Home News A Happy Holiday Music Guide | East Bay Express

A Happy Holiday Music Guide | East Bay Express


Swinging from one excessive observe to the following, the 2022 winter vacation roundup of dwell music performances within the East Bay affords each a promise and a dare. Except one’s coronary heart has been turned to stone through the chaos, corruption, excessive value—and let’s say it—cacophonous horribleness of the final three years, these exhibits chosen for selection are sure to warmth up one’s ticker. 

With artists identified to be dependable, dynamic, incredible performers, their dwell and in-person power will add the additional groove that units toes tapping, arms clapping and hearts fluttering. The music from these people would possibly even spin one’s soul sufficient to make one boogie one’s woogie. That’s the promise.

The “dare” of those concert events is out there to these individuals who concern they’ve perpetually caved to the infinite pressures of life’s metaphorical daggers and bullets. For anybody feeling locked right into a jaded, cynical, bitter mindset who holds on for expensive life to an internal boulder rumbling round within the chest that blocks all pleasure, I dare them to let go. One could attend one in all these exhibits—or a number of, if that’s what it takes to soften a mindset. 

Regardless of each effort one makes to withstand launch from Scrooge-like bondage or to stave off the concept by means of music and art-making humanity can kind bridges, one’s clung-to despair can be dashed to smithereens. So I say, be courageous and be uplifted on this vacation season. Dare to hear and are available to consider that the facility of music can elevate an individual and their family members above the fray of right now. Dare and put together to have some enjoyable.

A bonus plug for taking the leap says the Bay Space has all of it: from The Klezmatics’ “Comfortable Joyous Hanukkah” to ConFunk Shun’s “Vacation Enjoyable, Funk & Groove” to invigorating Black gospel and interfaith vacation music from the beloved Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir to the cherubic voices of the Grammy Award-winning Pacific Boychoir Academy to Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale’s gut-punching Handel’s Messiah. 

After which, there’s a New Parish adults-only gig with show-stopping West Coast rapper Azchike; Chanticleer’s annual “A Chanticleer Christmas”; solo keyboard and guitar exhibits at Oakland’s most intimate piano bar, The Alley Piano Bar & Restaurant; Larry Vuckovich All-Star Quintet’s “Bringing within the New Yr in Swinging Fashion” jazz at Yoshi’s; four-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster with gospel, blues, jazz, folks and soul in Berkeley; and one supercharged musical not-to-miss occasion in San Francisco that makes it worthwhile to journey on BART or drive over the Bay Bridge (don’t fear, attendees will dance their means dwelling, even on water). 

Collectively, these exhibits barely faucet the entire keg of dwell vacation music in mid-December. Actually, residents of the East Bay could lack for a lot of issues, however they dwell amid blessed, musical abundance.

Freight & Salvage

Granny-winning The Klezmatics prefer to say they “erupted out of New York Metropolis’s East Village in 1986” to carry Jap European Jewish music into the up to date highlight. Infused with humanitarian and human rights messages, the sounds and swerves of their wild and wooly repertoire bear vestiges of Arab, African, Latin and Balkan rhythms, jazz and punk music. 

What I do know, when Klezmer and American folks collide on this vacation present, is that sparks will fly. Centered on Woody Guthrie’s Hanukkah songs, with lyrics in English and all of it illuminated by the band’s up to date Jap European 250-mile-per-hour musical supply, audiences can be joyful, joyous and presumably threat turning into devoted (addicted?) to The Klezmatics for all times. Saturday, Dec. 17, 8pm.

To listen to Grammy-nominated Ruthie Foster is to take just a little journey to heaven. With 9 studio albums reflecting her command place on gospel, blues, soul, funk and jazz thrones, Foster’s newest, Therapeutic Time, exhibits off her songwriting in addition to her marvelous voice. One gained’t wish to miss the prospect to seize on stage an angel who is aware of and sings with the load of earthly existence however by no means fails to soar every time she opens her mouth. Audiences can latch onto her wings and fly alongside on the Freight. Friday, Dec. 16, 8pm.


Con Funk Shun’s 20 hit singles embody eight High Ten R&B hits and a many years lengthy historical past that’s represented within the seminal 2002 recording, Cash-Maker, Greatest Of Con Funk Shun, on their Millennium Assortment. Tight choreography, easy ballads, hip jiving tunes (sure, that’s an okay phrase to make use of on the subject of Con Funk Shun) and intense clay-guitar and horn preparations laid a monitor from their origins and alongside the way in which to 2022 by inserting 4 consecutive Gold and one Platinum album on the charts. 

Heralded in mainstream and business press because the very definition of a dance social gathering’s finest moments and pumping with rhythm and attain that extends into 2022, the present has them performing basic hit songs from their newly launched CD, “Residence For Xmas.” Audiences can have a good time their fortieth anniversary launch of  “Love’s Prepare,” not too long ago re-recorded by Silk Sonic and made #1 on this 12 months’s charts, and go retro with Con Enjoyable Shunk’s swivel and swing. Dec. 16-18, numerous occasions.

The Larry Vuckovich All-Star Quintet takes the stage in late December with “Bringing within the New Yr in Swinging Fashion,” a night that includes the music of Rely Basie, Neil Hefti, James Moody, Duke Ellington and extra. Band members along with Vuckovich embody Jamie Davis, vocals; Steve Heckman, tenor sax; Rob Roth, tenor sax; Kai Lyons, guitar; John Wiitala, bass; Leon Joyce, drums. 

As a pianist, there isn’t a keyboard within the nation that may be something lower than thrilled to have Vuckovich tickling, tapping or tenderly caressing its ivories. Watching him lead a band or working the viewers with a rapt story recounted from his in depth life story quantities to witnessing a grasp at his craft. (Getting him to talk about teaming up with Jon Hendricks for his or her CD, Reunion, for instance, is likely to be definitely worth the ticket worth alone.) Humor and concord and onerous driving jazz; what might be higher? Dec. 28, 8pm.

