There's always more to love about this downtown icon enshrouded by the myths of the beautiful loser and classic rock's blue-collar blues. Jesse Malin's own wordy, sharp odes to working-class heroes and the highs and lows of street life deserve far more laurels than they've gotten. Perhaps his detour into covers territory will garner the casual crowd's ear: Malin's recent On Your Sleeve features an homage to artists that provided inspiration—from friends (the Hold Steady) to less obvious sonic mentors (Bad Brains). It makes a fine holiday offering to less hip friends and fam, for he's mastered the rare gift of interpretation—even locating new juice in Fred Neil's much-beloved "Everybody's Talkin'." And this Yuletide show benefits a good cause: Wheels for Humanity. Come make merry, and tip your jingle bells to de Mayor of Downtown. With Beautiful Small Machines (Bree Sharp/Don Lillego) and Brian Fallon (of the Gaslight Anthem).
Fri., Dec. 19, 8 p.m., 2008