Oh Crap, It's Christmas returns to Cafe Istanbul on Dec. 17, 2017 - 7pm
"Oh Crap, It's Christmas" is back! Join Debbie, Matt and the gang for a night of comfort and joy and all the yuletide carols you can troll.
This year's hall decking band includes Alex McMurray, Andre Bohren, Tom Hook, Jack Craft, Harry Hardin and Richard Scott with Debbie Davis and Matt Perrine at the center of the shenanigans.
Special guests include Simpsons' animator/producer and tuba phenom, David Silverman; acappella vocal trio, The Jingle Belles; guitarist and chanteuse, Sarah Quintana; Dallas Steam-Punk darling, Darwin Davis; guitar shredder, Ben Perrine; Rock and roll royalty, Susan Cowsill ; and Loose Cattle, featuring Kimberly Kaye and two-time Tony Award Winner, star of Gotham and the Tick, and part-time New Orleanian, Michael Cerveris.
Tickets are available right here or at the door on a first come, first served basis - $25 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under at the door.
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Video of Christmas Past
Buy the Music
Offbeat record review
The title may lead you to expect an album full of anti-Christmas sentiments, but don’t be fooled: Davis and Perrine’s Christmas disc may have its irreverent moments, but at heart it’s a proudly old-fashioned Christmas album, with a mood that’s warm and even inspirational.
Bookending the album are two versions of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”—opening the album with the downcast Depression-era lyrics that Judy Garland originally sang, then closing the disc with the more familiar words, with a few lines changed to make it more upbeat. The positioning of those two versions makes a hopeful point without getting too obvious.
Likewise, Davis alone on ukulele gives a thoughtful reading to “There Are Much Worse Things to Believe In”—first done by Elvis Costello and Stephen Colbert—making it a perfect Christmas song for cynics.
There are a few moments of pure fun, including a rollicking take on Tom Lehrer’s “Hanukkah in Santa Monica”—about time someone covered that—and Perrine taking his sousaphone for a “Sleigh Ride” with Washboard Chaz providing the gallops. One of the hipper Christmas songs around, “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” gets a suitably frisky duet from Davis and Alex McMurray.
But it’s the more traditional moments here that really stand out. Susan Cowsill appears for a lovely duet on “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth”—using the famous Bowie/Bing Crosby arrangement but making it less camp and more angelic. Helen Gillet’s cello adds an unearthly mood to “A Cradle in Bethlehem,” and “Mary’s Boy Child” gets freshened up with banjo, violin and reggae rhythms.
And if you weren’t already knocked out by Davis’ voice, the seven minutes’ worth of gospel fervor on “The Holy Baby” will do it.
Oh Crap, It's Christmas (MP3)
Debbie Davis and Matt Perrine
I Want You For Christmas
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Hannukah in Santa Monica
Hanging Up My Stockings
A Cradle In Bethlehem
Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth, featuring Susan Cowsill
Carol of the Bells
I'll Be Home For Christmas
Christmas Time Is Here
Christmas In Herald Square
Baby, It's Cold Outside, featuring Alex McMurray
There Are Much Worse Things to Believe In
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, reprise
The Holy Baby
Sleigh Ride with Matt Perrine
Offbeat Magazine Feature
by: John Swenson
Debbie Davis is making up for lost time with her third album, Oh Crap, It’s Christmas, and a live performance December 21 at Café Istanbul. The lusty, wisecracking blonde chanteuse envisions the presentation as “something between a Perry Como Christmas variety show and a Muppets show—something homey and sincere but also silly and fun.”
Davis and her husband Matt Perrine decided to finish the album, which has been in the making since 2002, earlier this year. When Harry Shearer told Davis he and his wife, Judith Owen, had decided not to do their annual Christmas show, Davis jumped in with both feet.
“It seemed like there was a void,” she says. “I’m cynical about a lot of things, but I can’t be cynical about this.”
The album project began as a way for Davis and Perrine to make a personalized gift for their families.
“In 2002 we were flat broke, which is not unusual for musicians,” she says. “We didn’t have much to give at Christmas so we got some of our friends to come and play for free and we went to Mike West’s studio in the lower Ninth Ward and spent a day recording six or seven tracks. They were lovely and under-rehearsed and we couldn’t recreate what happened in that room that day if we tried. We called it “Oh Crap, It’s Christmas,” a sentiment people can relate to because it either takes them by surprise, or they go through it grudgingly because it’s more than they can deal with. Christmas can be overwhelming.
“It grew from there. Katrina came and we evacuated to New Jersey. We were going to gather all our friends who’d evacuated to the area and some of the people I grew up with and make a fabulous record that would make us all whole again.”
Then Brian O’Neill, Perrine’s partner in Bonerama, died and he had to return to New Orleans for the funeral.
“I recorded one song by myself,” recalls Davis. “Matt says you can hear my heart breaking on the track. Christmas is not always happy. It’s a hard time for some people. I personally love Christmas, but a lot of people are isolated at Christmas, and that year I was isolated from my own life. It was December 2005 and I wasn’t able to be where my heart was, in New Orleans.”
Other sessions took place in 2008 and 2009 before the album was finished this year. The December 21 show will feature Davis and Perrine, Susan Cowsill, Banu Gibson, the Pfister Sisters, Aurora Nealand, Alex McMurray, Matt Rhody, Richard Scott, Josh Paxton … “and more,” Davis promises with a wink.