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Ska Brawl Tour

Valentine’s, Thursday

The prodigious kings of the American ska scene, the Toasters, will arrive in the Capital Region this week for a stop on their international Ska Brawl Tour. (It’s international because they’re going to Canada, too.) Now in their 24th year, the Toasters continue to stay true to their Rude Boy Ska roots despite the countless transformations the genre has gone through. Also on the bill are the Boston-based reggae-ish Westbound Train and some local favorites, Public Access, Honeycreeper, and Hollywood Funeral. So put on some tight jeans and uncomfortable shoes and let everyone know that ska’s not dead. (Feb. 24, 7 PM, $10, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

The Static Age, Mommy & Daddy, Eyes Like Knives

King’s Tavern, Thursday

The Static Age hail from Burlington, Vt., a place not immediately associated with a thriving punk scene, but advance word lends some credence to the claim. The band brew together a punk spirit with a dark melodic sense that’s been described as reminiscent of the artsy postpunk of the Psychedelic Furs. It’s not exactly Black Flag, but taking a look at just a small sampling of some of the band’s influences and pleasures—Social Distortion, Judas Priest’s “Heading Out to the Highway” and Shaun of the Dead—gives us a warm, spikey punk kind of feeling. Also on the bill, Mommy & Daddy and Eyes Like Knives. (Feb. 24, 241 Union Ave., Saratoga Springs, $5, 9 PM, 581-7090)

New York Voices

The Egg, Friday

Good jazz vocal groups like New York Voices are as rare as they are strange—and we mean strange in a good way. Unlike solo singers, who can vary the way they improvise with every performance, jazz singing groups need tight arrangements to best show off their close harmonies and rhythmic dexterity. This makes what they do more akin to big-band instrumentalists than jazz singers—strange territory indeed. New York Voices have been doing this since the founding members met at Ithaca College in the late ’80s, and their sound is in the great tradition of the Boswell Sisters, Lambert Hendricks and Ross, and the Manhattan Transfer. There’s something odd but undeniably compelling about three or four voices swinging in harmony at breakneck speeds, then slowing down to croon a bluesy ballad. And New York Voices can pull this off, effortlessly. (Feb. 25, 8 PM, $24, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)


Travis Sullivan’s Björkestra

Iron Horse Music Hall, Friday

Björk Gudmundsdottir has become one of this generation’s most interpretation-worthy artists, and her songs having been covered by acts ranging from Death Cab for Cutie to the Twilight Singers (not to mention the requisite string quartet tribute), but it’s never been done like this. Pianist-arranger-conductor Travis Sullivan has taken a vision that screams kitsch—full on, no bullshit, 18-piece jazz ensemble (plus vocalist) arrangements of some of the Icelandic pixie’s best-loved, erm, standards—and, by playing it absolutely straight, turned it into something completely viable and vital in its own right. So, when the big band roll into into Northampton on Friday night, they’ll be worth checking out just to see if they can fit the whole shebang on the smallish Iron Horse stage, but also to see how they might reimagine the voice-only arrangements of Medulla—bass clarinet and fluglehorn, perhaps? (Feb. 25, 10 PM, $13, 20 Center St., Northampton, Mass., 413-584-0610)

Otep, American Head Charge, Candiria, Blood Simple, Last Call

Northern Lights, Saturday

On their Web site, Otep offer their fans a suggested reading list; it includes Plath, Ginsberg, Baudelaire and Rimbaud. If Baudelaire were alive, we think he’d say something like this about Otep, “Otep est la merde, yo!” Dead poets dig death-metal. “Je voudrais beaucoup de cowbell!” American Head Charge just came out with a new album, The Feeding. Mmm . . . feeding. They claim it is guaranteed to scare the hell out of your parents. If your ’rents start jamming out to it, you better let the band know what’s what. If you get a charge from their stuff, get a double dose and see them live. These guys are touring together and making deadly, angry, loud-ass poetry together. You can snap your fingers over your head, or just give them the horns, whatever works. (Feb. 26, 7:30 PM, Route 146, Clifton Park, $12, $14, 371-0012)

Steven Curtis Chapman

Pepsi Arena, Sunday

This one raises something of a dilemma. According to that there Bible, God himself clocked out on the seventh day. Can’t blame Him—He got a lot of shit done those first couple of days, and needed a bit of a breather. The O.G. even went so far as to say that we should follow His lead and take the day off—to worship, dummy, not to drink beer and watch Nascar. And therein lies the conflict: Sundays have become as synonymous with dressing up for church as they have with David E. Kelley shows. So what’s a good Christian to do when five-time Grammy-winning contemporary-Gospel artist Steven Curtis Chapman comes to town this seventh day? The message is in the right place, but would the Big Guy want you to pay six bucks for lite beer? And those service charges—oy vey! Chris Tomlin and Casting Crowns will also perform at Sunday’s God-rock throwdown. (Feb. 27, 7 PM, $27.50-$33.50, 51 S. Pearl St., Albany, 476-1000)

Also Noted
Chuck Costa

Santa Cruz-based group Sound Tribe Sector 9 will do the jammy-electronica thing at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, Mass., today (Thursday); John Brown’s Body will open (8 PM, $23, 800-THE-TICK). . . . Speaking of jammy electronica, or jazz-fusion, or what have you, Medeski, Martin and Wood will play the Egg tomorrow (Friday, 8 PM, $23.50, 473-1845). . . . Get your spicy groove on with Steve Riley and the Mamou Players, a new-era Cajun dance-band, at Club Helsinki in Great Barrington, Mass. on Friday (9 PM, $18-20, 413-528-3394). . . . King’s Tavern will play host to Saratoga expatriate Jes Hudak on Friday; Chuck Costa and the Winter Sleepers are also on the bill (9 PM, $5, 581-7090). . . . Friday’s show at the Van Dyck will be a homecoming of sorts for knotworking, as bandleader Ed Gorch has been shacking up in Brooklyn as of late; Five ’Til Midnight and Brian Bassett will also perform (8 PM, $5, 381-1111). . . . At Valentine’s on Saturday, power-poppers Gobhi and the Day Jobs will both make their returns, along with Charmboy, a new band featuring singer-songwriter Eric Halder (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass., will host an afternoon showcase of Berkshires-based musicians on Saturday; the lineup includes Adam Rothberg, Pamela Wyn Shannon, and the Flying Garbanzos, among others (1 PM, free, 413-458-2303). . . . Saratoga Winners will be the place for a hard-rocking Saturday night with Untamed, Paynes Hollow, Sorrow, Kult Recruitment (8 PM, $8, 783-1010). . . . There’s still a lot of work to be done, so Revolution Hall will put on another tsunami-relief concert on Saturday night; this one features the likes of Jerkwater Ruckus, Lo Faber, Peter Prince, Brian Kaplan Band, Dana Monteith, School Bus Yellow, and—could it be?—Conehead Buddha (8 PM, $15, 273-2337).

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