A Snowy Night in Hawaii with The World’s Greatest Christmas Band
Bart Sullivan, 12-17-2019

Missile Toe (from left to right: Jeff Hardy, Dale Houston, Mike Schubert, James Millar) performs on the Tiki Underground stage.
Bart Sullivan
On Friday, December 13th at Hudson’s Tiki Underground, the Christmas spirit purveyors known as Missile Toe brought the house down with Christmas music that was literally too big for the stage—the Akron group that proclaims itself “World’s Greatest Christmas Band” took up the stage, stage left, and the floor immediately in front of patrons’ tables. Tiki Underground, decorated with faux-wood mini-blinds, bamboo walls, and a plethora of tiki statues and hula records, looks like a film set out of Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii. Nevertheless, the audience arrived in groups—many dressed in costumes and Christmas lights—to see the band perform an assortment of popular Christmas songs with punk embellishments

Missile Toe—consisting of vocalist/frontman Jeff Hardy, drummer Mike Schubert, guitarist James Millar, and bassist Dale Houston—began during the late 90s as a side project from the members’ other work, specializing in Christmas tunes and covers of Johnny Thunders songs. In the more than 20 years since, the band’s notoriety has grown, particularly during the month of December, when the stage finds itself adorned with a snowy rug, tinsel, and a light-up nose, and songs like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and a particularly awesome medley of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “Angels We Have Heard On High,” and Them’s “Gloria” take over the repertoire.

With very few original Christmas songs released each year, it was a pleasant change of pace to hear Missile Toe’s attempts to improve on the season’s classic tunes. For some people, it might be an affront to the Christmas sensibilities to hear anyone besides Burl Ives sing “Silver and Gold”—as the band remarked during their set, who could be better? Yet, hearing their rendition, with Hardy’s higher-pitched voice going from speaking to screaming out the lyrics, as if Spongebob Squarepants were suddenly voiced by a new actor halfway through a song, there was no question as to whether Ives should have been covered

Missile Toe will continue performing in various locations as the holiday season comes to end. On Thursday, December 19th, the Akron Art Museum will have free admission all day, leading up the band performing at 6:30pm. The following day, they will grace the stage of Jilly’s Music Room in Akron, with the band Lords of the Highway at 9pm. After the holiday season, Missile Toe continues to play, headlining Tiki Underground with Duo Decibel System on January 25th, but by then the Christmas tunes will have been packed away for another year. Instead, audiences will hear more of the band’s standard covers.

To follow Missile Toe and learn more about future concerts, visit: https://www.facebook.com/Missile-Toe-235067480537/

© 2020   Falls Free Press