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“Dr. Dirty” John Valby

Northern Lights, Friday

Christmas week is notoriously light for live music, thus this blurb on the notoriously lowbrow (no-brow?) John Valby. That’s not to say we dislike the notoriously lowbrow, but Valby’s not exactly the kind of guy who needs the (indecent) exposure, having, uh, crafted a very successful 30-year-plus career as the supremely filthy Dr. Dirty. So in light of the season, we present a short list of Christmas songs we hope to hear at Dr. Dirty’s show on Friday: “I Saw Mommy [expletive deleted] Santa’s [expletive deleted],” “The Twelve Pornos of Christmas,” “Silver Bells . . . I Mean, Balls,” “Lesbians We Have Heard on High,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little [expletive deleted],” “Have A Holly Jolly Christmas—and Some Holly Jolly Sex, Too,” “O Fucking Town of Bethlehem.” (Dec. 21, 7 PM, $15, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park, 371-0012)


Wholesale Klezmer Band

Caffe Lena, Saturday

Each December Yosl Kurland and his troupe pack onto the Caffe Lena stage to help Saratoga celebrate Hanukkah through traditional Yiddish folk music, a unique way to connect with history. The traditional klezmer ensemble performs in both English and Ashkenazic Hebrew with danceable, swinging music featuring violin, viola, trombone and more. Yosl and his group specialize in making the traditional Jewish folk tradition accessible to the English-speaking world, keeping the audience engaged using comedy and translations and toe-tapping compositions that make it hard to keep still. Founded in western Massachusetts, the Wholesale Klezmer Band have been performing at weddings and other religious rites, as well as at educational programs and on the concert stage, for 25 years, even making appearances at President Clinton’s Inauguration in 1993 and the 100th anniversary at Carnegie Hall along the way. Some call it spiritual, others call it an expression of values that transcends cultural divides. (Dec. 22, 8 PM, $15, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)

Leah Randazzo Group

Club Helsinki, Saturday

Leah Randazzo may yet be a kid—she’s 23, and looks all of 14—but she’s got a big-girl voice. And that voice is what makes her one of western Massachusetts’ great hopes. Sure, she’s got some decent songs too, like funky, cocksure album-opener “My Weapon” and smoky bossa nova ballad “Turns to Grey” (both from her recent solo release At the Root), but more than anything it’s her voice, an instrument about three times as big as Randazzo herself, that could thrust her onto iPods and Starbucks counters everywhere. See for yourself when she and her big, horn-laden band play Club Helsinki this weekend. (Dec. 22, 9 PM, $12, 284 Main St., Great Barrington, Mass., 413-528-3394)

Tim Janis

The Egg, Saturday

Tim Janis is one of those people who make you seem heartless and lazy no matter how much money you give to bell-wielding Santas outside of shopping malls. His “Music with a mission” efforts have included raising money to benefit HIV-AIDS projects in South Africa, a tour of China to better Chinese-American relations, and Music of Hope, a benefit album he organized to benefit the National Cancer Society. Janis sold more than one million albums and has conducted the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the Czech National Symphony, and the Kwazulu Natal Philharmonic over his 15-year career. He has worked with Paul McCartney, Billy Joel and Ray Charles, and his nationally televised specials have been narrated by George Clooney and James Earl Jones. (Dec 22, 8 PM, $20, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)

The Machine

Revolution Hall, Saturday

Life in a Pink Floyd tribute band sure must be gritty. You practice all those years only to end up shelving your dreams of rock stardom in favor of rehashing some other band’s music night after night. You play in a band where more people pay attention the freaking lightshow than to you or your performance. You’re on giant-inflatable-pig duty once, maybe twice a week. And your take-home pay is barely a pittance, not to mention a per diem that barely covers two PB&J sandwiches each day. Wait, what’s that you say? The Machine are taking in more than 10 grand a show? Forget everything we just said—we’re starting a Pink Floyd tribute band! (Dec. 22, 7 PM, $17.50, 425 River St., Troy, 274-0553)

Also Noted


There’s no place like home for the holidays: Super 400 play their first area show in some time tomorrow (Friday) night at Revolution Hall; also on the bill are the Kamikaze Hearts, the Sense Offenders and Sean Rowe. In the spirit of the season, they’re asking concertgoers to bring donations of food for Unity House, so can up, y’all (7 PM, $10, 274-0553). . . . Folk-rockers Basement Band play Red Square on Friday, along with Palatypus and Grimis; the Brooklyn-based act count two Albany expats among their ranks (9 PM, $7, 465-0444). . . . The Figgs play their annual holiday show at Valentines this Saturday, with the Staziaks opening (9 PM, $10, 432-6572); on Sunday, they’ll tone it down for another Santa-tacular at Caffe Lena (7 PM, $8, 583-0022). . . . And last but certainly not least, the one and only Santa Claus will make an appearance sometime this Tuesday morning in your living room; be nice and leave the tazer on the nightstand.

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