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Brave Combo 

Saturday, December 14; Blueberry Hill's Duck Room

Brave Combo comes through St. Louis often enough these days that we might start taking the band for granted. The group's last show at the Duck Room was rather sparsely attended, possibly because of impending (and, more to the point, free) concerts at Strassenfest. But it would be a shame to shunt the favorite sons of Denton, Texas, to the "Ah, I'll see 'em next time" category, because nearly every Brave Combo show is a celebration in itself. Even if you come for the party, you'll leave with something of a musical education. The group throws all manner of world dance music into the mix, including polka, ska, meringue, hora, conjunto and zydeco. That might sound a little shticky, but each style is expertly executed, albeit with predominantly rock instrumentation.

An added incentive to catch Brave Combo's show this time around is the gig's proximity to Christmas. The holiday season always brings forth some special material from the band, such as "The Christmas Song" ("Chestnuts") recast as a ska number, "O Christmas Tree" performed as a samba and "Must Be Santa" done as a high-stepping polka. And though the Festival of Lights will have wrapped up by the time the group plays here, they might be persuaded to throw in a version of "Hanukkah, Hanukkah," too.

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