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John Brown’s Body

Revolution Hall, Thursday

There’s been some talk lately about the “world music” genre, and the unusual genesis of the term. It’s a weird label no matter how you look at it, a quintessentially American tag that somehow manages to be applied to both Afrobeat and reggae. Not that they can’t coexist, but aren’t “Afrobeat” and “reggae” good enough? Boston band John Brown’s Body were lumped into the world-music category early in their career, even as their sound was more traditionally reggae than many of their peers. Ironically, as they’ve expanded their rhythmic palate, they’ve been referred to more specifically as a reggae band. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to—when the band play Revolution Hall tonight, all that matters is that you’ll be dancing. Lynch and Nautilus open the show, and the admission includes a midnight champagne toast, as well as a late-night brunch so you can nom down while you come down. (Dec. 31, 8 PM, $30, 425 River St., Troy, 274-0553)

They Might Be Giants

Calvin Theatre, Thursday

We have mixed feelings about They Might Be Giants’ decision to welcome in the new decade all the way over in Northampton. We’re glad that they’re keeping it semi-local, but we really wish they would play the Egg here in Albany—if only because we’d love to hear them alter the lyrics to their great song about the Egg to talk about egg nog. Ah, but we digress: Johns Flansburgh and Linnell and their top-flight band put on a fun show no matter when or where they play, and we are sure tonight’s will be no exception. They’ll double up, as they’ve been doing in recent years, by playing a kids’ concert in the afternoon, followed by an evening show for the 14-and-over set. (Dec. 31, 3 and 8 PM, $20 early, $32.50 late, Northampton, Mass., 413-586-8686)


Gregg Allman

Gregg Allman

The Egg, Sunday

For 40 long years he’s been lugging that giant Hammond organ all over the country, but this week Gregg Allman gets to step away from the Brothers Band that bears his name and take a stab at standing up in front. Starting with 1973’s Laid Back, Allman has had an intermittent solo career that’s skewed more toward straightforward soul and rock than his regular gig’s lengthy blues jams. His last album of new material came more than a decade ago, but that shouldn’t keep fans from packing the Egg on Sunday, as the Gregg Allman Band set list includes both “I’m No Angel” and “Midnight Rider.” And of course there will be some jams—it would hardly be an Allman show without “Whipping Post.” (Jan. 3, 7:30 PM, $34.50-$49.50, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)

 

 

Christine Lavin

Caffe Lena, Sunday

Whose tools of the trade in clude “a guitar, a miner’s headlamp, a pair of batons, and boundless insight into popular culture”? No, it’s not a singing gynecologist—it’s folksinger Christine Lavin. The onetime Caffe Lena employee and longtime New York City resident is one of the founding members of Four Bitchin’ Babes, and composer of such humorous tunes as “Sensitive New Age Guys” and “Bald Headed Men.” She can be serious too—romantic tunes are her secondary trademark—but the shtick is what sells tickets. As for the batons, the former cheerleader frequently ends her shows by showing off her baton-twirling skills. We said she can be serious; we didn’t say you should expect it. (Jan. 3, 7 PM, $27, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)


Also Noted
Levon Helm

If you haven’t yet made plans to participate in New Year’s Eve festivities, we must remind you that tonight (Thursday) is the big night. What are you waiting for? There will be music just about anywhere you look this evening; the following is just a sample. First of all, if you were lucky enough to score tickets to the special Dec. 31 edition of Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble at Levon’s studio in Woodstock, maybe you could hook us up? Levon and his band will take it into 2010 with special guests the Alexis P. Suter Band, Little Sammy Davis, Fred Scribner and who knows who else; and according to the Web site, “standing room only” tickets may still be available (7 PM, 845-679-2744). . . . Back here in Albany, Pearl Street will host a cacophony of live bands: The Schmooze are at the Bayou Cafe (10:30 PM, $5, 426-8550); IMI will light up Savannah’s (9 PM, call for price, 426-9647); and Jillian’s has a WEQX-hosted party with music from Gravity, with a price that covers not only the party but a hotel room (10 PM, $109, 432-1997). . . . Franklin Micare provides the tunes for the Van Dyck’s New Year’s party (7:30 PM, $55, 348-7999). . . . And, if you haven’t already seen them 50 times this year, or if you have and you just can’t get enough, Enter the Haggis are playing two shows at the Iron Horse in Northampton, Mass. tonight (7 and 10 PM, $30, 413-586-8686). . . . Wherever you end up, please be safe tonight. Cab drivers are your friends.


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