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Catfish Haven

Catfish Haven, the Stranger Waves

Valentine’s, Saturday

Mamie Smith hit the airwaves in 1920 with “Crazy Blues,” and ever since, record companies have been trying to capitalize on it. So it’s no new thing for a few white boys with guitars to cop a down-home attitude to move product. Catfish Haven, however, aren’t just an indie band who stumbled onto a box of CCR tapes, oh no. With a name taken from the trailer park in Missouri where band leader George Hunter grew up, Catfish Haven bring the real funk. These three white, Chicago soul boys made sure to leave the gravel bits in the mix—the tunes from their upcoming Devastator are equal parts booze and blues. Opening are the Stranger Waves, Chicago’s Best Rock or Pop Act of 2009 (according to Chicago Reader). Young punks, citing T. Rex and MC5—sounds good to us! (Aug. 1, 7 PM, $7, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Edgefest 2009

Altamont Fairgrounds, Saturday

The last of the summer’s big, radio-sponsored, multi-band rock festivals hits this weekend, and it’s a mélange of the best and brightest in the Active Rock format (appropriate, as this is the show put on by “The New Edge,” 104.9 FM). A number of acts on the Saturday’s bill are familiar to area venues: Mudvayne and Static-X seem to have regional dates scheduled every time we look; Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society can come back as often as they want, because we’re not about to get in Zakk’s way. A few bands down the bill are Toadies, the Texas cult favorites whose “Possum Kingdom” seems to live in perpetual heavy rotation at most rock stations. Those four alone are worth the ticket price (hint: buy before Saturday for a considerable discount); the undercard adds another seven acts, including Aussie alt-rockers Sick Puppies. (Aug. 1, gates open 10 AM, $37, Route 146, Altamont, 861-6671,


Times Union Center, Sunday

They built their name on a jerky, mischievous brand of roadhouse rock; they became the architects of modern blooze-metal with 1980’s Back in Black. The name Angus Young instantly conjures the image of a grown man trotting around in a schoolboy uniform. You know their logo, the names of both lead singers (living and dead), and at least a dozen of their songs by heart. There aren’t a lot of icons left, so you can thank the devil for AC/DC. Here’s the thing: They are going to play new songs. You want to hear the hits, but they’ve got a disc to promote. So you want to know if the new songs are any good. And we ask: Do you like AC/DC? The new shit sounds exactly like AC/DC. (Aug. 2, 7:30 PM, $91.50, 51 S. Pearl St., Albany, 800-30-EVENT)

Sugar Ray, Fastball

Northern Lights, Monday

This week’s installment of Hey, There’s Those ’90s Again brings you Fastball, the Austin trio who scored a few hits circa 1998 (“The Way,” “Out of My Head”) before fading into obscurity. But check their temperature: These guys never went cold, and they continue to turn out quality power-pop records, including this year’s Little White Lies. Sharing the bill are Extra host Mark McGrath and his pop band, Sugar Ray. We thought McGrath’s career as a singer had gone the way of Smash Mouth (Huh? They’re still together, too?). Lo, his boys have a new record: Music for Cougars. To slag these guys for being lightweight is to miss the target. See, they’re in on the joke (their biggest-selling album was called 14:59, like “15 minutes of fame”)—it’s just that the joke’s not very good. Aimee Allen opens. (Aug. 3, 7 PM, $20, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park, 371-0012)

Progressive Nation Tour

Palace Theatre, Tuesday

Prog. It’s a word that begins deep in the belly, rumbles from the throat, and is meant to be uttered at high volumes from mountaintops and across vast seas. It’s a code word and incantation, a badge that adherents display on their faded-denim armor, and a banner under which a nation of music fans (and poetics-waxing journalists) march with high heads and distant stares. And, it can mean just about anything you’d like it to. This year’s Mike Portnoy-curated progressive-rock tour pairs the drummer’s cinematic prog-metal band Dream Theater with Dweezil Zappa’s homage to his father’s legacy, Zappa Plays Zappa. Strange bedfellows, yet brothers in prog. Be ye headbanger or geek, there will be plenty of double-kick, sweep-picking, and confounding time signatures to go around. Big Elf and Scale the Summit share the bill. (Aug. 4, 6:30 PM, $35-$50, 19 Clinton Ave., Albany, 465-3334)

Also Noted

Make it through your day with some free music today (Thursday): Start with Troika at Jazz on Jay in Schenectady (noon, free, 382-3884). . . . Then, it’s off to Savannah’s, where Canadian indie-poppers Metric play a happy-hour freebie—we can’t believe it either—for radio station WEQX (2 PM, free, 426-9647). . . . It’s a relatively short walk to Alive at Five from there, where you’ll get a double dose of R&B with Tower of Power and Out of Control Rhythm and Blues Band (5 PM, free, 434-2032). . . . Finally, at Albany’s Pearl Street Live concert series, the post-Alive at Five party features a band name that’s never failed to make us squirm: Philip the Meatbox (8 PM, free). . . . Also tonight, as seen on IFC: Brooklyn-based rock trio ZO2 and their alter egos Z Rock are at Valentine’s; Selfish Needy Creatures and Karma’s Army are also on the bill (7:30 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . Pennsylvania “roots-rock innovators” Good Old War headline the annual Indie Band Fest at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfeld, Mass., tomorrow (Friday, 7:30 PM, $10, 413-499-1733). . . . The Hats Off to Saratoga Music Festival takes place Friday and Saturday throughout downtown Saratoga Springs; musical acts including Sean Rowe, Slick Fitty and Bourbon Renewal will perform at eight different locations along Broadway (7 PM, free, 57-8635). . . . Undefinable NYC band Gang Gang Dance make a tour stop at the Iron Horse in Northampton, Mass., on Sunday; if you’ve already bought tickets and they say “Pearl Street,” be aware that the venue has changed (8:30 PM, $14, 413-586-8686). . . . Acoustic blues master Paul Geremia plays a free show in Saratoga’s Congress Park Tuesday night; in the event of rain, it will take place Wednesday (7 PM, free, 587-3241).

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