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Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials

WAMC Performing Arts Center, Friday

If ever a man was destined to play the blues, Lil’ Ed Williams is it. Williams has the blues running through his blood—his uncle and mentor was the J.B. Hutto, the great Chicago slide guitarist and recording artist. A player of the guitar, drums and bass by the age of 12, Williams and his band, the Blues Imperials, were “discovered” after years of playing tiny Chicago clubs—on top of working 10-hour days at a car wash—by Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer. After one session in the studio, Iglauer signed them to a full album contract, which resulted in the band’s debut album, Roughhousin’, released in 1986. A couple of decades later, Williams and his Blues Imperials are still rocking—they released their latest album, Rattleshake, last year. They’ll perform tomorrow (Friday) at the Linda Norris Auditorium in the WAMC Performing Arts Center. (April 27, 8 PM, $8, 331 Central Ave., Albany, 465-5233 ext. 4)

Pat Martino Quartet

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Friday

Pat Martino’s career has been impressive in several ways, but what’s most impressive is that it didn’t end in 1980, when he suffered a serious brain aneurysm that left him with no recollection of his family, the guitar, or his career. Through determination and help from family and friends, Martino made a complete recovery and issued his next album in 1987. And today, at 62, he’s still going strong: He released two albums in 2006. A recipient of numerous honors and four Grammy nominations, Martino prefers to stay humble and low-key, teaching guitar clinics and meeting people. The guitar, he says, isn’t important. “The people it brings to me are what matter,” his says in his bio. “They are what I’m extremely grateful for, because they are alive. The guitar is just an apparatus.” (April 27, 8 PM, $28 and $25, 30 2nd St., Troy, 273-0038)

Dr. Dog

Dr. Dog

Pearl Street Nightclub, Friday

Philadelphia’s Dr. Dog are not real doctors. They are, however, an interesting new(ish) band whose music is equal parts the Band and the Flaming Lips, and whose recording technique has apparently not progressed past 1973 or so. As they reveal on their Web site, the members “are interested in three-part harmonies, the out-of-doors, hoagies, vegetables and diminished chords.” (Add copious amounts of bong smoke and that sounds like a formula.) The latest Dr. Dog record, We All Belong, is a fun-filled psych-folk romp; it sounds a bit like the Beatles’ White Album condensed into a third of the running time. Catch the band when they play Pearl Street this weekend, along with the Teeth and Hoots and Hellmouth (April 27, 8:30 PM, $10, 10 Pearl St., Northampton, Mass., 413-584-7771)



Peter Young Benefit Show

Valentine’s, Friday

This show is part of a series of bene fits to help cover medical costs for Peter Young, whose brother Nate is a member of Michigan noise troupe Wolf Eyes. Young was severely burned in February of this year while attempting to rescue his dog, Little John, from an apartment fire. Little John, sadly, did not survive; and Young, also sadly, did not have medical or property insurance. You can do your part to help out by dropping a few bucks in the barrel this Friday at Valentine’s and listening to music from Zahnarzt, Can’t, Complicated Shirt, Ross Goldstein, Babysitter, and Oh My Fucking God! If you can’t make it but would like to help, PayPal donations can be sent to (April 27, 8 PM, $10, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Deborah Holland

Caffe Lena, Friday

Deborah Holland, the California-based singer-songwriter and academic who has built up solid a following on the contemporary folk circuit over the last decade, was but one cartwheel away from becoming a cheerleader. That might have set her on a different path, one that wouldn’t have led to her fronting the band Animal Logic, the trio she was in with ex-Police-man Stewart Copeland and jazz ace Stanley Clarke, and who performed on Late Night with David Letterman and Tonight. Happily, she couldn’t turn a cartwheel and didn’t make her high-school cheerleading squad, so she could turn her full attention to writing songs. Her latest batch are featured on the album Bad Girl Once, which is earning some nice reviews from as far away as New Zealand—and Kiwis can’t be wrong, can they? (April 27, 8 PM, $15, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)


Red Square, Saturday

Here is, almost verbatim, a recent exchange between two Metroland editors: “What’s the band’s name?” “Passafire.” “I’ll bet they’re a bunch of white guys playing reggae.” Sure enough, Passafire’s own Web bio describes the band as “managing to combine roots-reggae with contemporary rock,” while their Web photos confirm their Caucasian-ness. These Southern-fried—or should we say baked?—dudes have earned a regional reputation for their jammy mix of sounds, with Connect Savannah (Ga.) noting that they “draw well”—as in crowds, not pictures—and that they’re “following in the footsteps of bands like the Police, the Clash, 311 and Sublime.” So they’ve got that going for them. Also on the bill will be Route 44. (April 28, 8 PM, $7, 388 Broadway, Albany, 465-0444)

Also Noted

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, the new record by Spoon, doesn’t hit stores for another few months, but you can hear a preview of some of the new goodness when the band play the ballroom at Pearl Street in Northampton, Mass., tomorrow (Friday), along with David Vandervelde and the Moon Station House (8:30 PM, $21, 413-584-7771). . . . NRBQ and the Whole Wheat Horns have two special—and pricey!—engagements in Northampton this weekend: Friday, they play the intimate at Iron Horse Music Hall (7 PM, $100, 413-584-0610); Saturday, they move to the more spacious Calvin Theater (8 PM, $50-$125, 413-584-1444). . . . Contrary to previous reports, this Saturday’s Siena College stop of the Campus Consciousness tour, featuring Guster and the Format, is not open to the public. Sorry, kids. . . . The newly formed Albany All Stars roller-derby team will throw a party—and recruit new skaters—at Tess’ Lark Tavern this Saturday, with live music from Hector on Stilts and DJ Lady Luck (9 PM, $5, 463-7875). . . . King’s Tavern is again active as a live-music spot; this Saturday’s show features Empire State Troopers, Hudson Rivieras, Gun Christmas, and Complicated Shirt (9 PM, $5, 581-7090). . . . Singer-songwriter Jeffrey Gaines is at Daisy Baker’s on Saturday; Sean Rowe opens (9 PM, $15, 266-9200). . . . On Tuesday, Colorado’s Rose Hill Drive, recently named one of 2007’s 10 Artists to Watch by Rolling Stone and fresh off an opening stint for the Who(!), return for another round of rock & roll action at Red Square, along with like-minded locals Super 400 and College for Criminals (9 PM, $10, 465-0444).

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