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The Sword

The fact that the Sword does not roll around in a 1974 Chevy van, airbrushed with ax-weilding dwarves, multiheaded serpentine beasts and menacing wizards, is both a shame and a huge surprise. Virtually everything the Austin, Texas, retro-metal band do is fist-pumping, head-banging, face-melting and classic. Their 2008 release Gods of the Earth—cut from the same cloth as early Black Sabbath, with plenty of Melvins, Mastodon and late Zep stitched in—was good enough to catapult the band out of the van and onto a world tour opening for Metallica.

This is not to say the Sword sound a thing like those wankers. If anything, the alliance should be seen as a desperate plea by that weasal Lars Ulrich for one iota of relevance. Lucky for us, the Sword will headline their Rev Hall set, with Los Angeles rockers Year Long Disaster and local metalheads Ironweed supporting.

Put your horns up 7 PM on Tuesday (Jan. 20) at Revolution Hall (425 River St., Troy). Tickets are $12. Call 274-0553 for more info.

The Biggest Little International Play Festival 2

Capital Repertory Theatre will usher in the new year of theater with their second annual Biggest Little International Play Festival, presenting three regional premiers in one month. The first of the three offerings, The Oxford Roof Climbers Rebellion, a fictionalized story of the friendship between T.E. Lawrence and Robert Graves, opens this week.

Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, and poet Robert Graves met at Oxford University shortly after World War I. The two bonded through their war experiences and, long before Graves set out to write his famous biography of Lawrence, the unlikely pair attempted to shatter the noble image of war—armed only with their talent for words and practical jokes—in the university town.

Penned by Canadian playwright Stephen Massicotte, the script was described by Backstage as “glowing with uncommon intelligence.” The next two festival offerings have received similar praise. The New Yorker called No Child (opening Feb. 7) “Astounding!” and The Love-Hungry Farmer (Feb. 18) was extolled by The New York Times as “fiercely serious and bruisingly hilarious.”

The Biggest Little International Play Festival 2 opens Tuesday (Jan. 20) at 7:30 PM at Capital Repertory Theatre (111 N. Pearl St., Albany). Tickets range from $17 to $39. For a full schedule, or to purchase tickets, call 445-7469.

Avenue Q

Who doesn’t love cuddly puppets, with their mitten hands, immense unblinking eyes, and crayon box colors? We know we do. Well, if you didn’t think puppets could get any better, think again. The puppet crew on Avenue Q isn’t your ordinary bunch of sappy, happy, alphabet helpers. This is the puppet-musical-theater version of real life—complete with sex, drinking, therapy, investment banking, and addictive Internet porn.

The story of Princeton, a recent college grad who moves to New York City’s quirky Avenue Q neighborhood with soaring dreams and a shrinking bank account, opened off-Broadway in 2003. After a slew of rave reviews and a pile of awards, the puppets took on Broadway, where the show swept the Tony Awards, garnering six of the coveted honors, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score.

With songs like “What Do You Do With a B.A. in English?,” “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,” and “The Internet is for Porn,” this obviously is not a puppet show for the little ones. But the subversive humor still leaves room for heart. According to Entertainment Weekly, “Just when you’re wheezing with laughter from the hummable, hilarious tunes, you’re blindsided by a beautifully sincere love song. There’s no handy way to describe Avenue Q, except as one of the funniest shows you’re ever likely to see.”

The national equity tour of Avenue Q comes to Proctors Theatre (432 State St., Schenectady) on Tuesday (Jan. 20) at 8 PM for a six-day run. Tickets range from $20 to $60, and can be purchased by calling the Proctors box office at 346-6204. Avenue Q is recommended for ages 16 and up.

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