16 LA Holiday Concerts To Help You Celebrate The Season
The holiday season is here, and so are musicians trying to earn that cold, hard dough off your warm, nostalgic feelings. Here is our roundup of the merriest Los Angeles concerts delivering musical cheer to your ears this December.
IF YOU WANT HIPSTER SCARVES EVERYWHERE: SHE & HIM, DEC. 6-7
All-star twee pop duo She & Him, aka actress Zooey Deschanel and singer-songwriter M. Ward, are delivering two nights of their throwback takes on Christmas at the Wiltern. They have no new album to sell, but thanks to the evergreen nature of a Christmas record, they've got plenty of material from two previous Christmas albums.
Listen to their music and pick up tickets at SheAndHim.com.
IF YOU WANT POP CLASSICS: STEVIE WONDER, DEC. 9
Stevie Wonder once again holds his annual L.A. holiday concert this month, with proceeds going to his charity for children, people with disabilities, and families in need. Toy donations are also welcome as fans pack in to hear Stevie deliver a career of classics. It's part of his Stevie Wonder Song Party tour. Prepare to dance in the aisles.
IF YOU WANT EVEN MORE POP CLASSICS PLUS SANTA: BARRY MANILOW, DEC. 14
The pop crooner who wrote the songs is bringing "A Very Barry Christmas" back for a second year in L.A. The show includes classic holiday songs, Manilow's own hits, and the production level you'd expect from a Vegas showman -- he promises snow, Santa, kids, and more.
IF YOU WANT TO CROON TOO: ANGELES CHORALE HOLIDAY SING-ALONG, DEC. 22
It can be hard finding connection in a big city, but this sing-along at the Walt Disney Concert Hall offers a chance for a bit of that. Join with a crowd -- led by the Angeles Chorale, a jazz combo, and Disney Hall's pipe organ -- to sing beloved holiday songs, in public, without the embarrassment of doing it by yourself.
IF YOU WANT CHRISTMAS WITH SMOOTH R&B VOCALS: JOHN LEGEND, DEC. 23
R&B crooner John Legend's been out promoting his new A Legendary Christmas album with a month-long tour, an NBC special with his hilarious wife Chrissy Teigen, an appearance at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and more. Now he brings the tour to the Microsoft Theater, with a copy of his album included with every pair of tickets.
IF YOU WANT TO CELEBRATE WITH DREIDELS AND/OR MENORAHS: CHANUKAH AT CITYWALK, DEC. 9
This eighth night of Chanukah is the 17th annual Chanukah concert at Universal CityWalk. The show features Jewish singers Benny Friedman and Benny Elbaz, plus more -- and it's absolutely free. They brag that the show, presented by Chabad of the Valley, is the biggest Chanukah celebration on the West Coast.
IF YOU WANT TO BE PREACHED TO BETWEEN/THROUGH SONGS: 100.3 CHRISTMAS TOUR, DEC. 5
The Christian music station that replaced L.A. classic rock station the Sound (which replaced V 100.3 which replaced the Beat which replaced Mega 100 which replaced...) has its own Christian holiday music tour, the "Positive, Encouraging 100.3 Christmas Tour." It's headlined by Big Daddy Weave, alongside Kim Walker Smith of Jesus Culture, Brandon Heath, Sarah Reeves, Becca Bradley, and Jonathan Chu.
IF YOU'RE FEELING '90S NOSTALGIA: THE BRIAN SETZER ORCHESTRA, DEC. 22
Remember that minute when everyone thought swing music was all we'd be listening to forever more? Brian Setzer made a post-Stray Cats career of it with the Brian Setzer Orchestra, and he's added Christmas to the mix with 15 years of his "Christmas Rocks!" tour. The show features music from Setzer's four (four!) Christmas albums with his 19-piece band, along with his own hits (you think you're going to see Brian Setzer and not hear "Jump Jive an' Wail"?!). The show also features Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones, who deliver rockabilly, roots rock, and R&B.
IF YOU WANT YOUR CHRISTMAS FILLED WITH SYNTHS: MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER, DEC. 28
Mannheim Steamroller is coming. It cannot be stopped. Well, it could if someone got sick or something probably, but you get the idea. If you don't know their work, the act made its name in the '70s and '80s by combining new age and rock. They reached a whole other level of success with ubiquitous Christmas music, releasing dozens of Christmas albums.
IF YOU WANT A VERY SMOOTH JAZZ CHRISTMAS: DAVE KOZ, DEC. 22 & 23
Dave Koz wants to play his sax for you this holiday season as part of the Dave Koz & Friends Christmas tour. Based on previous shows, this will mostly be a Christmas concert -- but he'll probably put in some similarly warm-feeling pop covers as well.
IF YOU WANT CLASSICAL EXCELLENCE: HANDEL'S MESSIAH, DEC. 16 & 17
The Los Angeles Master Chorale delivers the Christmas classical classic on Dec. 16, telling the story of Jesus and culminating in the famed "Hallelujah" chorus. That show is followed up the next night with the sing-along version, where the audience takes their shot. For the uninitiated, it's English-language, so as long as you're singing your vocal part, you at least will only have minimal chance of being tongue-tied.
IF YOU WANT MINIMAL HOLIDAY MUSIC IN YOUR HOLIDAY CONCERT: THE GROWLERS, DEC. 21 & 22
Maybe you'll have had enough of the season by a few days before Christmas. This SoCal band, which describes their sound as "beach goth," has their third annual Snow Ball show at the Wiltern this month. They haven't done a Christmas album, though they did an EP with one Christmas song, so you might hear that. But it's a relatively non-Christmasy way to celebrate the holidays, while also vaguely celebrating the general idea of the holidays via the Snow Ball theme.
You made it! Congrats, you read the entire story, you gorgeous human. This story was made possible by generous people like you. Independent, local journalism costs $$$$$. And now that LAist is part of KPCC, we rely on that support. So if you aren't already, be one of us! Help us help you live your best life in Southern California. Donate now.