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Little Feat, the Boston Horns

Albany Riverfront Park, Thursday

Sadly, these days, when you see a recognizable act booked at a free show it’s safe to assume that the band’s lawyers are the ones with the real chops. Trademarked bands are crisscrossing the nation every summer, ladling out near approximations of much-loved material. The version of Little Feat coming to town on Thursday, however, has a lot going for it. The bulk of the group are either original, or guys who signed on for Feat’s popular third album Dixie Chicken. True enough, the defining voice of the late frontman, Lowell George, has been missed. But in the years following George’s 1979 death, guitarist Paul Barrere became more than competent up front—and that was before bringing talented vocalist Shaun Murphy aboard. Opening for Little Feat will be the Boston Horns. (July 21, 5 PM, free, Corning Preserve, Albany, 434-2032)

Tom Rush

Caffe Lena, Friday

Though his name may ring fewer bells than those of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell or Jackson Browne, among the folk-rock cognoscenti Tom Rush is a major figure. Rush was an early star of the Cambridge acoustic scene of the late ’60s, and his versions of songs penned by the aforementioned helped popularize the form—and helped pave the way for Sweet Baby James and co. on their individual ascents to big-shotdom. Even as Rush began playing more of his own compositions, he continued to lend a hand: In his later career he became known for assembling package tours, which exposed promising but lesser-known artists to wider audiences. Friday’s Caffe Lena gig lists two shows by Rush and no other act, so fans can get a concentrated dose of the talented do-gooder. (July 22, 7 & 9:30 PM, $30, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)

The Highsocks Farewell Show

Valentine’s, Saturday

This show is special not only because the Highsocks are getting ready to say goodbye, but also because this is one of more than 80 shows across the country that are happening on the same day to benefit the West Memphis Three. For those of you who don’t know, the Three are three guys from West Memphis, Ark., who have been accused of murder with no evidence to support the charge. The proceeds from the show will go to the Damien Echols Legal Defense Fund. The Highsocks have had a three-year run, by our count, playing their catchy noise-rock songs in clubs and basements all over the Northeast. We wish the guys luck in their future endeavors. Helping the Highsocks bid us all adieu and support the West Memphis Three will be End of a Year, From Sinking, Gunslinger and Three Fifteen. (July 23, 7 PM, $6, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

joe whyte

Joe Whyte Band, Charmboy

Lark Tavern, Saturday

New York City-based singer-songwriter Joe Whyte has been seen around these parts a bunch over the past couple of years, usually playing solo shows and sharing the bill with local faves like Brian Bassett. However, this Saturday at the Lark Tavern, he’ll play a show backed by a full band (in which Bassett will perform as well). Robert Makin from Courier News has described Whyte’s music as “solid pop that shoots for the far-out funkiness of Curtis Mayfield, the rootsy cool of early ’70s Rolling Stones and the intelligent,’ 80s new-wave charm of Squeeze . . . infectious but tasteful.” Whyte’s recently released new CD, The Lower 48, illustrates his talent as a lyricist and storyteller; no doubt the band will play some selections from the disc. Local outfit Charmboy, featuring Eric Halder, Chris Neuhaus and Scott Smith, will open the show. (July 23, 9 PM, $3, 453 Madison Ave., Albany, 463-9779)

Royden, the Arrival, the Stand In, On the AM

Saratoga Winners, Saturday

“Royden is fueled by a desire to damage themselves and sink the already floundering ship that is modern rock.” Well, chief, we’re all in favor of the that. Royden, based in the Garden State, are power-punk of the ferocious variety, according to the previously quoted Web critic: “Royden’s live shows have become something of a novelty in a scene where it has been increasingly acceptable to stand about staring at the ceiling.” So don’t expect any of that. The Arrival hail from Greensboro, N.C., and have been described as a “pop punk/rock band.” They released their debut album, Just Another Freak in the Freak Kingdom, in April; their frontwoman, Christy Johnson, is an “actress/singer/model,” and appeared in horror-meister Tobe Hooper’s Mortuary. The Stand In . . . well, they don’t seem to be same-named combo that brag, on their Web site, of having consumed a boatload of chicken and biscuits on tour. (Too bad. We like overachievers.) Also on the bill: Scotia-based power-punks On the AM. (July 23, 7:30 PM, $10, 1375 New Loudon Road, Latham, 783-1010)

The Allman Brothers Band, moe.

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Sunday

During an interview for a recent CMT special on Southern rock, Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts revealed that, following the untimely death of founding member and lead guitarist Duane Allman in 1971, the remaining members of the group decided to continue on with the band not out of honor for their fallen comrade, but for the sake of personal welfare. In other words, they had shows booked, and they weren’t about to lose out on all that dough. Thirty-five years later, the Allmans—that is, Gregg Allman and whoever else is in the band this year—are still touring year-round, taking it wherever they can get it. They’ll roll into SPAC this Sunday night for an evening of old-fashioned rock & roll, Muscle Shoals style, plus the famous liquid light show that’s sent many an acid trip into overdrive. Jam-happy Buffalonians moe. will open with their own 90-minute set—seriously. (July 24, 6:30 PM, $15-$49.50, Saratoga Spa State Park, Route 9, Saratoga Springs, 584-9330)

Also Noted
The Hudson Duster will host a band paying an “acoustic tribute to Alice In Chains’ Layne Staley and Mad Season” on Friday night. That in itself may not be a terrible concept, but we have to quibble with the group’s chosen name: Lifeless Dead. Seriously, out of all the song titles to adopt from the Staley repertoire, they chose that one? (10 PM, $5, 687-2391). . . . The Sonya Kitchell Band will come home for a show at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass., on Saturday evening; Hector on Stilts open (7 PM, $13, 413-584-0610). . . . Also on Saturday, bluegrass-mandolin ace Frank Wakefield performs with his band at Club Helsinki in Great Barrington (8:30 PM, $20, 413-529-3394). . . . Brooklyn rapper Q-Unique rocks the mic on the Hudson Duster’s mile-high stage this Saturday, along with Radix, Dezmatic, Nobs, and Ace the Grappler (10 PM, $5, 687-2391). . . . ChromePeeler Records will host a Saturday-night show at Valentine’s featuring, if not some of the area’s best bands, some of the area’s best band names: Death by a Thousand Cuts, Brace Snakelet, DRC, the Men Who Couldn’t Love, and the Rear Palace (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Speaking of, um, good band names, Disco Hand Job will take part in an all-local bill at Saratoga Winners on Sunday afternoon; also performing are the Monroe Street Band, Yellowstone Driver, and fresh outta high school, Advance Cassette (5 PM, $10, 783-1010). . . . Even more great band names: Oscillating Innards, Pedestrian Deposit, and Realicide play the Fuze Box on Monday (9 PM, $4, 432-4472). . . . Valentine’s hosts an all-ages ska show, on Wednesday, featuring I Voted for Kodos, Hollywood Funeral, Gone Baby Gone, 33 West, and Monty’s Fan Club (7 PM, $7, 432-6572).

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