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The Spinners, Larry Lewis and Solid Smoke
Tricentennial Park, Thursday

Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff weren’t the only producers putting Philadelphia soul on the map in the 1970s: Across town, Thom Bell was carving out his own niche in the emerging genre with acts like the Delfonics and the Stylistics, and especially the Spinners, who actually were Detroit transplants rebounding from a brief, lackluster tenure with Motown Records. The formula of Bell’s subtly complex but simple-sounding arrangements, the group’s intricate vocal harmonies, and the warmly sensitive falsetto of lead singer Philippé Wynne resulted in such hits as “I’ll Be Around,” “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love,” “Then Came You” and “The Rubberband Man.” Wynne left the group in 1977 (and died in 1984), but his replacement, John Edwards, performed the Spinners’ disco-era classic “Workin’ My Way Back to You” and remains in the lineup today, along with original members Henry Fambrough, Bobbie Smith, Pervis Jackson, Billy Henderson and G.C. Cameron. Larry Lewis and Solid Smoke will open tonight’s free Alive at Five concert in Albany’s Tricentennial Park. (July 18, 5 PM, free, 434-2032)

Meet the Kreeper
Saratoga Winners, Thursday

Meet the Kreeper: front man for schlock-metal superstars White Zombie. Rob Zombie was also a bike messenger, a porn-magazine art director and a production assistant on the classic kids’ show Pee-wee’s Playhouse. And these seemingly varied professions all seem to fit him like a glove. As any of his many devoted fans will attest, all of the Kreeper’s performances, albums, and other artistic endeavors (such as his as yet unreleased horror film House of 1000 Corpses) reveal his penchant for the sleazy and the surreal. The Kreeper, who disbanded White Zombie when his first attempt at a solo career, 1998’s Hellbilly Deluxe, sold more copies in its first week than any of White Zombie’s albums had, will make an appearance at Saratoga Winners tonight, taking a day off from his Ozzfest duties. (July 18, 8 PM, $22, $20 advance, 783-1010)

Michelle Shocked
Agnes MacDonald Music Haven Stage, Central Park, Schenectady, Sunday

Anti-folk legend Michelle Shocked’s life reads like fiction, so much so that some folks have speculated that it’s just that, a work more of imagination than true biography: a large, strict, dirt-poor Mormon family. Summers spent with a hippie-atheist father. A Kerouacian life on the road. Political activism that gets her busted by the San Francisco cops at the Democratic National Convention. Committed by Mormon mom to a mental institution until the insurance runs out. An airborne extension of the life on the road. Bumming around Paris. Raped by a Green Party activist after a No Nukes rally in Sicily. Surviving on a diligently tended hoard of alfalfa sprouts. Exploited by a record label that propels her to cult status with field recordings pressed without her permission. Battles to win back her catalog from a later major label. And these are just the bullet points. In our opinion, it’s cool even if it’s bullshit; we like it just as much if she did make it up, because her music sounds like it was made by the person she claims to be, and that’s what matters. On Sunday in Schenectady’s Central Park, the colorful Shocked will perform songs from her newest one, Deep Natural, a song cycle of “border ballads” based on her wanderings through Mexico and Guatemala, exploring her heritage—which sounds like a pretty good story. (July 28, 3 PM, free, 800-776-2992)

The Paladins, the Lustre Kings
The Ale House, Monday

As you may have found out in other areas of the paper this week, Troy’s scene is where it’s at these days for the rock and the roll. Monday’s show at the Ale House is no exception: San Diego based rockabilly band the Paladins will play a rare East Coast show—though they play in the ballpark of 200 shows a year, the band don’t get to these parts much. So though you may not have seen one of their legendary rip-snorting sweat-flinging live shows, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not worthy. Gouging themselves a place in the rockabilly history ledger with very little radio play or mainstream acknowledgement, the Paladins have created an international and somewhat cultish following. The band have always been helmed by guitarist Dave Gonzales (it seems they were formed as an outlet for his Link Wray obsession), but they have gone through some member changes and have found themselves on nearly as many labels as they have releases—including 4AD, Alligator and Sector 2. The latest effort, Palvoline No. 7 (released last year on Ruf Records) offers up surf, ’50s rock and country blues in heaping servings. Our very own Lustre Kings, just back from Wisconsin where they played a mondo rockabilly fest (as did the Paladins), will open the show. (July 22, 8 PM, $5, 272-9740)

