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John Doe Smith, the Day Jobs, Brent Gorton
The Larkin Lounge, Friday

If you’re looking for “straight-up, loud, genuine rock,” John Doe Smith are promising to provide just that when they play the Larkin on Friday. The quartet, led by drummer-songwriter Brian Doherty, describe themselves as “a modern band more in the tradition of the Steve Miller Band, Bad Company or the Kinks” than any of the alternative bands “seeking fame by posing as ‘artists.’ ” Which isn’t to say that Doherty’s outfit are living in the past: The drummer’s pre-John Doe Smith résumé includes session and touring stints with Frank Black, the Candy Butchers, Ben Folds, They Might Be Giants and XTC—just to name a few indie-rock icons. And that time in the trenches has paid off, as Doherty was able to call in some favors when recording John Doe Smith’s first CD, City Life. The disc boasts guests such as Mike Viola (of the Candy Butchers), Tony Maimone (who’s played with Bob Mould and Pere Ubu) and Marshall Crenshaw. (Feb. 22, 10 PM, $5, 463-5225)

Kasim Sulton,
Ricky Byrd

Valentine’s, Saturday

Without singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kasim Sulton, it’s just possible that the ’70s would have been bassless. He worked the four-string behind everyone from Meat Loaf to Shawn Cassidy, Alice Cooper to Rick Derringer—though his most regular gig was in Utopia, the arty prog-pop brainchild of putative genius Todd Rundgren. He was a session mainstay of the ’80s as well, logging in time with Cheap Trick, Joan Jett and both Patti Smith and Patty Smyth. With all of that hired-gun activity, it’s easy to understand why Sulton’s solo releases have been few and far between, but he’s out on the road now promoting his upcoming third album, Quid Pro Quo, with a solo acoustic tour. This is only the second such tour Sulton has performed, and he promises something special: “It’s really an entertaining evening; just me, a guitar, the audience and some inside stories from my past and present.” (Feb. 23, 9 PM, $10, 432-6572)

Nanci Griffith,
the Cash Brothers
The Egg, Saturday

One of the most celebrated figures in modern folk music, Nanci Griffith will bring a wealth of experience with her to the Egg on Saturday. Whether writing her own tunes, including the country hit “Outbound Plane,” or collecting great songs from the past on projects such as her acclaimed Other Voices, Other Rooms disc, the amiable Texan has spent her career blurring the lines that divide such genres as folk, country and rockabilly. In fact, the hybrid quality of her music has earned her an impressive reputation as the “queen of folkabilly.” Yet Griffith’s interest in musical archaeology doesn’t mean she’s a dry academic; quite to the contrary, she’s a lively performer whose shows are filled with sweet singing, sunny aphorisms and engaging anecdotes. What’s more, Griffith usually stops in the Berkshires when she tours through these parts, so Saturday’s show offers a rare chance for Capital Region residents to catch her act closer to home. Opening the gig will be Canadian folk duo the Cash Brothers—no relation to the Man in Black—who are touring behind their debut disc. (Feb. 23, 8 PM, $28, 473-1845)

Sex Mob
Club Helsinki, Great Barrington,
Mass., Saturday

The Sex Mob is what happens when the jazz underground co-opts the pop mainstream. Led by outspoken and energetic slide trumpeter Steve Bernstein, the Sex Mob have quickly become one of New York City’s premier jazz ensembles, rubbing elbows with some of the city’s finest avant-garde players. The quirky quartet have also collided with the pop world, covering material by such diverse artists as Prince, Nirvana, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead and ABBA. On their latest outing, the Sex Mob took their funky flair for pop a step further, recording an imaginary James Bond soundtrack known simply as Sex Mob Does Bond. While they bookend the disc with the Bernstein original “Dr. Yes,” the meat of Sex Mob Does Bond comprises covers from John Barry’s back catalog of James Bond scores. The Sex Mob will invade Great Barrington’s Club Helsinki on Saturday with their porno-party jazz-funk, and they’ll be armed with an arsenal of covers and horn-heavy originals. (Feb. 23, 9 PM, $22, 413-528-8418)

Gov’t Mule, Strangefolk
Palace Theatre, Sunday

Expect a bittersweet vibe when hard-driving rock power trio Gov’t Mule check into the Palace on Sunday, because the group are touring behind their first album recorded without founding member Allen Woody, who died in August 2000. Woody and front man Warren Haynes first hooked up when they joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1989, and the pair formed Gov’t Mule in 1994 with drummer Matt Abts. Following Woody’s death, his bandmates decided that instead of replacing their lost comrade, they would invite world-class bassists to pay homage to Woody by filling in for him on The Deep End Volume 1, Gov’t Mule’s latest disc. The celebrated pinch-hitters—including Jack Bruce, Bootsy Collins, John Entwistle, Flea, Mike Gordon and Mike Watt—won’t be at the Palace this weekend, but Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools will be there to fill out Gov’t Mule’s live sound. Adding to the festivities will be jamsters Strangefolk, who will open the show. (Feb. 24, 7 PM, $20, 465-4663)

also noted

VH1’s Bands on the Run winner, Flickerstick, will play tonight (Thursday) at Northern Lights as part of a cross-country tour in support of their album Welcoming Home the Astronauts; Abandoned Pools and Dropface will open (7:30 PM doors, $14, 371-0012). . . . Also tonight, Righteous Babe recording artists Bitch and Animal, touring behind their recent release Eternally Hard, will play Valentine’s; Erin Harkes will open (8 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . Area hard-rock-metal-groove ensemble spineCar will headline at Valentine’s tomorrow (Friday); eN-DoR-PHiN, Raja, Cide and Fed Up will share the bill. By the by, eN-DoR-PHiN are now a three-piece—lead guitarist Bone has skipped out, leaving vocalist-guitarist-keyboardist Chris to pick up the slack. And a trio they may remain, since they’re pretty happy with their new stripped-down sound (8 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . Grammy-award winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo—friends of Paul Simon and Nelson Mandela—will perform at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Friday (8 PM, $25, 273-0038). . . . There’s a new performance venue in Albany, Miss Mary’s Art Space, a not-for-profit arts organization located just off Madison Avenue at 5 New Scotland Ave. On Saturday, singer-songwriter-guitarist Dave Walsh will perform with mandolinist Nelson Gage; the show is a benefit for the art space (9 PM, $10, 463-7103). . . . Boston-based pop duo Mishima USA make a return visit to the Larkin on Saturday, with the New York City’s the Malarkies and our very own John Brodeur and the Suggestions sharing the bill (10 PM, $5, 463-5225). . . . Interscope Records’ Unwritten Law stop into Saratoga Winners on Saturday as part of their U.S. tour in support of Elva, their newest CD; Sugarcult and
open (8 PM, $13, 783-1010). . . . At Artie’s Lansingburgh Station on Saturday, singer-songwriters Erin Harkes and Niki Lee will perform a night of acoustic songs and VH1 Storytellers-style commentary (9 PM, $2, 238-2788).

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