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Don Caballero

Valentine’s, Thursday

Let’s get our terms straight now. “Don” is an honorific Spanish title akin to sir. “Caballero” is the Spanish word for knight. Don Caballero, on the other hand, are an acclaimed instrumental rock band from Pittsburgh, and a Punkgasm, the title of their latest album, is what happens when the band and their fans love each other enough to gather in a small dark room and engage in musical union. When local stoner-rockers Ironweed and no-wavers Severe Severe enter into such a gathering, it’s called a “Punkorgy.” (Dec. 11, 8 PM, $8, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

The Shirelles

Clark Art Institute, Friday

As of the past decade or so, when most people hear the term “girl group,” a variety of spices come to mind: baby, sporty, posh, ginger, and scary. Fifty years ago, though, the term referred to a very different type of music. Along with the Chantels, the Shirelles pioneered the classic girl-group sound by mixing doo-wop harmonies with pop and R&B. The Shirelles have the sole distinction, though, of being the first group of their kind to become popular with both a white and European audience. This one’s sold out, but if you’ve already got a ticket, you can come catch a piece of history at their special holiday show. (Dec. 12, 8 PM, sold out, 225 South St., Williamstown, Mass., 413-458-2303)

Donna the Buffalo

Revolution Hall, Friday

We haven’t brought your attention to a Donna the Buffalo show in some time, perhaps because they seemed all to frequent for some time. But that’s not exactly true—it’s been quite a while since the herd rolled into town. So let us remind you why you love Donna the Buffalo: They are among the foremost purveyors of a wide-ranging grassroots sound that incorporates elements of jam-rock, country, zydeco, folk, and about everything else they can fit under their roof. They do all of it very, very well. And they have a fine new release called Silverlined out, from which they’ll draw for this week’s show. Remind yourself why you love Donna the Buffalo when they drop into Rev Hall on Friday. (Dec. 12, 8 PM, $20, 425 River St., Troy, 274-0553)

Elliott Murphy

Elliott Murphy

Valentine’s, Saturday

We pointed out recently that Valentine’s is the place to go to catch intimate performances by minor legends, and sure enough, here comes another one. Folk-rock singer-songwriter, short-story author, would-be actor—all of these terms describe Elliott Murphy. The Paris-based American has enjoyed a career spanning four decades, with 30 albums to his credit, from his debut Aquashow, which Uncut magazine recently dubbed an “Album Classic,” through his latest, Notes From the Underground. And he’s more than just a minor legend in Europe, where folks like Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel have relied on his stature to help sell concert tickets. (OK, not really, but they’ve performed with him.) This is Murphy’s first U.S. tour in eight years. He’ll be joined this week by Jann Klose and the Gutter Saints. (Dec. 13, 8 PM, $10, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)


Spyro Gyra

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall , Sunday

For an act who have lived on the fringe of jazz for as long as they have, Spyro Gyra have made quite a good run of things. But after pushing boundaries for 30 years, the band got reflective on their latest release, A Night Before Christmas, on which the quintet apply their familiar sound to a bunch of seasonal classics. Of course they don’t play it straight—for instance, “O Tannenbaum” is given a jam treatment—but for the most part these are the songs you know and love. It sounds like a cash-in, and in a way it is: The band was rewarded last week with a Grammy nomination in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category, where they’ll face off against a holiday release from Bela Fleck. The band will bring the holiday to life this Sunday. (Dec. 14, 7 PM, $15-$32, 2nd and State streets, Troy, 273-0038)

Also Noted
Trophy Scars

The raindrops, they keep falling: Tonight’s concert by B.J. Thomas at Vapor Nightclub is sold out (7 PM, 584-2110). . . . The first syllable in “Christmas” is “X”—celebrate the spirit of Xmas tonight at the Times Union Center with happily married country folks Vince Gill and Amy Grant (7:30 PM, $31-$65, 800-30-EVENT). . . . Or, you can catch a more irreverent take on the holidays tomorrow (Friday) night when Aimee Mann brings her third annual Christmas tour to Smith College in Northampton, Mass.; this year’s guests include Nellie McKay, Grant-Lee Phillips and comedian Morgan Murphy (8 PM, $32, 413-584-2700). . . . Dar Williams returns to the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock—where she filmed a live DVD last year—on Saturday, with guest Jennifer O’Connor, whose Here With Me disc was one of the year’s most pleasant surprises (8 PM, $25-$35, 845-679-4406). . . . Celebrate “A Saratoga Christmas” with the McKrells at the Spa Little Theater on Saturday (7:30 PM, $15, 587-4427). . . . Live music returns to the Shelter Skate Park in Albany on Saturday after a lengthy hiatus, with New Jersey band Trophy Scars, Connecticut’s Jacobi Wichita, and local acts Vessels, Caleb Lionheart, and Crunk Masters of the Universe (7 PM, $13, 438-2228). . . . At Wallabee’s in Glens Falls on Saturday, it’s a benefit for the Open Door Mission; Cory Avon, Mark Elmendorf, Saint Ukraine and the Woodshed Boys will perform, and all proceeds—money and food—benefit the mission (9 PM, $3 or two food items, 792-8282). . . . It’s like 2002 all over again: Knotworking and the Sifters play Saturday at the Ale House in Troy; Sumac is also on the bill (9 PM, $5, 272-9740). . . . That’s not the reaper—it’s Santa Claus! Blue Öyster Cult are back this Saturday at Northern Lights (7 PM, $20, 371-0012).

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