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The Backyardigans Live!

We Metroland editorial staffers tend to be mildly cynical, to say the least. But it would take more bitterness than even we can muster to dislike a plump blue cartoon penguin with a propeller hat and a panic disorder. For those of you who have managed to avoid toy aisles and children’s TV programming for the past four years, we’re talking about Pablo, the bubbly and neurotic leading man of The Backyardigans.

Pablo and his CGI-animated friends (including a shy kangaroo, a cool-headed moose, and a fashion-savvy hippo) have jumped off the small screen and hit the road for a live tour of their “Tale of the Mighty Knights.” And, this week, the Backyardigans’ adventures in medieval mayhem are bringing them to Albany’s Palace Theatre.

The colorful, musical crew that’s so popular with the little ones will come alive on the Palace Theatre stage (19 Clinton Ave, Albany) this Wednesday (April 30) for two shows (4 and 7 PM). Tickets range from $18.50 to $38.50. For more information or to order tickets, call the box office at 465-4663.

Between a Rock and a Tiny Bell

First, we’ll directly quote what the poobahs at EMPAC are calling this multi-band concert, titled Between a Rock and a Tiny Bell: “An evening with new alchemies of punk, heavy metal, jagged complexity, Scottish pipe music, ’70s psychedelia, old-school European free improv and (gasp!) gritty minimalism.”

Now, here’s our breakdown of the five acts on the bill. L.A.-based noise rockers Health have been described as combining “artfully crafted noise and raw synth, haunting monotone vocals, and drum skills that are borderline insane.” Free-jazz titans Han Bennink and Peter Bröztmann are the real, hard-core deal; The New York Times wrote (in 2006) that “each is a pillar of the European free- improvising scene, and a touchstone for the rambunctious wing of the contemporary avant-garde.” Blarvuster, from what we managed to check out online, sound like Celtic-Indonesian prog. The Zs, according to Pitchfork, play “worked-out rock etudes that kids with beards and concentrated stares prick up their ears for.” Finally, Pennsylvania’s Black Moth Super Rainbow (pictured) hearken back to otherworldly, tricked-out, vintage psychedelia.

Between a Rock and a Tiny Bell will take place tomorrow (Friday, April 25) at 7:30 PM at the RPI Armory (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 15th Street and Sage Avenue, Troy). Admission is free. For more info, call the EMPAC event hotline at 276-3921.


Philadanco, aka the Philadelphia Dance Company, is acclaimed for “its unrivaled ability to bring the passion and power of the day’s most highly regarded African-American choreographers to the stage.” The company will bring examples of this cutting-edge choreography to the Egg tomorrow (Friday) night.

In an interview with the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger a few weeks ago, company founder (and executive artistic director) Joan Myers Brown described the group’s approach to dance as “very physical. It’s very demanding.” Their latest programs touch on African-American history and themes, and celebrate the beauty of pure movement.

Philadanco will perform tomorrow (Friday, April 25) at 8 PM at the Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany). Tickets are $24 general admission, $20 seniors and $12 children. For more info, call 473-1845.

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