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Butch Walker, Low Millions, the Fags

Northern Lights, thursday

If you were paying attention to alternative-rock radio in 1998, you might recall Marvelous 3, whose hit “Freak of the Week” was a rare gem in that summer’s pop-culture wasteland. They broke up not long after, but lead guy Butch Walker soldiered on, mounting a less-than-extraordinary (thus far) solo career. Things are on the up, though: Walker’s latest album, Letters, has just the right combination of earnest lyricism and cloying production to appeal to the Avril Lavigne crowd. Plus, his single “Maybe It’s Just Me” received prominent placement in the new Ashton Kutcher film. (Blessing or curse? You decide.) Low Millions features Leonard Cohen’s son Adam—not the same Adam Cohen that fronted alt-pop flare the Mommyheads back in the mid-’90s, mind you. (For you trivia buffs: That Cohen now performs as Adam Elk.) Those bands, along with Detroit rockers the Fags, play Northern Lights tonight (Thursday). (May 12, 7:30 PM, $14, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park, 371-0012)

Tea Leaf Green

E. O’Dwyer’s, thursday

San Francisco-based Tea Leaf Green have garnered a plethora of fans and critical acclaim since their inception a few years ago. One reviewer says of their live show that “TLG rarely fails to exceed expectations or to dish out a slew of surprises.” The “jam” band claim to be able to take their audiences on a “journey spanning all musical genres and delivering blistering next-level epic peaks in one moment while cascading into a breathtaking moment of reflection grounded in true lyrical genius.” Quite the promise, if you ask us. But you can decide for yourself if they can deliver their pledge of next-level epic peaks when they play E. O’Dywer’s tonight (Thursday) in Saratoga Springs. And if you like them, don’t be afraid to share with your friends—on their Web site, TLG state that they “encourage the taping and trading of all of our live shows.” Also on the bill: Rich Ortiz. (May 12, 9 PM, $10, 15 Spring St., Saratoga Springs, 583-6476)

Pierce Pettis

Caffe Lena, Friday

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Pierce Pettis has won numerous awards for his songwriting and music, including a 1999 Country Music Award. His Web site describes his songwriting as “drawing on the humor and trials of daily life,” with lyrics that are tantamount to literature. He has played shows and festivals across the country and across the pond in Europe. Pettis’ style of folk is rooted in the south, where many of his observations and experiences living in Alabama influenced his poetic music. His music is so enjoyed by other artists that a multitude of his work has been covered by other big-name folk, country and grassroots acts. Pettis will perform tomorrow (Friday) at Caffe Lena. (May 13, 8 PM, $14/$10, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)

Sarah Mclachlan

Sarah McLachlan, the Perishers

Pepsi Arena, Friday

The Grammy Award-winning songstress had to postpone the beginning shows of her current tour, Afterglow, due to illness. Luckily, the buttery-voiced performer is feeling better, and she’ll hit the Pepsi Arena tomorrow night. It’s reported that she’ll perform most of her hits (like “Building a Mystery” and “Angel”) as well as selections from her newest album, Afterglow (which features the ubiquitous radio hit “Fallen”). McLachlan has had much success, selling more than 22 million records since her debut, Touch, was released in 1988, and Lillith Fair—McLachlan’s creation of a tour made up entirely of women artists—made more than 7 million bucks for charity during its three-year life. Swedish band the Perishers will öpen. (May 13, 8 PM, $56, $36, 51 S. Pearl St., Albany, 487-2000)

Saratoga Pie CD release party

Saratoga Music Hall, Saturday-Sunday

A bunch of local musicians collaborated to make Saratoga Pie, a compilation of songs which, according to the press accompanying the disc, are inspired by the beauty and magic of Saratoga Springs. The disc was produced under the direction of Grammy Award-winner Joel Moss, and Charlie Eble. The all-volunteer effort (and lineup for the CD-release party) features Rick Bolton and the Dwyer Sisters, Bob Warren, Matt McCabe and Junior Barber, Acoustic Circus, Rosanne Raneri, Michael Jerling, John Kribs, Big Medicine, Sonny & Perley, Ria Curley, Reggie’s Red Hot Feet Warmers, Sirsy, Mudfunk and the McKrells. The CD (which will be available for sale at vendors around Saratoga Springs), also includes another special treat: Inside the CD booklet is a recipe for actual Saratoga pie, courtesy of the Bread Basket Bakery. Proceeds from the CD will benefit the Saratoga Center for the Family. (May 14-15, one-day ticket $15, two-day ticket $25, 474 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 583-9093)

Balloons, Brent Gorton and the Tender Breasts

The Fuze Box, Monday

The first thing you might want to know is that Balloons are coming to the Fuze Box from Tokyo. Then the logical second thing you’ll want to know is whether they’re a noise-rock band. They’re not. The third thing you’ll almost certainly want to know is whether or not they sing in cutesy voices almost exclusively about food. They don’t. The Japanese band call themselves “post h/c, emo, math rock”—so don’t expect any Cibo Matto-esque odes to birthday cake or artichokes. Instead, expect the kind of emopery and alienation that only a resident of a city with a population density of more than 13,000 people per square kilometer can muster up. Sharing the stage with Balloons will be Brent Gorton and the Tender Breasts. (May 16, 9 PM, $5, 12 Central Ave., 432-4472)

Also Noted
Singer-songwriter and Jewel boy-toy Steve Poltz plays the Iron Horse this evening (Thursday) with special guest Lisa Martin (7 PM, $15, 413-584-0610). . . . Ohio-based cowpunkers (yeah, we said it; what you gonna do ’bout it?) Two Cow Garage rock the downstairs stage at Valentine’s tomorrow (Friday); The last time these guys were in town, 10 people showed up, so get out there and make us look good. Coal Palace Kings and the Distractions open (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . What’s that? Oh! It’s awesome band name time! Deathamphetamine will play the Flywheel in Easthampton, Mass., on Friday night (7 PM, $5, 413-527-9800). . . . Legendary singer Holly Near plays the WAMC Performing Arts Studio on Friday (8 PM, $25, 465-5233 ext. 3). . . . We’ve been jamming to Ted Leo’s version of the Kelly Clarkson hit “Since U Been Gone” for a few weeks now, and we have to say that this guy is our American idol. It’s been almost a year since he and the Pharmacists came through, which is strange, since they seemingly never stop touring, so be sure to catch them this Saturday at Pearl Street in Northampton, Mass., with special guests Apollo Sunshine (8:30 PM, $13, 413-584-7771). . . . The great philosopher Lee Ving once said, “New York’s alright if you like saxophones.” Eric Person must love it there, then: He’ll blow his horn at Justin’s on Saturday night, along with Cary DeNigris and Dave Calarco (9 PM, $5, 436-7008). . . . Rosie Flores, who just released her first live solo CD, Single Rose, plays Caffe Lena on Saturday (8 PM, $15, 583-0022). . . . Midtown, Plain White T’s, Action-Action, and Rock Kills Kid wrap up the week in noisy fashion at Saratoga Winners on Wednesday (7:30 PM, $13,783-1010).

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