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The McKrells

The Parting Glass, Thursday-Friday, Wednesday; Spa Little Theater, Sunday

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)

Statues of Liberty

Savannah’s, Friday

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)

John Pizzarelli

John Pizzarelli

Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Friday

“Nat ‘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, Mass., 413-528-0100.)

Jam for Tots 2

Valentine’s, Saturday

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)

Holiday Folk Show

Caffe Lena, Saturday

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)


Also Noted

The Machine

Tomorrow (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).


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