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The Neighborhoods

Valentine’s, Saturday

A certain segment of the population regards the Neighborhoods as legends. Most of those people are in Boston, where the ’Hoods ran amok from around 1979 through the early 1990s. The Albany chapter of the Neighborhoods fan club will convene Saturday at Valentine’s, where Dave Minehan and company will bring to life the mod- and punk-influenced garage-rock sound that made them Boston’s musical ambassadors to clubs the world over. Word has it that Minehan’s stature as an explosive bandleader has not diminished in the 15-plus years since the band’s official demise, which means double trouble for the audience: Opening band John Powhida International Airport will feature another of Boston’s great frontmen (and an Albany expat) in former Staziaks/Rudds leader Powhida. The Charlie Watts Riots round out a fine evening of rock & roll. (Dec. 5, 9 PM, $15, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Josh Ritter

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Saturday

Even if you’ve never heard it before, Josh Ritter’s music—mellow indie rock with folk roots—sounds familiar. Melodic, sonorous and often poignant or silly, Ritter’s sound is as comfortable as it is fun. He’s been called “refreshing and inspiring” by the Washington Post, earned comparisons to Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen (both of whom he’s named as influences), and been named a favorite of author Stephen King. A writer himself, Ritter is currently working on his first novel. He’s also on tour to promote his latest CD, The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter, and plays Troy this weekend. (Dec. 5, 8 PM, $20-$34, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, 273-0038)

Over the Rhine, Vienna Teng

The Egg, Sunday

Their self-defined “post-nuclear, pseudo-alternative, folk-tinged art-pop” has been influenced by literary figures such as T.S. Eliot, C.S. Lewis and Dylan Thomas. Named for a neighborhood in their native Cincinnati, Over the Rhine have toured and recorded with artists such as Bob Dylan, Ani DiFranco, and Cowboy Junkies. Singer Karen Bergquist and her husband, Linford Detweiler, have done much of their recording in their living room, producing such albums as Ohio, which All Music Guide calls “a work of tattered grace, a deeply moving, maddening, and redemptive work of art.” Alex Wong and Vienna Teng, a young pianist and singer with a sweet voice and personal lyrics (a la Tori Amos) will open Sunday’s show with an original mix of folk-pop tinged with jazz and classical overtones. (Dec. 6, 7:30 PM, $28, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)

Insane Clown Posse

Northern Lights, Tuesday

Juggalos (and Jugalettes, which, according to Wikipedia, is the feminine version) from far and wide will decend on Clifton Park this evening for a concert from Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler, aka Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, aka horrorcore icons Insane Clown Posse. Lest you think you’ve accidentally fallen through a wormhole into the year 1996, we can assure you that these two clowns are still, somehow, wickedly popular. That’s right: brutal violence, misogyny, racism and, most appallingly, mediocre hip-hop are still being celebrated at ICP concerts nationwide. God bless America! (Dec. 8, PM, $, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park, 371-0012)

Company of Thieves

Company of Thieves

Revolution Hall, Wednesday

If you take their press releases at face value, Chicago trio Company of Thieves imagine themselves to be a big-picture, social-change kind of band. But for all their talk about making “great art” in the face of social challenges, they actually have the goods to back it up. The band’s debut CD, Ordinary Riches, is packed with anthemic rock music that’s of its own design—a bit like Kings of Leon, but with teeth—and singer Genevieve Schatz’s voice is one of the best things to happen to music this year. Fresh off a national tour with Annuals, the band will play in Troy this week with a pair of hot local acts, Lunic and 28N, opening. Get there early, as WEQX is offering a reduced-price admission to the first 100 in attendance. (Dec. 9, 6:30 PM, $10.27, 425 River St., Troy, 274-0553)

Also Noted

Sippy Cups

Tomorrow (Friday) evening at the main branch of the Albany Public Library, Upstate Artists Guild presents a concert and book-release party: the book, Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri; the concert, the Blisterz featuring Zandri on drums (6 PM, free, 427-4300). . . . After that, stay in the neighborhood for a concert from Taina Asili y La Banda Rebelde at the First Unitarian Universalist Church; proceeds benefit Albany’s Women’s Building (7 PM, sliding-scale donations, 462-2871). . . . At Putnam Den in Saratoga on Friday, it’s the “progressive jazz hop” of the Chronicles, plus Duchess and the Afro Dub Rebels (8:30 PM, $5, $10 under 21, 584-8066). . . . It’s a Honky Tonk Holiday at the Linda on Saturday, with guitar-slingers Bill Kirchen and John Tichy plus a gaggle of special guests (8 PM, $25, 465-5233 ext. 4). . . . Kid-tested, mother-approved band the Sippy Cups will play a freebie at the Egg Sunday afternoon (3 PM, free, 473-1845). . . . Savannah’s will bring a little heat to a cold December night this Tuesday with a concert from Latin jazz greats Grupo Los Santos (8 PM, $5, 426-9647). . . . The hits keep coming: Matchbox 20 guy Rob Thomas brings his solo gig to Turning Stone on Tuesday (8 PM, $51-$91, 877-833-SHOW). . . . George Winston brings the hard-edged funk sound that made him a mainstay on the modern-rock . . . wait, that’s someone else entirely. Winston plays pleasant piano music, and he will do so at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Mass. on Wednesday (7:30 PM, $25, 413-997-4444). . . . Also Wednesday, it’s the annual holiday show from a cappella giants the Bobs at Caffe Lena (7 PM, $24, 583-0022).

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