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Julian Velard, Ari Hest, Marianne Keith

Falstaff’s, Thursday

It takes a real stand-up dude to reference Michael McDonald as a major influence in this day and age, but that’s what Julian Velard is all about: unabashed love for all things saccharine. Late ’70s power-pop is what Velard does best, but this need not be a guilty pleasure. Psst! He’s kind of a big deal in London. Ari Hest, however, is done being a big deal for all the right reasons, as his abandonment of a major record deal sparked an independent project in which he aims to release 52 original songs in 52 weeks over the course of 2008. Needless to say, he’ll have a bit of material to draw on tonight. California songsmith Marianne Keith will throw in a few tunes, though, for safe measure. (Oct. 30, 8 PM, free, Skidmore College, 815 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 580-5000)

Celtic Thunder

Times Union Center, Thursday

You’ve seen them on public television, now see them live! Pledge-drive favorites Celtic Thunder are taking their show on the road, and that road runs through downtown Albany this evening. The group, brought together by producer Sharon Browne and singer-songwriter Phil Coulter, teams five dynamic voices, from 39-year-old George Donaldson down to wee lad Damian McGinty, only 14. Backed up by a full orchestra and band, plus bagpipes and other such cultural flavor, they turn out the hits, both Celtic and popular (“I Want to Know What Love Is” apparently has made the set list), in addition to songs from Coulter’s own string of hits. If you can’t yet tell, it’s a really big show. (Oct. 30, 8 PM, $37.50-$57.50, 51 S. Pearl St., Albany, 800-30-EVENT)


Jason’s Upstairs Bar, Friday

Over on the vaguely Celtic side of things, there’s this: Melissa Auf der Maur, former bass minx for Hole and Smashing Pumpkins, will debut her new project Friday night in her adopted hometown (or so we hear) of Hudson. Out of Our Minds, the debut album-film-comic-whatever from MAdM looks to be a real trip, from the little taste we got at the Web site, And that’s putting it mildly—imagine Vikings, witches, time travel, sound and beauty all mashed together into one big psychedelic . . . thing. The official rolling-out happens Saturday in Montreal; this is really just a sneak peek. Aren’t you a lucky bunch? Joining Auf der Maur and her madness on Friday will be Hudson’s own (and this we’re sure of) Saber Coup. (Oct. 31, 9 PM, call for prices, 521 Warren St., Hudson, 828-8787)

MV/EE and the Golden Road, Wovoka

Saratoga County Arts Council, Saturday

“Lunar raga.” “Fingerstyle noise/ space.” “Lonesome frontier volk.” “Post-psychedelic Appalachian blues.” A freaky couple of Brattleboro, Vt., psychonauts, MV/EE have earned their music a lot of names for the fine line it rides between hippie whimsy and no-wave noise, but, see, the thing is, it’s not about what you call it. It’s. All. About. The. Fuzz! The band have an album out on Ecstatic Peace, so hey, if it’s good enough for Thurston Moore, it’s good enough for us. Supposedly, Albany’s reclusive psych-troubadour Wovoka will open. Who knew the guy (?) actually existed? (Nov. 1, 8 PM, $5, 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 584-4132)

David Byrne

David Byrne

The Egg, Wednesday

You read it right: The legendary Talking Heads frontman is playing the Egg this week. And as he’s supporting a brand-new collaboration with producer and all-around genius of sound Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, Byrne will be performing a set culled entirely from his work with Eno. Which means not just new material, but songs from the three Heads records that Eno produced. So, no “Psycho Killer,” but maybe “Life During Wartime”—not a bad trade, we say. You may ask yourself, “What’s the deal with My Life in the Bush of Ghosts?” while you hang around the plaza, though, because this show is very much sold out. (Nov. 5, 8 PM, sold out, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)

Also Noted
Taj Mahal

Though Rustic Overtones are back up and running, singer Dave Gutter’s other band, Paranoid Social Club, still pops up from time to time, and they’ll throw down the Halloween grooves tonight (Thursday) at Revolution Hall (8 PM, $10, 274-0553). . . . Country-bluegrass troubadour Tim O’Brien will spend his Halloween (tomorrow, Friday) night at the Linda, and he’d like for you to join him (8 PM, $23, 465-5233 ext. 4). . . . As we told you last week, Friday brings another edition of the Why Can’t I Be You series to Tess’ Lark Tavern; among the numerous acts paying tribute to each other will be Bryan Thomas, Michael Eck, and Sense Offenders singer Tom McWatters (9 PM, $5, 463-9779). . . . Halloween night at Valentine’s promises a frightfully jam-packed bill, including Alta Mira and Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned among others (8 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . The folks at Time and Space Limited want—no, need—your help to keep their doors open; they’ll hold a fund-raising bash this Saturday, with music from all-women world-music act Paprika (along with all kinds of food and other activities), and we think it’s a very worthy cause (6:30 PM, $5-$30, 822-8448). . . . Famed folk duo Magpie are celebrating 35 years in the music (and activism) business, and their (surely green) bus rolls into the Eighth Step at Proctors on Saturday (7 PM, $26, 434-1703). . . . Famed blues guitarist Taj Mahal is celebrating 40 years in the music business on his current tour; the party comes to the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Saturday (8 PM, $29-$34, 273-0038). . . . Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith are celebrating 2008 years of the Lord Jesus Christ, and they’ll sing about it at the Palace Theatre on Saturday (7:30 PM, $44-$54, 465-3334).

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