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Sweet Honey in the Rock

Sweet Honey in the Rock

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Friday

We would like to suggest that, in the spirit of the season, you do not limit your celebration to whatever holiday your chosen faith makes the centerpiece of its December. That is to say, it ain’t just Christmastime, friends; it might do you well to take in the sights and sounds of Hanukah and Kwanzaa as well. The time-tested vocal stylings of Sweet Honey in the Rock happen to be available this weekend to take you on just such a journey. The group will present a program on Friday that, while based in the African-American traditional music they’re known for the world over, will explore the sounds of the many different spiritual celebrations of the holiday season. (Well, maybe not Festivus.) It promises to be a one-of-a-kind show. (Dec. 19, 8 PM, $20-$36, 30 2nd St., Troy, 273-0038)

The Figgs

Caffe Lena, Friday; Valentine’s, Saturday

Until the Kinks reunite, if they ever do (and if that’s even such a good idea), there’s only one band we want to hear sing “Father Christmas,” and that’s the Figgs. They’re one of the few bands in modern music who truly have a feel for Ray Davies’ mix of chord-simple power-pop and snark-laced lyrics, and they’re coming home this weekend for their annual holiday stand. Friday, they’ll do a pair of stripped-down shows in their former stomping ground of Saratoga Springs; Saturday, they kick out the jams at Valentine’s, where they’ll be joined by two of our area’s finer original bands: the Ashley Pond Band and the Charlie Watts Riots. (Dec. 19, 7 and 9:30 PM, $14, $20 for both shows, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022; Dec. 20, 8 PM, $10, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Albert Cummings

Revolution Hall, Saturday

The Fender Stratocaster guitar is a national pastime of sorts, of vital importance to the fabric of American music (the blues in particular). Regionally, few carry on that instrument’s proud tradition like Williamstown, Mass., bluesman Albert Cummings. He’s made quite a name for himself and his music on the national scene, but he’s a Berkshires man at heart: When it came time to make a live record, he and his band simply drove down to Pittsfield and recorded at the Colonial Theatre. The resulting CD, Feel So Good, was issued this fall on the Blind Pig label, and it’s a boatload of fun, featuring covers of songs by Little Feat and Led Zeppelin along with Cummings’ own originals. Hear those sounds in real life when Cummings and his band play in Troy Saturday night. (Dec. 20, 7 PM, $12, 425 River St., Troy, 274-0553)

Spread ’Em

Valentine’s, Saturday

We don’t know much about Spread ’Em except that they are fairly bare-bones punk, and that their latest 7-inch single features the awesome “Pizza Crisis,” a song that details the struggles to afford pizza and pay rent. We also know that paid admission to this show will get you a copy of said 7-inch single. It is also worth noting that Spread ‘Em have a song called “Fuck Megatron.” Disappointment awaits those hoping there are sexual connotations in the title: Those sickos will be horrified to learn the song is more about questioning Megatron’s leadership (“Fuck that asshole Megatron/I wanna lead the Decepticons”) than it is about sexin’ up that gorgeous piece of genocidal machinery. Local rap act Doomfist will open, along with punk rockers Plastic Jesus and a band with a particularly superfluous moniker: Reagan’s Still Dead. (Dec. 20, 8 PM, $7, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Todd Rundgren

Bearsville Theater, Tuesday

It’s no secret that Todd Rundgren’s résumé demands the Wayne and Garth “we’re not worthy” treatment: ’60s garage rock icon, ’70s guitar hero, prog-rock avatar, glam-stronaut, producer to the stars, music-video pioneer, screen-saver guru. Even the guy who assassinated John Lennon was a huge fan. But, dude, nothing qualifies this guy as a cult hero more than the fact he wrote the theme song to Pee-wee’s f-ing Playhouse. Chairy, Globey, and Jambi will not be in attendance Tuesday night, and shouting “mecca lecca hi, mecca hiney ho” will not earn you free drinks at the bar, but a Rundgren show should provide at least as much diversion as an oddball, puppet-driven, half-animated series for kids. Parental guidance suggested. (Dec. 23, 8 PM, $44.95, 291 Tinker St., Woodstock, 845-679-4406)

Also Noted
All Time Low

Turn the truck around, Earl: Tonight’s (Thursday) Oak Ridge Boys show at the Palace has been canceled; contact the venue for refund information (465-4663). . . . Tomorrow (Friday), Mother Mcrees, Deja, Nautilus, and Raisinhead will share the bill at Revolution Hall for what promises to be the jammiest of holiday parties; the promoters are even promising a free keg of Saranac beer, which makes us wonder—isn’t the venue attached to a brewery? (8 PM, $10, 274-0553). . . . Over at Red Square on Friday, Positive Mental Trip will attempt to lay their own claim to that “jammiest” thing: The band will head up the 2nd Annual Jam for Tots show, along with Dr. Jah, Consider the Source and others, with all benefits going to the Marine Toys for Tots program. Concertgoers are encouraged to donate a toy (7 PM, $7, 465-0444). . . . The Sense Offenders put the rock your Christmas stocking this Saturday at Tess’ Lark Tavern; speaking of rock, they’ll share a bill with Syracuse band Stone lord (10 PM, $5, 463-9779). . . . Have a klez mer Hanukah hoedown with Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys at Club Helsinki on Saturday (9 PM, $15, 413-284-3394). . . . Or just take the kids to Northern Lights, where All Time Low rock out with their . . . well, you know (6 PM, $18, 371-0012). . . . Sunday, it’s a more traditional holiday celebration: Ray Pashoukos, Tequila Mockingbirds, Phil Drum, and the She-tles will present “A Saratoga Christmas” at Caffe Lena; be forewarned, it’s likely a bring-your-own-nog affair (7 PM, $12, 583-0022).

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