Grand Rapids music scene gets eclectic in December

Matt Oberski

Grand Valley State University students might be studying hard for finals, but December doesn’t have to be all work. This season presents the perfect opportunity to give the gift of leisure to friends and family with a month packed full of music in Grand Rapids.

The month starts off with metal legends Lamb of God storming into The Orbit Room Dec. 3, along with In Flames and special guests Hellyeah and Sylosis. Now in their 22nd year, Lamb of God has been the face of “American Metal,” and released their seventh album this past January.

Fans feared this tour wouldn’t go on after lead singer Randy Blythe was arrested for a manslaughter that took place two years ago in Prague. But after cancelling many dates, Lamb of God is back and coming to Grand Rapids. Tickets start at $35 and doors open at 6:30 p.m.

For a lighter, holiday-themed show, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra will perform their award-winning rock opera, “The Lost Christmas Eve,” Dec. 7 at Van Andel Arena. Taking place in New York City, “The Lost Christmas Eve” tells the story of intertwined people on a magical Christmas Eve.

Their music combines classical, folk, hard rock, Broadway and classic holiday tunes. TSO will also play favorites from past holiday albums, along with new songs from their recent EP, “Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night).” The orchestra’s Dec. 7 show times are at 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $31 to $72.

A few days later, Family Force 5 brings their “Christmas Pageant Tour” to Grand Rapids. In 2009, the “Christian crunk rock” group released their Christmas Pageant album. The band started their original Christmas Pageant Tour in Grand Rapids, and is now returning for another show. Special guests include Rapture Ruckus, Capital Kings and Everyday Sunday. Catch Family Force 5 Dec. 10 at the Intersection for $15. Doors open at 7 p.m.

At the DeVos Performance Hall from Dec. 18-20, The Cirque de Noel promises viewers an unforgettable festive performance. The performance features aerialists and acrobats performing astonishing feats overhead, accompanied by Christmas classics such as Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” and excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker.” The three-day event takes begins Dec. 18, with single-day tickets starting at $32, or $96 for all three days.

The Verve Pipe stops by The Intersection for their 8th annual holiday show. Formed in Lansing, Mich. in 1992, The Verve Pipe was made famous for their hit song “The Freshman,” which reached No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1997. The band will be playing along with special guest AG Silver on Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Have a beard? Then take that beard and head down to the Division Avenue Arts Collective for Beard Fest on Dec. 29. The show will feature Squid the Whale, a rock and soul group from the Metro-Detroit area, who just recently released a new EP. Other acts such as Chin Up, Small Town Victory, Lakeland, and more will give the hairy-faced crowd local music to dance to. The show goes on at 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door, or $8 with a beard.

To close out the month, well-known local ska band Mustard Plug will be hosting Plugstock 2012 at The Intersection on Dec. 30. Known for their annual holiday shows, Mustard Plug now has an all-ages music event on two different stages, featuring a variety of local bands, including the Koffin Kats, Cheap Girls, Break Anchor and Three Cents Short. Plugstock kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 30, with tickets $10 in advance, or $12 at the door.
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