Picks from Music Board for the post Xmas/pre-New Year's weekend

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Notable non-holiday shows from this week's Music Board listings (the odd stretch between Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa and New Year's Eve):

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"Emotive’s James Brown Dance Party" @ The Music Farm, Sat. Dec. 27
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w/ Emotive | $10, $7 (adv.)

Emotive already knows how to lay down the funk. Lead singer Elise Testone has built a reputation as one of Charleston’s preeminent divas, and brothers Adam and Matt White, who back her on drums and guitar, have had a lifetime to tighten their grooves. Keyboardist Aaron Levy and bassist Ben Markowitz round out the band. For weeks, they’ve been perfecting dance moves, incorporating a three-piece horn section, and watching YouTube videos of the late James Brown’s stage antics. This Saturday, that will all culminate in a 20-song, two-hour power set of soul-to-the-wall, dance-party madness. “This is such a tight band,” says Testone. “We love incorporating horns, and they know I can scream, so it was like, ‘Let’s do this!’ you know?” Testone’s more than up to the job. “It feels so natural to sing like him,” she says. “I want it to be like a tribute, but with my own interpretation, of course.” Apart from playing Brown, Emotive’s got their original material on a solid track. “All For You,” one of nine originals they’ve penned, enjoys regular play on The Bridge at 105.5, and the band recently played a club in Greenwich Village. —Stratton Lawrenc

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F.L.K. @ the downtown The Kickin’ Chicken

Sat. Dec. 27 (free)

Ten years ago, Charleston punk rock band F.L.K. (a.k.a. Funny Looking Kids) were tearing it up at house parties and local clubs. These days, drummer Jason McFarland, guitarist Clint Fore, bassist Tom Duke, and singer Kevin Taylor are pursuing new creative endeavors. The Kids reunite this week at the downtown Kickin’ Chicken (337 King St., 843-805-5020) at 9 p.m. on Saturday. The last time these four loud rascals played was last January at the now-closed Map Room for a Pour It Now benefit. “Basically we’ll be trying to remember our set, playing for a reunion of skateboarders who were around Charleston during the ’80s punk/skate scene centered around The Pool,” says Taylor, now based in San Fran. “We’ve started a group called SK843, which has led to a huge collective of folks getting back in touch.” Visit www.thekickinchicken.com for more details and log on to the audio page at www.kevinearltaylor.com to hear some killer F.L.K. tunes (the catchy “Teenage Punk Rock Girls” is a winner). —T. Ballard Lesemann

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North Mississippi Allstars @ The Pour House, Sun. Dec. 28

w/ Hill Country Revue | $22, $20 (adv.)

North Mississippi Allstars have spent the last 12 years churning out songs that prove boys also wanna have fun. Their newest release, Hernando, named after their hometown, is no exception. The group’s brand of bluesy Americana guarantees a rambling, raucous good time, albeit one that goes well beyond Cyndi Lauper sneaking in after curfew. The album is solidly invested in a countrified, blues-infused, rock ’n’ roll lifestyle involving women, the rawhide-tough elements of heartbreak, and exorcising their demons with one searing guitar riff after another. Comprised of brothers Luther (vocals, guitar) and Cody Dickinson (drums, keyboards) and Chris Chew (electric bass), the Allstars released their first album in 2000, unleashing a sound that equally confounded and delighted critics. The debut, Shake Hands with Shorty, was rooted in blues, but borrowed a little bit from country, boogie, and rock. Eventually the group even incorporated elements of hip-hop, creating a fully contemporary sound at once familiar and original. The real pleasure, as any NMA fan will likely say, is the long, luxurious onstage jams that have perpetuated the band’s excellent reputation for live shows. With Luther moonlighting as the Black Crowe’s rhythm guitarist, and Chris and Cody working on other side projects, who knows how many more times NMA’s brand of feel-good “world boogie” will blow through town? —Andrea Warner

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Kittens Ablaze @ The Tin Roof, Tues, Dec. 30
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w/ Praying Mantis | $5

Kittens Ablaze plays folk music in the same sense that Arcade Fire plays folk music — which is to say it’s more folk in a philosophical sense than an aesthetic one. Just like the Canadian chart-toppers, Brooklyn’s Kittens Ablaze charge a soul-born bombast into their musical brew, drawing mainly from Midwestern indie rock with a dance-party pulse and a sing-along pop core. Lead vocalist/drummer Tim Spellman careens between melodic ease and throat-straining volume with his drums’ shifts in dynamic from rhythmic prod to pounding furor. The band alternately swoons and charges with a lunge-and-recede dynamic that lends plenty of forward momentum and swollen grandiosity, while never intruding on Spellman’s pained earnestness. Unflappable sincerity is the band’s greatest asset, and draws it into the idea of folk music: music for and by regular people, regular people with something they’re compelled to share. —Bryan Reed

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