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Marah Mar, the Wasted, Burnt Hills

Valentine’s, Thursday

Marah Mar, the Des Moines Register kindly translates, means “bitter sea.” Not in the same language, however. Marah is the Hebrew word for bitter; mar is the Spanish word for sea. That ought to give an indication of the musical direction of this cellocentric, Iowa City-based quartet. They describe themselves as making “melodic songs that range from delicate fields of sparsely played notes to heavily textured walls of sound.” And they look like they could be Garrison Keillor’s kids. This Midwestern, Americana vibe should jibe well with the other performers on the bill, the Wasted (featuring Stephen Gaylord, the Capital Region’s best songwriter—according to us) and Burnt Hills. Unless we’re completely on crack, we think Burnt Hills are a Lincoln Money Shot offshoot. Or we’re completely on crack. Check it out for yourself. (Aug. 11, 9 PM, $5, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Pants Yell!

Valentine’s, Friday

Cryptic bedroom pop. Those who have some idea of what that might mean should be excited for the arrival of Pants Yell! at Valentine’s this weekend. (For the rest of you, we’ll assume the tag is just a bit, er, cryptic.) The Michigan-based trio practice a form of somewhat lightweight—we’ll stop short of calling it twee—pop music that calls to mind groups like Beat Happening, Belle and Sebastian, and Schenectady’s fondly remembered Stars of Rock. The “bedroom” part of the band’s self-inflicted genre comes out of the fact that the group still, from the sounds of things, do most of their recording there; the “cryptic,” we’d assume, has more to do with their name than anything else. (Whose pants are doing the yelling, anyway?) Lincoln Money Shot and former Star of Rock Brent Gorton and his Tender Breasts share Friday’s bill. (Aug. 5, 9 PM, $5, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Gathering of the Vibes

Indian Lookout Country Club, Friday-Sunday

A few weeks back, we insinuated that Mariaville was a sleepy little town that “doesn’t really see a lot of rock & roll action.” Guess we were wrong. While the groundskeepers at the Indian Lookout Country Club are still picking up the leftover roaches from the Camp Creek festival, the jam-loving faithful are already moving back in for this weekend’s Gathering of the Vibes. So what does this festival have over others of its type? For starters, lots and lots of names: Bob Weir and Ratdog; Medeski, Martin & Wood with John Scofield; the Del McCoury Band; and Jefferson Starship; the list goes on. This year’s festival marks the 10th anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s death—the event was founded in 1996 as an annual tribute to the late Grateful Dead kingpin—so expect to hear more than a few Dead classics along the way. (Aug. 12-14, $95-225, Batter Street, Mariaville,



Saratoga Winners, Sunday

According to Finch, the title of their new album Say Hello to Sunshine is “satire,” and they actually hope to “rip your face off.” While there may have been a better way to rip audiences’ faces off than to take a decided lean towards the Linkin Park side of things, Finch have certainly hardened their sound in comparison to their screamo contemporaries the Used. Of course Used singer Burt McCracken likely let off some steam while dating Kelly Osbourne; Finch haven’t had that luxury as they are straight-edge and spent their first tour being chaperoned by their parents. So, expect Finch to show up prude and pissed this Sunday. (Aug. 14, 7 PM, $16, 1375 New Loudon Road, Latham, 783-1010)

Pixels and Beats

Troy Riverfront Park, Sunday

Electronic-music geeks will find themselves in hog heaven this weekend as the Collar City Live music series presents Pixels and Beats, a celebration of Troy’s bustling laptop-rock community. We’re not sure what else to say here (rare), so we’ll go with our old bad habit of deferring to the press release: From what we’re told, the festival is in celebration of “Troy’s vibrant electronic music and live video innovators,” featuring “art and music that is fresh and exciting, accessible and fun.” The musical talent—that’s David Last, the Jesse Stiles 3000, Seth Cluett, and DJ Back from Japan—will span “dub to cut-ups, breakbeats to mash-ups, and synth-pop to hip-hop,” while the visual side comes courtesy of defiantly lower-case artists lmnopf, skfl, and fielderblank. Sounds intriguing at the very least. (Aug. 14, 7 PM, free, River Street, Troy, 273-0834)

New Thrill Parade, Geno K Experience, Mammatus

King’s Tavern, Wednesday

According to the press, these are some of the things you might expect in a performance by Santa Cruz-based goth-punks New Thrill Parade: pacifiers, crucifixes, mouthfuls of canned whipped cream, a “retarded ballerina,” and one of the lesser-known deities, the God of Shit. The band’s lineup seems to include a singer, a drummer, a guitarist and a bassist. It may be that they also boast a shamisen player, and both a saxophonist and a saxamophonist. All of this is possible. Also on the bill are the Geno K Experience and Mammatus. (Aug. 17, 241 Union Ave., Saratoga Springs, $5, 581-7090)

Also Noted

Grab your leftover beer tickets and head on down to Albany Riverfront Park this evening (Thursday) for the final Alive at Five of 2005; tonight’s show has a Celtic theme, with music by Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul and the Jimmy Kelly Band (5 PM, free, 434-2032). . . . “Honky Tonk Hottie” (their words, not ours) Marcia Ball will perform at Schenectady’s Central Park this evening as part of the Music Haven Concert Series (7 PM, free, 372-5656). . . . The “true” fans probably already ate up all the tickets, but we thought we’d mention that Jefferson Starship will have their 40th anniversary show—literally to the date of their first performance—at the Van Dyck tomorrow (Friday); expect appearances by almost everyone who has ever been onstage with the band (8 and 11 PM, $65-$100, 381-1111). . . . Hard rockers Phillips Head will play an “unscrewed” (acoustic) set at Savannah’s on Friday (9 PM, $6, 426-9647). . . . Hardcore troubadour Chuck Prophet plays Club Helsinki in Great Barrington, Mass., on Saturday (9 PM, $18, 413-528-3394). . . . What would you do if we said Righteous Jams will be at Valentine’s on Saturday? You’d probably say, “Damn right—Valentine’s is all about the righteous jams!” Actually, this is the Boston-based straight-edge hardcore group, not a killer funk band. Sorry. Brain Failure and Nobody Left Behind are also on the bill (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . One more: Contemporary-jazz- guitar whiz Bill Frisell will bring his own righteous jams to the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass., on Tuesday (7 PM, $25, 413-584-0610).

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