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Bob Dylan Tribute
Old Chapel, Union College, Thursday

Hard to believe that little Bobby Zimmerman is all growed up, isn’t it? I remember when he was just a scruffy little coffeehouse beatnik, cruising around the University of Minnesota campus on his motorcycle with that battered acoustic on his back. OK, I don’t really, but for anyone who’s seen Don’t Look Back in the neighborhood of a million times, it’s tough to think of Bob as Grampa Dylan. Yet, on May 24, Dylan turns 61. The times they are a-changing—but the more they a-change, the more they a-stay the same: Just last year, Love and Theft proved that Dylan is still America’s preeminent songwriter. Appropriately, a host of local songwriters are turning out tonight to give the old man his props by performing renditions of their own favorite Dylan tunes. Michael Eck, David Malachowski, MotherJudge, Mitch Elrod, Albie, the Decadent Royals, Bowtie Blotto, Super 400, No Outlet, Jason Martin, Howard Glassman, the Legendary Ramblers and someone, or something, called Zimmerbeat will all be on hand to celebrate. Plus, there’ll be cake. (May 23, 7:30 PM, free, 388-6124)

Thedamnwells, 5 Alpha Beatdown, the Sixfifteens, Boss Gremlin
Valentine’s, Friday

With the demise of alt-country darlings Whiskeytown, the scattered members had to go somewhere—and it seems you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one of them playing our area. Steven Terry, Whiskeytown drummer during the Stranger’s Almanac era, is the most recent to come through. He’s part of the New York-based band thedamnwells, and they’re playing the downstairs stage at Valentine’s tomorrow (Friday). But don’t expect the alt-country that has the kids going nuts these days from thedamnwells: The quartet’s singer-guitarist Alex Dezen, at the tender age of 23 or 24 (somewhere in that ballpark), writes angst-ridden hook-filled pop gems. After playing all over New York for the past couple years, thedamnwells have garnered quite a following there, and now they have hit the road, at times opening for rock gods Cheap Trick. The band recently released an eponymous six-song EP (they choose to call it a PMR, for poor man’s record), which is available online and at select NYC music stores. The Sixfifteens (equal parts Dryer and the Users), 5 Alpha Beatdown and Boss Gremlin open the show. (May 24, 9 PM, $5, 432-6572)

Leftover Crack, the Virus, OFN, Plastic Jesus
Valentine’s, Friday

When they formed in 1999, Leftover Crack were punk rock’s version of a supergroup. Featuring members of such underground punk and ska groups as Suicidal Tendencies, Blindsided, BS2000, Agent 99 and Choking Victim, Leftover Crack embodied the spirit, if not the sound, of hard-edged punk. The group’s Web site traces their humble beginnings to their shared “intense hatred of white people and their pathetic milk-drinking, Gap-wearing, R.E.M.-listening, 90210-watching culture.” Since then Leftover Crack have embarked on several club tours of the United States and have released a series of spiteful albums and EPs. The group will play tomorrow (Friday) on the upstairs stage at Valentine’s; the Virus, OFN and Plastic Jesus open the show. (May 24, 8 PM, $10, 432-6572)

Reggae Cowboys
Club Helsinki, Friday

Picking up where Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” left off, the Reggae Cowboys combine Caribbean reggae with the stories and styles of traditional Western (you know, as in “Country & . . . ”) music. Formed in Toronto in 1993, the Reggae Cowboys spent the last nine years touring throughout North America. The Reggae Cowboys have appeared on a variety of bills and festivals, mixing such diverse genres as R&B, reggae, jazz, blues and rock & roll, and sharing the stage with the Wailers, Lauryn Hill, Widespread Panic and Los Lobos. Adding dashes of six-string and slide guitar to their sound, the Reggae Cowboys aim to reset reggae in an Americana context. Songs like “Searching for the Outlaw” and “Geronimo” tell tales of the Wild West. Many of the group’s songs also tell of the experiences of the oft-overlooked African-American cowboys. The group will play Club Helsinki tomorrow (Friday) before they gear up to release their third album this summer. (May 24, 9 PM, $10, 413-528-3394)

The Larkin Lounge, Saturday

Jerseyband, who are from Ro chester, not New Jersey, generate a sound influenced by such diverse genres as classical, jazz, rock and the current hardcore scene. Instead of blending these genres, Jerseyband attempt to represent them individually, with their instrumental compositions including baritone, alto and tenor sax, drums and guitar. Jerseyband describe their music as abstract and laughably dramatic, and compare their style to music heard in video games and commercials. After nine months of practicing and recording as artists in residency at Keuka College in upstate New York, Jerseyband have released Jake, which features a blending of sounds from both humans and machines. Jerseyband will bring their original sound to the Larkin Saturday night. (May 25, 10 PM, $5, 463-5225)

Shadows Fall, Lamb of God, Darkest Hour, Unearth, At War With Shadows
Saratoga Winners, Saturday

Massachusetts-based progressive-metal band Shadows Fall formed in 1996, and over the years, they’ve gained visibility by opening for acts such as Fear Factory, Staind and Cannibal Corpse. In 1997, the band self-financed their first album, Somber Eyes to the Sky, which, without any label support, sold 11,000 copies worldwide. The album landed in the CMJ Loud Rock Top 10 chart and became the highest charting album from an unsigned band in the trade magazine’s history. Shadows Fall then signed with Century Media, and their label debut album, Of One Blood, was one of the most talked-about metal albums of 2000. Shadows Fall’s new album, The Art of Balance, is due out this fall, so expect to hear some songs from it when the band perform on Saturday at Saratoga Winners. Lamb of God, Darkest Hour, Unearth and At War With Shadows open the show. (May 25, 8 PM, $12, 783-1010)

also noted

Part of the continuing improvised music series, Ghost Names 8, featuring J’ai Truck (turntables and machines), Matt Loiacono (drums), Tom Burre (electronics and synths) and Jessie Pellerin (tap shoes and triggered platform), will perform Saturday at the Hilton Center for Performing Arts. Sharing the bill is Clawdaddy, with Mitch Elrod, Peter Sheehan, Albie and Sten Isachsen (8 PM, 453-1048). . . . Rosanne Raneri is visiting from her new home in Boston, and she’s putting on a show at Saratoga’s Parting Glass on Saturday (9:30 PM, $8, 583-1916). . . . Celebrate BUMfest 2002 at Northern Lights on Saturday, with local bands Monkey Gone Mad (Scotia-based ska-punk funksters), Roper (rock-jazz-funk), Small Appliances (folk-rock jammy featuring members of Conehead Buddha and Ominous Seapods), Sirsy (rock) and the DAs (all-girl punk) playing the night away. The celebration, open to all 16 and older, also offers food, drinks, prizes and other nifty things (7:30 PM, $7, 371-0012). . . . There will be a Super 400 sighting at the Larkin on Sunday, when the retro-rockers will take you back to the time of Cream and Hendrix, aided and abetted by John Brodeur and the Suggestions and Carl Smith (8:30 PM, $5, 463-5225).

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