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James Taylor

Orleans and Friends

First United Methodist Church of Pittsfield, Friday

Orleans—you remember them, right? The band known for hits like “Dance With Me” and “Still the One” are in the region to film a new DVD while supporting the Jimmy Fund, the organization that supports the fight against cancer in children and adults at Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute. They chose the First United Methodist Church in Pittsfield as the backdrop for the live DVD because of the structure’s “superb” acoustics and aesthetics. Orleans founding member Larry Hoppen says, “Orleans has a history with Pittsfield. We started playing there in the early 1970s. It’s not far from Woodstock, N.Y., our home base for 25 years. We’re excited to play this beautiful old church with many longtime fans in the audience and support the Jimmy Fund.” This benefit show and the new DVD are not the only things on Orleans’ plate these days—founding member John Hall is running for Congress in New York. (Aug. 25, 6:30 PM, $32, 55 Fenn St., Pittsfield, Mass., 413-442-8282)



P.F. Sloan

Iron Horse Music Hall, Friday

Somehow it seems appropriate that, seven months after legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb made a rare appearance in the area, another, more reclusive 1960s figure is now coming around: P.F. Sloan. Sloan wrote and produced songs for the Grass Roots, and penned such hits as “A Must to Avoid” (Herman’s Hermits), “You Baby” (the Turtles), “Eve of Destruction” (Barry McGuire) and “Secret Agent Man” (Johnny Rivers). He dropped out of sight when his record label not only refused to promote his solo career—he was considered too valuable a songwriter—they also made him sign over all rights to his songs in order to let him out of his contract. Ouch. Actually, “ouch” doesn’t quite cover it; Jimmy Webb’s song “P.F. Sloan” is a fitting tribute. Now, after decades away, Sloan has recorded a new album for release this month, Sailover, with guests including Lucinda Williams and Frank Black. By now you’ve figured out this show is worthwhile. Also on the bill will be Ray Mason. (Aug. 25, 7 PM, $15, 20 Center St., Northampton, Mass., 413-584-0610)


Saratoga winners, friday

Southcott are the kind of guys who celebrate the Good Old Days of punk. (You know—1999.) They commemorate the times when a good straightforward whine, a 4/4 beat and a good grasp of Green Day could launch you to the top of TRL—the days when mascara was not required. And they pay tribute to it with a hearty cover of their punk elders Blink 182. But Flee the Scene—the title of their latest album—indicates that the band, according to their Web site, “refuses to be confined to the strict parameters of today’s punk scene.” To what artistic feats do the band aspire? To quote their site again, “The group’s five members are confident that their new songs will win over punk and emo lovers alike.” (Aug 25, 7 PM, $10, 1375 New Loudon Road, Latham,783-1010)

James Taylor

Pepsi Arena, Saturday

James Taylor saved our life—and no, not in that quasi, soul-searching sort of way. If it weren’t for the music of James Taylor, we would not be here today. You see, there was this creepy guy who lived across from us in our dorm in college. He was a gruff, bearded, woodsmen sort of dude who carried large knives around. He sometimes used them to carve wood, sometimes to poke at things. He was irritable, angry and weird, but every day after class his roommate would put on a James Taylor record and the angry woodsman would soon be sitting in a poofy chair, rocking back and forth, carving wooden spoons, listening to “How Sweet it Is.” James Taylor can soothe the savage beast like no other. What better way to spend a Friday night than melting away to the sounds of the most calming man in music? (Aug 26, 8 PM, $45-$65, 51 S. Pearl St., Albany, 487-2000)

The Crayons

Valentine’s, Saturday

“Band of one” Keith Crayon has released two records as the Crayons: an acoustic EP called 236 Astor, and the full-length disc What Color Are You?, produced and (largely) performed by New York power-pop vets the Churchills. Since their inception, the Crayons have included members of Lola Ray, Mishima USA, and Aimee Mann’s backing band; now, having recently relocated to the Capital Region from New Jersey (a good choice, we’d say), Crayon (not necessarily his real name) has enlisted members of area rock/R&B group Teknique to help color in his thoughtful pop tunes. Catch the band in action this Saturday at Valentine’s, along with Hero Pattern and Readymade Breakup. (Aug. 26, 9 PM, $5, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Also Noted
Tonight (Thursday), catch long-lost guitar hero Eric Johnson and his band at the Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie (8 PM, $28.50, 845-471-1966). . . . On point: Nonpoint will headline a rock-hard bill at Northern Lights tomorrow (Friday); Silent Civilian, Seemless, and Ankla are also on the bill (7 PM, $12, 371-0012). . . . Also on Friday, the Sadies and Heavy Trash—that’s Blues Explosion leader Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray (formerly of Madder Rose and Speedball Baby)—take the stage at Bearsville Theater in Woodstock (9 PM, $15, 845-679-4406). . . . The Holmes Brothers will turn out another blues marathon this Sunday at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center (8 PM, $18, 413-662-2111). . . . Funky SoCal rockers Under The Influence of Giants, whose single and video “Mama’s Room” have been earning them comparisons to Maroon 5 (in a good way, natch), will play a free show at the Van Dyck on Tuesday (7 PM, free, 381-1111). . . . Explore something: Marah Mar, Banana Hands, and Che Guevara T-Shirt are at Valentine’s on Tuesday (8 PM, $5, 432-6572).

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