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Valerie Webb

Photo: Nick Bessette Photography

WHERE THERE’S SMOKE . . . Should you have planned to attend a concert at Clifton Park venue Northern Lights this week or last, you might have been disappointed to find the club closed. Here’s why: A small fire sparked up in a beer cooler at the venue on the evening of Wednesday, June 11. If you fear the worst (i.e. the cancellation of the upcoming Candlebox show), don’t worry—the venue suffered “minimal damage” (the club’s sprinkler system extinguished the fire almost immediately), and any more extensive damage was due to smoke and water. According to Northern Lights promotions manager Crista Leigh, there were no injuries due to the fire as nobody was in the club at the time, and the venue is expected to be back up and running in time for this Tuesday’s Summer Slaughter tour. Whether the death-metal power of that show causes any additional damage remains to be seen. In the meantime, all of the canceled dates should be rescheduled in short order, and tickets for all upcoming shows are still available for purchase through Ticketmaster and Music Today. The club’s box office will reopen Monday (June 23), and patrons are asked to keep tabs at

GOOD DEAL When I was 15, I’m pretty sure I counted my greatest victory as having collected all of the Def Leppard albums on vinyl. (Still got ’em, too. Even the Hysteria picture disc.) But 15-year-old Valerie Webb has loftier ambitions, clearly: The Albany-based singer-songwriter signed to her first music-publishing contract last month. The deal puts Webb, who also leads rock band Venomentality, on the roster of New York City-based company Mamapublooza. The company is dedicated to promoting and supporting women artists, and with their help, Webb’s music will be made available for television and film placement, among other uses. Says Mamapublooza co-founder Pilley Bianchi, “Valerie’s writing is . . . mature beyond her years. . . . She has a very distinct sound which is rare for an artist who is in her teens.” With Venomentality, Webb will next perform locally at “Battle for Edgefest” on June 26 at Northern Lights (providing all goes as planned up there); that performance could earn the group a slot onstage alongside bands like Everclear and Filter at Altamont Fairgrounds on July 27. Wish her luck, and check up on all the band’s goings-on at venomentality. For more on Mamapublooza, take a look at

DON’T THINK TWICE When I heard Bob Dylan was scheduled to play at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Aug. 17, my initial reaction was “Why?” But this week’s announcement of the inaugural Saratoga Music Festival proved that this is to be no ordinary Dylan show, no way, no how. The all-day fest turns out to be the Capital Region’s best lineup of the summer: Joining old man Bobby will be the Levon Helm Band, the Swell Season (featuring Academy Award-winning duo Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from the film Once), Bright Eyes headmaster Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, hardcore troubadour Steve Earle, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and velvety smooth Mavericks frontman Raul Malo. Tickets go on sale this Saturday at 10 AM, and there will be discounted four-packs of lawn tickets available, making this not only the best show on the SPAC schedule, but also the most cost-effective. Trust me—I caught the Swell Season’s stunning, sold-out show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City last month, and their set alone should justify the price of admission. (Not to mention a ticket to see Helm’s band typically runs in the $100-plus range.) Yes, yes, yes.

—John Brodeur

Let us know about local-music news and happenings for inclusion in Rough Mix: E-mail John Brodeur at jbrodeur or call (518) 463-2500 ext. 145.

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