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China White, the Erotics
Valentine’s, Friday

Fans of heavy music have an almost overwhelming array of options these days: The genre known as nu metal, for example, comprises such an eclectic blend of styles—from prog-rock to hardcore to rap to Armenian ethnic music—that anyone looking for something new and punishing is sure to find something up their dark alley. But what about fans of the old metal? What about the headbangers of the if-it-ain’t-broke school? Here’s the show for you diehards. China White have earned their unofficial title of the Capital Region’s premier heavy metal act by outliving all other contenders: Twenty years and counting, if you can believe it, and all without varying from their original template of speedy, sludgy evil. Helping out on Friday will be the Erotics, whose dedication to the punk-inspired depravity of early hair-metal is as unwavering as can be expected of guys in platform heels. (Sept. 6, 8 PM, $8, 432-6572)

Molson SnowJam
Saratoga Equine Sports Center, Friday-Saturday

What makes less sense than Christmas in July? How about a blizzard in September? That’s what is on the meteorilogical menu, however. Frosty the Snowman returns a couple of months early this weekend, when the Molson SnowJam’s “snow engineers” dump 150 tons of the cold white stuff on the Saratoga Equine Sports Center. Frosty better bring his gear, too, as a posse of professional snowboarders and freeskiers are scheduled to do their hair-raising stuff on a 60-foot high quarter-pipe. Antics such as 12-foot jumps and 15-foot aerials are promised for the edification of those extreme-sports enthusiasts in attendence. Everyone else will probably be watching the bands, which include the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, De La Soul, Goldfinger, Bif Naked, Lost City Angels, and the Kickovers. The Kickovers are, to borrow a hackneyed phrase from cable TV, “buzzworthy.” Featuring ex-Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh and ex-Mighty Mighty Bosstones guitarist Nate Albert, the Kickovers have been described as attaining “pop-punk nirvana.” Doesn’t sound too shabby, does it? Well, dig out that parka! (Sept. 6, 3-10 PM, Sept. 7, noon-10 PM; $20, $10 advance; 476-1000)

Super 400
The Ale House, Saturday

In this year’s Best Of issue, we listed Super 400 as the Best Kept Secret among local bands. The reason was simple: Though they never stopped playing out, their shows seemed as secretive and hard-to-find as Dick Cheney; they employed pseudonyms like practiced CIA spooks. Well, the word is out. The ultragroovy power-trio have been gigging regularly under their own name (as opposed to their extracurricular aural excursions as the Audiophiles), introducing many new songs, and sounding as loud and lush as ever. You gotta love their own description of their music: “. . . 3-minute pop songs, soulful ballads, and crunchy, nasty interludes.” (That’s the way we like our music—crunchy.) Critics like to say that Super 400 sound like a real band; that just nails it. Kenny, Lori and Joe rock like gods of thunder, but play off each other like a swingin’ jazz trio. They pack more “jam” into three minutes than the average jam-band drones out in an hour. The Ale House is the ideal place to see them, too (and they play there on Saturday), as Troy is their home territory—and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Super 400 were extra-energized by an enthusiastic Ale House crowd. (Sept. 7, 9 PM, 272-9740)

Merauder, Harley’s World, Murderer’s Row, Mourning Would
Valentine’s, Saturday

New York City metal band Merauder, coming to Valentine’s on Saturday, were primely positioned to ride the metal-core wave of the early ’90s—and they did just that. Merauder gigged heavily during that time with the likeminded Sick of It All and Cro-Mags, recorded a few demos and had a cut included on the 1995 compilation East Coast Assault. But it wasn’t until singer Jorge (of Full Contact) joined Anthony, Mike, Pokey and Sob that Merauder began to get real notice. That’s when they recorded a split 7-inch with New York City comrades Stigmata, and embarked on a tour with Biohazard. Merauder signed with Century Media Records in ’95 and immediately went into the studio to work on their debut, Master Killer—but recording was delayed when they were chosen by Fear Factory to open a bunch of shows. The disc came out in ’96, and the band’s second release, Five Deadly Venoms, was recorded over a couple of years, during various sessions, and finally saw the light of day in ’99. Harley’s World, Murderer’s Row and Mourning Would open the 16-and-over show. (Sept. 7, 8 PM, $10, 432-6572)

Tim Reynolds
Northern Lights, Saturday

Here’s your last choice for a Saturday night. If you can’t pick from one of these, then we give up. On Saturday, guitar maven Tim Reynolds will play Northern Lights. Reynolds has just released a new CD, Chaos View, which serves as the artist’s latest medium to express his strong views about political and social issues—something he’s known to do through his music. Now on tour to support the new creation, Reynolds, who has been a longtime Dave Matthews collaborator, has added a new realm to his live shows: visuals. His show on Saturday will be complemented by computer- generated images of militarism, mind control, outer space and much more. According to Reynolds, “Music is not just for entertainment—it is also created to inform and help us focus on what is true and inspirational.” Local pop star John Brodeur will open the show. (Sept. 7, 7:30 PM doors, $14, $12 advance. 371-0012)

also noted

Folk songstress Ellis will play Valentine’s tonight (Thursday), with Naked Fruit opening (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . The Hilton Center for the Performing Arts features a handful of our best songwriters tomorrow (Friday), with Rob Skane, Bryan Thomas, Albie, Nikki Lee and Swamp Thang—a Mitch Elrod production (8 PM, $5, 453-1048). . . . Acoustic supergroup Wood will perform at Caffe Lena on Sunday; the lineup features Mitch Elrod, MotherJudge, Michael Eck and Albie. The band formed for a onetime gig earlier this year, and they had such a ball they decided to stick together—and although they’ve played a couple songs at a couple of tribute shows, the Caffe Lena show is, in a way, their debut (7 PM, $10, $8 members, 583-0022). . . . You know her; you either love her or hate her; she’s Sheryl Crow and she’s coming to the Pepsi on Saturday, touring behind her most recent release, C’mon, C’mon. Whether you miss the tomboy days of the Tuesday Night Music Club, or are titilated by her new girly, personal-trainer/stylist persona, there will be something for everyone. Michelle Branch opens the show (7:30 PM, $28.50, $38.50, 476-1000). . . . The Berkshire Community College offers up a blues-splosion on Saturday, with the Ernie Williams Band and Albert Cummings and Swamp Yankee performing at the college’s Boland Theatre (7:30 PM, $15, $20, 499-4660 ext. 291).


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