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Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show, Phil Lee
Club Helsinki, Great Barrington, Mass., Thursday

Dedicated to the preservation and performance of bluegrass music, six-piece acoustic band Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show, performing at Club Helsinki tonight (Thursday), will tickle your nostalgia bone. With a guitar, violin, double bass, mandolin and banjo, the Texas-based ensemble have been providing audiences a traditional country music show a là the Grand Ole Opry since ’93. They even use the old-fashioned one-microphone approach. Just last year, the band received the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Emerging Artist Award, and this year they were the same organization’s Entertainers of the Year (with the banjo player, Jake Jenkins, receiving Banjo Player of the Year). Let us quote the All Music Guide, for a more thorough analysis (in terms of the band’s 1999 eponymous debut): “Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this group’s sound is the way in which touches of western country musical vocabluary work their way into the otherwise contemporary bluegrass sound. There are times in these tracks when a bluegrass tune feels like it’s about to fly off into Texas swing.” So there you have it. Phil Lee opens. (Aug. 29, 9 PM, $15, $12 advance, 413-528-6308)

Diecast, Endicott, Arrow Down Project, Written in Stone
Valentine’s, Friday

The five heavy-browed Bostonians of Diecast, known to churn out beefy grooves driven by precision drumming and laced with chord-shredding vocals, make a stop at Valentine’s tomorrow (Friday). And if you’re wondering where they found the inspiration for their name, look no further than the bottom of your Matchbox cars. Yup, just like the miniature metal frame on your pint-sized Trans Am, this band’s metal is so frigging tight it’s formed through a process. Grinding guitars clatter against blunted bass lines in competition with rattling drums in the Diecast world. Why the fellas—vocalist Colin Schleifer, bassist Jeremy Wooden, drummer Jason Costa and guitarists Kirk Kolatis and Jonathan Kita—are so damn good, they’ve even acquired sponsorship. Joining the ranks of bands including Linkin Park, Godsmack, Korn and Staind as part of Ibanez’s Product Endorsement/Sponsorship program, Diecast also have Jagermeister and video-game publishers Crave Entertainment grabbing for a piece of the action. Endicott, Arrow Down Project and Written in Stone fill out the rest of the bill. (Aug. 30, 8 PM, $12, 432-6572)

Seraphim Shock, Voltaire
Fuze Box, Friday

In the satanic-majesties-request category, the Fuze Box presents an evening of flashy Goth fun tomorrow (Friday) night. Denver’s Seraphim Shock, whose motto is “remember kids, the Devil always says yes,” promise a very hard, very metal, very theatrical show. Their lighting, sets and costumes are said to be tres dramatic; even more important, aficionados of the genre have been raving about Seraphim Shock’s blend of metal with electronica and punk. Frontman Charles Edward cheerfully implores the faithful: “We hope to see all you fucks . . .” Also on the bill is Goth’s Renaissance man, Voltaire. When not drawing comics, creating role-playing games or directing and starring in ads for cable’s SciFi channel, Voltaire sets a couple of moments aside to make music. His latest album, Boo-Hoo, has won plaudits for its rueful and witty take on the crash-and-burn ending to his long-term relationship. He will also, undoubtedly, sing some of the whimsical satanic ditties he’s loved for. (Aug. 30, 10 PM, $10, 432-4472)

Snow Ridge Ski Area, Turin, Friday-Sunday

Most of the world’s religions have their own peculiar concept of paradise. Ecstatic silence, angels with harps, gods with hammers, willing nubile virgins, free parking—you get the idea. For those who worship at the altar of the jam band, and imagine eternal bliss as a 25-minute guitar solo, Turin will be Heaven on Earth this weekend. The third annual moe.down brings together a collection of jam bands not seen since, well, the last moe.down. Moe. themselves will, according to the festival’s schedule, play for at least eight hours over the three days. Joining them will be Medeski Martin & Wood (who describe themselves as “very natural, very organic, and very strong”), Galactic, the Jazz Mandolin Project, the Derek Trucks Band, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Particle, Dr. Jah and the Love Prophets, and six—count ’em—six more acts. Many amenities will be available: camping area, kids’ tent, medical station, vendors, ski lifts for mountain biking, port-o-johns and showers. And, as if all these goodies weren’t enough, there’s a golf tournament on Friday and a basketball tournament on Saturday. Whew. (Aug. 30-Sept. 1, $90 weekend pass, 800-962-8419)

