Fri. Dec. 7 -- Thollem McDonas does some really original, intense, crazed (but disciplined) stuff with a keyboard; he’s on a bill with a bunch of avantists that I don’t know but probably will. At Dangerous Curve Art Gallery, 1020 E. Fourth Pl., downtown 90013; 7pm; $10.
Fri.-Sat. Dec. 7-8 -- Urban jazz that’s universal even if it’s French: Moutin Reunion Quartet. Though you can’t get that tumbler of scotch I mentioned last week, there’s always the venerable pocket flask. At Jazz Bakery.
Sat. Dec. 8 -- Extremely varied thrash metal, heavy prog and pure rock grandiosity from Between the Buried and Me. Rhythmically acute, satisfyingly technical scream & pummel from August Burns Red. But the real event for me is the opener, Behold . . . The Arctopus. When I first heard BTA’s highwire prog-metal on record a couple of years ago, I just about dislocated my jaw -- guitarist Mike Lerner has gotta be one of the hottest-burning minds in metal. And drummer Charlie Zeleny is a flexible machine; he also tore up the floorboards with Ron Jarzombek and Alex Webster on the new Blotted Science record. Gracias to Buried for adding Arctopus after the latter’s tour with Dillinger Escape Plan got canceled a couple months back. At the Knitting Factory.
Sat. Dec. 8 -- Poet Dottie Grossman and trombonist Michael Vlatkovich do their call-and-response thing, this time augmented by superbad (if he wasn’t so nice) percussionist Rich West. At Café Metropol, 923 E. Third St., downtown 90013; 5pm; $10; (213) 613-1537.
Sat. Dec. 8 -- Violinist Jeff Gauthier’s sensitive, modern music often benefits from the fabulosity of bassist Steuart Liebig and drummer Alex Cline, but I haven’t seen him with guitarist Tom McNalley before, and Tom’s bound to bring welcome shards of vehicle wreckage to the table. (Move the flower vase.) At Café Metropol, 923 E. Third St., downtown 90013; 8pm; $10; (213) 613-1537, reservations recommended.
Sun. Dec. 9 -- Duos, duos, duos -- You know all these folks, don’t ya? Vinny Golia & Steuart Liebig; Brad Dutz & Dan Rosenboom; Motoko Honda & Joseph Berardi. At Dangerous Curve Art Gallery, 1020 E. Fourth Pl., downtown 90013; 4pm; $10.
Mon. Dec 10 -- “The History of African American Secular Music: Ladies in Blues & Jazz, and Ebonic Blues Orchestra featuring Azar Lawrence.” Sounds like a trip. At Sexson Auditorium, Pasadena City College, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena 91106; 7pm; (626) 585-7123.
Tues.-Sun. Dec. 11-16 -- I swear, Mike Stern doesn’t play guitar with his fingers, he plays with his fingerprints. He’s with guys who know one another’s PIN numbers: P-Funk drummer Dennis Chambers, saxist Bob Franceschini and bassist Richard Bona. At Catalina’s.