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Tonic, Candid Daydream
Northern Lights, Friday

Tonic have had a tough spring: They were forced to record their upcoming album on that hellhole island, Maui—an album for which they had to use producer Bob Rock, who’s worked with such unknowns as Metallica and Veruca Salt. And this fall they’re off to some stupid World Outside Festival, where they’ll share the bill with the unfamiliar Sheryl Crow and Train. Who’s managing these guys? Irony aside, the Los Angeles-based alt-rock band, coming to Northern Lights tomorrow (Friday), began way back in ’94 and have steadily been gaining attention since their 1996 debut, Lemon Parade (sounds like a Prince album, but it’s not)—with “Open Up Your Eyes” from that release receiving mucho airplay. They toured for a couple years behind that release, scooping up fans in the process, and in 1999 released Sugar. The album was packed with angsty ditties that made the kids crazy, namely the guitar-rock hit “You Wanted More” from the American Pie soundtrack. That brings us up to speed (although we didn’t mention their Internet release, the EP Live and Enhanced, but this is a free weekly, after all). Candid Daydream will open the show. (July 5, 7:30 PM doors, $14, $12 advance, 371-0012)

Rush
Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saturday

If you read up on Rush, you’ll find that the kings of quasi-geeky, virtuosic pop formed officially in 1969; however, when you then read that their debut single, in 1973, was a cover of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away,” you may be a bit confused—nobody, but nobody, associates Rush with the Bo Diddley beat. See, there are two Rushes: There’s Rush B.P., and Rush A.P.—before and after Peart. Before drummer-lyricist Neil Peart hooked up with bassist-vocalist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson in 1974, Rush were just another Cream-inspired bar band; it wasn’t until Peart signed on that the band became the Rush we all know and disagree about. Critics slag them as slick pseudo-intellectuals, targeting the questionable philosophy of Ayn Rand-beholden lyrics particularly (“Each of us, a cell of awareness, imperfect and incomplete/Genetic blends with uncertain ends on a fortune hunt that’s far too fleet”), while fans lap up the band’s brainy sci-fi/fantasy-fueled imagery and undeniable chops. But if mad fretboard skills, speedy roto-tom fills and faux-objectivist thrills are your cup of tea, there’s no argument: Rush are your boys. (July 6, 7:30 PM, $30-$85, 476-1000)

Inner Circle, the Trinidad & Tobago Steel Band
Central Park, Sunday

Inner Circle may be best known for writing the hit theme song for Cops, “Bad Boys,” but the group’s history actually dates back to the late 1960s. Formed in Jamaica by brothers Ian and Roger Lewis, Michael “Ibo” Cooper, Steven “Cat” Coore and Richard Daley, Inner Circle mixes Jamaican reggae with rock and pop. In the early 1970s, Lewis, Copper and Coore left to form popular reggae act Third World, and singer Jacob Miller was added to the group’s lineup. Miller helped the group craft their own material, and Inner Circle soon landed a job working for KC and the Sunshine Band during the height of the disco era. In 1980, Miller died in a car accident, and the Lewis brothers moved to Miami, where they hooked up with lead singer Carlton Coffie and, in the early 1990s, recorded their first hit “Sweat (A La La La La Long).” The song became an international success, going on to become the most played record in the history of Germany. Inner Circle’s music became a household novelty in 1993 when “Bad Boys” was chosen as the Cops theme song, going on to earn a Grammy and selling 7 million copies worldwide. Inner Circle will kick off Schenectady’s free Central Park Sunday Afternoon series on Sunday. (July 7, 3 PM, free, 800-776-2992)

Circuits of Steel
Fuze Box, Monday

Rumor has it that in Pittsburgh there’s “a vibrant community of forward-thinking artists . . . who are no longer looking to the tired clichés of rock & roll and disco for their inspiration,” and experimental-music label SSS Records has released a double-disc compilation featuring the works of 30 experimental electronic artists to back up that very claim. This is of interest to you primarily because you’re an open-minded sort of hipster, fascinated by the prospect of a post-rock musical landscape: You’re down with paradigm shifts. Plus, a handful of the artists on the compilation are coming to our humble burg, and some of them have really cool-sounding names. Xanopticon, Colongib, Girl Talk, Clockworm, My Boyfriend the Pilot and Manherringbone will unleash the newness, from “complex breakcore a la Venetian Snares” to laptop sound collage to “spooky, dark power electronics influenced by anime” to “pop music glitch and plunderphonics a la Evolution Control Committee”—and we’re thrilled in our ignorance of what, exactly, all of that means. (July 8, 8 PM, $5, 432-4472)

