Kite) *

T.T. the Bear’s Place, 18+, $9, 10:15 p.m.

Blame it on the side effects of Steer Roast, but seeing Hopewell at MIT last spring was one of the best stumble-upons ever. Will seeing them on purpose be as exciting and mystifying as their courtyard performance? Tune in this December to find out.

Wednesday, Dec. 5

Dirty Projectors (with Deer Tick, Nat Baldwin)

The Middle East (Upstairs), 18+, $9

After seeing Dirty Projectors open for Grizzly Bear, I decided I didn’t like them. After seeing them open for Hella, I decided I might. After hearing some recordings, outlook is positive. Bizarre guitar melodies and screaming girls serve as a backdrop for an over-the-top vocalist in a possibly innovative group.

Thursday, Dec. 6

Victory Records Tour (feat. Bayside, The Sleeping, June, A Day to Remember, Driver Side Impact)

The Middle East (Downstairs), All Ages, $16dos, 6 p.m.

When I was a freshman in high school, I would have totally wanted to go to this show. Luckily for me, I grew out of the punk emo phase five years ago. Luckily for 15-year-olds, this one’s all ages.

Friday, Dec. 7

Cake’s Unlimited Sunshine Festival

Orpheum Theatre, All Ages, $35, 7:30 PM

This annual traveling festival of musicians headed up by Cake comes to Boston with Brazillian Girls, Oakley Hall, Detroit Cobras, King City, and Agent Ribbons. Pricey ticket; fun show.

Saturday, Dec. 8

MIT Cross Products Fall Concert

10-250, Free, 5 p.m.

Ah, it’s a cappella season again. This is MIT’s co-ed Christian a cappella group’s annual fall performance.

MIT Chorallaries Fall Concert

10-250, Free, 8 p.m.

If the Cross Products aren’t your thing, or you just don’t feel like leaving after their concert, check out the MIT Chorallaries a cappella group.

Sunday, Dec. 9

Third Annual Yule Ball (feat. Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, Uncle Monsterface, Math the Band, Remus and the Lupins)

The Middle East (Downstairs), All Ages, $12dos, 5 p.m.

This is not the sort of thing that appeals to me, but I understand it’s quite a craze, so have at it MIT Muggles. I’ll come out once they get The Weird Sisters on the bill.

Wednesday, Dec. 12

Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s (with Le Loup, The Motion Sick) *

The Middle East (Upstairs), 18+, $9

A fantastic little band that is elegant on record and emotionally unrestrained in concert. They take their name from Wes Anderson’s “The Royal Tenenbaums,” and I like to think their musical sensibilities are influenced by the film as well.

Saturday, Dec. 15

Friends of John: A Benefit Concert for the John Ryan Pike Memorial Foundation (feat. Tokyo Police Club, Ra Ra Riot, Vampire Weekend) *

The Middle East (Downstairs), 18+, $15dos, 7 p.m.

Friends of former Ra Ra Riot drummer John Pike will play a show to fully benefit his memorial foundation, which hopes to raise money for those pursuing some musical education. Indie pop for a good cause.

Friday, Dec. 28

Francine *

T.T. the Bear’s Place, 18+, $15, 11:20 p.m.

Frontman Clayton Scoble (ex-Poundcake) has been “on the Boston scene for, like, forever” according to my boyfriend, who turned me on to these guys about a year ago. This is the kind of music you can share with your friends, your S.O. and your mom; it’s restrained but forward-thinking, delicate but jarring, eloquent and full of humor, all topped off with Scroble’s fantastically smooth and emotive voice.

Sunday, Dec. 30


Paradise Rock Club, 18+, $22.50dos, 8 p.m.

Though they’ll also play on New Year’s Eve in the same location, it’s $20 cheaper on the thirtieth, so I’ll bet you can guess my recommendation. Now that they’ve returned to trio status and renounced huge venues and tour busses, you can bet they’ll be right in their element at Paradise.

Monday, Dec. 31

Badfish — A Tribute to Sublime

The Middle East (Downstairs), 21+, $40

Oh, come on, you know you’re going to be drunk for the new year, anyway. Why not do it while listening to nearly impeccable live covers of Sublime songs? Save up some cash, bring some friends, and celebrate the end of ’07 like it’s the end of ’96.