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Ember Swift

UAlbany Page Hall, Thursday

Ember Swift is an old friend here in the Capital Region, going back to her turn-of-the-century visits to pass-the-hat places like Mother Earth’s Café. The popular singer-songwriter recently finished a tour of Australia (“We had a great time,” she notes on her Web site). She also just put the finishing touches on a new album; The Dirty Pulse will be released in April. You can bet Swift will perform a few of the new tunes when she plays Page Hall tonight, where she will be paired with her longtime accompanist, Lyndell Montgomery. Not much else to add, except to remind you that Swift’s a . . . Canadian. How Canadian is she? Here’s an entry from her Web site: “Life is beautiful in its winter crispness (temperature is -25 degrees today with the wind chill) and the glistening light outside of my window today is magnificent.” OK, eh? Activist-writer-performer Imani Henry will open the show. (March 23, 7 PM, $2, UAlbany students free, 135 Western Ave., Albany, 210-9563)


Northern Lights, Friday

Buckethead—the man who wears an upside-down Kentucky Fried Chicken container on his head and covers it with a hockey mask—can really shred. He also claims he was raised by chickens. While his fretwork has given him the opportunity to work with a number of music luminaries, including W. Axl Rose, Serj Tankian of System of a Down, and Bootsy Collins, his eccentricities may have cost him a few gigs. Ozzy Osbourne once told Revolver magazine, “I tried out that Buckethead guy. I met with him and asked him to work with me but only if he got rid of the fucking bucket. So I came back a bit later and he’s wearing this green fucking Martian’s-hat thing. I said, ‘Look, just be yourself!’ He told me his name was Brian, so I said that’s what I’d call him. He says, ‘No one calls me Brian except my mother.’ So I said, ‘Pretend I’m your mum then!’ ” Yes, this guy even creeps out Ozzy. Tell us you don’t wanna check him out now. (March 24, 7:30 PM, $14, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park, 371-0012)

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

Valentine’s, Saturday

We are highly intrigued by this one, as we just so happen to be painfully alone. As it turns out, however, Owen Ashworth’s music is also suitable for the comfortably alone, as well as many relationship-bound folks. Ashworth, a film-school dropout, made the first three Casiotone for the Painfully Alone albums using only battery-operated keyboards and electronics (hence the moniker); for this year’s Etiquette, he expanded the formula to include all manner of “normal” instruments. His lyrics are dark, affecting, and often deeply funny; his music jumps from schizo synth-pop to lushly orchestrated melancholia. The Donkeys and Gun Christmas will open Saturday night’s show. (March 25, 9 PM, $5, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

engelbert humperdinck

Engelbert Humperdinck

Proctor’s Theatre, Saturday

Tom Jones and Engelbert Hump erdinck in the same year? Who says we don’t have it good around these parts. For those of us who’ve been around the block, Humperdinck—who took his attention- getting name from the 19th-century European composer of the opera Hansel and Gretel—needs no introduction. He’s the smooth crooner who has made the ladies melt with his baritone voice for decades. If Tom Jones rocks ’em hard, then Engelbert rocks ’em easy. (And gets the same results.) When Engelbert sings “Release Me,” the ladies scream “Never!” For you younger folks, ponder this: Hump erdinck’s manly crooner-on-a-motorcycle image made David Hasselhoff possible. Of course, the crooner even tops Hasselhoff on friendly territory; in Germany, Humper -dinck is simply known as “Engelbert.” Dude. (March 25, 8 PM, $19.75-$47.75, 432 State St., Schenectady, 346-6204)

Relient K

Relient K, the Rocket Summer

Northern Lights, Saturday

Relient K admit that “The Matt Hoopes Birthday Tour” is a dumb name, but they explain that the tour kicked off on their guitar player’s birthday, so they decided to treat every show like a celebration. And celebrate they should, as they are selling out shows from coast to coast. Their music, a mixture of satire and seriousness, gives insight into their spirituality, while also reflecting their distinctive sardonic personalities. Relient K will be joined by the Rocket Summer, a pop-rock & roll creation of Bryce Avery, songwriter, guitar and piano player, producer, and performer. The hard-working Avery has produced several records and toured all over the world—and he’s only 22. The Rocket Summer and Relient K, along with opening act Maxeen, are likely to give their fans something to celebrate as well. (March 25, 6 PM, $14, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park, 371-0012)

Also Noted

Funky acoustic-guitar guy Ryan Montbleau brings his band to Red Square tonight (Thursday); No Outlet will open (9 PM, $5, 432-8584). . . . Also tonight, the Brad Mehldau Trio will play the Iron Horse in Northampton, Mass. (7 PM, $20, 413-584-0610). . . . For those experimentally minded pop lovers out there, Nodal Nim and Harry Pyle play Ground Zero (on the RPI campus) tomorrow (Friday) night (8 PM, $3, . . . Organ Harvest will hold a release party for their new disc, Eradicate, at the Hudson Duster on Friday; Disciples of Berkowitz, Disregard, Playing the Victim, and Dying Reflection will join the celebration (8 PM, $10, 687-2391). . . . Kitty Little and the Wasted headline a benefit for the Homeless Action Committee at Valentine’s on Friday; Perfect, the Jury, Bell County Silence, Creedence (you’ll see), Aficionado, and Evixxion are also scheduled to perform (7:30 PM, $7, 432-6572). . . . Witch, a new band featuring members of Feathers, plus the wily J. Mascis on drums, will hold their CD-release party at the Iron Horse this Sunday; the Believers open (10 PM, $13, 413-584-0610). . . . Another CD release? Yup: Amherst, Mass.-based Americana act the Amity Front will celebrate the release of Highway Bound at the Ale House in Saturday night (8 PM, $5, 272-9740). . . . The mighty Akron/Family return to Valentine’s for an early show this Wednesday night; Brent Gorton and the Tender Breasts are also on the bill (7 PM, $5, 432-6572).

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