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Pittsfield City Jazz Festival

Pittsfield, Mass., Friday-Sunday

Autumn is in full swing this weekend in Pittsfield. The Pittsfield City Jazz Festival, a weekendlong, citywide extravaganza, will feature luminaries like the New Black Eagle Jazz Band, the New England Jazz Ensemble, and the Joyce Breach and Keith Ingham Duo. The festivities begin tomorrow (Friday) at 11 AM with a free performance of the Andy Kelly Quartet at the Central Block Concourse at 75 North St. This performance is part of the “Jazz at Lunch” portion of the weekend, where various local cats have the chance to share the limelight with the bigger names on the bill. On Friday and Saturday nights, the Berkshire Music Hall hosts the talents of the widely anticipated headlining groups; on Saturday afternoon, the New England Jazz Ensemble will do an open rehearsal and live recording that will hit the stores as a live album. (Oct. 14-16, all ages, Pittsfield, Mass.; visit www.Cultural Pittsfield.com for ticket prices and performance times, or call 413-395-0105)

Jonathan Richman, Vic Chesnutt

Valentine’s, Saturday

Besides being one of the more interesting double bills in recent memory, this ought to be a doozy of a people-watching event. As an anonymous contributor pointed out, it only takes one (really great) song about a lesbian bar to drastically affect the makeup of your audience. So we’ll be watching the gay contingent get down to that song (1992’s “I Was Dancing at the Lesbian Bar”) and others when Jonathan Richman and longtime sideman Tommy Larkins take the stage on Saturday. But we’ll especially be watching the traffic between sets, as Richman co-headlines the show with Georgia-based quirkster Vic Chesnutt. Chesnutt is currently touring to promote his new disc, Ghetto Bells, which teams him with such musical partners as Bill Frisell and Van Dyke Parks. Richman’s Not so Much to Be Loved as to Love, released last summer, puts aside the gleeful goofiness of earlier work for a more wistful, mature sound. Sounds like a winner to us. (Oct. 15, 8 PM, $10, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)


alex torres y su orquesta

Alex Torres y Su Orquesta 25th Anniversary Party

WAMC Performing Arts Studio, Saturday

It’s not often enough that we are able to celebrate a local artist’s quarter-century of contributions to local music, so we leapt at the opportunity to spread the word about this, the silver-anniversary celebration and performance by world-renowned Latin king Alex Torres. That’s right, this August marked 25 years in the business for Torres and his 12-piece group. To commemorate the occasion, they released their eighth disc in 10 years, titled 25 to Life. While members have changed over the years (we’re pretty sure the group’s assistant director and pianist Nick Lue wasn’t out of diapers when Torres first hit the scene), the music—an infectious blend of salsa, merengue, cha-cha, and other hip- shaking varieties—is as vital as ever. (Oct. 15, 8 PM, $10, 339 Central Ave., Albany, 465-5233 ext. 4)

Rock 2 Rebuild: A Concert for Katrina Relief

Palace Theatre, Saturday

Go and check out some great local music for a good cause this weekend when Rock 2 Rebuild once again takes over the Palace in the name of giving. Rock 2 Rebuild, a local organization with a mission to “unite regional music and arts with local and regional, as well as national and global, goodwill efforts through premium barn-raising-type events, educational programs and more,” held a benefit concert in February to help out with relief for the tsunami that left Southeast Asia in complete devastation, and they raised more than $13,000, which they presented to Save the Children’s Tsunami Relief Fund. And the community got a hell of a concert, featuring all local acts, to boot. This time, the area in need is obvious: the people who have lost their homes and the cities that have been demolished by Hurricane Katrina. Proceeds from this concert will benefit Habitat for Humanity to help them continue with the rebuilding process. Performing for the cause on Saturday are the Refrigerators, Zox, Conehead Buddha featuring Peter Prince, Super 400, Kamikaze Hearts, Sensemaya and friends, and more. For more information, visit rock2rebuild.org. (Oct. 15, 8 PM, $10 advance; $12 at the door, 19 Clinton Ave., Albany, 465-3334)

