WEDNESDAY: '90s alt-rock flash-in-the-pan Sponge plays at Fishhead Cantina. Veteran hardcore punk bands Sick of It All and Negative Approach co-headline the Ottobar. Slipknot puts the masks back on and makes the scary tough-guy voices again at Royal Farms Arena.
THURSDAY: Singer-songwriter Kristeen Young plays the Metro Gallery in support of her latest Dave Grohl-assisted album "The Knife Shift." Local rockers DuCru play the Windup Space with Tone, Wanted Man, and others. Philadelphia hip-hop group Ground Up plays a release party for its new album at the 8x10, with Maryland rapper Dunson opening. The Boh Weevils host a monthly acoustic open mic at Joe Squared. Washington, D.C. alt-rock band Throw Me A Rope plays its first Baltimore show at the Sidebar with Aerial View and Applefeast. Brooklyn trio Moon Hooch makes electronic music organic at Baltimore Soundstage. Don't miss: Baltimore indie-rock band Telegraph Wires plays the Ottobar withRyan Shelkett, The Outfit, and more.
FRIDAY: Veteran Baltimore singer-songwriter and former Polkats frontman Mike Barth holds a release party for his latest album at An die Musik Live. Baltimore Folk Fest presents a bill at The Crown featuringThe Herd Of Main Street, Tiny Timbers, Jacob Panic, and more. 4 Hours Of Funk gets the party moving at the Windup Space. The regrettable genre of nerdcore rears its ugly head when MC Chris andMC Lars perform at the Metro Gallery. Eastern shore bluegrass band Chester River Runoff celebrates its 10th anniversary at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson. Critically acclaimed Chicago rockers The Safes play the Sidebar with The Plurals (featuring CP contributor Rachel Anne Warren) and Monster Museum. Montreal screamo band Nous Étions performs at the Charm City Art Space. New Orleans septet The Revivalists play rock and soul at Baltimore Soundstage. San Diego alt-rock hitmakersAugustana headline Rams Head Live. The Holographic Sticker Club playfully experiments with electronic sounds at Joe Squared. The Effects, an exciting new Washington, D.C. band featuring members of Faraquet and Deleted Scenes, plays the Metropolitan Kitchen & Lounge in Annapolis. Don't miss: Jonathan Richman is a class fucking act with longtime sideman Tommy Larkins at the Ottobar.
SATURDAY: Baltimore band Joseph & The Beasts performs at Gallery 788 with Breakfast In Fur, Old Victrola, and Mrs. Maki. "Drunk On A Plane" country hit-maker Dierks Bentley headlines the Royal Farms Arena. Another country star, Trace Adkins, sings Christmas songs at the Lyric Opera House. A cappella group Straight No Chaser performs at the Meyerhoff. The Creative Alliance at the Patterson stages "Barbarellesque!," a musical based on the sci-fi camp classic "Barbarella." Jazz drummer Tony Martucci, who has backed Mose Allison and Joe Henderson, leads his own band at An die Musik Live. Old-world folk band The Brinjal Band performs at Joe Squared. The Dean Ween Group, featuring one half of the disbanded Ween, headlines the Ottobar. Jazzy jam band Threesound plays the 8x10 with Twiddle. Los Angeles band The Allah-Las performs at the Metro Gallery with Tashaki Miyaki. DJ/producer Dillon Francis headlines Rams Head Live. Michigan metalcore band Of Virtue performs at Fishhead Cantina. Long-running New Jersey ska band Inspecter 7 plays the Sidebar with The Evokatones and Scotch Bonnets. Don't miss: One of alt-rock radio's best breakthrough acts of 2014, Bleachers, headlines Baltimore Soundstage with Wild Cub.
SUNDAY: Chicago funk band The Main Squeeze performs at Baltimore Soundstage. Don't miss: English heavy-metal veterans Raven headline the Metro Gallery.
MONDAY: 98 Rock's Noise In The Basement showcases new bands at the Ottobar. Don't miss: The Red Room hosts a night of improvised sound and film, with the sound provided by the Andy Haylek, John Dierker & Khristian Weeks Trio and Audrey Chen.
Atlanta crossover rap star B.o.B and Baton Rouge underground hero Kevin Gates, who share a label but very little musical common ground, co-headline Baltimore Soundstage*. The I & I Tour, featuring I Wayne and Black Am I, comes to the 8x10. Punk pioneers The Queers and Dwarves play the Ottobar. Jazzy soul singer Chrisette Michele performs at Rams Head Live. Say Anything performs its 2004 classic "…Is A Real Boy" in its entirety at the Fillmore in Silver Spring.
WEDNESDAY: Atlanta crossover rap star B.o.B and Baton Rouge underground hero Kevin Gates, who share a label but very little musical common ground, co-headline Fillmore Silver Spring. New York-based and Baltimore-born singer Elizabeth Hunter comes home for a performance at The Cabaret at Germano's. Don't miss: Baltimore's 'Bird Flu' street-rap sensation Lor Scoota at Paparazzi Nightclub.
IN THE WINGS: New Jersey metal band Planning For Burial brings doom and gloom to the Metro Gallery with Narrow Head, Prayer Chain, Psychic Teens, and Crimson Wave on Dec. 19. (For more information visit themetrogallery.net or call  244-0899.) Soul singer Anthony Hamilton stops by the Meyerhoff for the holidays on Dec. 20. (For more information visit bsomusic.org or call  783-8000.) Electronic rockers Papodosio and ELM will ring in 2015 at Rams Head Live on Dec. 31. (For more information visit ramsheadlive.com or call  244-1131.)
*Tuesday's B.o.B. and Kevin Gates show at Baltimore Soundstage has been moved to Wednesday at Fillmore Silver Spring.