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The Tossers

Red Square, Friday

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: The Tossers are a seven-piece band who were “raised on the South Side of Chicago”—an area with an enormous Irish Catholic population—and now play “their own brew of Celtic music fueled by a love of traditional folk songs and punk rock fury.” Substitute “Boston” for “Chicago” and you’ve got yourself an entire subgenre. But we’ll stop there with the negativity—they’re not the Dropkick Murphys, after all. In fact, on several tracks from their current release, The Valley of the Shadow of Death, them there Tossers sound an awful lot like some authentic Irish Catholics—namely, the Pogues. And that’s a very good thing. Rest your liver tonight so you might punish it tomorrow: The Tossers play Red Square tomorrow (Friday), along with the Siderunners and the Designer Drugs. (Sept. 22, 8 PM, $10, 388 Broadway, Albany, 432-8584)

Tom Rush

WAMC Performing Arts Center, Saturday

Tom Rush has influenced many generations of music since he got his start in the early ’60s, and we suspect that his performance at WAMC’s intimate Linda Norris Auditorium will be the perfect venue for him to entertain his audience with his mix of bluesy and folksy ballads. When it comes to his music, Rush is deeply serious and can easily move a crowd, but he also breaks up and balances his intense performances with sardonic humor and endless stories. Fellow singer-songwriter James Taylor once told Rolling Stone, “Tom was not only one of my early heroes, but also one of my main influences.” Rush has worked on a plethora of projects with artists like Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Emmylou Harris. With his already-huge fan base, Rush won’t have much to prove, only a reputation to live up to. (Sept. 23, 8 PM, $25, call for tickets, 339 Central Ave., Albany, 465-5233, ext. 4)

Claudia Schmidt

Caffe Lena, Sunday

Thirty years into her career and still going strong, Claudia Schmidt will make an appearance at Caffe Lena this weekend, where she’ll perform anything from torch songs to bawdy verse. It seems a unanimous notion that one can never know what to expect at a Schmidt concert, as she likes to mix it up as much as possible, refusing to be pigeonholed into any one category (she describes herself as a “creative noisemaker”). A critic at the San Francisco Bay Guardian wrote about Schmidt, “The world is a better place because Claudia Schmidt shares her ‘wonder blow-outs’ in songs, poems and stories. . . . Schmidt shines best in concert, where the full range of her talents comes spontaneously to bear.” Check out this songstress for yourself on Sunday. (Sept. 24, 7 PM, $15, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)

Thomas Dolby

Iron Horse Music Hall, Wednesday

Say it with us: Science! Thomas Dolby brought geek culture to the top of the pop charts 23 years ago, but until this year, fans haven’t been able to see the song performed live: He played his first public solo show in a quarter-century just this January, and his schedule is indeed sparse, so his few Northeast dates are something of a big deal. And, we should add, he’s doing it because he enjoys it, not because he needs the dough: To wit, his company Beatnik, Inc., was responsible for making the software used to create polyphonic ringtones. We’re guessing there’s some serious bank in that. (Not to mention that he played keys on Pyromania—hello, performance royalties!) So, all you Keytar fans, get on out there and catch what may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience—just don’t ask the guy to play “Rock of Ages,” OK? (Sept. 27, 7 PM, $25, 20 Center St., Northampton, Mass., 413-584-0610)

Melefluent

the Van dyck, Wednesday

Melefluent, a self-professed funk-blues-hip-hop-reggae band who hail from Idaho, are often mistaken for a metal band, according to the band members. When the trio take the stage, however, this idea is quickly put to rest. The trio, who started as an instrumental-jam band seven years ago, alternate between (and sometimes merge) jazzy riffs, reggae beats, and more than a little “honky” twang. They cite their influences as ranging from Bob Marley to NOFX, so you never know quite what to expect from a Melefluent show, though we do know that they often throw in classic covers of bands like the Rolling Stones. Having gained some substantial national acclaim with the release of their first album, 2004’s Leap Before You Look, the trio are recently back on the road after putting in some serious studio time for their sophomore album, Ways to Create. Melefluent will take the stage Wednesday night at the Van Dyck. (Sept. 27, Van Dyck, 237 Union St., Schenectady, 381-1111)


The Yellow Swans

The Yellow Swans

Valentine’s, Wednesday

The Yellow Swans totally rock, in the sense that they totally, utterly do not, and never will actually rock. Each of their songs . . . er . . . soundscapes pulse with the promise of an all-out explosion. But the Yellow Swans aren’t about all-out rocking. They are more about maiming, sonically disorienting, lobotomizing listeners with their psychedelic-industrial trances that ring with stinging feedback and drum machines distorted into ecstasy. They are Einstürzende Neubauten with less song structure, Wolf Eyes with way less wolf. Pet Sounds this is not. Sure, you could bring your earplugs in hopes that their prodding sound manipulations won’t reprogram your brain—but really, where is the fun in that? (Sept 27, 7:30 PM, $5, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

 

 


Also Noted
Powerman 5000
Get your twang on with Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart at Caffe Lena tomorrow (Friday, 583-0022). . . . You would think they’d have upgraded by now: Powerman 5000 will return to Northern Lights on Friday, along with local powermen Sofa Kingz, Pile of Heads, and Dead-Lift (7:30 PM, $15, 371-0012). . . . Overit Records and 104.9 FM’s Capital Underground show present a variety of area heavies at Northern Lights on Saturday: The bill includes performances from the Clay People, Dead Rabbits, Gunther Weezul, Grey Sky Sunday, and Die Pretty—not the Aussie alt-rockers (that’s Died Pretty), but former members of the Flying Bobbz ($10, 7 PM, 371-0012). . . . In the immortal words of Beavis, “I’m hoping to do some sluts too! Are there a lot of sluts in Las Vegas?” Maybe, but the band known as the Sluts will be at Valentine’s on Sunday as part of a punk-rock bill that also features After the Fall, In Unrest, and the Homefront (8 PM, $5, 432-6572).

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