In 1961 The Marvelettes recorded Motown's first No. 1 hit single, "Please Mr. Postman." Despite this fact -- and a number of fluffier ones -- the Marvelettes just didn't have the oomph of, say, the Supremes. Unlike most of Motown's other major acts, the Marvelettes were essentially a pop group, and as the '60s wore on, the occasional peppy hit was not enough to eep them in the spotlight. In the early '70s, the group slipped into quiet obscurity, leaving behind a hummable legacy including "Playboy," "Too Many Fish in the Sea," "Don't Mess With Bill," and "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game." Though it would have been simpler for the Marvelettes to slip back into the musical fray during the silly pop climate of the '80s, perhaps the wounds were still too fresh, or perhaps they were waiting for a ridiculously reunion-heavy year like 1996. They made it just under the wire. The Marvelettes strut their stuff Saturday, Dec. 28, at 8 and 10:30 p.m. at Studio 435, 435 Broadway. Roberta Donnay & the Jungle Gods open. Tickets are $20; call (800) 267-8900. ... Long before the geekcore rebellion and high-priced-nerd chic, there was Milo. In 1982, Milo Aukerman and his punk band, The Descendents, released Milo Goes to College. It was fast, furious, unbelievably funny, and true. It may have been the first punk album to make it OK, even rebellious, for young men to wear thick-rimmed glasses and pursue higher education. The story continues on Sunday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m. at the Trocadero, 520 Fourth St. Guttermouth, Assorted Jellybeans, and Armchair Martians open. Tickets are $5; call 995-4600. ... For those who want to ring in the New Year with something a little more inspiring than free booze and funny hats, Veriditas and the Worldwide Labyrinth Project present "Symphony of Souls," a 24-hour gathering that will include music of all denominations and styles. Allow the worries of this past year to be swept away in a catharsis of sound from India, Turkey, Russia, and the Australian Outback; travel through the Labyrinth of Souls as Gregorian chants envelop the majestic environs of Grace Cathedral, 1100 California. The journey begins at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 30, and doesn't end until 6 p.m. the following night. Admission is by donation; call 749-6307. ... Maybe you're looking for a more traditional way to say howdy-do to 1997, but nothing can quite compare to those youthful parties of yesteryear. Have no fear, the staff of New Wave City knows your pain -- and your age. You are invited to relive New Year's Eve circa 1979 with all of your favorite hits from your favorite artists (no, this is not a K-Tel commercial): the Cars, the Clash, the B-52's, Ian Dury, the Records, the Talking Heads, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Joe Jackson, Madness, the Police, the Knack, the Buggles, Flash & the Pan, the Specials, and Blondie (if you want the real thing, Deborah Harry is performing at Club Townsend at 9 p.m., but she's not blond anymore; call 974-6020). But wait! There's more. For absolutely no additional cost, you will get party favors, door prizes, a balloon drop, a midnight champagne toast, and a new wave karaoke room where you can get drunk and butcher all the bygone hits just for laughs. The flashback begins at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 31, at the CW Saloon, 911 Folsom. Admission is $12; call 675-LOVE.
-- Silke Tudor