Despite the holidays heading our way, there are still lots of live music events. Many of them let you give back to your community during this holiday season. Slowdown hosts Omaha Rocks: a Benefit for the Homeless, Thursday, Nov. 18, featuring Platte River Rain, The Bishops, The Jacuzzi Brothers and The Todd Campbell Project. Your $10 donation at the door helps buy household goods for recently homeless persons who are moving into new home settings. See theslowdown.com for details. Mark your calendar for next Wednesday, Nov. 24, when Matt Cox hosts a benefit at the Barley Street Tavern for the Omaha Food Bank after 9 p.m. Admission is a donation of canned goods. (No glass items). Canned in Benson features solo performances by Nick Carl, Matt Whipkey, Ben Seiff, Kyle Harvey, Cass Brostad, Alex Diimig, Korey Anderson, Rebecca Lowry, Justin Lamoureux, Brad Hoshaw, Sarah Benck and Matt Cox. See mattcoxmusic.net for details. Toy Drive Coming Up Lash LaRue’s annual Toy Drive for Pine Ridge Reservation children kicks off Wednesday, Dec. 1, with a CD release listening party at The Waiting Room at 7 p.m. Copies of the third annual Christmas for Pine Ridge CD will be for sale. The disc features original music from over 15 local artists and was recorded live at The Waiting Room. Jim Homan of Screen Door Studio donated recording and production time for the disc. See lashlaruetoydrive.com for other Toy Drive events, which this year include an acoustic show at Slowdown Thursday, Dec. 2, and a multi-band Zoo Bar Sunday, Dec. 5. Brad Cordle’s New Band Long-time Omaha musician Brad Cordle is back in Omaha full time. He debuts his new Omaha band Thursday, Nov. 18, at The New Lift Lounge at 7 p.m. Band members are Craig Balderston (bass/vocals), Dave Steen (guitar/vocals), Johnny Gomez Jr. (Hammond B3/keys) and Bill Bolmeier (drums). The band will play soul, blues and funk, including both choice covers and originals by Cordle and Steen. Veteran Lincoln musician Steen is a nationally recognized songwriter whose work has been covered by notable blues artists. Longtime fans of the Omaha blues scene will remember Cordle’s many years fronting the highly popular band The Jailbreakers. Cordle recently returned to Omaha after spending recent years as a working musician in Las Vegas. John Crews and Bucky McCann open with an acoustic set at 5 p.m. Zoo Bar Music The Zoo Bar hosts a showcase of young bands participating in the Academy of Rock, Lincoln’s youth performance program, Thursday, Nov. 18, 6-9 p.m. All ages will be admitted for this show. See academyofrock.org for more information on this program. If you have extra time in your holiday schedule, remember that the Zoo offers an open jam every Monday after 9 p.m. Hosting musicians include co-owner Jeff Boehmer, Josh Hoyer, Levi William, Logan Penington and Kris Lager when he is in town. Also check out The Jazzocracy, a showcase of some of Lincoln’s best jazz musicians. The band plays free Tuesdays, 6-9 p.m. The Zoo’s also been hosting special shows by the Quinn Gospel Choir with Nick Semrad on keys. Check out great gospel on the soulful stage of the Zoo Bar when the next show is scheduled Sunday, Nov. 21, at 3 p.m. Thanksgiving night, Nov. 25, the Lil’ Slim Blues Band takes the stage at the Zoo after 9 p.m. Shake your extra Thanksgiving calories away at the Zoo Friday night, Nov. 26, with the Kris Lager Band. Lift Lounge Music Since Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, The New Lift Lounge offers a special Thanksgiving Eve double-header Wednesday, Nov. 24, beginning at 5 p.m. Everybody’s favorite Lincoln bluesman and national award winner, Magic Slim, serves his Chicago blues at 5 p.m. Slim will be backed by his son Shawn Holt and his son’s band, the Lil’ Slim Blues Band. At 7 p.m., Hector Anchondo returns to Omaha with the blues band he’s been putting together in Chicago. This should be a steamy night of old-school Chicago blues and fiery guitar chops. Hot Notes Brad Hoshaw returns from a several-week tour to play a solo homecoming show at Pizza Shoppe Collective Thursday, Nov. 18, after 8 p.m. Pat Gehrman from Five Story Fall opens the show with a solo set. Kris Lager Band and The Cards gig at Barley Street Tavern Friday, Nov. 19, after 9 p.m. Up and coming blues-rockers Matt Gagne & The Blues Experience play Shamrock’s, 5338 N. 103rd St., Saturday, Nov. 20. Acoustic bluesman Stephen Monroe plays an afternoon show in the party room at the Soaring Wings Vineyard at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21. Blue House plays at Grandmothers Thanksgiving Eve, Nov. 24. http://omahablues.com There are several open mics and jam sessions throughout the week in the Omaha area, please check omahablues.com to find details.