yuletide and beer

Hate Christmas music? Sufjan Stevens' holiday sing-a-long tour might make you love it

Hate Christmas music? Sufjan Stevens' holiday sing-a-long tour might make you love it

Sufjan Stevens Christmas tour
Sufjan Stevens plays to a sold-out crowd November 30 at the Granada. Photo courtesy of Sufjan Stevens

You might expect an artist like Sufjan Stevens to be unaffected by holidays; you know, to be above yuletide, orchestrated merriment and the like. Oh, but Sir Stevens is not so. In addition to releasing a vinyl box set of Christmas songs, Silver & Gold, he's embarking on a cross country Christmas sing-a-long tour.

But here's where the concept veers from mainstream and becomes appropriately artistly: The tour is deemed the The Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long: Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Pageant On Ice. To determine what tune he will play, Stevens spins a trippy haphazardly painted wheel with a selection of classic songs. Then — what else? — the whole drunken audience sings it together.
 
At the tour's kick-off in Philadelphia, Stevens told the crowd “I know this is probably some weird psychedelic nightmare for some of you, but this is like a dream come true." 
 
So where does the pensive, long-winded singer-songwriter's affinity for Christmas carols come from? From utter disdain, actually. “Ten years ago, when I started recording these Christmas EPs I hated Christmas music," Stevens told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It was like an exercise in loving your enemy.”
 
Stopping at Emo's East on Saturday, December 1, the Sing-A-Long tour has thus far proven to be a chance for Stevens to goof around on stage, tapping into the (harmless) reckless fun of the holiday season — without the introspection typically required to appreciate his music.