Another rainy December night proved the backdrop for the 15th annual Maldives’ Christmas Show at the Tractor Tavern — now hosted by The Moondoggies, this longstanding holiday tradition still features a cadre of local acts and holiday cheer.
The Moondoggies – photo by Meredith Smith
Surprise of the night was opening act Dumb Thumbs, a local punk outfit with traditional Sex Pistols-esque rhythm, but vocals like a warm sunny day. The band proved not to be simply a one-trick pony, adding textural stylings with sliding guitars, an extremely strong rhythm section, and lead guitar solos to keep the set moving. Although they opened with their best track — “Holy Guacamole” — the entire set delivered a bright spot of punk. For a band that bills themselves as “good-time rock-n-rollers from the PNW,” they sure delivered.
Up next were goth-surf trio and local sweethearts Acapulco Lips. Dumb Thumbs warmed up the night, and Acapulco Lips’ legion of fans present for the evening got the party started. With their extremely charismatic drummer clad in a Santa-print three-piece suit (notice I did not describe his attire as a Santa suit, as intended) truly bringing the Christmas spirit, our local surf rockers warmed up the beach, er, stage, for the Moondoggies.
Acapulco Lips – photo by Meredith Smith
Bringing their classic beach-party-inspired americana jam to the Tractor were, of course, The Moondoggies! Inheriting the Christmas show from venerable locals like The Maldives is a tall order, but these local darlings delivered. Opening with a rockin’ rendition of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and donning an appropriate Winnie-the-Pooh themed Christmas sweater, The Moondoggies front man Kevin Murphy kept the Christmas spirit alive throughout the evening. With songs old and new, including “Ain’t No Lord,” “One More Chance,” and “Red Eye,” The Moondoggies filled the Tractor with their three-part harmonies, slide guitars, and classic country vibes for the remainder of the evening.
Dancing, a little moshing, and an extremely jolly crowd kept the Tractor moving through the end of the set and into the encore. In spite of all of the anxiety and the worries we’ve faced the past few years, The Moondoggies’ Christmas show honored the spirits of Christmas past, gave us a warm, fun evening for this Christmas present, and brought hope for the future of live music in Seattle.
Although this was not my last show to attend of 2021, it was one of the most fun evenings I had at a concert in a long time. Great energy from all of the bands involved, lots of love and laughter in the Tractor community at large, and I dare say, that a good time was had by all.