Krampusnacht is almost here!
Not-so-silent nacht All right, Arts DEVO—less talk, more krampuslaufen. For a few years now I’ve been going on about my favorite holiday mischief maker, Krampus, and every year as the season approaches, I make noise in this space about working the scary one into my own holiday traditions.
If you don’t already know about Krampus … Back before there was a Santa Claus, there was a St. Nicholas, one of the many historical gift-giving figures to be an influence on what would become America’s patron saint of shopping-till-dropping. In the folklore of various European countries, the O.G. St. Nick was accompanied on his gift-giving rounds by a cautionary figure who took care of the naughty kids while Nicholas left goodies for the nice ones. These sidekicks took on many regional flavors, ranging from the grossly racist caricature Zwarte Piet (“Black Pete”) of the Netherlands and Belgium, to the just plain gross-looking, goat-horned hell-beast Krampus of the Alpine countries. The Krampus character was known for swatting at kids with a bundle of twigs, then chucking the bad wee ones in his sack and getting them out of their parents’ hair, for good. But these days, Krampus is just kind of an excuse for rowdy men to cosplay and party super hard on Krampusnacht, Dec. 5 (the eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas), drinking schnapps, swinging chains and causing a racket in elaborate furry mountain-beast outfits (think Snuffleupagus with steer horns).
This year, I’ve purchased my very own mask, and I’m finally ready to run with Krampus. But, since I’m not really into scaring kids or terrorizing the women of my village, and since all of these holiday characters are just made-up riffs on earlier legends, I’ve made up my own back story. In my legend, leading up to Krampusnacht, the Krampus gets plenty of sleep all week, efficiently completes all of his work and chores, hits the gym a couple times and tries not to eat too many sweets. Then, refreshed and feeling pretty damn good about himself, the Krampus packs up his zither and hits the streets on Krampusnacht in search of the bad kids, each of whom he immediately invites to play in his kick-ass band. With warm bellies full of mulled cider and hearts full of song, they wassail away in the cold night, gathering rowdy friends along the way. See you Friday?
Music city Speaking of singing songs this Krampusnacht weekend, Butte County is packed with a crazy amount of music makers the next few days (see Nightlife, pages 38-39 for show details):
Tonight, Dec. 4: The Mother Hips play Feather Falls Casino; heavy dudes Cold Blue Mountain, Blight, Touch Fuzzy Get Dizzy are at 1078 Gallery; and visiting EDM big shots Bassjackers and Dyro are at the Senator Theatre.
Friday, Dec. 5: East Bay New Orleans-style R&B/street-party dance band The California Honeydrops at Lost on Main; Chico reggae faves Mystic Roots at LaSalles; and the “hardest working band in snow biz,” The Yule Logs make their first Chico appearance of the season at Duffy’s Tavern.
Saturday, Dec. 6: Chico ex-pat The Rev. Shelby Cobra joins local boys Ryan Davidson and Lish Bills, and L.A. western swing/rockabilly crew Doug C. and The Blacklisted for an early evening show at The Maltese; Seattle funk-tronica crew Klozd Sirkut are at Lost on Main; Chris Robinson and the Brotherhood (featuring the former Black Crowes frontman) visits the El Rey Theatre; and Wanderers & Wolves, a local three-piece celebrating the release of Down in the Water—a five-song EP built on bombastic riffs of the Queens of the Zeppelin Age variety—is at the 1078 Gallery with Oakland’s Major Powers & The Lo-Fi Symphony, plus locals Furlough Fridays and Trox and the Terribles.