Those worried about missing out on all the holiday show hoopla should pay close attention to a trio of shows guaranteed to be easy on the wallet.
Let's start with tonight's hipster rock cavalcade headlined by Southern California quintet the Growlers at Elements Venue.
This will be the group's second visit this year after appearing at On the Rocks in the middle of the sweltering summer. According to some friends who attended that show, the band lived up to its live reputation as purveyors of "beach goth music," a psychedelic blend of surf guitar, reverb vocals and bizarre poetics from vocalist Brooks Nielsen.
The group's upcoming CD, "Hung at Heart," should please listeners who quickly jumped aboard the Growlers' fun wagon since they formed five years ago, but also appeal to those looking to broaden their daily playlists. Check out some of the band's previous recordings and creative homemade music videos on YouTube for a quick catch-up.
As with all of promoter Tim Gardea's shows, there are plenty of opening acts to enjoy or plug your ears and take a break from at the bar. Slated for this show are Sam Flax, the Burning of Rome, Western Medicine, Dr. DeVito, The Coriolis Effect, Chunrun. All bands are scheduled for 25- to 30-minute sets, so be on your toes.
Tonight's show kicks off at 6 p.m. Tickets for the all-ages concert are $17.50 and available at the door. Ticket buyers can take advantage of a two-for-one admission deal before 6 p.m. Gardea will be collecting toys for the Bakersfield Homeless Center. Every unwrapped toy donation gets you a free beverage ticket.
The Elements Venue is located at 3401 Chester Ave. For more information visit tgptix.com.
Beat Surrender Anniversary
On Friday night the post-dining dance floor at Sandrini's will be the scene of some mad boogaloo shuffling when monthly funk, soul, and disco deejay night, Beat Surrender, returns to celebrate its fifth anniversary.
Hosted by Bakersfield vinyl enthusiast Alex "Moustache" Rodriguez, Beat Surrender is held the second Friday of every month. It's become one of the most popular destinations for dancers and record junkies who enjoy kicking off the weekend with a shimmy shake.
"We just want to promote a good time to good tunes you can't hear anywhere else in Bakersfield," said Rodriguez, 33, who by day trades and sells rare and vintage collectible records of all genres. "It's also free to get in, so anyone can try it."
With an offer like that, how can anyone refuse? Over the years, I've attended many Beat Surrender nights, getting my groove on like nobody's watching. Rodriguez knows his mixes, too, throwing down more than 80 classics a night from Vernon Garrett, Cold Blood, Marva Whitney, Ester Williams, James Brown, Spanky Wilson, Malo, and more. His music comes direct from crates lined up against the wall, and all the records are in near- pristine playing condition.
"I thought it would last a couple months. I never expected it to make it to five years," he said. "I'm just happy to see some of the same people there since day one."
In addition to the thousands of records in his home collection, Rodriguez said he has plenty available for public consumption, including a consignment deal at In Your Wildest Dreams vintage store in downtown. If that's not hardcore enough, the curly-locked spinmeister also runs an independent music label through his website, avecvinyl.com, plus hosts '80s deejay dance night, "Wax On," held every third Friday at Sandrini's.
"I can't remember the first record I bought; probably some punk seven-inch in 1994. The first vinyl record that really had a major impact on me was the Angel Hair seven-inch on Gravity records. I bought it in 1995. That record put me on the path, which led me to where I am now. Yes, I still have that exact copy. Let's just say I own too many to ever listen to in my lifetime yet not enough to satisfy my vinyl addiction."
Also taking a turn at the tables this night will be deejays OMS, Octavious Sunflower and Biddhu.
Beat Surrender spins off Friday beginning at 10 p.m. Admission is free. Sandrini's is located at 1918 Eye St. For more information, call 322-8900.
KRAB Christmas Show
Rounding out this trio of Christmas shenanigans is the highly anticipated Krab Christmas show coming to the CSUB Dore Theatre on Monday.
This year's lineup couldn't be more Bakersfield-centric. Topping the list are the Cali reggae dudes Dirty Heads, and Sublime with Rome's Rome Ramirez, along with Baltimore pop punkers Ballyhoo, and Los Angeles dream pop act Blondfire.
"This is our fourth Christmas Show, and like the Free 4 All in the summer, it's our way of thanking our listeners for their continued support," said Krab radio personality Danny Spanks.
Blondfire vocalist Erica Driscoll, whose group is currently on a busy promotional jaunt in support of their latest single, "Where the Kids Are," says being on the road during the holidays is always a bit rough when you're apart from family and friends, but says these shows are worth the benefits.
"We're either in a van, flying or carrying our gear. It's fun and you gain more fans, but I'm looking forward to a little downtime before we go crazy next year."
Blondfire has been making waves on the indie charts since dropping "Where the Kids Are," a catchy radio-worthy number oozing with the pop sweetness of early Cardigans and current Metric. On a scale from 1 to 10, I'd rate it a solid 8.
"Everything has been so amazing. There are so many bands out there and to have people notice your music and take note of it is amazing to us. We just write stuff that we love, and have fun doing it. We've been working hard for a long time," said Driscoll, who revealed the band's new full-length CD is being prepped for release soon.
Asked what her Christmas gift wish would be, Driscoll's original answer was modified through a direct message to me on Twitter just minutes after the end of our interview.
"I want our song to keep rising on the charts, and a massage."
To score tickets to Monday's free concert, radio listeners can tune in to 106.1 KRAB Radio to win, or visit the station's website at Krab.com for information on the text-to-win contest and special drawing for front row seats plus meet-and-greet. According to Spanks, only 484 lucky winners will be admitted to the show.
Doors open at 6 p.m. on Monday; showtime is 6:30 p.m. The Dore Theatre is located on the CSUB campus, 9001 Stockdale Highway. For more information, call 322-9929 or visit Krab.com.