Tuesday, December 06, 2016 This Week's Paper

Make a Scene: Annual Countdown show brings rock and holiday cheer to New Frontier

Tacomans will have plenty of reminders this month that Christmas is almost here: The shimmery spectacle of “Zoolights” at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium; the heart-warming sounds of Tacoma boy Bing Crosby's 1942 classic, “White Christmas,” dusted off for its yearly spin on the turntable; local weeklies that dedicate their entire features section to Christmas happenings.
But nothing fills local punk and garage-rock fans with Christmas cheer quite like Countdown to Christmas, the holiday gala that Tacoma bands Girl Trouble and The Dignitaries have been bringing to the New Frontier Lounge since 2009. 
Countdown will return on Friday, Dec. 2; and after six installments (they took a year off) the show is starting to feel like a lasting tradition.
“I never thought it would be more than one show with Girl Trouble,” Dignitaries singer Reylan Fernandez confessed. “But people kind of look forward to it. We're always stoked and honored to play with them and share this little Tacoma tradition.”
Expect Girl Trouble's flamboyant front man K.P. Kendall to be decked out in fuzzy Santa gear, which he'll gradually shed as he shimmies and go-go dances around the venue. “Gifts will be tossed, laps will be sat on, and sweat will produced,” he joked. “So get the oxygen tanks ready. Did I mention oxygen tanks? Yeah, um – those are for me.”
Girl Trouble – also drummer Bon Von Wheelie, guitarist Bill “Kahuna” Henderson and bassist Dale Phillips – generally split their set between original material, Tacoma classics like “Bring on the Dancing Girls” and “My Hometown,” and some of their favorite holiday tunes. Expect to heart cuts like “Linus & Lucy” (a.k.a. The Charlie Brown song) and “Sleigh Bells” played in the style of the classic, 1965 “Ventures' Christmas Album,” in homage to Tacoma's best-selling rock band.
In 2013, Girl Trouble and the Dignitaries released their own split Christmas single, featuring grumpy cuts in the spirit of The Sonics' “Don't Believe in Christmas” and the Fabulous Wailers' “Christmas Spirt.” So expect to hear Girl Trouble's “A Letter to Santa” - a song inspired by Sam the Sham and the Pharoah's “I Couldn't Spell !!*!” - and the The Dignitaries' “I Know Why Santa Is Drunk.” Fernandez described latter as a dystopian vision of Christmas inspired by “the part of Tacoma we don't like to talk about.”
The Dignitaries have been uncharacteristically AWOL this year, something Fernandez attributed to family obligations and other musical projects. So fans will be especially delighted to hear a couple of new cuts, the provocatively named “British Columbian Necktie” and a scooter anthem called “Rubber Side Down.” (Members of the band can be seen zipping around town on Vespas with the F--- Yeah Scooter Club.)
Opening the show will be popular power trio the Cody Foster Army (CFA), guaranteeing Friday night will be anything but silent. Seriously, bring earplugs, and get ready to rock with Tacoma's “Sons of the Soil.”
“They are all three very funny and nice guys,” Kendall said. “(Guitarist) Dave Takata is a laugh riot, Mr. Entertainment; and since the Dignitaries have been on hiatus for a while, it will be good to see them as GT are big fans. For me, they hark back to bands from that early 90’s garage period here like The Fallouts, Nights and Days, and The Mono Men.”
The cover charge is $7. CFA will kick the show off around 9 p.m. For more info, call (253) 572-4020 or visit