Steve Earle, Jess Klein
Washington Park Lakehouse, Monday

From the liner notes of Steve Earle’s album Transcendental Blues: “I once heard that ‘Transcendence is the act of going through something.’ Ouch. I see plate glass windows and divorces. Someone else told me that it was ‘rising above whatever one encountered in one’s path’ but at this point in my life that smacks of avoidance as well of elitism of some sort. . . . I find that for me, for now, transcendence is about being still enough long enough to know when it’s time to move on. Fuck me.” So, how cool is this guy? You can probably hear Earle’s devotees hollering in response right now, because though he never attained the Springsteen/Mellencamp level of celebrity his early handlers anticipated, Earle’s work—which blends rock, country, folk, bluegrass, transcendence and broken plate glass—has earned him the respect (bordering on adoration) of music lovers both amateur and professional (Earle’s been nominated for a whopping seven Grammy awards) the world round. Singer-songwriter-dub-poet Jess Klein will open. (July 8, 7:30 PM, free, 292-0368)

Jesus “Chucho” Valdes
Skidmore College, Tuesday

Cuban composer Jesus “Chucho” Valdes has been playing the piano since he was 3, and has since pursued a career as both a bandleader and music professor. Tuesday, Valdes will showcase both sides of his music persona when he performs at Skidmore’s Jazz Institute. In 1973, Valdes formed the Cuban jazz orchestra Irakere, and has fronted the group since. During the 1970s and ’80s, Irakere became one of Cuba’s top jazz ensembles, fusing Latin and Cuban music with bop and African rhythms. For most of their career, Irakere were not allowed to perform in the United States, but in 1986 they finally did. Still a Cuban resident, Valdes has toured internationally, both with Irakere and as a solo pianist. Last year, Valdes released the archival Solo: Live in New York, which was recorded at Lincoln Center in 1998. One of the many noted jazz musicians performing during the institute’s concert series, Valdes will both perform and explain jazz music to the institute’s students and the general public. Other noted musicians performing at the Jazz Institute include Wycliffe Gordon on July 6, and the Jazz Institute’s Faculty Sextet on July 11. (July 9, 8 PM, free, 580-5736)

also noted

The Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, Mass., will kick off its Troubadour Concert Series tomorrow (Thursday, July 4). The center, a not-for-profit founded by Arlo Guthrie, will present live music at 8 PM every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through Aug. 31. There’s food and drink offered, and all you’ve gotta do is bring along a nonperishable food item to get yourself in (413-528-1955). . . . On Friday, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will play SPAC, and neo-swingers and rockabillies alike will be pleased to hear that they’ve got the Brian Setzer Trio in tow on this swing through (7:30 PM, $55, $19.50 lawn, 476-1000). . . . Also Friday, Greatdayforup and Spinecar team up to raise the roof at the Lark Tavern (10 PM, $3, 463-9779). . . . Though there was some talk of the Anti Freeze Rock Out being held in July this year—don’t ask—the rumors appear to be unfounded. Organizers aren’t leaving you in the lurch though: On Friday, Club Caroline brings you Act II, Queen V and Farewell to Reason; and Saturday night, the Wait, the Sixfifteens, Green to Think and the 1234’s (580-0155). . . . Also Saturday, the brand-spanking-new warehouse-turned-concert venue the Port of Hudson, in conjunction with Club Helsinki, hosts a huge show to benefit Friends of Hudson. Poet Laureate John Ashbery will start the night with a reading, then the Tom Tom Club, featuring ex-Talking Heads Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, and the Hotheads featuring Julee Cruise will do their respective things (8 PM, $30, 413-528-3394). . . . A whopping Doo Wop Extravaganza hits SPAC on Sunday, featuring the Tokens, the Shangri-la’s, Frankie Lyman’s Teenagers, the Del-Vikings and more (7:30 PM, $38.50, $28.50, 476-1000). . . . Former Hüsker Düde Grant Hart hits Valentine’s on Wednesday, with former Dugan Rob Skane opening (8 PM, $8, 432-6572). . . . Joyous Lake gives you your dose of fake “Titties and Beer” when Zappa tribute act Project/Object featuring Ike Willis checks in on Wednesday (9 PM, $20, 845-679-1107).


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