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Contemporary Artists Center, Thursday

Brendan Fowler, a super posi West Coast skater and zine producer, likely will make heads bob in the Berkshires tonight (Thursday) when he and his artsy music project play at the Robot Mansion in the Contemporary Artists Center of North Adams. He’s been called a white rapper and a motivational speaker for indie and punk kids, but his performance is more of a spoken-word conversation between him and his band’s minimalist music. The simple piano, drum, and bass beats (no, not like the ones you dance to in a trippy club) drive Fowler’s catchy words about creating art, making friends, and being positive. Barr aren’t performing with Xiu Xiu or Animal Collective on this tour, as they have in the past, but rather the New York-based soloist Marnie Stern. Her new album In Advance of the Broken Arm, co-produced with Hella’s Zach Hill on Kill Rock Stars Records, was released last month on the same day that Barr’s new album Summary came out on 5rc Records. Catch this rad show now before it heads off to Europe next month. (March 21, 9 PM, call for prices, 189 Beaver St., North Adams, Mass., 413-663-9555)

Roger McGuinn

Roger McGuinn

The Egg, Saturday

If you’ve never seen Roger Mc- Guinn’s solo act, you’ve missed something. He’s got a witty stage presence, wonderful stories, and songbook bursting with great musical material. Of course, that’s exactly what you would expect from a towering figure who was in at the birth of the 1960s folk revival and cofounded one of the three or four best rock bands of that decade, too. (You know, the Byrds.) Oh, and he plays guitar. Actually, make that a number of guitars, each with its own beautiful sound. Judging from a previous visit a few years back, McGuinn will play—and sing, he’s still got that voice—some blues, some folk and some of the greatest rock songs period. (March 24, 8 PM, $24, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)



The Last Conspirators CD-release party

Savannah’s, Saturday

The Last Conspirators are fronted by former Morons and Ghostrunner singer-songwriter Tim Livingston, who has been making music locally for three decades. The Conspirators are celebrating the release of their new disc, Warparty (Driving Rain Records), the first in 14 years for Livingston. The band describe their CD thusly: “Ten cutting, socially-charged blasts, served up as a potent molotov-cocktail of garagey-punk and soulful, electric-folk.” They’ll perform a bunch of shows to support the release of the disc; the first will be this weekend at Savannah’s. Admission price includes a copy of the CD. Local soul rocker Bryan Thomas will open the show. (March 24, 9 PM, $6, 1 S. Pearl St., Albany, 426-9647)

Lamb of God

Northern lights, Saturday

Holy sold-out mother-effing metal spectacular! The standard bearers of modern political-tinted anger metal, Lamb of God, Trivium and Machine Head, will come storming into town this weekend looking for blood, circle pits and maybe even a little Bush bashing. Opening will be a monstrosity from France—art metallers Gojira, who sing about flying whales and environmental activism. Will there be a better pure metal bill this year? That’s a question only Ronnie James Dio himself can answer. (March 24, 7 PM, $24, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park, 371-0012)

Alien Folklife

Caffe Lena, Sunday

It’s great to love what you’re doing; it’s extra-great to love where you’re doing it. In a note on their Web site, folk duo Alien Folklife (Joan Kosby, Paul Mercer) say: “Our history with this wonderful coffee house goes back a long, long way. . . . We love playing here.” Naturally they’re referring to Caffe Lena, the Saratoga Springs institution about which the duo penned a song (“Brand New Strings”) a few years back. They’ll be returning to this favored haunt on Sunday evening, to be joined by guests Susan Trump and Gary Moon. It’s fair to expect the Alien folkies to bring their (in turn) funny, thought-provoking and wistful songs, about everything from absent friends to cats, to vivid musical life. (March 25, 7 PM, $12, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)

The Bake Sale

Lark Tavern, Sunday

The Rev Records, a new local re- cord label founded by local mover and shaker Harith Abdullah, is initiating a monthly performance series to be held at the Lark Tavern on the last Tuesday of every month. This Sunday there will be a concert and bake sale (yes, you read that correctly) to kick off the series. The featured performers (all Rev artists) are Laura Boggs (whose recent CD, Whiskey & Springtime, was released in November), Tom McWatters, Matt McWatters, Jared Funari, Bessam Sam, the Xylophones, and Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned. The party will continue post-live-music with the help of DJ Lady Luck. So join the cast of the Rev Records’ family and buy my treats (unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that there will be “special” brownies available). All proceeds go to support the label. Also: We heard rumors of a rock-paper-scissors tournament taking place, but don’t quote us on that. (March 25, 8 PM, free, 453 Madison Ave., Albany, 463-9779)

Also Noted

There’s a festival going on this weekend, and it’s at Valentine’s. The name of the game is the Emergenza Music Festival and there are simply too many bands to list here. What we can tell you, though, is that the music starts tonight (Thursday) and continues through Sunday. For more information, including a comprehensive listing of acts, visit the Valentine’s Web site at (5 PM daily, call for prices, 432-6572). . . . Head downtown to check out some blues tomorrow (Friday) night at Savannah’s with local musician and magician Lil’ Jay and his Cardsharks (10 PM, $6, 426-9647). . . . Local beloved singer-songwriter Michael Eck will take the stage to perform his only scheduled solo show of 2007 at Caffe Lena on Saturday ($10-$12, 8 PM, 583-0022). . . . Also on Saturday, multiple-Grammy-winning country songstress Mary Chapin Carpenter will grace the Calvin Theatre stage in Northampton, Mass. (8 PM, $38.50-$48.50, 413-584-1444).

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