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Trina Hamlin, Natalia Zukerman

Moon and River Café, Thursday

Two big personalities will squeeze into the Moon and River tonight. Minneapolis-born Trina Hamlin is a Berklee grad and a light on the NYC folk scene—not to mention a very busy woman. In addition to producing six albums of original material, she’s participated in a number of side projects, licensed music to a host of television shows (y’all remember a little show called Dawson’s Creek?), and performed at Big Time Folk Fests like Newport and Falcon Ridge. Joining Hamlin for tonight’s show is fellow NYC-based performer Natalia Zukerman, whose style would be sold short if simply categorized in one word. Indeed, Zukerman—who comes from an outrageously talended family—is an accomplished singer and guitarist who trips between blues, bluegrass and jazz, in addition to folk. That is to say, she’s more Joni than Ani. (July 31, 9 PM, free, 115 S. Ferry St., Schenectady, 382-1938)

The Police

The Police, Elvis Costello and the Imposters

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Friday

Even though we’re not the gambling kind (drunken billiards wagers at the office holiday party don’t count!), we’d be willing to bet serious money that this turns out to be the biggest show of the SPAC summer season—weather allowing, of course. Sting, Stewart and Andy put aside their many differences last year to take a victory lap (and rake in some serious dough); true to their word, they’re wrapping up and calling it quits for good next Thursday in New York City—without producing a single new song during the reunion. Which is unfortunate, we say, because the Police were always more a studio band than a live act. To that end, watch out for Elvis Costello and his current band in their “opening” set—the guy is one of the most consistently great performers of his generation. We’d also be willing to bet Elvis smokes the Police, but then we’re only betting Monopoly money in the first place. Who wants in? (Aug. 1, 7:30 PM, $46-$231, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, 476-1000)


The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards

Empire State Plaza, Saturday

The headline booking on this year’s African American Family Day at the Empire State Plaza is one a rare coup—in that we know of at least two 13-year-olds who are passing up a chance to see the freaking Jonas Brothers in favor of the legendary Motown singing team. And you shouldn’t be thrown off by the word “review” in their name—Dennis Edwards is one of the very best of the numerous former Temps frontmen. You’ll know him well from the opening verse of “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”; he handles the entire catalog with equal aplomb. We’re more than a little bummed that Grandmaster Flash, who was on the original slate of performers for this Saturday’s show, will not be appearing as scheduled—but look! They got Rahzel! The human beatbox! We don’t have a schedule handy, but we’ll bet he goes on somewhere around, oh, 4:20. (Aug. 2, noon, free, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-0559)

Zappa Plays Zappa

The Egg, Tuesday

The spirit of Frank Zappa lives on. Zappa’s son, Dweezil Zappa, takes the stage with six other relatively unknown Zappa-devoted musicians, to recreate the insanely genius works of the late, great musician, who died in 1993 of prostate cancer. Playing Zappa’s complex, genre-spanning compositions is no easy feat, even for his 39-year-old son. During his 30-plus-year career, the elder Zappa created over 60 albums, and Zappa Plays Zappa reconstructs some of Zappa’s most technically difficult works—note for note. Dweezil practices the meticulous music in Frank’s old recording studio, the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen, and even integrates some of his dad’s original equipment into his stage show. Joined by special guest Ray White, who toured with Frank in the 1970s and ‘80s, Dweezil has one goal with ZPZ—to immortalize the music of his father. More power to him. (Aug. 5, 8 PM, $29-$43, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)

American Idols Live

Times Union Center, Wednesday

The TV series that spawned superstars Chris Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, and Kelly Clarkson is hitting the road at over 50 venues nationwide this summer, allowing fans to witness the magic (and tragedy) of seeing a mix of their favorite Idol stars perform live. The show at the Times Union Center is not competitive—there will be no breathtakingly blunt criticism from Simon Cowell, and no tabloid-worthy drunken antics from Paula Abdul—but for some of these not-quite-stars, the pressure is on. Rock, reggae, pop, country, and hip-hop are all in the cards for Wednesday night, with AI season seven’s Michael Johns busting out crotch- grabbing covers of Aerosmith’s “Dream On” and Queen’s “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions,” while the self-described “black Christina Aguilera,” Syesha Mercado, will help the audience grind to Rhianna’s “Umbrella.” That’s entertainment. (Aug. 6, 7 PM, $39.50-$68.50, 51 S. Pearl St. Albany, 800-30-EVENT)

Also Noted
Lez Zeppelin

Dance to some of the most resilient music of the early ‘70s when War take the Alive at Five stage tonight; local R&B’ers Solid Smoke open (5 PM, free, 434-2032). . . . Also tonight, one of the more back-ass-ward bills we’ve seen in some time hits the Saratoga Performing Arts Center; reggae legends Toots and the Maytals open for Sheryl Crow and James Freaking Blunt (7 PM, $21-$76, 476-1000). . . . Troy-core stalwarts Last Call reunite for their first gig in a year this Friday at Northern Lights; adding some alliteration to the bill will be Cheech, Crime Lab and Contempt (7 PM, $12, 371-0012). . . . The Afro-Caribbean sounds of Taina Asili y La Bande Rebelde heat it up at Tess’ Lark Tavern Friday night; Broadcast Live are also on the bill (9 PM, $5, 463-9779). . . . Fancy your indie-rock with a good dose of starch? Head to Saturday’s third annual Rock-A-Pancake-A-Thon at Valentine’s, where music from the Swaggerin Growlers and Scientific Maps, among others, will be served up with actual pancakes. Yum! (8 PM, $7, 432-6572). . . . The No More Bush Tour comes to the Upstate Artists Guild on Sunday, featuring avant-garde music-type-stuff from the likes of Zaika, Jack Rose, Valerie Webber, 50 Foot Women, and more (7 PM, free, 426-3501). . . . Also Sunday, the Daniel Arts Center at Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington, Mass., presents our recent pick for Best Band, the Red Lions; go on and see if you agree (7 PM, free, 413-320-4175). . . . Monday’s free show in Washington Park features all-girl Led Zep tribute act Lez Zeppelin and one-girl rock act Ten Year Vamp (6 PM, free, 434-3861).

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