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Well, we're in the home stretch, so to speak, less than a week until Christmas, then it's time to make plans for New Year's Eve.

But before that, there's plenty of music on tap in local venues, maybe not on the level of last Sunday's Bob Weir/Jackie Greene show at the Golden State Theatre, but more than enough to keep you entertained until Christmas, which falls on a Tuesday this year (and New Year's Eve is on a Monday).

The Golden State Theatre is keeping busy with shows Friday and Saturday night and a holiday film series running from Sunday through Wednesday with a number of holiday classics as well as some cheeky holiday-themed horror flicks ("Santa's Slay," a 2005 black comedy that stars former pro wrestler Bill Goldberg as a murderous Santa).

Friday night's show features the Juan Sánchez Ensemble with a number of special guests sitting in.

Sánchez, a modern-day troubadour from Spain, was a familiar sight at the old Alternative Cafe in Seaside, not only performing there, but supporting many of the musicians who played there (and many who returned the favor by playing with him).

Joining Sánchez Friday night will be acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Dayan Kai, who will play piano, flute, guitar, mandolin, clarinet and cajón, with Seve Uccello on stand-up bass, percussionists Jayson Fann (of Big Sur Spirit Garden fame) and Ricky Cabalza. In addition, the night will feature an appaearnce by ethnic dance artist Angell Estrada.


"The ensemble's shows are a celebration of the cosmopolitan spirit: bossa novas and Arabic melodies, folk ballads and Latin rhythms brought together to celebrate "One Love/One World," music without frontiers for a world without frontiers!" writes Sánchez, who also plays guitar and viiolin in addition to singing.

Sánchez adds: "This will be the last chance we'll have for a while to enjoy the ensemble in its current configuration as both Dayan Kai and his wife Angell will be relocating to Maui this January."

Sánchez's ensemble, which performs in the so-called "Nueva Canción" (Spanish/Latin American New Folk) style, has two albums on the M sica Cosmopolita label: "Cosmopolita" ("Cosmopolitan," 1997) and "Hijos de laTierra" ("Children of the Earth," 2004).

The show kicks off at

8 p.m., $10 at the door, info at And by the way, two momentous occasions Friday night: the world will end (alledgedly, according to the Mayan calendar) and Sánchez will celebrate his birthday, no candles necessary!

Then on Saturday night, the downtown theater will host the return of San Francisco indie rock band Hungry Skinny, which has its roots in the Monterey Peninsula. Saw these lads earlier this year at the Alternative Cafe and they put on a phenomenal show, all youthful energy and bombast, careening around like a car with a few lug nuts missing.

The band went on its first Western tour this summer and recently signed with the San Francisco-based label Light Rail Records, which will release the band's second EP, "Nobody Cares."

Opening for the quartet will be youthful Pacific Grove rock band Mozzo Kush and the Keith Damron-led rock band Bogie & the Turtles.

The festivities get going at 9 p.m., $10, all ages.

Also coming home, in a manner of speaking, will be Temple Tigers, a local rock band we thought we had seen the last of, ever since lead singer Jaqui Hope decided to cast her fates to the wind and take a cross country journey to see what adventures were out there for her.

Well Jaqui is back and so are the Tigers, playing from 10 p.m. to midnight Saturday at Fernwood Resort in Big Sur.

"We'll be doing some of Jaqui's originals, U2, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, Neil Young, The Police, etc.," writes drummer Dave Holodiloff, who will be joined by Preston Sult on bass and David Barth on guitar. Welcome back, Tigers.

The Running Iron has been doing live shows here and there with a good amount of success, mixing in blues, country and rock with local bands as well as touring artists.

They should get a good crowd for Friday night's booking: blues-rock shouter Troy O'Shann should knock a few ornaments off the trees with his all-star band, which features "Guitar Bob" Ohsiek on — what lese? — guitar, Mike "Austin Powers" Holland on bass and John Michael on drums.

There's a full bar, full menu, then they clear out the tables around 9:30 p.m. and Troy and his boys will get rockin' shortly thereafter. There's no cover, so what are you waiting for? Should be a great pre-Christmas bash.

The Hyatt Regency Monterey's weekly jazz sessions Saturday night features one of my favorite local musicians, Mike Marotta Sr., the master of the squeezebox, and his extended musical family. They're calling it "Marotta Night," so expect not only a lot of Marottas (everyone's in town for the holidays), but a lot of guests sitting in on the fun, which will feature everything from jazz standards to Italian favorites. It all gets under way at

6:30 p.m. Saturday and should go until at least 10. No cover, full bar, full bar menu.

That's it for this week. Have a great Christmas!GO!