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As Tall As Lions

Civil Twilight, As Tall As Lions

Jillian’s, Friday

Don’t look now, but South Africa has become a hotspot for American rock & roll music. First, alternative-rock band Seether made the long journey from the lower Southern hemisphere to the top of the U.S. charts. Now, South African band Civil Twilight hope to ride their populist brand of arena rock—which references bands like Oasis, U2, Nirvana, and Radiohead—to the same heights. The currently Nashville-based trio, will be joined in Albany this Friday by As Tall As Lions, the Long Island band whose You Can’t Take It With You was one of 2009’s better rock records. You didn’t hear it? Check it out live, for free, Friday night. (Jan. 29, 8 PM, free, 59 N. Pearl St., Albany, 432-1997)

Between The Buried And Me

Northern Lights, Friday

For our money, Between the Buried and Me are the best progressive metal act in the business. Many a heavy band can navigate a sharp time-signature shift or work a fusion-based guitar solo into their act, but BTBAM somehow manage to pull off some of the most complex metal arrangements we’ve ever heard, without ever coming off as wonky. The North Carolinians are touring in support of their 2009 release, The Great Misdirect; they’re joined on the road by like-minded prog-metal acts Cynic and Scale the Summit, plus former Strapping Young Lad leader Devin Townsend and his eponymous Project. (Jan. 29, 7:30 PM, $18, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park, 371-0012)

Brian Bonz and the Dot Hongs

Valentine’s, Saturday

Dear Brian Bonz: We’re on to you. It’s like the “PEN15 Club,” right? You know, that trick you played on the quiet kid who smelled like tuna fish in 5th grade, where you approached him like you were his best bud and asked if he wanted to join your club. Naturally, he said “yes,” and you wrote PEN15 on his hand and watched the horror come over his face when he realized what it kinda spelled. Well, we’re not gonna do it, not gonna even attempt to pronounce the name of your band and the inevitable lewd spoonerism that will result. Instead, we’ll just recommend that everyone go listen to your pretty indie-pop music, which, to our ears, isn’t the least bit offensive and won’t make us sit dejected behind the swingset. Thanks, M. (Jan. 30, 8 PM, $5, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Old Songs Sampler Concert

Old Songs, Saturday


Every January, the fine folks at Old Songs kick off their new season with a smorgasbord of fine folk, known as the annual Sampler Concert, which also serves to raise funds for the upcoming summer’s Old Songs Festival of Traditional Music and Dance. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Old Songs Festival, so this Saturday’s sampler takes on a little extra weight. You can support this local institution by taking part in the craft raffle, grabbing a muffin from the bake sale, and checking out music from Christopher Shaw, Three Quarter North, Thomasina Winslow, Mark ’n’ Ron, Linda Schrade and Dave Kiphuth, and the Old Songs Aussie Bush Band. (Jan. 30, 8 PM, $20, $5 children, 37 S. Main St., Voorheesville, 765-2815)

Marc Cohn, Suzanne Vega

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Wednesday

This is a bit of a curious double bill: We wouldn’t have intuited much of an overlap in the respective fan bases of Marc Cohn and Suzanne Vega. Cohn’s neo-soul take on MOR balladry won him a Grammy for the single “Walking in Memphis”; Vega, though nominated for that same award, has worked a quirkier vein stylistically. From the engaging folk storytelling of her early work (“Luka”) to the electronically-enhanced experimentation of some of her later winners (“99.9 F”), Vega is a quietly challenging and rewarding artist. And, take our word for it, live, she’s got a voice like you won’t believe—should truly be something in the Music Hall. (Feb. 3, 8 PM, $29-$43, 2nd and State streets, Troy, 273-0038)

Also Noted

Kelleigh McKenzie

No animals were harmed in the making of this jam band: Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad return to Red Square on Friday; Buffalo Soul open the show (9 PM, $10, 465-0444). . . . At Valentine’s on Friday, it’s the New York City band known as Florence—not to be confused with the several other like-named bands out there—plus locals Fahrenheit 420 and Vicious Jimmy (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Support live jazz: the Adrian Cohen Trio, a group we truly don’t see enough of these days, are at Justin’s on Friday (9 PM, $5, 436-7008). . . . And more live jazz: Norman Connors, Ray Harper, and Norman Fredericks will perform at benefit concerts at the Downbeat Jazz Cafe in downtown Albany Friday and Saturday (8:30 and 10:30 PM, $20, 436-4600). . . . Legendary blues man Ernie Williams celebrates his 85th birthday in typical fashion—with a concert at the Linda—on Saturday. We have been informed that there will, indeed, be cake (8 PM, $18, 465-5233 ext. 4). . . . Also Saturday, Caffe Lena presents a “See the Future” concert featuring three up-and-coming talents: Kelleigh McKenzie, Bret Mosely, and Danielle Miraglia (8 PM, $10, 583-0022). . . . Keith Pray plays in a duo arrangement at One Caroline Street on Saturday, the eve of his big band’s CD release (7:30 PM, free, 587-2026). . . . Spin Doctors man Chris Barron is back at the Van Dyck on Saturday for an acoustic set (7 PM, $17, 348-7999).

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