Hopefully by now your stockings are hung by the chimney with care, or at the very least you’ve managed to get most of your shopping done and are ready to kick back with random aunts and cousins. Or maybe you’re keeping things low-key and are hunkering down solo or with your significant other.

Christmas can be complicated, and the pandemic sure isn’t helping. But there’s one thing I think we can all agree on: A night out of dancing is always a good idea, and that’s where Portland singer Gina Alibrio and her funk band The Red Eye Flight Crew come in.

O come all ye faithful to Portland House of Music for a Thursday night show they’re calling Silent Flight. I got Alibrio on the phone while she was literally out Christmas shopping, and she told me that the name of the show was simply a play on words because the night would be anything but silent.

Before I spill a few beans, here’s the band: Alibrio on vocals, Colin Winsor on bass, Dan Boyden on drums, Lucas Desmond on saxophone, Jamie Colpys on trombone, Max Cantlin on guitar, Phil Rodriguez on trumpet and Dane Farnsworth on keys.

Alibrio told me that we can expect about 25% of the show to be Christmas tunes, and the list includes the Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings version of “Silent Night.” This is not the version you’ve heard at church, of that you can be sure. The crew will also be busting out Vulfpeck’s “Christmas in L.A.,” which, to be honest, is new to me. But I gave it a spin and it’s a funky, kind of weird but entirely fun tune.

Then Alibrio told me something that made me burst into the biggest smile in recent history. Turns out, she and I have something in common: a massive, unfettered love for “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses. In fact, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the tune by the new-wave band, which is also in Thursday’s lineup.

Almost every year I pick my sister Mary Ann up at the train station on Christmas Eve, and it’s a long-standing tradition that we blast the tune while driving to our parents’ house. At this point, I’ve listened to that song at least 87 million times, and every time, I adore it all the more. On the off chance you don’t know it, the song is a 12-month tale of missed romance connections that finally come to fruition because of forgotten cranberry sauce, gloriously told with lines like these:

So on with the boots, back out in the snow
To the only all-night grocery
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
In the line is that guy I’ve been chasing all year

Alibrio said some other selections will come from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, No Doubt and Led Zeppelin.

She also told me something I’ve been waiting years to hear: She’s working on a new album, which will be coming out in 2022 and knowing that is its own Christmas gift.

Before setting Alibrio free back into the holiday chaos, I asked what one of her most cherished Christmas songs is, and she said her heartstrings are always pulled by “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Once again, we agree.

Gina & Red Eye Flight Crew’s Silent Flight
8 p.m. Thursday. Portland House of Music, 25 Temple St., Portland, $15, 21-plus. portlandhouseofmusic.com.


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