Saw Amp Fiddler & Peven Everett. Perfect size venue, good sound, great crowd, Amp in top form. I'd never heard Peven Everett, who is someone who apparently has been playing Chicago for years, and is DEFINITELY ready for wider exposure. Along with Amp and Tortured Soul, Everett and his band make deep house music live.
If you get a chance to see either of those guys, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Amp's been on tour for months with this band, and their playing together really well. Amp is one of those guys who seems to have made himself into a conduit through which the music travels effortlessly, from where ever it is music comes from.
Got home where I got to open presents, and go to a movie with the family. Big gift item was a Philips HDD 120 Hard Disk MP3 Player/Recorder. This does everything I want -- it can record audio input to 192kbs MP3, which should sound about like minidisc quality. The user interface is really easy to get used to. Only criticism I would have (and this is not a criticism of my family's choice -- I wouldn't have been happy with an Ipod because of its lack of recording) is that they have their own screwy system for storing files. Supposedly it keeps you from transferring copyrighted stuff to the player, but I've never ever had a DRM-protected mp3 file. The problem is that the only way to download files to it is a bloody awful little application that works, but is really clumsy to work with.
Luckily someone reverse-engineered the player OS's ideas about file format, and wrote a decent little application that supports drag & drop. He also documented the file system so that conceivably, the people who do portable mp3 player software could swizzle up a driver if they want.
Also got the Rotating Assembly (Theo Parrish and friends) 12" -- the whole set! My kids were on it! Thanks guys!