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Dixie Chicks

Sell all the records you want (more than 25 million), play sold-out concert tours to your heart’s content (Dixie Chicks are responsible for a few of the highest-grossing country tours of all time), but say one bad thing about the president and the whole thing goes to hell. Ask Dixie Chick Natalie Maines, a proud Texan who experienced death threats—death threats!—in the wake of a relatively innocent comment, said onstage in London, shortly after the beginning of the Iraq war: “We’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” The backlash, boycotts, and bullshit that followed eventually gave the Chicks license to withdraw from a country scene that had all but turned its back on the band, and they’re back with a new album, Taking the Long Way, and an unapologetic new single, “Not Ready to Make Nice,” co-written with Semisonic’s Dan Wilson. Taking the Long Way was produced by the inimitable Rick Rubin, and features contributions from rockers like Pete Yorn, plus members of Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Jayhawks, and (Tom Petty’s) Heartbreakers—which makes you wonder: Did country audiences shy away from Dixie Chicks because of something Maines said, or because they aren’t actually country any more?

Dixie Chicks, with special guest Anna Nalick, will perform at the Pepsi Arena (51 S. Pearl St., Albany) tomorrow (Friday, July 28). Tickets for the 8 PM show are $66 and $49.50. For more information, call (888) 30-EVENT.

Saratoga Chamber Music Festival

It doesn’t get the attention that the Philadelphia Orchestra does, but the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival has proved itself equally impressive through the years. This season seems particularly well-programmed; kudos to violinist Chantal Juillet, who is celebrating her 16th year as the festival’s music director.

This Tuesday, the SCMF will present a tribute to Mozart featuring pianist Yefim Bronfman and this year’s SPAC composer-in-residence, Bright Sheng. Concertgoers are already familiar with regular SPAC guest Bronfman’s virtuosity; Sheng’s work, which will be featured in a series of SCMF and Philadelphia Orchestra performances, should win over audiences with its inventiveness and dramatic flair. Sheng, who has written symphonic, opera and chamber music—his String Quartet No. 3 will be performed at this concert—is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow.

Saratoga Chamber Music Festival will present Yefim Bronfman and the Mozart 250th anniversary celebration concert on Tuesday (Aug. 1) at 7:30 PM at the Spa Little Theater (Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs). Tickets are $40, $35. For reservations and information, call 587-3330.

Same Spirit, Different Movement

What better way to preserve the foundations of hip-hop culture than bringing the spellbinding, rhythmic dancing to the masses? That’s exactly what Illstyle & Peace Productions do. Illstyle & Peace Productions is a New York City-based dance company whose choreography, according to their Web site, “fuses the moves and spirit of hip-hop with a variety of other disciplines.” The company are touring to exhibit a new work, Same Spirit, Different Movement, that The New York Times has called “killer.” The performance is done to live music, and incorporates pop-and-lock, ballet, folk and tap dancing, along with human beatboxing and DJs. See the talent of Illstyle & Peace Productions when they come to the Egg this weekend to present the new work.

Same Spirit, Different Movement will be performed by Illstyle & Peace Productions at the Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) on Saturday (July 29) at 7:30 PM. Tickets to this event are $15, $5 children and students. For more information or to order tickets, call 473-1845.


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