Parting Glass, Thursday-Friday, Wednesday; Spa Little Theater,
Well well well, my McKrells. When it comes time for the folks
in Saratoga Springs to get whole-hog into the holiday spirit,
there’s only one band they like to do it with: hometown heroes
the McKrells. The long-running Celtic-music act, led by inimitable
frontman and namesake Kevin McKrell, have presented their
Christmas show in and around the Capital Region every year
for as long as we can remember. This year, you have four chances
to catch the McKrells at their seasonally appropriate best:
three shows at their adopted homebase, the Parting Glass,
plus a Sunday show at the Spa Little Theater. All the shows
feature guest spots from percussionist Brian Melick and violinist
Sara Milonovich; singer-songwriter Jeff Strange appears on
the Parting Glass dates. (Dec. 17-18 and 23, 8 PM, $10
, 40-42 Lake Ave., Saratoga Springs, 583-1916; Dec. 20, 7
PM, $15, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, 587-4427)
There is some discussion elsewhere in this issue about the
parallels between the New York City and Albany music scenes.
Tomorrow (Friday), you can see the two scenes come together
in sweet cacophony. Statues of Liberty formed from two-thirds
of Banana Fish Zero, a New York band who made their fair share
of noise in the Capital Region in the first half of this decade.
But Statues take a more punk-rock tack than their predecessors;
indeed, the lead track from their new album bears the foreboding
title “Run Motherfucker.” It’s classic, down and dirty, CBGB-style
rock & roll. Joining SOL for Friday’s “Nightmare Before
Xmas” show are three torchbearers for the Capital Region rock
scene: the Blisterz, Blackcat Elliot, and the Velmas. (Dec.
18, 8 PM, $5, 1 S. Pearl St., Albany, 426-9647)
Performing Arts Center, Friday
‘King’ Cole is why I do what I do,” says internationally known
bandleader, jazz musician and radio personality John Pizzarelli.
We think his father, guitar legend Bucky Pizzarelli, might
have had something to do with it too—it was he who first exposed
John to jazz greats such as Cole, Erroll Garner, and Django
Reinhardt. But the younger Pizzarelli is quite established
in his own right: He has recorded as a bandleader, appeared
in a Broadway musical, performed and recorded extensively
with his jazz trio, and become an accomplished radio personality.
That’s in addition to recording with artists like James Taylor,
Natalie Cole, Rosemary Clooney, and Donna Summer, and performing
all over late-night TV. His latest gig, Radio Deluxe with
John Pizzarelli, is a nationally syndicated radio program
that he hosts with his wife, Broadway actress Jessica Molasky.
(Dec.18, 8 PM, $35-$60, 14 Castle St, Great Barrington,
for Tots 2
The Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign has been providing
assistance to needy families for 42 years. Three years ago,
local musician Luke Weiler got involved in organizing Toys
for Tots events in and around upstate New York, and Jam for
Tots was born. Jam for Tots events have already been held
in several Northeast cities; this weekend the operation moves
to Albany, where the lineup will include Positive Mental Trip
(Weiler), Unexplained Bacon, Mentally Ill, RoboFrance 29,
Sugarproof, Leila, and Scooby Carolan, among others. The cover
charge is waived for anyone who brings a new, unused toy,
and there is even a raffle giveaway. Grab your dancin’ shoes
and prepare for a feel-good night of toys and tunes. (Dec.
19, 7 PM, $7 or a toy, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany. 432-6572)
Did we imply that the McKrells were the only game in town
for seasonal music in Saratoga this week? We fibbed. Our friends
at Caffe Lena have an annual holiday tradition all their own,
something they call the region’s “only Candlemas-Hanukkah-Ramadan-Solstice-Christmas-Kwanzaa-New
Year-Boxing Day-Epiphany event.” While we can’t verify the
truth of that statement, we can say that this is a rare chance
to see some of our area’s most beloved folk acts in collaboration.
Saturday’s show finds three husband-and-wife combos—Addie
and Olin, Trish Miller and John Kirk, and Linda Schrade and
David Kiphuth—teaming up for a night of string music and great
harmony, with good humor to spare. (Dec. 19, 8 PM, $17,
Phila Street, Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)
(Friday) night, it’s Teach er’s Night Out at Revolution
Hall; on tap musically is Aquanett, who
have been billed as New England’s “premier” ’80s
tribute band (8 PM, $10, 274-0553). . . . Ramblin
Jug Stompers wrap up their 2009 with a stop
at Caffe Lena on Friday (8 PM, $17, 583-0022).
. . . Blue Factory, featuring former Crawdad
boys Jim and Joe Crawley, make an appearance at
Tess’ Lark Tavern Friday night (9 PM, $5, 463-9779).
. . . For a machine of a different brand, head
to Northern Lights on Saturday for Pink Floyd
tribute act the Machine; fitting occasion,
we think, as Saturday is the last day of Hanukkah,
the Jewish festival of lights (7 PM, $17, 371-0022).
. . . Looking ahead to another big religious holiday,
Eileen Ivers presents an Irish Christmas
at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Mass.,
on Saturday (8 PM, $35-$65, 413-997-4444). . .
. Trumansburg’s finest, Donna the Buffalo,
head to Woodstock for a Saturday night show at
Bearsville Theater (9 PM, $20, 845-679-4406).
. . . Celebrate the Solstice with the Eighth Step
at Proctors GE Theatre on Saturday, with music
from Kim and Reggie Harris and Magpie
(7:30 PM, $26, 434-1703).