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Matt and Kim

Are you getting enough pure joy from the rock & roll shows you’ve been attending? No? Then, friends, step right up this Sunday night and experience Matt and Kim at Northern Lights. Their songs, simple but not simpleminded, are upbeat, energetic and clever. The duo themselves—Matt Johnson, keys and lead vocals, and Kim Schifino, drums and noises—are tirelessly cheerful. We’ll go further, and suggest that Matt and Kim are genuinely nice; they’re from Brooklyn but don’t lord it over everyone.

Their current tour is earning critical raves, with scribes trying to outdo each other with testimonials like “You let loose, feel young, have a good time, and end the night all smiles,” and, “It’s impossible to top Matt and Kim’s zany live show.” Our favorite plaudit, “One of the most ridiculously fun live shows on the planet,” is from Pitchfork.com, and it’s our fave because we’re never sure if Pitchfork writers want us to actually enjoy music.

Matt and Kim’s new album, Sidewalks, drops on Tuesday (Nov. 2), but you can hear the entire thing at the pre-show “listening party” when the doors open at 6:30 PM.

ATL-based rapper Donnis, his DJ, and his DJ’s two turntables will open.

Matt and Kim, with special guest Donnis, will perform Sunday, Oct. 31 (Halloween!) at 7:30 PM at Northern Lights (1208 Route 146, Clifton Park). Tickets are $20. For more info, call 371-0012.

Sam Cooke: Where You Been Baby?

The late, great Sam Cooke was a towering figure in late-20th-century American music. He came out of the gospel circuit and became a pop hitmaker; he was a pioneering African-American musical entrepreneur, forming his own publishing company and controlling his recordings; he had a voice like no other, and a vocal style that was tremendously influential. And he was killed in a violent confrontation that was both tragic and profoundly stupid.

Michael Monasterial’s one-act play Sam Cooke: Where You Been Baby? aims to convey something of all these facts, and to suggest the many facets of the man. Monasterial, who also plays Cooke, has earned plaudits for both his acting and singing; the show incorporates such well-known hits as “Cupid,” “You Send Me,” “Chain Gang,” “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and “Twistin’ the Night Away.”

Sam Cooke: Where You Been Baby? will be performed tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 29) at 7 PM and Saturday (Oct. 30) at 8 PM at the Sanctuary for Independent Media (3361 6th Ave., Troy). Admission is $10. For more info, call 272-2390.

Vienna Vegetable Orchestra

When we think of Vienna and music, we must confess we’re stuck in the glorious past. Well, actually, two glorious pasts: the gilt-edged genius of Johann Strauss and son’s waltzes and mazurkas, and the thorny-but-glorious 12-tone compositions of Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg.

But something entirely new is coming from Austria to delight American music lovers, and it’s certified organic: the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra. Their genre-hopping, contemporary sounds are created on carrot flutes, pumpkin basses, leek violins and cucumberophones. Each instrument is specially made for each performance; preparation time ranges from zero minutes (for “tomato”) to more than half an hour (for the “carrot recorder”).

Sampling assorted offerings on their website, we judge these musical vegetarians to be witty, compelling and, um, tasty.

The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra will perform Wednesday (Nov. 3) at 8 PM on the mainstage at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady). Tickets are $10 to $20 adults, $5 to $10 for those age 17 and under. For more info, visit proctors.org or call 346-6204.


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