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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Concerts: B.o.B, Drivin N Cryin, Cartel, All the Saints

Hong Kong MAMA AwardsB.o.B celebrates a successful year with a show at Smith’s Olde Bar on Friday, Dec. 21. Photo: AP Photo/Kin Cheung

FRIDAY
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: ‘A Very Merry Holiday Pops’

Actress and singer Jodi Benson and the Grady High School Chorus join conductor Michael Krajewski and the orchestra for a selection of holiday favorites. Benson is probably best known as the voice of Ariel in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
8 p.m. Dec. 21; 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 22. $22-$60. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-733-5000.

B.o.B
Decatur’s Bobby Ray Simmons Jr. (aka B.o.B) was a busy guy this year. His second album, “Strange Clouds,” was released in May and debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 album chart. In recent months, he’s contributed to albums by Big Boi and Melanie Fiona and released his own live “iTunes Session” EP.
8 p.m. Dec. 21. $30 in advance. Smith’s Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-875-1522.

All the Saints
Alabama-born, Atlanta-based All the Saints’ 2008 debut, “Fire on Corridor X,” was a brutally pounding psychedelic assault that recalled Spacemen 3, but the production of Grammy-nominated producer Ben Allen (Gnarls Barkley) kept the shattering rock haze from sounding too drug-damaged. The band followed that debut with this year’s “Intro to Fractions,” which elevated the group’s songcraft to new heights. It garnered international rave reviews, including one from Britain’s Mojo magazine that called it “sinister, intense, powerful.”
9 p.m. Dec. 21. $7. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave. S.E., Atlanta. 404-522-3950.

SATURDAY
Cartel

You might remember this Atlanta band as the pop-punk quintet that recorded an album in a glass-encased studio sponsored by MTV and Dr. Pepper. Each of the band’s three full-length albums was released by a different label. The latest, 2009’s “Cycles,” came via Wind-Up Records (home of Evanescence and Creed). The fourth is still in the works, but the 2011 EP “In Stereo” was self-released. Keep up with the recording process on the band’s Facebook page, where the band members have been posting photos from the studio.
7 p.m. Dec. 22. $15 in advance. The Masquerade, 695 North Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-577-8178.

Drivin N Cryin, Shovels & Rope
For many years, you could count on Drivin N Cryin to play the day after Thanksgiving, but in 2007 the band rocked the Roxy (now the Buckhead Theatre) on New Year’s Eve. In 2008, the venerable yet still raucous Kevn Kinney-led institution played a holiday gig on the day after Christmas. In 2011, it moved to the day before Christmas Eve. No matter what yuletide day these guys decide to rock, it’s good to know they’re here for one of them. The band seemed reinvigorated this year, with Kinney deciding to release his music in shorter bursts. Four EPs are scheduled to be issued over a 12-month period. The first was the June-released “Songs From the Laundromat.” The second, “Songs About Cars, Space and the Ramones,” was released in October and included a guest appearance from American punk pioneer Cheetah Chrome (of the Dead Boys and Rocket From the Tombs). Look for the revival to continue in 2013 with more EPs and the release of a documentary called “Scarred but Smarter: Life & Times of Drivin N Cryin.” Charleston, S.C., duo Shovels & Rope opens the show with a gritty yet contemporary take on country. The pair’s 2012 album “O’ Be Joyful” has been showing up on quite a few year-end best-of lists.
8 p.m. Dec. 22. $20. The Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-659-9022.

Shane Harrison, sharrison@ajc.com

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