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Almost Queen

Northern Lights, Thursday

All right, we know that the “real” Queen have re-formed, with ex-Free, ex-Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers filling in for Freddie Mercury. But let’s face it: No one could fill in for Freddie, and the new Queen aren’t exactly getting rave reviews. This is a case in which, arguably, you’re better off with a tribute band. Especially if the tribute band are Almost Queen, with New Jersey-born theater-vet Joseph Russo playing Freddie. That’s right, “playing.” The mustache, the leather, the bad teeth—all right, not the bad teeth, but everything else, including the opera-in-the- gutter voice. The other guys in Almost Queen look like Brian May and company did back in the band’s heyday, too, circa 1978. And what do they sound like? What do you think? Almost Queen, dummy. (Jan. 5, 7:30 PM, $10, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park, 371-0012)

shawn colvin

Shawn Colvin

Club Helsinki, Friday

Get up close and personal with folk icon Shawn Colvin when she performs two intimate club shows at Club Helsinki tomorrow night. Though her single “Sunny Came Home” off the album A Few Small Repairs propelled her into the pop-stardom spotlight for a while back in 1997, Colvin had been building her musical canon for at least a decade prior to that—her big break into the music biz was singing backup for Suzanne Vega’s domestic-abuse anthem “Luka” in 1987. Colvin has been going strong ever since Repairs, with the release of Whole New You in 2001 and a compilation album last year called Polaroids: A Greatest Hits Collection; not to mention a holiday album in August of this year. Rolling Stone has called Colvin’s musical stylings “folk-pop powerhouse.” Check her out if you’re lucky enough to get tickets into one of tomorrow night’s shows. (Jan. 6, 7 and 10 PM, $45, 284 Main St., Great Barrington, Mass., 413-528-3394)



Benefit for DMBQ and Michelle Cable

Valentine’s, Friday and Saturday

In early November, a van car-rying psychedelic-rock band DMBQ was struck from behind while traveling from Baltimore to Brooklyn on I-95. The van rolled down an embankment, instantly killing drummer Mana “China” Nishiura (who was also the drummer for Japanese pop oddities Shonen Knife), and seriously injuring tour manager Michelle Cable. While Cable is expected to recover, she is without health insurance and faces tremendous medical bills. Benefit concerts have been set up in cities around the country to help with the mounting costs, and Valentine’s will host two such shows this weekend. Performing on Friday: the Luxury Flats, Grain and the Gestalt, Brevator, and After the Fall. On Saturday, catch Desmag, Horsespirit Penetrates, and Evolution/Revolution, followed by an indie-rock dance party. (Jan. 6-7, 8 PM, $5-7; 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Skeeter Creek Band

Caffe Lena, Sunday

In their first show of the year, and their first appearance at Caffe Lena, regional bluegrass outfit Skeeter Creek promise that they will perform an evening of original music. The three-year-old band have been touring the east coast in support of their debut disc, Ain’t Nuttin Better, building a loyal following as they hit fairs, festivals, radio shows and First Night. The Skeeter Creek lineup goes like this: Joe Kulewicz on guitar, Tim Seabolt on vocals and mandolin, Pat Attanasio on fiddle, banjo and dobo, and Nick Barr (host of WAMC’s show Bluegrass Time) on bass and vocals. Join them Sunday to hear them share songs and stories from the road. (Jan. 8, 7 PM, $8-10, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022).

Freedy Johnston

Iron Horse Music Hall, Sunday

He doesn’t have a new album to promote, so what exactly brings Freedy Johnston to the Iron Horse in Northampton this week? Who cares? Point is, he’s one of the finest singer-songwriters working in the pop idiom, and any opportunity to catch one of his live sets is worth the trek. Robert Christgau of the Village Voice called his second album (Can You Fly?) “perfect”; in turn, Johnston himself called his third and best-known album This Perfect World. Since, he’s released a steady stream of smart, slightly creepy roots-pop, including last year’s odds-and-ends collection The Way I Were. And he’s been known to cover songs by Jimmy Webb, Elton John, and Cole Porter in his live sets, so you at least know he’s got good taste. Massachusetts native Rebecca Correia opens Sunday’s show. (Jan. 8, 7 PM, $14, 20 Center St., Northampton, Mass., 413-584-0610)

Also Noted
lucy kaplansky

Young punk rockers Eyes Averted play New Age Cabaret tonight (Thursday), along with Kristen Abrams and Pretty and Nice (7 PM, $8, 436-3465). . . . At Northampton’s Iron Horse Music Hall tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday, it’s famous brother Livingston Taylor (7 PM, $21, 413-584-0610). . . . On Saturday afternoon, members of the Children’s Music Network will come together for “Singing Out for the Children of Katrina” at Steamer No. 10 Theatre; it’s a benefit for children’s arts in New Orleans, featuring Ruth Pelham and Cavanaugh & Kavanaugh, among others (4 PM, $5-$20 donation, 438-5503). . . . The ominously named Death Toll will play the Hudson Duster on Saturday; also on the bill are Driven Further, Hollow Point, and Amalgama (8 PM, $5, 687-2391). . . . Sax-and-clarinet whiz Al Gollodoro and his quartet will take the stage at Justin’s on Saturday (9:30 PM, $5, 436-7008). . . . Five Alpha Beatdown from Iceland and the Five Dollar Shakes will team up for “The Ten Dollar Reunion Show” at Lark Tavern on Saturday (10 PM, $5, 463-7875). . . . Folkstress Lucy Kaplansky returns to Club Helsinki in Great Barrington, Mass., on Sunday ($20, 413-528-3394). . . . On Wednesday, hard-partying rockers Paranoid Social Club are back in the area for a show at the Fun Spot in Queensbury; the opportunity to watch these guys play a roller-skating rink should be incentive enough to get fans headed north (6:45 PM, $15, 792-8989)

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