Graham Isaacson

The Van Dyck, Saturday

It is Graham Isaacson’s intention—through his music, that is—to share his soul with you. He’s upfront about being a singer-songwriter who plumbs the emotional depths to create music that, he promises, will be “heartfelt” and “no nonsense.” His Web site promises even more: “Graham’s mesmerizingly earthy, smoky baritone will elevate you [to] a much simpler time and place.” If you need more direct references, Isaacson has opened for John Gorka, Jonatha Brooke and Leo Kottke; he has been getting airplay on college radio; and his music was used in a PBS kids’ special. He’s touring on the strength of his new album Nine Days, which, we suspect, you’ll be able to buy at the merch table. (Oct. 15, 7 and 9:30 PM, $10, 237 Union St., Schenectady, 381-1111)

The Honorary Title, Koufax, Waking Ashland, Nightmare of You

Valentine’s, Sunday

The Honorary Title have named Elvis Costello as an influence, but we can only assume that it’s an honorary influence since we don’t hear a whole lot of Costello in the duo’s emo-pop (pop-emo, whatever). What we do hear, depending on the track, is a bit of Elliott Smith, a touch of Pete Yorn, a dollop of Dashboard Confessional, some Bright Eyes—in other words, stuff just waiting to be picked as music for the club scene in an episode of one WB series or another. Their newest single, “Bridge & Tunnel,” does a have a cool Jesus & Mary Chain feel, though; and, just between us, we like some emo enough that we almost wish our girlfriend would break up with us, too. Also on the bill the Get Up Kids’ favorite band, Koufax, and Waking Ashland and Nightmare of You. (Oct. 16, 7 PM, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)


Also Noted

Olivia Newton-John returns to the Palace Theatre tonight (Thursday) for a concert to benefit breast-cancer awareness, a cause that is close to her heart, as she is a breast-cancer survivor herself (8 PM, $50-60, 465-3334). . . . Richmond, Va.-based Carbon Leaf (who became the first-ever winners of an American Music Award for Best Unsigned Act in 2002; they since signed with Vanguard) will be at Revolution Hall tonight, still riding high on last year’s successful release, Indian Summer (9 PM; $10, 273-2337). . . . Portland, Maine-based pop-rockers Spouse are at Red Square tonight; local indie rockstars Charmboy will open the show (9 PM, $5, 432-8584). . . . Tomorrow (Friday), head to Saratoga Springs to Caffe Lena for a performance by Mary Gauthier, a country-folk songstress known for her smoky voice and honest, hard-hitting lyrics; Corley Roberts opens the show (8 PM, $15, 583-0022). . . . Kurt Wagner-led Lambchop (whom Rolling Stone describe as “a little bit o’ twang with a pinch of soul, a mini-orchestra that plays with the attitude of Salvation Army buskers and the chops of an indie-rock band”) will appear at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass. on Saturday (8 PM, $18, 413-662-2111). . . . Legendary Texan guitarist Jimmy Dale Gilmore will perform at Club Helsinki in Great Barrington, Mass. on Sunday (8:30 PM, $25, 413-528-3394). . . . Devendra Banhart is touring in support of his fourth album and first for XL Recordings, the 23-track Cripple Crow, released this year; he will perform with Hairy Fairy at the Pearl Street Nightclub in Northampton, Mass. on Tuesday with Bunny Brains, Tarantula A.D. (8:30 PM, $18, 413-584-7771). . . . “Folkabilly” darling Nancy Griffith will bring her Blue Moon Orchestra to the Hart Theater at Egg on Tuesday (7:30 PM, $28, 473-1061). . . . The infamous masked Los Straightjackets featuring Big Sandy will perform at Revolution Hall Wednesday (8 PM, $18, 273-2337).


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