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Jason Michael Carroll

WGNA Countryfest

Altamont Fairgrounds, Saturday

At the end of the radio dial, the last stop before you decide to go back to that book on tape, you’ll hear the strains of Country 107.7 FM. For those who long to hear this brand of mainstream country in the company of friends, food and ice cold refreshments—and not in the stark loneliness of your morning commute—WGNA offers Countryfest 2009. The 16th annual Countryfest features a mix of contemporary acts, including the Lost Trailers, former Trick Pony frontwoman Heidi Newfield, singer-songwriter Sarah Buxton, and Jason Michael Carroll, who comes to us hot off the release of the tautological Growing Up Is Getting Old. If the young guns don’t impress you, then headliner Montgomery Gentry should. The Southern rock duo broke big in 1999 with Tattoos & Scars. If you’ve any reservations about their country cred, know that in January 2009 the group became members of the Grand Ole Opry. (July 11, noon, $37, Route 146, Altamont, 861-6671)

Channel 103.1 Big Day Out

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Sunday

Package shows are plentiful this summer season, but this is among the best of the bunch. Headliners the Offspring were one of the bands we least expected to survive the ’90s punk-rock commercial awakening; 15 years on they’re still cutting hit tracks. And we all but wrote Canadian pop-punks Sum 41 off as a cut-rate Blink 182 when they came on the scene 10 years ago, but they’ve continued to progress and impress. In addition, Sunday’s bill includes Staind, Chevelle, and Shinedown—three bands with about two dozen modern-rock hits between them (though we defy you to sing one of them back to us). Concertgoers should hear an accurate reflection of an average day’s playlist, which is what we think a radio festival should be. (July 12, 2:30 PM, $25-$70, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, 587-3330)

The Cab, My Favorite Highway, Rocket to the Moon

Valentine’s, Sunday

When you play a song on the Cab’s MySpace page, a message reads “call us @ (702) 425-5335.” When we called, lead singer Alex Deleon told us to leave a message and he’d call us right back. So, we inquired: “Uh, what exactly does happen in Vegas?” As Sunday’s show with the Cab, My Favorite Highway, Rocket to the Moon, the Summer Set, and Eyealaska is dubbed the What Happens in Vegas Tour, we, naturally, wanted to know. Because, last time we took some R&R at America’s Playground, we got sunburned, choked on the $12 Salisbury steak at Circus Circus, and had to hear Wayne Newton sing “Danke Schoen.” So, Alex, if you’re reading this, give us a jingle. (July 12, 6 PM, $12, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Escape the Fate

Northern Lights, Monday

You know what else happens in Vegas? Lots of things. Among them: screamo. Yes, it’s 2009, and yes, we’re aware of that term’s having gone out of vogue some time ago, but we find it to be a suitable alternative to “post-hardcore,” which means practically nothing. Anyway, what we’re getting at is, Escape the Fate are a screamo band from Las Vegas, and they’ve racked up more than 20 million views on their MySpace page, so what we have to say obviously means very little—if you like post-hardcore, or whatever you choose to call it, you probably know these guys well. They’ll take a night off from the Vans Warped Tour to play Clifton Park this week, with A Skylit Drive, Madina Lake, the Nightlife, and Restless Streets. (July 13, 5:30 PM, $17, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park, 371-0012)

Country Night at the Plaza

Empire State Plaza, Wednesday

Once a year, directly following the celebration of Independence Day, Metroland “goes country” for a few weeks—at least until the Best Of issue comes around and makes us tired and bitter about everything. Case in point: On Wednesday, just a few days after the aforementioned Countryfest, we’ll mosey down Madison Avenue to the Empire State Plaza where we’ll crack a beer or six to the down-home sounds of Steve Azar, Candy Coburn and Loose Cannon. Mississippi native Azar is a bit of a trailblazer in the country world, having bolted from his major-label deal a few years back to start his own imprint, which brought him his biggest success yet. That, we can get behind. Up-and-comer Coburn has had regional hits in the Southwest with her first few singles, and she’s in the middle of a string of tour dates that lasts as far as the eye can see. Local boys Loose Cannon will warm things up with a bunch of your—and our—country favorites. Keep ’em cold for us, we’ll be there lickety split. (July 15, 5 PM, free, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-0559)

Also Noted

Kevin McKrell and the Hard Road Céilidh Band warm up for Celtic rockers Black 47—whose céilidh is on the “funky” side—at tonight’s (Thursday) Alive at Five (5 PM, free, 434-2023). . . . If you’re, er, in the mood for a little swing, the World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra will play the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Mass. tonight (7:30 PM, $25-$35, 413-997-4444). . . . Few things get us more lathered up than John Tesh, and we’re in full lather right about now: The Teshmeister is coming to the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, Mass. tomorrow (Friday, 8 PM, $12-$45, 413-586-8686). . . . Of all the ’80s indie/alternative acts to mount reunions in recent years, Mission of Burma are among the few to actually experience a creative renaissance—they’re at Northampton’s Pearl Street Nightclub Friday night (8:30 PM, $23, 413-586-8686). . . . At Valentine’s on Friday, catch the local indie-pop supergroup known as the B3nson Family Band; they’ll share the stage with Philadelphia’s Hop Along and P.S. Elliot (8 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Brooklyn prog act U-Melt and pubescent jamband McLovins share a bill Friday at Revolution Hall (8 PM, $16, 274-0553). . . . The Brian Patneaude Quartet will welcome NYC-based guitarist Jesse Lewis into the fold for a pair of shows this weekend: Friday, they’ll play the Upbeat on the Roof series at Skidmore College (7 PM, free, 580-8080) and Saturday they’re at Freedom Park in Scotia (7 PM, free, 372-5656). . . . You had her for free last summer, but this time you’ll have to pay: Aimee Mann is at MASS MoCA on Saturday (8 PM, $34, 413-662-2111). . . . Songstress Katie Haverly teams up with Aaron Smith and Donna Baird of Scientific Maps for a Sunday show at Caffe Lena (7 PM, $12, 583-0022).

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