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Gin Blossoms

Alive at Five, Thursday

In this week’s article titled “Nation’s Boyfriends Dreading ‘Free Event in the Park’ Season,” The Onion—dateline, Niskayuna—named some “cool-sounding cost-free events” that the nation’s girlfriends are excited about, including “the appearance of a modestly successful mid-’90s alternative band at the Tulip Festival.” To that, we say this: They’re not just at the Tulip Festival anymore! Tonight’s Alive at Five takes us back to the early days of Alternative Nation, when a Byrds-loving roots-rock band from Arizona broke through the grungy film of rock radio and found mainstream success with a series of terrific pop singles. Those singles have aged really well, which means they should at least be good for drinkin’ beer to. The Gin Blossoms currently are in the second leg of their Alive at Five tour, having played a like-named event last week in Connecticut. Ten Year Vamp will open. (July 1, 5 PM, free, Albany Riverfront Park, Corning Preserve, Albany, 434-2032)

Beat Shot Music Festival

Red Square, Friday-Saturday

Were we simply to list the names of all the performers on this two-day bill, it would exceed the allotted word count—so vast is this second annual celebration of independent music, fashion and art. And the best part: no camping. Homeboy Sandman and J-Live host a lineup of 50-plus performers on the hip-hop side of the dime including locals Broadcast Live, Deep Children, Mirk and the New Familiars, Taina Asili y la Banda Rebelde, Midas, Oddy Gato, Sev Statik, and, like we said, the list goes on and on. Other best part: It’s just $5 per day. (July 2-3, 6 PM, $5, 388 Broadway, Albany, 465-0444)

Steve Hackett, Renaissance

The Egg, Saturday

It’s been a big year for guitarist Steve Hackett. For one, he, you know, kinda got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his former band Genesis. But what he’d like to tell you about is his new album Out of the Tunnel’s Mouth, which is a return to his prog-rocking past, complete with symphonic washes, Middle Eastern scales, and the tapping technique he claims Eddie Van Halen stole from him. It’s a true return to form, as is his tour, which goes all-in on the prog theme by sharing a bill with British prog troubadours Renaissance. (July 3, 8 PM, $29.50-$39.50, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)

Carole King and James Taylor

Tanglewood, Saturday-Monday

The guest for this year’s Taylor at Tanglewood stand earns above-the-star billing because she’s the composer of some of the greatest songs in pop history—and because King and Taylor are currently sitting high on the charts with a live record celebrating the 40th anniversary of their first concert date together (in 1970, at the Troubadour in Los Angeles). Well, sort of: The current tour marks the anniversary, but the album actually was taped in 2007 at a concert marking the Troubadour’s 50th. Either way, it’s the first Top 10 record with King’s name on it since the ’70s, and makes Taylor the first to have a Top 10 album in each of the last four decades (though Tom Petty quickly became the second). Early reports suggest a no-fail crowd-pleaser. Best of luck to the ticketless—all three gigs are sold out. (July 3-5, 7 PM, West Street, Lenox, Mass., 888-266-1200)

Ed Kowalczyk

Ed Kowalczyk

Northern Lights, Wednesday

Bringing the ’90s theme full circle, we have the estranged lead singer of a band who scored one of the biggest alternative albums of the Clinton years. The Pennsylvania band Live and their Throwing Copper record were inescapable for about two solid years—and its eight million in sales suggests people are still paying money for it on a regular basis. Which makes singer Ed Kowalczyk’s recent, messy separation from the band all the more disheartening: Kowalczyk and the band’s former business manager are currently being sued by the remaining three band members over a heavily lopsided publishing agreement and a bundle of unpaid royalties. Basically, the lead singer is pulling a classic lead-singer move and fucking over dudes he’s worked with for 20 years. The tyranny of tradition, indeed. Anyway, Kowalczyk has a new solo record out and he’s playing Northern Lights on Wednesday. (July 7, 7 PM, $22, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park, 371-0012)

Also Noted

Peter Noone

We’ve been giving some thought to that Onion article about boyfriends dreading free-event season, and we thought we’d dedicate this one to the ladies, if you get the drift: Get your dude up early today (Thursday) and drag him to the noontime Jazz on Jay show with Sketches of Influence (noon, free, 382-3884). . . . Later, groove to popular hits from New York Players at the Guilderland Performing Arts Center’s Thursday concert series (7:30 PM, free, 456-3150). . . . You want culture, he wants to go to a club: Meet in the middle Friday evening when the Brian Patneaude Quartet bring nightclub jazz to the roof of the Tang Museum at Skidmore (7 PM, free, 580-8080). . . . Since Friday was an early night, head to Salem Saturday morning and catch fiddler Smokey Greene at Summer Sounds of Salem (11 AM, free, 854-9339). . . . Then, head for the beer: Pearl-Palooza is Saturday afternoon, with free live music throughout the day at many Pearl Street clubs (and more information in the box on the next page). . . . If you prefer the indoors at Skidmore, the Luis Bonilla Quintet continue the Skidmore Jazz Institute concert series Saturday night (8 PM, free, 580-5320). . . . Who doesn’t like fireworks? Make him buy you cotton candy at the Empire State Plaza on Sunday, where Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits fame will sing the hits of yester-yesteryear before the big go-booms (3 PM, free, 473-0559). . . . Another of the displaced “house” bands from Tess’ Lark Tavern has found a meantime home: Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys play a “Bring Your Own” (as in food, drink, lawn chairs) concert at North Albany Studio on Monday. Think of it as an indoor picnic! (7 PM, free, 368-8485). . . . End his week of terrible awful torture with a trip to Shepard Park in Lake George, for music from local legends Bobby Dick and the Sundowners (7:30 PM, free, 668-2616).

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