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The Bottle Rockets, the Demolition String Band
Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Thursday

Your roots-rock friends will tell you that along with Uncle Tupelo, the Bottle Rockets were among the avant-garde of the alternative-country boom of the 1990s. Their sophomore release, The Brooklyn Side, is regarded as a masterpiece of the genre, wedding Southern boogie, barroom honky-tonk and Crazy Horse electric sprawl. But if you were to ask the Bottle Rockets themselves, they might tell you to dig deeper in the text for the true pioneers of new country. And on their latest album, Songs of Sahm, they offer up a clue where to start the investigation: The album is a tribute to Doug Sahm, best known for his improbably great, Tex-Mex-pyschedelic-country-hippie band the Sir Douglas Quintet. Sahm, a country music prodigy, was offered a permanent place at the Grand Ole Opry while still a preteen, but it was his run-in with the British Invasion that helped him define his own idiosyncratic style. The Bottle Rockets bring their raucous tribute to the Iron Horse in Northampton, Mass., tonight (Thursday). Fellow roots-revivalists the Demolition String Band will open. (April 4, 7 PM, $10, 800-THE-TICK)

Jazz Is Dead
Van Dyck, Friday

Don’t get your goatee in a twist, Dad—this is no eulogy for hard bop. See, Jazz Is Dead is actually a group of hotshot instrumentalists—including a onetime Weather Reporter, a member of CPR and a couple of Dixie Dregs—who take the songs of the Grateful Dead as starting points for improvisational forays into fusion. Though the death of Jerry Garcia put an end to the Dead as a band, the Dead as a musical phenomenon continues in the form of numerous tributes, both explicit and implicit: If you want note-for-note reproductions of specific Dead concerts, you’ve got your Dark Star Orchestra; if you want new music in the tradition of the Dead, you’ve got a gazillion jam bands spread across the country cranking out noodly originals. Bassist Alphonso Johnson, guitarist Jeff Pever, keyboardist T. Levitz and drummer Rod Morgenstein, however, are a different animal altogether, operating in an idiosyncratic parallel space. Critic Steve Bloom, from expert source High Times magazine, said, “I haven’t witnessed such a vibrant Dead scene since Jerry’s passing,” and Natalie Davis of Baltimore’s City Paper said, “You don’t have to be a deadhead to dig this musical event.” (April 5, 7 and 9:30 PM, $20, 381-1111)

St. Marta Trio
The Larkin Lounge, Friday

Break out the berets and black turtlenecks: Brooklyn’s St. Marta Trio are coming back to Albany. The band will perform at the Larkin on Friday as part of their unofficial tour of the Northern Provinces (think Glens Falls, Queensbury and Burlington). The St. Marta Trio, who traded sets and players with the Adrian Cohen Quartet at the Larkin in January, meld a little swing, Latin jazz and Middle Eastern influence with decidedly hip, avant-garde arrangements. The guys who make up the group—Erick Kurimski on guitar, Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz on bass and Kevin Zubek on drums—pride themselves in performing emotional, passionate, spontaneous sets. And they don’t just talk the talk—last time they played the Larkin, even longtime area jazzophiles, unlikely to give credit where it’s not due, raved about the trio’s fresh yet accessible jazz stylings. (April 5, 9 PM, $5, 463-5225)

Hawksley Workman, Rich Baldes
The Larkin Lounge, Sunday

Hawksley Workman would be at least vaguely interesting for his name alone, which just has a great fictional ring to it (like Judith Prietht, Oedipa Maas or Oliver Twist). Add to that a decidedly Dickensian—not to say dubious—bio, and you’ve got something really intriguing: According to Workman, he spent his childhood daydreaming in rural Canada, drifting “in the sky on a kite carefully fastened to a button on [his] shirtsleeve.” Later, after a professional stint cutting ice from a lake, he got a job in a tap-dance academy, polishing rental shoes and keeping the stylus of the record player free of dust. He cleaned the place in exchange for “a modest wage, a cot next door to the broom closet, and the opportunity to join the beginners afternoon class.” Inspired, it seems, by an underwater muse named Isadora, Workman took time away from dancing to publish a book of poetic love letters to that watery creature, and to self-release For Him and the Girls—the latter of which received glowing reviews in Canada and the U.K. Workman’s music has garnered him several Junos, and rumor has it that his stage banter is as outlandish and inventive as his backstory. Sharing the bill will be Rich Baldes. (April 7, 8:30 PM, $5, 463-5225)

