Katie Carroll: Holiday concerts | SteamboatToday.com

Katie Carroll: Holiday concerts

Katie Carroll/For Explore Steamboat

Music contributor Katie Carroll gives advice on the top holiday concerts to go to this season. In this photo, MSB and Elephant Revival who will be together for a very special musical event next weekend.

— Christmas and New Year’s is a time for excessive eating, copious drinking and many hours driving en route to your family's big holiday feast.

For some of us, the holiday dinner requires an extra glass (or three) of chardonnay; a night out would be even better. Some great bands are coming through the front range over the next week, and any of them would be a great option for a fun evening away. So for those of you taking an extended journey, ring in the holidays with a few choice bands that have also proved a love for the 'Boat.

Paper Bird

The indie folk-rock band Paper Bird plays the Bluebird Theater the day after Christmas. It's perfect timing: You can sway off the Christmas cookie calories to their dreamy tunes. The band is unique in that everyone writes music and lyrics, and they say that there is no leader. This ultimate band democracy seems to be working, as their lyrics are as rich as their melodies. You can't help but be reminded of Robert Frost in "Lost Boys," while their earlier track "Colony" ruminates on the tactile nature of dreaming.

Paper Bird was last seen in Steamboat over the summer at the Gondola Square stage, but they must have loved our Western town because they're heading back the day after their show in Boulder. Paper Bird will be playing at the Chief Theater at 7 p.m., and you can bet that the show will be an intimate, albeit sold out, show.

Show dates: 12/26, $18-20, Bluebird Theater, Boulder, CO

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Elephant Revival

For those of you continuing south of Denver, Elephant Revival is ushering in 2015 with two pre-New Years’ shows at the Stargazers Theater in Colorado Springs. The band's eclectic name dates from their early busking days.

Daniel Rodriguez told the San Diego Reader this story: "Our bass player busked outside the elephant cage at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago," he says, where two elephants had been living together for more than 15 years. "It turns out the elephants were split up and shipped to different zoos. Each of them died." Apparently, each elephant died on the same day.

The poignant story behind their name only adds more depth to their integrity as a band when you consider their motto: Where words fail, music speaks. Pretty simple — but then again, the deepest thoughts are, right? And their music speaks a lot. The esteemed Nederland quintet plays a mere dozen instruments: banjo, guitar, mandolin, tenor banjo, bass, fiddle, octave fiddle, washboard, djembe, musical saw, stompbox, double-bass. Expect to hear them all during the show.

Elephant Revival was last seen in Steamboat at Strings Pavilion in November 2013. Hopefully it won't be another year before they return!

Show dates: 12/27-28, $25-30, Stargazers Theater, Colorado Springs, CO

Yonder Mountain String Band

You may remember that a few musicians from the Yonder Mountain String Band joined their pals the Travelin' McCourys at Strings last spring. Next weekend, the whole band will be together for a slew of shows at Boulder's Fox Theater, plus special guests Allie Kral and Jacob Jolliff. Per their website, John Popper, Shawn Camp and The Motet's Dave Watts and Joey Porter will join YMSB on New Years Day; Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman will jump in on the 2nd; the four-show run will close out with Andy Hall and Andy Falco from The Infamous Stringdusters.

To say this will be a musical event is an understatement. You can hardly call this group pure bluegrass since they list bands from the Postal Service to Black Flag as influences, but their mastery is nearly unparalleled. This is a great show to get the whole family rocking.

Show Dates: 12/31-1/3, $65 for general admission, Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO

Go make merry, people! Smile, eat turkey, and then dance those Christmas cookies off your waistline. Return to Steamboat full of joy, and those emptier slopes will be waiting for you.