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Straylight Run, Love Drug, Good Old War, Around the World and Back

Valentine’s, Friday

When a venue books four bands to a single evening’s bill, it’s bound to be a bit of a mess. It can be the good kind of mess, though, and here’s the case in point. Around here, anything related to Taking Back Sunday is going to go over well, so John Nolan’s Straylight Run will serve as perfect indie frosting for a diverse cake consisting of Cleveland rockers Love Drug, acoustic troubadours Good Old War, and rising local shoegazers Around the World and Back. All four specialize in nice, concise, punch-to-the-gut pop tunes, so none should need more than their given 45 minutes or so to get their point across. Let’s go make a mess! (May 22, 7:30 PM, $12, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad

Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad

Red Square, Friday

Seems strange that a band with such an appealing sound would give themselves such a dangerous name. Check it out: Giant pandas? Totally ferocious. Che Guevara looks good on a T-shirt, but much of his guerrilla warfare was, you know, murder. And dub squads were widely feared during the Spanish Inquisition. OK, that last part was silly, but you can see our point, right? This is a band whose reggae grooves are designed for a chilled-out state of mind—they recently converted their tour bus to run on veggie oil for chrissakes. So on that note we submit this newer, kinder moniker, totally gratis: Tiny Puppy Happy Fun Team. What do you think? Anyone? (May 22, 8 PM, $10, 388 Broadway, Albany, 465-0444)

David Cook

Pearl Street Nightclub, Saturday

We go to press Wednesday afternoon, which means by the time you read this there will be a new winner of American Idol. (We’re hoping it’s Adam because he’s like David Archuleta on steroids and meth.) So last year’s winner will have relinquished his crown by the time the weekend rolls around. But that shouldn’t stop David Cook from churning out his patented brand of grunge lite. Cookie has seen his profile drop significantly since winning the big show a year ago, thanks in part to a lackluster debut CD release—seriously, can just one performer escape Idol with character intact?—but you can bet the girls will still go wild when he plays Northampton this Saturday. (May 23, 7 PM, $20, 10 Pearl St., Northampton, Mass., 413-586-8686)

Amy and Leslie

Caffe Lena, Saturday

Reunited and it sounds so good. The sweet, sweet harmonies of Amy Fradon and Leslie Ritter have adorned recordings by everyone from Orleans to Dr. John, from Lovin’ Spoonful leader John Sebastian to the late Rick Danko of the Band. They haven’t performed as a duo since spawning a few albums in the early 1990s (including a hit cover of the Yes tune “Your Move”); since then, Fradon has produced a pair of solo recordings, while Ritter and composer-producer Scott Petito have teamed up for a trio of CDs. Now, after a decade and a half apart, the duo, along with Petito and guest Helen Avakian, will reunite for a special performance that should hit all the right notes. (May 23, 8 PM, $15, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)

Blind Boys of Alabama

First United Methodist Church, SATURday

Spring is here, and it’s a perfectly good time to let the Blind Boys of Alabama help shake the cobwebs out of your soul. The gospel group, originally formed 70 years ago at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind, continue their tradition of “bringing the music of the church straight to the roadhouse.” (Though, in this case, they’re bringing the church to the church.) They’re the kind of group folks across the musical spectrum want to work with, from Peter Gabriel to Ben Harper; a year ago, at a gig at the L.A. Knitting Factory, his royal purpleness himself—Prince—jumped on stage and played guitar with them. They won another Grammy this year (their fifth in total) for the album Down in New Orleans, and show no sign of slowing down. (May 23, 7 PM, $38, $45, 55 Fenn St., Pittsfield, Mass., 413-623-2171)

Also Noted
Mia Dyson

The Capital Region club scene doesn’t always go silent on long holiday weekends, and here’s proof: Tonight (Thursday) at Valentine’s, local rockers Young and Divine head up a five-band bill (8 PM, $12, 432-6572). . . . Also tonight, just over the border at Mission Bar and Tapas in Pittsfield, Mass., rootsy Australian singer-songwriter Mia Dyson continues her weekly residency (8 PM, $5, . . . Speaking of weekly residencies, Blue Hand Luke continue their Friday run at Revolution Hall; this week, the Hill Hollow Band will share the glory (8 PM, $10, 274-0553). . . . The Dirty Dozen Brass Band are ready to blow your head off tomorrow (Friday) at the Bearsville Theatre in Woodstock (9 PM, $25, 845-679-4406). . . . Joe Coffee heads a heavy bill at Bogie’s on Friday (8 PM, $10, 482-4393). . . . Also Friday, Nina Sheldon celebrates the release of her new CD at Justin’s (9:30 PM, $5, 436-7008). . . . It’s a good weekend for new jazz releases: Alternative jazz group Four Free, featuring former members of the Empire State Youth Jazz Ensemble, celebrate the release of their Handmade CD Saturday night at Conkling Hall in Rensselaerville (7 PM, $10, $6 students, 797-3459). . . . Murali Coryell and his trio return to TJ’s Flightline Pub in Glenville on Saturday (9 PM, $5, 399-8401). . . . Indie rock is alive and well and it goes out on Tuesday nights: Tuesday at Troy’s 51 3rd Street, catch Milwaukee “not just a girl group” International Date Lines, plus the Daniel James Gang, the Cave Weddings, and Scientific Maps (9 PM, $5).

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