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Isotopocity 

For most people, there's just so much family you can take before you explode. So 'twas a packed Xmas night at the Bug Jar for the debut of The Isotopes'A Very Special Isotopes Christmas Special: How The Isotopes Saved Christmas. This was a low-budget, low-fidelity nugget of nerd-centric hilarity. Similar in acting quality and tone to Where Is the Chesterfield King, this Isotopes shortwas a little better because the joke was on the band and not just the audience.

Plus a little go-go girl exploitation to the sweet strains of Vangelis always does my heart good. The movie was followed by a fast and furious set by the band where the surf threatened to rust the metal guitarist Handsome B. Wonderful threw in.

Preceding all the yuletide Isotopocity were The Blastoffs. They rocked hard, with the throttle, and apparently the volume knob, opened all the way.

What's better than seeing mama kissing Santa Claus? Seeing Dick the Dancing Record playing harmonica and singing "Gloria" at the Record Archive Christmas party. And we're not talking the in excelsisDeo variety either, but The-Shadows-of-Knight, mouth-harp-in-a-different-key-from-the-rest-of-the-band kind. It was way out.

I left the Archive to catch Chris Beard and his band at the Dinosaur. More than the blues, more than soul, these cats were all about the funk. Cool grooves and stinging guitar.

From there it was off to the Bug Jar to catch Gaylord celebrate the release of its new album, Tsunami. When people talk about the music of dreams, they're usually talking about what they wish dreams sounded like --- all light and airy and full of butterflies. The reality is dreams sound like Gaylord: manic, weird, pleasant, funny, making little or lots of sense simultaneously. Simply put, these guys are plugged in to what's what and are pure genius.

One-man band Skull opened with a classic metal set, pausing at one point to say: "I just love rock... so much."

Eddie Nebula & The Plague followed with a smart-alecky set that included the classic "Rochester Girls," the chorus of which I think should replace that crummy "Rochester: Made For Living" slogan.

--- Frank De Blase

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