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The Clay People

Saratoga Winners, Thursday

Wake up! Wake Up! Time to di . . . wake up? Just go with it, because mechanized Capital Region mainstays the Clay People are celebrating their return and heralding the release of their new album Waking the Dead. Lead singer Dan Neet’s savage, sometimes operatic bellow has sustained the band through its bevy of stylistic changes from early-’90s poofy-haired Cure wannabes to mid-’90s Skinny Puppy-meets-sludge-rock innovators to their last Edge Fest-dominating incarnation as aggro metal gods. Want to know what will be the next chapter written in clay? Then show up this Thursday. . . . You’ll leave with one of Neet’s new nah, nah, nah, sing-along choruses stuck in your mechanized mind. (Oct. 27, 7 PM, $10, Route 9, Latham, 783-1010)

Laurie Anderson

The Egg, Thursday

It’s Laurie Anderson’s voice, disarming and deceptively plain, that is the most striking thing about this renowned performance artist-composer-poet-filmmaker-musician-ventriloquist. Proof? She had William S. Burroughs guest on one of her early recordings, and she more than held her own against that unforgettable voice. (“The sun’s coming up like a big bald head,” indeed.) Quizzical, intelligent and often bemused, Anderson’s vocal instrument is the glue that holds her challenging and entertaining multimedia works together. Her latest work, The End of the Moon, combines “stories, songs and new music for violin and electronics” in a contemplation of the relationships between “war, aesthetics, spirituality and consumerism.” In other words, it’s about America, and she’s bringing it to the Egg tonight. (Oct. 27, 8 PM, $28, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)

Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams

Caffe Lena, Sunday

“We want to go somewhere with the audience where we can all get naturally high together, ask some questions, get some revelations, see some new stuff, and hopefully come back as better people.” This is what Gandalf Murphy lead singer Joziah Longo would like to see as a result of the band’s shows. To facilitate the trip, the Circus of Dreams provide music that is both simple and unique, with many recognizable bits stolen freely from music they love. Stories within the music weave in religious and philosophical mythologies. Just don’t expect there to be an actual Gandalf—or for them to have any idea where Slambovia is. (Oct. 30, 7 PM, $16, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)

Opeth

Saratoga Winners, Wednesday

Testifying to the grass roots of proverbial death-metal, yet exalting the power of melody and vocal tunefulness, the Swedish death-metal quartet Opeth once again are storming the shores of North America. In the past decade, they have mapped out a unique sound, taking metal down the warily traveled road of acoustics and making pitstops at the corner of progressive rock and folk. Their newest studio album, Ghost Reveries, although a must for fans of Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, is sure to gratify the tastes of the conceptually thirsty fans of Pink Floyd and Nine Inch Nails. Their live show is no different: Years of pillaging venues in Europe, Canada, and the United States have evolved front man Mikael Åkerfeldt’s voice into an instrument that can howl, swoon, hum, or growl; oh yeah, he can also shred the guitar. Ozzy, hide Sharon and the kids. Ministers, toll the bell and lock up the church. The Vikings are coming. (Nov. 11, 8 PM, $17, 1375 New Loudon Road, Latham, 783-1010)


koufax

Koufax

Valentine’s, Wednesday

Playing a fusion of ’70s rock, ’80s new wave and ’90s emo, Koufax might at first sound similar to a number of other bands currently clogging the airwaves, but these guys are no opportunists; they’re simply good at hanging in there. Their latest album, Hard Times Are in Fashion, is the third for the Detroit outfit; the band have been at it since Franz Ferdinand were but a highlighted paragraph in a social-studies textbook. So bring your dancing shoes and a good sense of irony when Koufax headline Valentine’s this Wednesday, along with Bell County Silence, Jets and Snakes, and a solo set by the Suggestions’ John Brodeur. (Nov. 2, 7 PM, $5, free with College of Saint Rose ID, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6472)

Wynton Marsalis

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Wednesday

As modern-day jazz goes, few performers are as prolific and, dare we say, important as Wynton Marsalis. The trumpeter, composer and bandleader has earned countless accolades and awards for his numerous recordings in both the jazz and classical idioms, including an impressive nine Grammys, and the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for music (for his jazz oratorio Blood on the Fields). For this week’s performance, Marsalis and his group—bassist Carlos Henriquez, drummer Ali Jackson, Dan Nimmer on piano, and Walter Blanding on saxophone—will present, among other works, highlights from his recent eight-CD series Swinging into the 21st. The collection features a number of original compositions, plus standards and selections from a wide variety of composers, from (Igor) Stravinsky to (Thelonious) Monk—not to mention a generous helping of Dixieland swing from his New Orleans home. (Nov. 2, 8 PM, $37-$42, Second and State streets, Troy, 273-0038)


Also Noted

Tonight (Thursday), Jillian’s opens its new third-floor clubroom—called Ski Bar, for reasons unbeknownst to us—to the public, with a set by DJ Element; the club promises to bring “New York chic” to downtown Albany (10 PM, 432-1997). . . . Professional younger-brother Livingston Taylor returns to the area for a show at the WAMC Performing Arts Studio this Saturday (8 PM, $30, 465-5233). . . . Bring out your dead: The Rolling Stones will get the tribute treatment at Valentine’s this Saturday, with sets from the Black Fuel, Bryan Thomas, Mitch Elrod, and others (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Hardcore hooligans Murphy’s Law headline an up-and-down bill at Valentine’s on Sunday; the bill also features the Tossers, To Hell and Back, Kill Your Idols, and several others (7 PM, $12, 432-6572). . . . On Halloween night (Monday), head down to Red Square and catch the Mathematicians, who may or may not come in costume; the Genders, Parwana and the New Black open (10 PM, $5-$8, 432-8584). . . . Also on Monday, chart-topping hiphop star Kanye West brings his current tour to the Mullins Center at UMass Amherst; Keyshia Cole and American Idol third-season champ Fantasia will open (8 PM, $31-$41, 413-733-2500). . . . You’ve heard their music on television shows from Spin City to The Sopranos to Scrubs: Power-pop aces the Churchills roll into town for midday shows at the Union College Bookstore on Monday (noon, 388-6188) and RPI’s Rensselaer Union Bookstore on Tuesday (noon, 276-6555).


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