A Roots Rock Mix-up at Canal Club
You have The Bopcats, Billy Ray Hatley and the Show Dogs, and The Taters all with their old-school rock papers in order. They'll play Dec. 30 starting at 8 p.m. And then they'll start switching up members and songs, perhaps confusing them and/or us, but hopefully sparking off some down-and-dirty creation in the process. If it's a total mess, hey, these are all talented guys: It'll probably still sound good. $7. 643-2582.
Capillary Action at Nanci Raygun
Smart-sounding name = smart-sounding sound? Not always, but with the layered instrumentation of Capillary Action, you get something that fairly moves down the road a blend of guitar and keyboard and jarring noise, and a weird thread of island beats and those haunting chords floating in the middle of a track that do that funny thing up your spine. It's a lot of things strapped together, but it's done intelligently, so we can go down the road with it. Capillary Action plays Dec. 29 with The Fantastic Wonderfuls and Red Canasta at 5 p.m. $5. 353-4263.
Last Train Home at Ashland Coffee and Tea
Rounding out the year in that crazy thing called alt-country, D.C.'s Last Train Home puts on a holiday show in Ashland Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. And with a "Holiday Limited" CD out, there's more cheer from the guitars and twang and electric buzz of that crazy thing called alt-country. $10. 798-1702.
Bloody Crackdown at McCormack's Irish Pub
When GWAR is spreading the word about your band during its tour, you must be playing the right way, saying the right thing or just covered in blood. For Richmond's Bloody Crackdown, all three seem to be aligned with the release of the band's second album, "Cowboy Dubya's Fallujah Bar B-Q." Which should leave no doubt as to its political leanings these days and should also give a hint of high-energy hijinks. Bloody Crackdown plays Dec. 30 with All Has Fallen and Red Angel at 10 p.m.