The annual two-night tradition spotlights roadhouse sounds of local bands.
Music fans looking to share in some boot-shakin’ yuletide spirit are in luck. The Tractor Tavern is hosting its regular, two-night “Family Christmas” showcase Friday and Saturday (Dec. 16 and 17), featuring the roadhouse sounds of local bands The Maldives and The Moondoggies.
“I look forward to this every year,” says The Maldives’ frontman, Jason Scott Dodson, whose band started the annual tradition in 2006 and brought in The Moondoggies as co-headliners in 2008. “It’s the one time of year when we’re all back in town — it’s one last hurrah.”
The Maldives, whose music recalls country-inspired rock groups of the 1970s complete with banjos and multiple guitars, will share the stage for some of each evening with The Moondoggies to sing Christmas tunes. Past songs have included Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” and Run-D.M.C.’s “Christmas in Hollis.”
The Maldives and The Moondoggies
9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 16 and 17, Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., Seattle; $15 (206-789-3599 or ticketweb.com).
“And usually we have two of our friends dress up as elves,” adds Dodson. “And there’s a drunken Santa to take photos with.”
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Kevin Murphy, lead singer for The Moondoggies and whose laid-back, spectrally meandering album, “Adios I’m a Ghost,” earned many local accolades in 2013, says of the event, “I think it’s kind of this coming together moment each year as some of us get older, move away and have kids. It’s been a great reunion.”
Murphy, who has a 2-year-old daughter and another child on the way, anticipates Christmas ties, sweaters and Santa garb on bands and audience members alike.
“And for five years,” he says, “we had this 6-foot, animatronic Santa that danced and sang in Spanish. But he was crowd-surfed to death last year.”
Another memorable weekend occurred in 2008 during a fateful snowstorm.
“Everything had shut down,” Murphy remembers. “There was a crazy amount of snow. Most of the venues had canceled their shows except for the Tractor. We were the only show in town. Outside, a big snowball fight erupted. It was unforgettable madness.”
While The Maldives and The Moondoggies co-headline the nights, Dean Johnson and Evening Bell will support them in the “family” affair.
“Dean is probably one of the best songwriters in Seattle,” says Dodson. “He’s captivating. And Evening Bell, we’ve known and played with them for a long time. Their new album is great, and we just wanted to share the experience with them.”
And this year, Mother Nature may again show herself with something to say about the shows.
“The forecast calls for another snowstorm starting Friday,” smirks Dodson. “Maybe history will repeat itself.”