Ghosts of Christmas Past

The Skeletons reunite, we gift some of St. Louis' best bands and remember Ike Turner.

— Roy Kasten

8:30 p.m. Thursday, December 20. Lucas School House, 1220 Allen Avenue. $8. 314-621-6565.

Presents of Mind

Ike Turner, shown performing with Tina Turner, in November, 1972.
Ike Turner, shown performing with Tina Turner, in November, 1972.

'Tis the season, y'all: Everyone is celebrating the love and warmth that surrounds Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/Festivus, but let's not forget what the holiday season is really about: getting stuff. With that in mind, we've decided to choose presents for all of the bands participating in this weekend's two-night A Very Merry Christmas Spectacular at Off Broadway.

The Bureau
Gifts: If the boys in the Bureau need one thing, it's permanent band members. The quartet has had a few major lineup changes in 2007, to the tune of a new drummer, the departure of a guitarist and the addition of another guitarist and a lady keyboardist. All of these changes must disrupt the Bureau's flow and be upsetting to the stomach — so we'd like to finalize its lineup and feed it some gingerbread cookies to calm the tummy.

The Hibernauts
Gifts: Because the Hibernauts is a big, lovely band fond of unleashing delicious pop hooks, it didn't have to do much else to draw us in. And for each performance, the band members wrap themselves up in suits and ties, presenting themselves as a delightful little package. We'd like to give them a gift certificate to Stallone's Formal Wear for wardrobe reinforcements — and to be measured for the preferred suit of the season: Santa's.

Witch's Hat
Gifts: We can't tell if Columbia's Witch's Hat is a joke band or just a band that embraces its inner twelve-sided-dice dork. Either way, its music sounds a bit like Men at Work playing medieval storytelling songs about virgin princesses and slaying dragons. For this, we gift the band with the ever-comical fruitcake and a renewal of its World of Warcraft subscription.

The Makeshift Gentlemen
Gifts: The Makeshift Gentlemen play some half-goth electro, so we'd like to give the band eggnog and Dance Dance Revolution. Its members need eggnog because they sound like they dig getting drunk — and they need DDR to keep up their electro-tendencies.

So Many Dynamos
Gifts: One day we locals are going to discuss So Many Dynamos and say with fat Midwestern pride that we knew them "back in the day." The quartet's hyper-kinetic live show has been drawing droves of fans for years — and heck, it always manages to get us bopping. We'd like to give them sleigh bells and new dancing shoes, 'cause we're sure they'd know just what to do with each of them.

Gentleman Auction House
Gifts: Gentleman Auction House is a large band fond of inventive indie tunes, old-timey stage clothes and inner-band relationships. Unfortunately, these specifics only serve to get it compared to Arcade Fire. Constantly. This is the time of year in which you give without being asked, and so we wish for a wreath with which to strangle Arcade Fire, on behalf of Gentleman Auction House.

Light Pollution
Gifts: Light Pollution's music sounds smart and sad. Accordingly, the singer of the Illinoise-makers sounds very much like a certain tiny, mopey, wonk-eyed Brit from Oxford (cough, Thom Yorke). As such, we're going to give this band a candy cane to try and cheer up its little heart. Just in case Light Pollution doesn't want to follow us into happy lollipop land, we're also gonna give its members dark raincoats, so they can loaf in that dour English way.

Gifts: This band has potential, but we're going to be totally honest and say that it needs a name change. (How is it pronounced? Late? Latte? Lay-ate?) Girls believe they can change their lives with a bottle of hair dye, and Laite should follow this reasoning. We think it needs a new name for the new year — or at the very least, some pumpkin pie to offer to the audience. Then you could say you had a little dessert with your Laite.
— Jaime Lees

9 p.m. Friday, December 21 and Saturday December 22. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue. $7. 314-773-3363.

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