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The American Babies, the Red Lions

Savannah’s, Friday

All the good ones start with friends. Tom Hamilton—of indie-jam band Brothers Past, not the Aerosmith bassist—started the American Babies while on tour with his regular band, penning a bunch of folk- and country-tinged tunes to “pass the time.” He showed his songs to his brother Jim, and to drummer Joe Russo (of the Benevento-Russo Duo), and the band was born; Particle guitarist Scott Metzger was added later to make the trio a quartet. They’re currently touring to support their self-titled debut disc, and at Savannah’s this Friday, they’ll be joined by the Capital Region’s own Red Lions, a chamber-pop ensemble that’s a little bit Eric Matthews, a little bit Mercury Rev. (Feb. 1, 9 PM, $10, 1 S. Pearl St., Albany, 426-9647)

Blue Hand Luke farewell show

Revolution Hall, Friday

It’s never too late to pursue a dream—just ask Luke McNamee. The beret-wearing sax player left behind a promising band in the early 1980s, moving to Albany from Austin, Texas, to be with his family. In 1997, he formed Blue Hand Luke, a seven-piece rock & roll outfit that went on to play taverns and parties throughout the area, becoming one of the area’s best-loved acts in the process. Now, McNamee is packing up and moving to Los Angeles to go after the success he set aside so many years ago; he’ll celebrate with one last gig in Troy this Friday night. The Hill Hollow band opens the show. (Feb. 1, 8 PM, $10, 425 River St., Troy, 274-0553)

Manchester Orchestra

Manchester Orchestra

Jack Rabbit Slims, Friday

Singer-guitarist Andy Hull started his “orchestra” all by his lonesome, home-schooling himself at age 16 so he could focus on writing and recording what would be the debut full-length from Manchester Orchestra, I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child. Needless to say the product belies Hull’s young age; Virgin is an ambitious song cycle that references Britpop, emo, and Americana with equal veracity and aplomb. Now with a full band, Hull is showcasing the songs on the road, and they’ll play the new Jack Rabbit Slims for a WEQX-sponsored show this Friday. Albany’s Severe Severe opens. (Feb. 1, 8 PM, $5, 895 Broadway, Albany, 434-4540)


Jamie McLean Band

Red Square, Saturday

Best known as the guitarist for the New Orleans classic jazz-funk institution the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Jamie McLean has circled the globe and brought that soulful bayou funk to hundreds of thousands of fans. In 2004, McLean ventured out of his slot as a guitar-slinging sideman and into the spotlight with his New York-based solo project the Jamie McLean Band. Supported on drums by his brother Carter, back-up singer Shelby Johnson, and old-time friends Jon Solo and Derek Layes on keyboards and bass, McLean now has a chance to showcase his songwriting and vocal chops. The team has already put out two albums, and according to, “McLean can do it all, songwriting, singing—and he plays a mean guitar—offering a soulful mix of rock, R&B, blues, and pop inspired music.” (Feb. 2, 9 PM, $8, 388 Broadway, Albany, 4)

Nadine Goellner

MASS MoCA, Saturday

The Arizona Daily Star describes New York City-based singer-songwriter Nadine Goellner’s voice as “hauntingly unforgettable,” and her self-penned words as “passionate and knowing lyrics that read like poetry.” Her signature sound weaves an acoustically-driven blend of folk, soul, jazz and scat that has been wowing audiences and critics nationwide since her 2002 debut album, Remember My Name, which earned her comparisons to Edie Brickell, Chaka Khan, Christina Aguilera, and Norah Jones’ Grammy-winning, multiplatinum introduction. The Cary News calls Goellner “a one-of-a-kind artist whose music encompasses countless genres and inspirations . . . a little bit of something for every musical palate.” We could keep up the raves, or you could check her out yourself at this intimate Alt Cabaret. (Feb. 2, 8 PM, $18, 87 Marshall St., North Adams, Mass., 413-622-2111)

Also Noted

The Erotics and Ashley Pond share the stage at the Skyline tonight (Thursday) for an installment of the weekly Capital Underground Live series, hosted by Ralph Renna (8 PM, free, 472-8150). . . . The Rev Records’ 2nd Annual Unreasonably Awesome Show is on both stages at Valentine’s on Friday, featuring sets from Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned, Jewish Lightning (a new band featuring members of the Kamikaze Hearts), the Martha Dumptruck Massacre, and several more (8 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . This month’s After 1st Friday show at Tess’ Lark Tavern features the Crayons and Hero Pattern (10 PM, $5, 463-9779). . . . Ernie Williams celebrates his birthday—we’re not asking which one—with a show at the WAMC Performing Arts Studio on Saturday; he and his band will be joined onstage by vocalist Jill Hughes (8 PM, $18, 465-5233 ext. 4). . . . Club Helsinki in Great Barrington, Mass., welcomes Nashville-based “underground pop hero” Will Kimbrough on Saturday; Amy Loftus opens (9 PM, $18, 413-528-3394). . . . Spouse, whose Relocation Tactics disc was one of last year’s underheard gems, play this Saturday at the Brass Cat in Easthampton, Mass.; Haunt opens (10 PM, $4, 413-527-4085). . . . It’s not St. Patty’s Day yet, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait to start partying: Two big-time Mardi Gras bashes go down this week, Saturday at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Mass., featuring Don Vappie and the Creole Jazz Serenaders (7 PM, $24-$45, 413-997-4444), and Tuesday (that’s Fat Tuesday) at Proctor’s, with music from Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies.

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