Holidays 2023: 12 Unique Concerts to Spice Up Your Seasonal Playlist

Published December 5, 2023

Last year's festive season was dominated by the same trio of songs playing on repeat: Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You,' Brenda Lee's 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree,' and Bobby Helm's 'Jingle Bell Rock.' But this year, you have the chance to expand your holiday sounds with an array of diverse and vibrant concerts in the Bay Area, as reported by Luminate's streaming data.

Beyond the Holiday Classics

If you're looking to switch up your holiday music routine, the Bay Area provides plenty of opportunities to experience fresh and thrilling holiday music that breaks free from the usual clichés. No need to settle into the predictable cycle of holiday hits when there are many events offering new takes on seasonal tunes.

A Sampling of the Holiday Concert Lineup

Matt Wilson's Christmas Tree-O brings a unique jazz twist to the holiday season with a show packed with innovative takes on classics, led by drummer Matt Wilson. Meanwhile, the all-women vocal ensemble Kitka delivers 'Wintersongs,' a luxurious collection of songs from various Eastern European traditions. For a funk-filled Christmas, Martin Luther McCoy's 'The Funk That Stole Christmas' show delves into Prince and Sly and The Family Stone, alongside his own material.

Veretski Pass offers a night of ‘The Lost Jewish Melodies of Ukraine’ for the fourth night of Hanukkah, while Mr Sun reimagines Duke Ellington’s take on the 'Nutcracker Suite' with their virtuosic bluegrass skills. The Grammy-winning band The Klezmatics continues to explore new territories in klezmer music with a repertoire that includes Woody Guthrie's Hanukkah lyrics.

For those craving a touch of Brazilian warmth, Natalie Cressman and Ian Faquini blend holiday cheer with Brazilian jazz, including an inventive samba spin on Tchaikovsky's 'Waltz of the Flowers.' Adam Shulman Trio keeps the 'Peanuts' jazz tradition alive, playing the score from 'A Charlie Brown Christmas,' and Barbara Higbie offers a 'Solstice' celebration with an ensemble of talented musicians.

Mads Tolling and the Mads Men jazz up holiday standards with a Cool Yule vibe, and Sam Rudin, a Jewish Atheist pianist, presents a selection of Christmas favorites. Lastly, Alvon Johnson keeps the festive momentum going post-Christmas with his bluesy Holiday Show at Yoshi’s.

concerts, holiday, music