Maybe that explains why two of the biggest shows coming to the area in the coming week are sold out.
Sufjan Stevens imposed a four-ticket limit on his holiday extravaganza, the elaborately titled "Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-a-long Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice." That show is at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Neptune Theatre.
Stevens, the ambitiously minded indie rock singer, is again straddling a line between heartfelt sincerity and hipster irony with his holiday tour. He released his second Christmas album, "Silver and Gold: Songs for Christmas," in November, winning some acclaim for a 58-track set that spans five discs.
Loyal fans scooped up tickets for his intimate holiday show here. Getting in now may take a Christmas miracle. The best bet for the fan on your shopping list probably will be sites like stubhub.com and craigslist.com -- but even those may come up short.
Stevens, however, isn't the only act that can claim a seasonal sell-out.
The long-running band the Tragically Hip will fill the floor at the Showbox Sodo for its show at 8 p.m. Friday.
The Tragically Hip first formed in Ontario in 1983. It took the band about a decade before audiences on this side of the border started to notice the alt-rock group. A string of successful albums in the mid-1990s won the Hip a spot as a musical guest on "Saturday Night Live" and helped solidify its following.
Now, as the group approaches its 30th year together -- feel dated? -- they continue to produce new material. The band's 13th studio album, "Now for Plan A," was released in October.
Tickets are sold out, but some are available at significant mark-ups at stubhub.com.
A couple of smaller local acts will play shows in the coming days, and tickets remains for those gigs.
The Cave Singers will headline the Showbox at the Market at 8 p.m. Friday.
The Seattle-based band can be clumped together with other Northwest bands -- groups like the Fleet Foxes and the Head and the Heart -- that have profited from the popularity of heartfelt folk music.
Granted, the Cave Singers hasn't achieved the same kind of success as those other groups, at least not yet. All three of the band's albums have come out on well-respected indie labels such as Matador and Jagjaguwar, but failed to light up the charts.
The group is now touring behind its latest effort, the lauded "No Witch," which found the band picking up some electric guitars and adding a bit of soul and blues to its sound.
Tickets are $20 at showboxonline.com or 888-929-7849.
Finally, the Moondoggies will bring Christmas spirit to a double-bill with the Maldives, as the groups play a couple of holiday shows together at the Tractor Tavern at 9:30 Friday and Saturday.
The Moondoggies can trace its roots to Everett High School, where frontman Kevin Murphy went to school with bassist Robert Terreberry and drummer Carl Dahlen.
The three friends -- along with keyboardist Caleb Quick of Bothell -- have released two albums together on Hardly Art, an imprint of Seattle's own Sub Pop Records.
The band is now at work on its third record. If that new album is anything like previous efforts, fans can expect to hear another batch of songs that blend traditional Americana with indie rock scruff.
The Maldives blend a little more country into their own take on indie rock. Don't be surprised if they bust out a couple of carols during their show at the Tractor Tavern, though.
Tickets for the shows are available at ticketweb.com.
Andy Rathbun: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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