Jimmy Eat World, Desaparecidos
Northern Lights, Wednesday

Metallica cover bands take note: Don’t give up. You may be the next best thing. Hell, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden facsimiles are also in the running. Get your contract-signing pens ready, ’cause Jimmy Eat World (you know the ones who are driving the young ones crazy with adoration) began as tune rippers from Mr. Ulrich’s catalog. The Mesa, Ariz., quartet marched toward the Weezer end of the rock spectrum, showered the Four Corners area with their emo aesthetic, self-released a few singles, EPs and the like, and were finally noticed by Capitol—who released the albums Static Prevails (1996) and Clarity (1999). JEW, who will play Northern Lights on Wednesday, split with Capitol in 2000, recording their next LP, Bleed American, with their own money. DreamWorks picked it up, released it last year, and the rest is history. That is if you watch any TV and/or read any magazines—these guys are all over late-night TV, so-called music channels and magazines such as Time and Newsweek. Also on the bill is Bright Eyes’ Connor Oberst’s louder and punkier project, Desaparecidos. (July 24, 7:30 PM doors, $20, $18 advance, 371-0012)

America, the Average White Band
Empire State Plaza, Wednesday

It would be hard to conjure up a band more relaxing than ’70s pop-folksters America, whose light, sunny tunes sound like easy- listening versions of the Eagles’ easy- listening versions of Buffalo Springfield tunes. Hits such as “Ventura Highway” and “Sister Golden Hair” are palatable paeans to the peaceful, easy feeling of the Southern California lifestyle—the wistful quality is more easily understood when you consider that the tunes were penned by a trio who first teamed up as high school-aged Yanks stuck in the gray U.K., where their servicemen fathers were stationed. A somewhat dissimilar cross-oceanic yearning is represented by the Average White Band, a Scottish group whose ardent love for American funk gained them enthusiastic audiences in stateside cities unlikely to tolerate poseurs. The name notwithstanding, AWB were one of the few white bands—then or now—to score radio hits and capture the attention and respect of funk fans in Detroit, Philly, Memphis and other epicenters of groove with their real-deal live performances. (July 24, 7 PM, free, 474-5987)

also noted

Great Barrington’s Club Helsinki offers up an evening of afro-pop sounds tonight (Thursday), when Thomas Mapfumo & Blacks Unlimited play the club (9 PM, $18, 413-528-3394). . . . There’s another happenin’ rockabilly show going on in that hotbed of rock we mentioned earlier, Troy—this time the show’s at Artie’s Lansingburgh Station tomorrow (Friday), and the act is Josie Kreuzer, another kickin’ San Diego rock & roller; Rocky Velvet will open the show (9 PM, $5, 238-2788). . . . On Saturday, the Garden Grill will hold a fund-raiser for New Day Art Program, with a slew of bands volunteering their time and ampage: Coal Palace Kings, Mark Emanatian and Folding Sky, Arc, Mare’s Nest and Marc Jones are just a few; admission includes foodstuffs (noon, $10, 462-0571). . . . Murphy’s Law, Joe Coffee, Murderer’s Row and el Chupa Cabra will play Valentine’s on Saturday (8 PM, $12, $10 advance, 432-6572). . . . Saturday at Miss Mary’s Art Space, footage from the Demolition Derby Grand Nationals will be screened, and there will be music by Gay Tastee, the Wasted and Jason Martin (9 PM, $5, 439-0041). . . . King Croon, Barry Manilow, will play SPAC on Sunday; Curtis Stigers shares the bill (7:30 PM, $45-$85, $17.50 lawn, 476-1000). . . . He of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, Jorma Kaukonen, will celebrate his newest release, Blue Country Heart, Tuesday at the Iron Horse in Northampton, Mass. The album is a collection of rural blues songs from the ’20s and ’30s written by storytellers along the lines of Jimmie Rodgers, the Delmore Brothers, Cliff Carlisle and Slim Smith, and Kaukonen will be joined by all-star ensemble Blue Country (7 PM, $22.50, 800-THE-TICK). . . . Deep Banana Blackout and Strangefolk will do their thing at Northern Lights on Tuesday (7:30 doors, $14, $12 advance, 371-0012).

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