The holiday season can make anyone feel a little bit murderous, which is why Macabre’s annual December party is such a welcome and necessary tradition. This Chicago “murder metal” trio—founded in 1984 and likely the world-record holder for longest-running metal band without a lineup change—specializes in songs about serial killers, and its Holiday of Horror show is always a sing-along spectacular of unfairly, grotesquely hooky killer tunes. This year the evening begins with a screening of John Borowski’s new documentary, Serial Killer Culture, which focuses on artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers fascinated by humans who hunt other humans; the band features prominently in the film, alongside painter Joe Coleman, Serial Killer Coloring Book creator Rich Hillen Jr., murder-country duo the World Famous Crawlspace Brothers, and many more. Macabre will have copies for sale of the new double-LP reissue of the 2000 album Dahmer, and manager Rodney Pawlak tormented me with the promise of a secret surprise involving onstage actors and a song the band has never played live before. —Monica Kendrick Cardiac Arrest and Elbow Deep open. $15, $12 in advance
Local rock institution Waco Brothers play their 11th annual Waco Weekend, an end-of-the-year, two-day residency at Schubas. Stick fight opens on 12/27, Amy Gore & Her Valentines on 12/28.
Cincinnati pop-punk group Mixtapes put a photo of a wooden cutout of an oversize soft-serve cone on the cover of their 2013 sophomore album, Ordinary Silence (No Sleep), and like ice cream when you’ve had one bite too many, their clean, sugary tunes can sometimes seem queasily saccharine. Compared to the band’s earlier releases, Ordinary Silence subdues the diabetes-inducing sweetness, allowing the life-affirming pop songwriting to flourish. Sometimes Mixtapes even get little rough, or at least as rough as a band this twee can be—the boy-girl vocal harmonies on “Elevator Days” are open-hearted and earnest, like usual, but also a bit scuffed up. —Leor Galil Mustard Plug headlines; Mixtapes, Dan Vapid & the Cheats, the Pinstripes, and Still Alive open. $15, $13 in advance
The long-running symphonic rock band is touring on what it claims will be the final performances of their holiday album The Lost Christmas Eve.