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Spin Doctors, Zen Tricksters
Northern Lights, Thursday

Back in the early ’90s, the Spin Doctors were on top of the jam-band universe: Their 1991 debut album, Pocket Full of Kryptonite, sold more than 6 million copies and produced the hit singles “Two Princes” and “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong,” and fans formed long lines outside clubs (including Albany’s Bogie’s) to hear their music, which managed to weave catchy melodies through the free-flowing grooves. Within a few years, however, the Spin Doctors’ star had faded, and the long lines morphed into empty seats. They released several records as they slogged through the ’90s, but their prospects for renewed fan enthusiasm were dimmed by band dissension, a long hiatus from touring (a partial cause of the dissension), and lead singer Chris Barron’s bout with a rare form of vocal paralysis. But last September, with Barron back in vocal form, they played a show at the late, legendary New York City club Wetlands, which so reinvigorated them that the reunited Docs are back on a tour bus together for the first time in seven years. Fellow jammers the Zen Tricksters will open tonight’s show at Northern Lights. (April 25, 8 PM, $15, 371-0012)

Coheed and Cambria, the Starting Line, Finch, Reaching Forward
Valentines, Thursday

In the mid-1990s, the core of Coheed and Cambria played in a band known as Shabutte. Hoping to break away from their pop-metal peers, Shabutte expanded their sound with elements of prog-rock, lo-fi and theatricality; after much touring and tweaking the group’s roster, lead vocalist and guitarist Claudio Sanchez settled on the name Coheed and Cambria, rounding out the lineup with collaborator, guitarist and childhood friend Travis Stever along with bassist Mike Todd and drummer Josh Eppard. The quartet maximized their mixture of hardcore sensibilities and theatrical grandness with the sci-fi concept album The Second Stage Turbine Blade. Coheed and Cambria will play Valentines tonight (Thursday), along with guests the Starting Line, Finch and Reaching Forward. (April 25, 8 PM, $10, 432-6572)

The David Sanborn Group
The Egg, Thursday
Turning Stone Casino, Friday

Just because David Sanborn is a jazz saxophonist doesn’t mean he plays strictly jazz. For 30 years, Sanborn has played on dozens of rock, pop, R&B, blues and big-band recordings, and has released 14 solo albums that show his eclectic taste in music. Sanborn has played with, among others, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Albert King, Eric Clapton and Paul Butterfield—with whom he performed at the original Woodstock. You may also know Sanborn as host of the syndicated television series Night Music, which featured performances by a wide range of rock and pop acts. Tonight (Thursday), Sanborn will play an intimate show at the Egg, along with his five-piece touring band, bassist Richard Patterson, guitarist Nick Moroch, percussionist Don Alias, drummer Gene Lake and keyboardist Ricky Peterson, also the producer of Sanborn’s latest CD. Sanborn and group are then off to the Turning Stone Casino in Verona for a show tomorrow (Friday). (April 25, 7:30 PM. $28, 473-1845; April 26, 8 PM, $25-$40, 877-833-SHOW )

Sonny Rollins
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Friday

Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins has been part of the music business for more than 50 years, recording numerous albums and collaborating with jazz greats such as Bud Powell, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. Making his recording debut in 1949 with Babs Gonzales, Rollins went on to play with jazz artists like Fats Navarro, and eventually joined the Max Roach-Clifford Brown Quintet in 1955. After taking a break from music in the late ’50s, Rollins returned to the scene in 1961 with a quartet featuring Jim Hall; after yet another hiatus, he came back to the jazz world for good in 1971, touring annually and continuing to make albums. Considered enormously influential, Rollins has been compared to jazz legends such as John Coltrane, and is known for the caliber of his improvising and his ability to turn unlikely material into jazz. Rollins will share his passion for the saxophone with a Capital Region audience at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall tomorrow (Friday). (April 26, 8 PM, $24, 273-0038)

