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Caffe Lena, Fri-Sun

As detailed in a recent article in these very pages [“All Roads Lead to Lena’s”, July 28], Saratoga’s venerable Caffe Lena is in an ongoing process of renovation and reinvigoration. So there is the venue’s bread and butter, folk music, and there is theater, and, this weekend, there will be indie rock. Three nights of indie rock, to be specific, in the form of Lenapalooza. For a measly five clams per night, you can enjoy a variety of regional artists. On Friday, the lineup features nerd-rock kings the Mathematicians, the Velmas Duo and Broadcast Live; on Saturday, you’ll enjoy Parwana, Desperately Obvious and Mudfunk; and on Sunday, the audio stylings of Pink Hearse Paparazzi Project (ooh—a girly color married to a hint of mortality), Der Vershollene (ooh—Germans) and Anotetoself (ooh—Arthur Lee-style word conflation). C’mon, it’ll be fun. (Sept. 2-4, 7:30 PM, $5 per show, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)

Berkshire Bluesfest featuring Leon Redbone

Mahaiwe Theater, Great Barrington, Mass., Saturday

Rumor has it that when super A&R dude John Hammond approached the extremely private bluesman Leon Redbone back in the late ’70s, the phone number he got for his effort was a fake. As the legend goes, Redbone heard opportunity knock and handed opportunity a Dial-a-Joke number. (Rumors seem to accrete around this guy; for the record, we’re now reasonably sure that Redbone is not, as an old favorite had it, an incognito Frank Zappa.) Even so, the vaudeville-inflected early- century blues Redbone favors has carved him out a special niche in a world more commonly represented by Chicago-style electric fire or Delta-sourced acoustic misery. Also performing at the Bluesfest will be Corey Harris and W.C. Handy Award-winning Paul Rishell & Annie Raines. (Sept. 3, 8 PM, 14 Castle St., Great Barrington, Mass., 413-528-0100)

Deuces Wild Tour

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Sunday

Big and Rich, a rockin’ country duo made up of Big Kenny “Universal Minister of Love” and John Rich “Cowboy Stevie Wonder,” are the musical masterminds behind the newfangled country anthem “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy),” a heartwarming, cuddly song whose lyrics go something like this: “I’m a thorough-bred/that’s what she said/in the back of my truck bed/As I was gettin’ buzzed on suds/Out on some back country road/We were flying high/Fine as wine, having ourselves a big and rich time/And I was going, just about as far as she’d let me go.” The duo are backed by a horde of sidekicks, whom Big and Rich describe lovingly on their Web site as “the Wild Bunch meets the Rat Pack.” One of these sidekicks happens to be Cowboy Troy, a 6-foot-5-inch, 250-pound black cowboy rapper. Seeing him alone should be worth the price of admission. The headliners for this tour are country stars Brooks and Dunn; the Warren Brothers open. Big & Rich will be somewhere in the middle. (Sept. 4, 7 PM, $53.75-$29, Saratoga State Park, Saratoga Springs, 476-1000)

Bob Weir & Ratdog

Pepsi Arena, Monday

To educate those of you who do not have your finger on the pulse of the jam-band scene, former Grateful Dead member Bob Weir is the lead singer and guitarist of Ratdog, a group who started as a blues ensemble in the mid-’90s after the breakup of the Dead. Since then, Ratdog have undergone a whole lot of lineup changes, but the core has pretty much been Weir (and original member drummer Jay Lane). Monday night, the Pepsi is the place to see the jams with the current lineup (which we expect will be finalized only at the show). Three-time Grammy winner Bruce Hornsby and his band, the Noisemakers, will open the show. (Sept. 5, 8 PM, $25-45, 51 S. Pearl St., Albany, 476-1000)

sufjan stevens

Sufjan Stevens, Laura Veirs

Pearl Street, Wednesday

Pirate costumes, matching blue-and-orange cheerleading outfits, and songs about our fabulous 50 states: If you had told us 10 years ago that this is what the hipsters would be digging today, we’d have handed you a Soul Coughing CD and told you to go eat your cardigan. An early report from budding indie star Sufjan Stevens’ current tour supporting Illinoise, his ode to the Prairie State, used the descriptors “cute,” “adorable,” and “fresh faced and earnestly enthusiastic in a way that you’d only expect from a Christian youth group, or maybe Mormons.” If that alone doesn’t set you eastbound this Wednesday, add to the pot Seattle songstress Laura Veirs, whose latest album, Year of Meteors, was a breath of cool, fresh air at the end of this long, hot summer. (Sept. 7, 8:30 PM, $15, 10 Pearl St., Northampton, Mass., 413-584-7771)



Also Noted

Cowboy poet Don Edwards sings songs of the old West at MASS MoCA’s Alt Cabaret tomorrow (Friday, 8 PM, $19, 413-662-2111). . . . Not a poet, but named for one: Rainer Maria plays the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass., on Friday, with guests Hail Social (10 PM, $14, 413-584-0610). . . . Jazz pianist Hiromi performs at Club Helsinki on Saturday (9 PM, $25, 413-528-3394). . . . Also on Saturday, head on over to Troy for a special night at the Daily Grind: Invert, a string quartet from New York City, will perform; San Francisco-based cellist Zoe Keating will open (9 PM, free, 272-8658). . . . On Monday, Washington Park will be the site for the second annual Hip Hop Meets Labor Festival; aside from the various speakers and dancers, live-music performers include the Perceptionists with Mr. Lif (noon, free, . . . Valentine’s hosts a Labor Day blowout on Monday with the Last Dance, the Flying Buttresses, Doomsday Virus, Simple Shelter, and Levelleft (7 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . Speaking of blowouts, hardcore legends Madball will head up a mighty powerful bill at Saratoga Winners on Tuesday night; Walls of Jericho, Misery Signals, and Full Blown Chaos will also perform (7 PM, $12, 783-1010).

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