IN an age of homogenised pop, we take our collective hats off to Oxford’s Pete Fryer Band.

The band, featuring brothers Pete and Phil, make a point of standing out from the bland middle ground, by playing wonderfully unfashionable music with verve and passion.

The unreconstructed punk-rockers are also one of this Christmas’s unlikely highlights. The band prize themselves away from the cold turkey to do what no one else is doing – playing a Boxing Day gig.

The show at the Seacourt Arms (see highlights) gives the brothers a chance to dust off their armoury of vintage rock and punk, and get us on our feet.

“It’s a very homely, community thing,” Phil told The Oxford Times yesterday. “It’s as much a party for the band as for everyone else.”

Like all the best fraternal band pairings – Liam and Noel Gallagher, Ray and Dave Davies etc – the Fryer brothers have been no strangers to a bit of sibling strife, but now the only axes being brandished are the six-stringed variety. “We had all our fireworks 40 years ago,” says Phil. “Now it’s all about the rock & roll and having really good fun. As for why we are still doing this, well, it’s like what Keith Richards said recently, when someone asked him why The Rolling Stones were still together; it’s because the band are still getting better!

* If you are still mulling over this evening’s manoeuvres – and are one of those horribly organised people who have done all their wrapping – why not trek down the Cowley Road and join another improbable Oxford Yuletide tradition – Reggae Christmas.

Starting back when Oxford legends Makating were doing their wonderful ska-flavoured thing, these Christmas Eve bashes have become an institution.

This year, under the stewardship of the dapper Aidan Larkin, it has shifted from the O2 Academy to The Bullingdon. Aidan, who can’t resist a stint on the decks, is tonight joined by bass heavy seven-piece Laid Blak. The group’s founder members, DJ Bunjy & Mc Joe Peng, also take to the wheels of steel, along with Daniel Norland and the Destination DJs.