What's wrong with this Christmas Eve picture: You've enjoyed a nice family dinner, placed presents under the tree, hung the stockings and put cookies out for Santa, after which you head over to a nightclub for a wild, informal rock 'n' roll show.
Actually, there's nothing wrong with that picture--especially the part about the rock show--if you ask those involved with tonight's Yuletide jam at Night Moves in Huntington Beach, featuring musicians from such local bands as T.S.O.L., the Vandals, Hard as Nails Cheap as Dirt, Tender Fury and the late El Grupo Sexo.
"It'll be really fun," said Tender Fury singer Jack Grisham, who participated in a similar Christmas Eve blowout last year at Meadowlark Country Club in Huntington Beach.
"Just about everybody from just about every (local) band was there last year," Grisham said. "It was all of us sitting around and playing. People would be in one band; then we'd switch. It was great."
Grisham cited another plus--for participants and observers--about last year's Jingle-Bells jam that he expects will hold true tonight: Though rivalries exist between some bands the rest of the year, Grisham said that last Christmas Eve everyone buried the hatchets.
"Everyone put all that aside, and it was just a blast," said Grisham (who regularly switches surnames and most recently was using Lloyd).
"You'd be playing with people that normally you wouldn't be--somebody who plays a completely different style of music than you do. And you're up there jamming with them, doing 'Louie Louie' right into 'Jingle Bells.' "
Although the singer expects tonight's swinging soiree to be similar to last year's, one aspect is likely to be different: attendance. Grisham recalled that while more than 30 musicians showed up to play last year, the audience turnout was sparse. Despite the fact that it is Christmas Eve, Night Moves will be packed this evening. At least that's the prediction made by booking agent Gary Tesch and singer Jason Mann.
Tesch, who recently assumed booking duties at the club, is a veteran disc jockey who has worked at various local nightspots and presides over a popular event at Night Moves called "Club Bad Trip," featuring special music, lighting and movies every Thursday. Mann was the singer and songwriter with recently disbanded El Grupo Sexo and will be playing Santa Claus tonight.
Both speculated that there will be a large turnout, suggesting that attendance will be helped more by the fact that tonight is "Club Bad Trip" night than it will be hurt by the fact that it's also Christmas Eve.
"Gary always has a capacity crowd in there on Thursday nights," Mann said. "He's thrown stuff on holidays before, and it doesn't seem to make a difference what day of the year it is--only what day of the week."
Tesch agreed, and went as far as estimating the number of folks who would be inside Night Moves, while the real Santa was making his appointed rounds outside. "Yeah, we should be full because it's on the 'Bad Trip' night, where we have between 300 and 400 people through the door," Tesch said. "I would say that (tonight) we'll have between 200 and 300 people."
Mann will certainly be doing his part to promote that festive mood. Discussing his plans to portray St. Nick last week, he explained that not just any Santa costume will do.
"I'm actually having one made, a special, really decorative type of thing. I figure something like a red-and-gold lame Santa suit would be good," he said, laughing. (More of a chuckle, really, than a ho-ho-ho.)
Whatever Santa garb he is wearing, concert-goers can get their pictures taken with him. "There's going to be a photographer there, and I'm going to be sitting up on the stage on a little Santa throne."
But this Santa--who has been known to perform with Christmas lights strung through his wiry hair even in the non-holiday season--won't be totally sedentary. "Yeah, I'll be singing a few Christmas tunes. It'll be a sing-along type of thing."
Traditional Christmas music?
"Well, we're going to start traditional; that's the intent. But, of course, knowing myself and knowing my friends," Mann said, chuckling one more time, "it'll probably turn into pretty twisted versions of those songs."
Night Moves is at 5902 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach. Show time: 10 p.m. Admission: $3. Information: (714) 840-6118.