The holiday season is in full swing, and during this time of year, music plays a special role in raising both spirits and money.
Coming up are a few opportunities to lend a helping hand and take in some live music at the same time.
Toys for Tots, featuring Jamal Ali
When, where: Tonight at 8, Libby Branch of the Boys and Girls Club, 2900 E. First Ave.
Tickets: $5, or free with a toy
Post Falls pianist and soul crooner Jamal Ali has a smooth hip-hop and R&B style that recalls both old- and new-school styles, from Michael Jackson and Al Green to Boyz II Men and Usher.
He’ll be joined tonight by several of his constant cohorts, including rappers Raw B. Downlow and Unique; R&B singer Dallas P; DJ Nephew, and the Tangled Roots break dancing crew.
A breakout of the Insiders Entertainment collective, Unique has used his gritty tales and deft lyricism to build a strong reputation as one of the top solo hip-hop acts around Spokane.
Toys for Tots, featuring Plastic Saints
When, where: Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Knitting Factory Concert House, 919 W. Sprague Ave.
Tickets: $5/advance, $7/day of show, or a suggested donation of a new $10 toy
Brandon Humphreys is pulling double duty as the bandleader for Plastic Saints and lead guitarist for Buffalo Jones.
Both bands are keeping him busy. The Saints, who play edgier rock and roll, are readying an album for spring, while the alternative-rockin’ Buffalo Jones has just begun writing new material.
Rounding out the bill is classic rock cover band FOG, and Freak System.
FOG, which stands for Five Old Guys, was assembled specifically for this event and will be playing songs by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, War and the Beatles.
Freak System played an acoustic set at a Toys for Tots event last year, but it’s the heaviest band on this year’s lineup.
Second Harvest Food Bank’s Will Rock for Food
When, where: Dec. 19, Knitting Factory Concert House, 919 W. Sprague Ave.
Tickets: $5/advance, $8/day of show (or $5 with a food donation)
You never know where or when Illusion 33 is going to pop up.
Based out of Sandpoint, this rock trio has taken a sabbatical in Las Vegas, toured relentlessly and, most recently, retreated to Vancouver, B.C., to record a new single.
Their engaging stage show and catchy songs have made them a favorite around the local rock scene.
Also on the bill for the food bank benefit is In-Flux, which performed for a capacity crowd at The Blvd. for the September release of their full-length album, “In-Fluxuated.”
They have an absolute party on stage, and their diverse sound ranges from power rock anthems to funk, punk and progressive.
They’ll be joined by fellow rock bands Character Flaw and Sixth Hour Storm, along with London Get Down’s Jimmy Arguello, who will be performing a solo acoustic set.