Now is as good a time as any to give my annual pitch on what a terrific gift local music makes. Skip the blueberry preserves and the lobster accessories, and give people a lasting piece of Maine — and the chance to be turned on to some incredible music. Head to the local music section of Bull Moose and have at it, or better yet, get out to see these bands live and pick up a CD at a show.

Our local musicians have every genre covered, so you can take care of every fan of metal, hip-hop, folk, acoustic, jazz, world, bluegrass, alt.country, rock, etc., on your list. Just something to think about it as the days grow shorter and the mall parking lot gets unruly.

For live shows this week, I’m suggesting some Irish music, some acoustic music and some straight-up rock music.

Lastly, I was bummed to read the other day that Bob Geldof cringes when he hears “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” because I still love that song. Bob, really?

This Italian girl is a sucker for all things Irish (and hey, I do have a little green blood on my mother’s side), so when I heard about the Irish Christmas in America show at One Longfellow, I was all over it like tinsel on a tree. Members of the award-winning Irish band Teada and vocalist Seamus Begley headline this sixth annual holiday tour. It wouldn’t be complete without at least one guy named Tommy, so Tommy Martin from the Celtic Woman show will also be on stage. You’ll hear Irish ballads, holiday carols and lively fiddle tunes, and you’ll see some Irish dancing as well.

Irish Christmas in America. 7:30 tonight. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland. All ages. $22 in advance; $25 at the door. www.onelongfellowsquare.com; 761-1757.

Across town at Mayo Street Arts, the hipsters of Hillytown present an incredibly cool acoustic music night. The lineup consists of Jacob Augustine, Denise Dill, Nate Martinez, Marie Moreshead and D.Gross. Augustine’s band, Jacob & The House of Fire, is one of the most captivating acts to surface in these parts, and it should be an interesting twist to hear him play solo. You can check things out beforehand at myspace.com/jacobaugustine, then stay right on MySpace and pay visits to Dill at myspace.com/denisedillmusic, Moreshead at myspace.com/mariemoreshead and D.Gross at myspace.com/danagross.

Hillytown Acoustic Night. 8 tonight. Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland. All ages. $5 at the door.

Knock some pins down while Darien Brahms knocks you out with her scintillating rock offerings. Drummer Ginger “Boom Boom” Cote, along with musicians Adam Bean and Jerome Shuman, will be accompanying Ms. Brahms, and they’ll be doing old favorites and a batch of new songs, because Darien’s been on a writing bender as of late. Opening for Brahms is the velvet-voiced Lady Zen, and believe you me, you want to hear this woman sing.

Darien Brahms with Lady Zen. 8 p.m. Friday. Bayside Bowl, 58 Adler St., Portland. All ages. $5.

Aimsel Ponti is a Portland freelance writer. Contact her at:

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