Greg Brown, Jeff Lang
Eighth Step at Cohoes Music Hall, Saturday

Greg Brown’s tour supporting his new release, Milk of the Moon, puts an end to a yearlong sabbatical, which is good news for those of you who haven’t yet seen the man—and great news for those of you who have. Since his debut release in 1983, Brown has quietly turned out 16 albums of incredible independent folk music (all on the label that he founded, Red House). From visionary poetry—his 1986 album, Songs of Innocence and Experience, put William Blake’s lines to music—to gritty character sketches à la Tom Waits to dusty and humorous musical portrayals of life in rural America (think Sherwood Anderson meets Loudon Wainwright III), Brown’s easy and diverse oeuvre draws almost unfailingly high praise: Rolling Stone called him a “wickedly sharp observer of the human condition,” and The Washington Post pronounced him “one of the best singer-songwriters in America.” On Saturday, Brown will share the stage with another well-respected singer-songwriter, Australia’s Jeff Lang. (April 27, 8 PM, $17, 434-1703)

Jupiter Circle, Sara Ayers
The Larkin Lounge, Sunday

Somehow Sunday mornings seem just right for chamber music; the uncluttered arrangements and intimate scale allow for a deeper, less frenetic interaction with the music. But what about Sunday nights? If you’re looking to tear away from public radio for the night, if you’re searching for something new and innovative, you might just find it at the Larkin this Sunday. Saratoga Springs outfit Jupiter Circle describe themselves as a modern chamber ensemble, but that concise description falls short of the music on their new full-length album, Shade Songs (which should be available at the show). The familiar instrumentation—piano, violin, viola, cello, reeds—is put through unusual paces: The music gently morphs through world-music rhythmic variations and quick jazz figures, subtly pushing at the edges of the Western classical tradition. According to a recent Jupiter Circle press release, Sara Ayers has praised the band as “a fresh decidedly American sound, with echoes of Copeland and Phillip Glass.” And if you’d like to quiz Ayers further, she will—conveniently—be on hand to open for Jupiter Circle. (April 28, 8:30 PM, $5, 463-5225)

also noted

Louisiana born Mary Gauthier (it’s pronounced “Go-Shay,” we’re told) will play Great Barrington’s Club Helsinki tomorrow (Friday) in support of her most recent release, Drag Queens in Limousines—an album that has the critics at such magazines as Rolling Stone, MOJO and Q Magazine buzzing. MOJO writer Sylvie Simmons, whose employer deemed Drag Queens Americana Album of the Month, has said “Mary Gauthier’s background qualifies her for country diva status, if the smoky, been-there voice and credible songs already didn’t.” And the Boston Globe says she’s the female incarnation of John Prine and Steve Earle. Bob Hillman will open the show (9 PM, $15, 413-528-3394). . . . Local indie-pop faves Dryer will play a benefit for the Green Party Friday at Valentine’s, with Bible Study and Exit 24 sharing the bill. There will be people discussing the Green Party, globalization, racism, genetic engineering, political reform and the like (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Also Friday at Valentine’s, on the downstairs stage, Nickname Rebel, featuring local luminaries Tom Burre, Michael Keegan, Marc Arsenault, Scott Smallwood and Seana Biondolillo, will perform, as will Stars of Rock, Jump Cannon and Kitty Little (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Masters of spuge, GWAR, will play Saratoga Winners Friday, with Disarray and Disciples of Berkowitz opening (8 PM, $18 door, $15 advance, 783-1010). . . . Tom Burre reappears on Saturday, this time at Lemily & Son International Art Gallery, performing some solo stuff and some collaborative stuff with Joe Reinsel, on laptop, and James Lanni, on woodwinds (7 PM, $3, 434-2918). . . . Alt-country megastars Wilco will play Union College’s Memorial Chapel on Saturday; tickets are sold out, but that has been known to change (9 PM, $10, 388-6118). . . . Former Preying Field and Cactus Loveseat member Carl Smith will play the Larkin Lounge on Saturday; Sol Energy and Aloha Steamtrain will open (10 PM, $5, 463-5225). . . . On Sunday at the Lionheart, the Wasted—Beef frontman Stephen Gaylord’s project—will play, along with Lincoln Money Shot and Kitty Little (9 PM, 436-9530).

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