December is usually dead, dead, dead for us around here. With everyone jetting off for the holidays at various points throughout the month, venues (and, let’s be honest, us here at The Bay Bridged) slow down their schedules to accommodate.
But for some reason, this December is, as Destiny’s Child once said, jumpin’ jumpin’ in the Bay Area. (This is not even a sponsored post, I’m just genuinely shocked at how good this month’s concert outlook is.) From legends to well-loved locals, take your pick from one or 10 shows below.
December 3: Lisa Prank at Cafe du Nord
We love Lisa Prank for her simple, but so, so catchy guitar-based pop tunes. Add local Tony Molina as an opener and we’re in.
December 4: Eyedress, Luke Sweeney at Bottom of the Hill
Read our recent profile of Luke and discover the tender heart of his new album, Peace Meal.
December 4: A John Waters Christmas at Slim’s
Is it safe to call this a holiday tradition yet? I can’t find any info on exactly how long he’s been doing this, but this is at least his third turn as the ringmaster for a raucous, bawdy, proudly trashy Christmas comedy show.
December 5: Sleeptalk Winter Wonderland with Shannon Shaw and Friends
Feelin’ fancy? Party with a fantastic lineup of locals (Shannon and the Clams, Dick Stusso, and the She’s) in the swanky setting of Bimbo’s.
December 5: Meernaa, Brijean, Waterstrider at Amnesia
The longer you look at this lineup, the better it gets. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, three of our major faves take the stage at Amnesia for the night.
December 5 + 6: Seth Bogart with the Make-Up at Eli’s and Rickshaw Stop
We talked about this a few weeks ago, but it’s always a good time when Seth comes back to the Bay. And both sides of the Bay will have a chance to see him when he plays both Eli’s Mile High in Oakland and Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco.
December 6: Magic in the Other, Avi Vinocur @ Ivy Room
Albany has a small, but strong live music scene that we’re seeing more and more of these days. Check out SF singer-songwriter Avi Vinocur with Oakland’s Magic in the Other at the illustrious Ivy Room.
December 7: Vintage Trouble at the New Parish
If your main reason for going to see live music is an excuse to dance, this is your best bet. Vintage Trouble is exactly what they sound like: Throwback soul/R&B made for cutting a rug.
December 9: Madame Gandhi at Slim’s
The revered drummer, producer, activist, and all-around-astoundingly-accomplished Madame Gandhi will showcase, we presume, her recent EP Visions.
December 9, 10, 11: X at the Independent
You have three chances to catch the legedary LA punks X at the Indy, supported by instrumental surf-rock weirdoes Los Straitjackets (psst: If you sign up for our newsletter, you can win tickets to this).
December 13: Hot Lunch, Banquet @ Bottom of the Hill
Bay Area metalheads, unite. Headbang your way into 2020 with these two luminaries of the local heavy metal scene.
December 14: Bedouine at the Independent
Get ready for the quietest show you’ve ever seen at the Independent. Bedouine is a master of beautiful, serene songwriting, and if gentle vocals over a deftly-picked guitar is your thing, she’s your new fave.
December 17 + 18: Ariana Grande at Chase Center
Look, we all love a little Top 40, and if you say you don’t you’re, quite frankly, a liar.If youd like to indulge your love of pop, you might as well live the life of luxury at the new Chase Center with pop royalty Ariana Grande on her US tour.
December 20: Keak da Sneak at Brick + Mortar
After a hero’s return to performing at Rolling Loud in September, hyphy innovator Keak da Sneak closes out the year with an appearance Brick + Mortar.
December 29: The Marías at Starline Social Club
Smooth psych-pop is the name of the game for this bilingual band that’s incredibly popular here in the Bay (see below).
December 28: King Dream, Down Dirty Shake, Nyre, Mayya @ Bottom of the Hill
Feel grateful for your live music community with King Dream, a veritable supergroup of the local psych and folk scene featuring Jeremy Lyon, Cody Rhodes, Debbie Neigher, Graham Patzner, and Scott Padden — and support provided by several other musicians that have been in the game around here for ages.
New Year’s Eve
Con Brio at Bottom of the Hill
See above re: dancing.
December 29, 30, 31: The Marí as at Swedish American Hall (29 + 30) and Swedish American Hall (31)
If you don’t already have tickets to these shows, godspeed: The first two are sold out.
December 30 + 31: Fantastic Negrito at the Chapel
Blues fans will love ringing in the new year with local legend Fantastic Negrito in the cozy space of the Chapel.