We couldn’t think of anything new to say about the Trans-Siberian
Orchestra’s annual visit, so here’s what we said last year—er,
two years ago: “Imagine if Queensrÿche were to perform something
called Operation: Nütcracker and you’re in the ballpark
of what the Trans-Siberian Orchestra might have to offer.
Since 1996, Paul O’Neill, Robert Kinkel and ex-Savatage vocalist
(we just had to mention that) Jon Oliva have been slicing,
dicing and mostly shredding traditional holiday music to create
their unique spin on the seasonal standards. By pairing heavy-metal
guitars and drums with full orchestration, the TSO have sold
millions of records and become something of a seasonal standard
in their own right.” Here’s proof: There are now two touring
companies of this production. Excellent! (Dec. 22, 4 and
8 PM, $40-$50, 51 S. Pearl St., Albany, 800-30-EVENT)
They always come running back. Friday’s lineup at the Lark
looks like something that might have happened in, oh, 2004:
Heart-on-sleeve alternapopper Brian Bassett and heart-in-the-ashtray
alt-country collective knotworking will team up for what is
being billed as a “homecoming.” Bassett bolted the area for
Raleigh, N.C., early this year, leaving behind a couple of
rather good releases (Rock and Roll, Nothing to
Lose); no official word on his current status, but we
have a feeling he’ll have more to offer in the coming months.
Knotworking leader Ed Gorch took his act to Brooklyn a few
years back, and is currently working on a few projects there;
he’ll reunite with a few of his old bandmates for this show,
and he’s made vague promises about a fourth knotworking record
in 2007. Hold him to it. (Dec. 22, 10 PM, $5, 463 Madison
Ave., Albany, 463-9779)
Annual Ghosts of Hardcore Past
Operation Ivy are scheduled to headline over the Buzzcocks
this Friday, and opening for them are the Violent Femmes and—get
this—Weezer. OK, yeah, so . . . not really. The deal is this:
An eclectic mix of local bands are getting together to perform
sets of covers of their influential alt-punk forefathers.
(Yes, we just called Weezer an influential alt-punk forefather.
It has come to that.) But we have to admit, we’re really excited
by the clash of styles that the show promises to produce.
We really sort of dig Evixxion’s Joy Division cover, so we
have high hopes for the sludgesters’ take on “My Name Is Jonas”
(Please tell us you’re covering “My Name is Jonas!”). (Dec.
22, 7 PM, $10, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)
103.1 Yule Rock
The folks at Channel 103.1 FM are all about the holiday cheer.
To prove it, they’ve expanded their annual Yule Rock concert
to a two-night event. Night one (Friday) features the unfortunately
named alternative-rockers-on-the-rise Red Jumpsuit Apparatus,
plus the Audition, Patent Pending, and Moros Eros. Night two
(Saturday) is a decidedly more punishing affair (for those
on the “naughty” list, we presume) featuring the Stillborn
Fest. The event is headlined by ho-ho-hardcore heavies Hatebreed;
and the packed lineup features sets from God Forbid, Full
Blown Chaos, Subzero, the Risk Taken, Scurvy, Recon, Brick
by Brick, and Johnny Mathis. Just kidding on that last one.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good ni-i-i-i-ght! (Dec.
22, 7 PM, $12; Dec. 23,5 PM, $18, 1208 Route 146, Clifton
Loder & Friends
If you’re still feeling that egalitarian Christmas vibe on
the day after, boogie over to Great Barrington’s Club Helsinki.
There you will find neo-hippie poet-nomad Jordan Loder “combining
reggae, folk and rock,” and alternating between “hard truths
and tender invocations” in his original compositions. Dude
will be joined by a variety of Berkshire notables, including
three MacVeetys (Bob, Sue and Max), Steve Ide, Jeff Stephens
and many more. It’s kind of a homecoming for Western Massachusetts-born
Loder, so look for old friends and kind buds. Opening will
be Rob Sanzone’s Bah Humbugs. (Dec. 26, 8 PM, $12, 284
Main St., Great Barrington, Mass., 413-528-3394)
you like your dreamy pop sounds mixed with big
gleaming slabs of classical romanticism, check
out Michael Amante at Proctor’s Theatre
tomorrow (Friday) night. Tony Bennett says the
dude’s the next Mario Lanza, and the times demand
another Mario Lanza (8 PM, $19.75-$77.50, 346-6204).
. . . Saturday night at Red Square: Super-happy-tastes-like-candy
pre-Xmas fun with Kitty Little, the Luxury
Flats, Evolution Revolution and Scientific
Maps. Go ahead and indulge, it’s too close
to Christmas for Santa to notice (9 PM, $5, 465-0444).
. . . Also Saturday, another dance-tastic international/Latin
party with Babaloo at Club Helsinki (9
PM, $15, 413-528-3394). . . . Let us take you
down, ’cause we’re going to—Schenectady. Specifically,
the Van Dyck on Wednesday night to dig Tom
Raider. He will be channeling John Lennon
in his Imagining Lennon show (8 PM, $15,
381-1111). . . . Or, you could saddle up with
the New Riders of the Purple Sage and go
lookin’ for “Panama Red,” also on Wednesday, at
the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton (7 PM,