Strife, Rise Against, Endicott, Down-Fall
Valentine’s, Sunday

What does anger mean to you? Well, apparently, to hardcore mavens Strife it means coming out of retirement to release a new disc (titled, appropriately enough, Angermeans). The L.A.-based group called it quits back in 1998, feeling that the hardcore scene had grown stagnant and pop-addled, but it seems they’d rather lead by example than sit on the sidelines any longer. After playing a couple of reunion shows as benefits for the family of a departed friend, Strife rekindled their enthusiasm and decided to give it another shot. The resulting album, according to, illustrates that Strife’s renewed spark quickly “grew to raging inferno,” and took the band’s blend of metal and more traditional hardcore style to a new level. Influences from the Cro-Mags to Slayer to Agnostic Front all crop up on Angermeans, which is given an unexpected crossover kick by Cyprus Hill percussionist Eric Bobo. Joining Strife will be Rise Against, Endicott and Down-Fall. (April 7, 8 PM, $10, 432-6572)

Songs from a Fishbowl III
Eighth Step at Cohoes Music Hall, Sunday

Someday in the future, we hope the continuing Fishbowl series inspires Star Wars vs. Empire Strikes Back-type arguments. We’d love to hear fanatics bickering over their favorite night of chance musical pairings. “Dude, how can you say that Fishbowl I wasn’t the best? Do you not remember the Mauger-D’Aloia combo? Or the Kilrain-Ayers?” If you’re not familiar with this budding franchise, we’ll clue you in so you can join the debate: A select batch of diverse local musical talents gather a few hours before the show; their names are drawn from a fishbowl in pairs; then, they’re sent off to prepare a 20-minute set to perform that night. This year, hosts Mike Eck and Deb Cavanaugh welcome John Brodeur, Steve Frye, Victoria Bouffard, Kevin Maul, the Grim Orchestra’s Sam Whedon, Glenn Weiser, Tom Burre of Bone Oil, Jack Nemier of Arc, performance-poet Nicole Peyrafitte and a few “extra special” mystery guests. So hurry out, collect ’em all. (April 7, 7 PM, $10, 434-1703)

also noted

Tomorrow (Friday), learn all about the fate of the Edmond Fitzgerald when venerable Canadian balladeer Gordon Lightfoot plays the Palace Theatre (8 PM, $31, 476-1000) . . . . Also Friday, rawk & roll grrrls Antigone Rising return to Valentine’s (8 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . On Saturday, bluegrass revivalists Nickel Creek will bring their new take on old music to the Egg (8 PM, $22, 473-1845). . . . Prince’s favorite saxman, Maceo Parker, blows through the region on Saturday, when he’ll play an all-ages show at the Skidmore Sports and Recreation Center (11 PM, $15, $10 students, 580-5298). . . .Pretty popsters the Push Stars, along with the Scooters, will play Great Barrington’s Club Helsinki on Saturday (8:30 PM, $15, 413-528-6308). . . . Former Ominous Seapods front man Todd Pasternack has a new band, marlow, and they’re celebrating the release of a new album on Saturday at Valentine’s [see Listen Here, page 24]. . . . Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers will play both kinds of music, boogie and woogie, when they perform at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Saturday (8 PM, $22, 273-0038). . . . The Glens Falls Civic Center hosts a doo-wop blowout on Saturday, featuring the Shirelles with Shirley Alston Reeves, the Vogues, the Capris and others (7 PM, $50 with post-show meet-and-greet, $35.75-$26.75, 476-1000). . . . On Saturday, Saratoga Winners hosts a hardcore extravaganza with Catch 22, Grade, Reach the Sky, Taking Back Sunday and Student Rick (8 PM, $12 door, $10 advance, 783-1010). . . . Canadian folk duo Alien Folklife hit Caffe Lena on Saturday (6 PM, $12, $10 members, 583-0022). . . . The Larkin hosts a whopping hopper full of pop on Saturday, when John Brodeur is joined by A Don Piper Situation and Frank Bango (10 PM, $5, 463-5225). . . . On Sunday, the Van Dyck welcomes “friends, family and special guests from the ‘Who’s Who of Jazz’ ” in a Musical Celebration to Remember Nick Brignola (pictured). All proceeds from the two shows will benefit the Junior Museum in Troy (3-6 PM and 7-10 PM, $20, 381-1111).

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