While we're scrambling around, desperately seeking out wrapping paper that's got menorahs and dreidels on it, most everyone else is at home with their loved ones, sitting around the brightly lit Christmas tree, sipping eggnog, singing carols and checking out the goods that Santa delivered this year. Call it Christmas envy.
But in recent years, Jews have begun to at least attempt to reclaim their slice of the holiday pie, and one needs to look no further for proof of this than in the resurgence of Jewish and Hanukkah-themed music. This week, then, is cause for celebration among local, musically adventurous Jews, as the Hanukkah Tour 2006 (alternately billed as the Eight Crazy Nights Tour) descends upon our fair burg.
The tour brings together three Jewish-centric bands and two lecturers to provide us Hebes with a sense of inclusion during this holiday season. Headlining the show is Victoria, Australia's pop-punkers Yidcore, whose oeuvre includes odes to David Bowie and Adam Sandler, as well as tunes like "Od Yavo Shalom Salaam" and "Yaldah Raah," both of which are sung entirely in Hebrew. The bill also includes the brilliantly named Jewdriver (a flip of the bird to the white supremacist band Screwdriver), a band of unruly Oakland, Calif., punks; and The Zydepunks, a joyous-sounding five-piece whose self-description--"New Orleans' own Cajun Irish Jewish Punk band"--pretty much sums 'em up. (Half the fun of listening to a song like "Madeline" is trying to figure out if they're singing in French or Hebrew.) The lecturers are Tattoo Jew, aka Los Angeles-based filmmaker Andy Abrams, whose focus is the taboo of Jews with tattoos, and Jericho's Echo, a fellow filmmaker who has explored the punk rock scene in Israel.
Lonely Jews of all ages should head over to Skrappy's, 201 E. Broadway Blvd., on Tuesday, Dec. 19. For show time and cover charge info, call 358-4287.
The Randies perform at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Saturday, Dec. 16. Opening the show at 9:30 p.m. are locals Bombs for the Bored, whose appearance is rumored to be one of their last, followed by Emily Long. Cover is a fiver. For further details, call 798-1298.
They'll be right at home, then, at Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Saturday, Dec. 16. Opening the show are our two beloved Als--Al Perry (who once told me that his dream gig is to play lead guitar for The Blasters) and Al Foul, who starts the night off at 9 p.m. Admission is a ten-spot. Questions? Call 622-8848 for answers.
Whether he's being billed as the Microphones or Mt. Eerie, Washington State's Phil Elverum performs a lo-fi brand of psych-pop that has built a substantial cult following in the last seven or eight years, and might have been labeled "freak-folk" if it didn't pre-date the term. He'll be at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., on Saturday, Dec. 16, along with openers Woelv, Adrian Orange and Brando Skirts. The all-ages show begins at 9 p.m., and cover is $8. For more info, call 884-0874.
If you're reading this paper the day it officially hits the street, lucky you: There's still time to catch the multicultural phenomenon known as Ozomatli, who prove that "party" (the celebratory kind) and politics aren't mutually exclusive. In addition to old favorites, expect to hear new songs that will appear on the group's upcoming album, the infectious Don't Mess With the Dragon, set for release on March 27, 2007, on Concord. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., and tickets are $25 at the door. For additional information, call 740-1000.