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Murphy’s Law

Northern Lights, Saturday

Murphy’s Law have been one of the hardcore scene’s hardest-touring, hardest-partying acts since their debut Bong Blast in 1983. While known for being a revolving cast of characters united around vocalist Jimmy Gestapo (their Wikipedia page lists more than 30 different former musicians), they’ve also been a practical résumé builder for punk-rock talent: After passing through the ranks of Murphy’s Law, band members have gone on to play in acts like Danzig, Dog Eat Dog, Mucky Pup, and New York Dolls. So check out the future of New York City hardcore when Murphy’s headline the Upstate Black N Blue Xmas party this weekend; the undercard includes Bulldog Courage, Inhuman, Contempt, Black Iron Prison, and Abrasive Thoughts. (Dec. 27, 7 PM, $12, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park, 371-0012)

The Heavy Pets

Tess’ Lark Tavern, Saturday

It’s a good week to catch up on some R&R. That doesn’t mean you need to stay at home, though. In fact, here’s a perfect example of how you can simultaneously kick back and enjoy the social circuit: A Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based troupe with Capital Region roots, the Heavy Pets have just what you’ll need to get into a chill mood. The band have taken their folk-funk-rock hybrid around the country for three years now, making stops at such big-time festivals as Langerado and 10,000 Lakes along the way. They’ll bring the good vibes to the Lark on Saturday, where they’ll share a bill with local boys Wiley Dobbs. (Dec. 27, 9 PM, $5, 453 Madison Ave., Albany, 463-9779)


The Breakfast

The Breakfast

Red Square, Saturday

You’ve got to give the Breakfast some credit. It’s been a few years since the band stripped the Floydian modifier “psychedelic” from their name, in anticipation (no doubt) of the jam scene’s eventual implosion, but rather than retreat from the realm of adventurous, high-octane funk—tally-ho!—the boys have waged on with all the more dexterity, improvisational acumen, and respect for songcraft. Original keyboardist Jordan Giangreco will join them Saturday night. Prog-piano virtuoso Jeff Bujak opens. (Dec. 27, 8 PM, $10, 388 Broadway, Albany, 465-0444)

Lizzie West and Baba Buffalo

Club Helsinki, Sunday

If you’ve been a regular listener to radio program Democracy Now! at any time over the last five or six years, you’ve likely heard Lizzie West’s song “19 Miles to Baghdad.” The “peace anthem,” as its been dubbed, served as the undoing of West’s relationship with former label Warner Bros., which refused to release the song—ironically, only a year after she was named Artist of the Year by AOL Music and Entertainment Weekly. Such setbacks might have ruined lesser artists, but West has continued down her own unique path and, with husband and co-conspirator Baba Buffalo at her side, has been performing an “interactive folk opera” around the country for the last few years. The couple’s “Tumbleweed Cabaret” blows into Great Barrington this Sunday. (Dec. 28, 8 PM, $12, 284 Main St., Great Barrington, Mass., 413-528-3394)

Chris Pureka

Jason’s Upstairs Bar, Tuesday

On first listen, Chris Pureka’s voice and songwriting will call to mind a list of names: Bob Dylan, Gillian Welch, Ryan Adams. This will be a good thing. Listen a little further and, somewhere in that thicket of finger-picked guitar and breathy warbling vocals, these names begin to fall away. The 27-year-old songstress sings with pathos that belies her few years. Trans-genre acoustic duo Coyote Grace open. (Dec. 30, 8 PM, call for price, 521 Warren St., Hudson, 828-8787)


Also Noted

Last Minute Letter

Odds are, by the time you read this, Santa will have been and gone, and we’ll have moved full-on into the entertainment dead zone. There’s not much in the way of big-ticket live music this week (except for Wu-Tang!) but if you’re itching to get away from the family as quickly as possible, the local clubs still have plenty to offer, starting Friday, when Railbird wrap up their residency at One Caroline Street in Saratoga Springs (9 PM, free, 587-2026). . . . At Valentine’s on Friday, get a dose of musical humor—and likely some Christmas cheer—with Cornbred, Tobiaz, and Hungry Jack (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Also at Valentine’s on Friday, on the upstairs stage, Last Minute Letter celebrate the release of their latest CD; Burn Wall Street, Hello Control, Saved by City Lights, and California are also on the bill (7 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . The kids are alright, they just changed their names: The Day Was Mine, once (and for quite some time!) known as Graystar, play a stripped-down show at Moon and River Café in Schenectady this Friday, on a bill with local duo Of Keeping Secrets (8 PM, free, 382-1938). . . . Get a hearty helping of old-time Americana with long-running string band Raquette River Rounders Friday at Caffe Lena (8 PM, $14, 583-0022). . . . And Saturday might, weather permitting, be your last chance to take a drive down to Woodstock before the 2009 rolls in—not that you can’t just wait it out, but who knows when New Riders of the Purple Sage and Professor Louie and the Crowmatix will again share a bill at the Bearsville Theater (9 PM, $30, 845-679-4406).


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