Christmas parties are a weird and wonderful part of the holiday season. Crucial ingredients for a successful gathering include gaudy clothing (the tackier the sweater, the better), mingling between people who don’t know one another that well, embarrassing pictures regretted in the morning, spirited music and lots of uncoordinated dancing fueled by too much spiked punch.
Such scenarios can always be found at the classic company holiday party, but there’s also an event where members of the local music community (and all their friends) gather in the name of celebration of the season as well as for great music: the annual Christmas party hosted by local rock five-piece The Devil Whale.
Now in its 10th year, the Devil Whale of a Christmas Party! started out small, in a loft above local vintage clothing store Decades. “The first time, we just wanted to have a party around Christmastime, and a bunch of us wanted to play Christmas songs,” says Devil Whale bassist Jake Fish. “And then we just found a bunch of sweaters and started doing it. It started off pretty low key.”
Over the years, the party grew into “a community event” where, Fish says, The Devil Whale met and befriended other musicians that they’d later collaborate with on other projects.
But when the band was no longer able to hold the party at the original venue, the event went under the radar for a while, sometimes with only a few people in attendance. However, with The Urban Lounge agreeing to hold this year’s party, it’s back in full swing, with an open invitation to anyone who wants to come shake their bowlful of jelly.
Guest bands/musicians at this year’s Christmas party will include Future of the Ghost, David Williams, Max Pain & the Groovies, Spirit Master, The North Valley, The Bully, Coyote Vision Group, Girrafula, Dylan Roe, Pentagraham Crackers and Breakers—and the list may yet still grow by a couple more acts. Bands will play two to four songs, equaling a set that’s 10 to 15 minutes, and while not all the acts are going to play Christmas songs, “most will,” Fish says.
The night will also feature a cakewalk, prom-style photos and seasonal beverages—Santa may even make an appearance—but the true gift of the evening is to mix and mingle with some of Salt Lake City’s musical talent, and hear some new music. It’s also a chance for the many band members themselves to come together in a spirit of camaraderie.
“This is a way of celebrating other people’s music,” Fish says. “Just have a good time.”
DEVIL WHALE OF A CHRISTMAS PARTY!
The Urban Lounge
241 S. 500 East
Wednesday, Dec. 18, 8:30 p.m.