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir

There are two alternatives to catch this superb choir in motion—and I imply ACTION. There’ll be no one standing nonetheless when founding inventive director Terrance Kelly leads the choir on the 14th Annual South Bay Vacation Live performance on the Mountain View Middle for the Arts on Dec. 22 after a two-year pandemic hiatus. A second efficiency doubles the pleasure (or is a second most suitable choice if one misses the East Bay present) when in two performances the choir brings the thirty third Christmas Eve Live performance on Dec. 24 to San Francisco’s Nice American Music Corridor. 

It is a collective physique of music that strikes—and sings all the things from Black gospel to globally-wise folks and vacation songs that transfer hearts. It’s beneficial that one not hesitate to get tickets now, earlier than it’s too late. Dec. 22 and Dec. 24, numerous occasions.

Pacific Boychoir Academy

Ignore the stuffy sounding emblem of “academy” as a result of these younger singers embody all of the heartfelt, earnest aspirations and rebellious spirit of childhood. What’s extra, the superior coaching they obtain has garnered the choir 9 impartial albums, home and worldwide excursions, three Grammy Awards with the San Francisco Symphony and the rarity of their place as the one secular North American boychoir college outdoors of the East Coast.

“Harmonies of the Season” is reflective of the choir’s broad vary that begins with Rachmaninoff, Bach, Mahler and Mozart and extends to conventional and up to date African-American spirituals. Performances are at Oakland’s The Cathedral of Christ the Mild and the St Mary’s Faculty Chapel in Moraga. Dec. 17 at 8pm and Dec. 18 at 4pm, respectively.


The vocal ensemble’s annual “A Chanticleer Christmas” exposes the luminous voices which have earned Chanticleer excessive repute. Acknowledged not solely with two Grammy awards and the celebrated ASCAP/Refrain America Award, the troupe, whereas upholding grand classical music traditions, is all the time searching for new boundaries to cross. Impeccable consideration is paid to authenticity, balanced voices and efficient acoustics that imply even the configuration of the place every singer stands in relation to others is scrutinized. It’s a matrix of music-making and wealthy human creativity.

This 12 months, a brand new jazz association of “O Come, All Ye Devoted” by the Grammy-nominated arranger, Amanda Taylor, can be featured. Plus, what’s being billed as “a raucous shut with Joseph Jennings’s basic Spirituals,” feels like an intriguing setup. One could hang around with Chanticleer at First Church Berkeley and expertise unparalleled virtuosity in voices. Dec. 23, 7:30pm.

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale

About two minutes into Handel’s masterful Messiah, most individuals start to sense they’re in for a thrill. For anybody apprehensive they gained’t acknowledge any of the tunes, they are going to. But when for some cause one has bypassed the long-lasting work in years previous, the PBO&C will entice to make it a vacation custom forevermore. Handel’s magnificent music conveys passionate rage, good pleasure, poignant sorrow and probably the most rousing hallelujah since, effectively, since earlier than the work’s most well-known “Hallelujah Refrain” was composed and carried out. 

In two appearances at First Church, Berkeley, Richard Egarr conducts the 150-minute, one-intermission efficiency that options as soloists Stefanie True, soprano; Rihab Chaieb, mezzo-soprano; Andrew Tortise, tenor; and Joshua Bloom, bass. Dec. 17 and 18, numerous occasions.

The New Parish

One could get in line to see massive expertise up shut when Los Angeles-based rap artist Azchike rockets north to this small and ideal for solo acts venue within the East Bay. Headlining a collective he represents, AzCult (particular nod to AzSwaye and AzBenzz), Chike is a rapper with momentum. He dropped his first songs round 2013 and hasn’t stopped shifting since.

In 2017, his single, “Burn Rubber Once more,” surpassed 13 million SoundCloud performs. Quickly thereafter, he signed with Shoreline Mafia and launched his first official mixtape, My World. There’s extra to his story, and he’s not shy about telling it. So mother and father could depart the children at dwelling and get on all the way down to Oakland’s New Parish for a vacation rap infusion. Dec. 18, 8pm.

The Alley Piano Bar and Restaurant

This joint has been round since 1934, and having survived the take a look at of time after which some—that’s code converse for The Pandemic Shut Down Nice Stay Music For Approach Too Lengthy—the grand piano positioned simply previous the primary bar is as soon as once more open for enterprise. Songs from the Nice American Songbook are the bedrock from which Broadway hits, jazz requirements and basic songs by Cole Porter, George Gershwin and lots of others unfold. Resident pianists Bryan Seet and Jef Labes or resident guitarist Paul Hlebgar are the shining stars on the music menu. 

Fortunate people can snag one of many 12 close by bar stools, however there’s not a foul seat in the home. They could chunk right into a Tony John Burger or Alley Particular Steak or Ally Fried Hen or go for a Combo Plate whereas sipping a blended drink and having fun with a throwback night with keeper tunes. All of December, examine calendar for artist and time.

Lorraine Hansberry Theatre

The world premiere of HALIE! The Mahalia Jackson Musical, directed by Darryl V. Jones and co-written together with his late buddy, Wendy E. Taylor, celebrates the lifetime of the legendary gospel singer and Civil Rights activist. The music-packed manufacturing begins in Jackson’s birthplace, New Orleans, and follows her path to turning into the Queen of Gospel. A stellar solid consists of Jones, together with Jeannine Anderson, Rodney Earl Jackson Jr. and Sam Faustine. I needn’t say extra, apart from these 5 final phrases: Belief me. Get tickets. Go. By means of Dec. 24, numerous occasions.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here