The Beatings, the Happy Hollisters, Nickname: Rebel, Shattered
Valentines’s, Saturday

Boston-based postpunk band the Beatings will make their way back to Albany for a show at Valentine’s on Saturday, and along with having one of the best names in rock & roll, the band have a ton of critical buzz. The indie rockers have been compared to the Pixies, Mission of Burma and Superchunk, and their first LP, Italiano, has the Village Voice proclaiming they “fucking rock!” and Sponic declaring, “Every so often I get bitch-slapped by a band I’ve never heard before. . . . Why haven’t I heard these guys. . . . What took you fuckers so long?” You know you’ve hit the big time when the potty-mouth set offers their seal of approval. Italiano contains the soundtrack to our lives: “How Many Times Can You Say Goodbye to the Same Person?,” “The Art of Leaving,” “Addictied to Freaks,” and the apt “Bloated and Disabled.” It’s uncanny, they must be spying on us. The Happy Hollisters, Nickname: Rebel and Shattered will open the show. (Aug. 31, 9 PM, $5, 432-6572)

also noted

Saratoga Performing Arts Center offers up the nostalgic WTRY Endless Summer Concert tonight (Thursday), with Frankie Valli, Lou Christie, Jay & the Americans and Lesley Gore performing (7:30 PM, $28, $38, $17.50 lawn, 476-1000). . . . New Orleans faves the Radiators will play what seems to be the last show of the summer at the Agnes Macdonald Music Haven in Schenectady’s Central Park tonight, in conjunction with the Albany/Schenectady League of Arts Summer Gala (7:30 PM, free, 382-5152). . . . The B.B. King Blues Festival takes over SPAC tomorrow (Friday), with B.B. King, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Susan Tedeschi and Albert Cummings taking part (6:30 PM, $35-$55, $20 lawn, 476-1000). . . . This weekend will be the last for Saratoga’s Metro, for after 21 years in the biz, the club is closing its doors. Pangaea will play the courtyard Friday at 7 PM, with Vivid on the upstairs stage at 10:30 PM; for the club’s last Saturday show, the George Boone Band will perform in the courtyard (7 PM), Jocamo will play upstairs (10:30 PM), and Super Gush will be downstairs (10 PM). Call 584-1424 for information. . . . In what’s becoming a SPAC tradition, Creed will close the venue’s summer pop season on Saturday, with 12 Stones opening (7:15 PM, $52.50, $42.50 lawn, 476-1000). . . . Also Saturday, Pearl Street Nightclub in Northampton, Mass., features a New Orleans dance party, with the Dudes—boasting original members of the Subdudes—performing (8:30 PM, $12.50, 800-THE-TICK). . . . Tor Krautter, aka the Reverend Tor, will play a CD-release show on Sunday, entitled Jamazon (as is the CD), at the Bucksteep Manor in Washington, Mass. The concert features the Reverend Tor Band, Scott Murawski & Mark Mercier, Electric Blue & the Kozmic Truth, Hobo Jungle and Liberty Bus; the CD includes guest performances by Tom Constanten (Grateful Dead), Mark Marcier (Max Creek), Buddy Cage (New Riders of the Purple Sage) and Gordon Stone (noon-9 PM, $15, 413-623-5535). . . . Jo Miller & Her Burly Roughnecks (oh my!) will provide country swing for the masses on Wednesday at Great Barrington’s Club Helsinki (9 PM, $10, $8 advance, 413-528-6308).


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