York City-based Gloria Deluxe are hesitant to brand themselves
with a genre label, but if you insist on one, avant-garde
alt-country is about as concrete as anyone can come up with.
Ask somebody to describe their music, and you’ll likely find
yourself confronted with a barrage of contradicting adjectives,
nebulous characterizations and irreconcilable comparisons.
But that shouldn’t dissuade you from making the short trip
to Club Helsinki tonight (Thursday) to catch the curious ensemble’s
Great Barrington debut. A naturally adept storyteller and
skilled accordion player, lead vocalist Cynthia Hopkins uses
her haunting voice and honed stage presence to captivate audiences;
she is joined by Chris Bonner on bass and Philippa Thompson
on violin. You can certainly count on some musical variables
when the band take the stage to unveil their experimental
hybrid of theater, music and storytelling. Their fourth album,
Alas Alack, is scheduled for release in October. (Sept.
19, 9 PM, $10, 413-528-3394)
Skills of Ortega
Artie’s Lansingburgh Station,
of Artie’s Lansing- burgh Station likely will be familiar
with Christine Baze of the Skills of Ortega. She has come
through town as a solo act before—and, rumor is, she has absolutely
killed. In fact, she and Skills of Ortega drummer and cofounder,
Stephen “Wacki” Serwacki, were both established players when
they began the band as an informal side project. Their respective
career trajectories were rattled, however, when Serwacki’s
band broke up, and, far worse, Baze was diagnosed with cancer.
The good news is that Baze fought her cancer and won, and
the duo then decided to recruit a bassist and make the project
a little less informal. And now they’re taking their show—based
on “songwriting, grooves and ambient textures”—on the road.
Also on the bill will be Niki Lee, Erin Harkes and Rebound.
(Sept. 21, 9 PM, $3, 238-2788)
Pepsi Arena, Saturday
music man known for hits like “Cherry Cherry,” “You Don’t
Bring Me Flowers” and “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” will
take the stage Saturday at Pepsi Arena. During his three-and-a-half-decade-long
career, Neil Diamond has sold 115 million records while setting
box-office records at major venues as a live performer around
the world. According to Diamond, his show now includes “both
a horn and a string section . . . to give both the new songs
and old favorites more power than ever before.” The show also
boasts new staging to add an extra flair to Diamond’s already
famous performance. Diamond is arguably one of the most popular
and crowd-pleasing solo performers in the United States. (Sept.
21, 8 PM, $67.50, $37.50, 476-1000)
Altamont Fairgrounds, saturday
the sixth year in a row, the Irish 2000 Music and Arts Festival
has tried to stay true to the traditions of Irish culture
while mixing in modern elements important to young Irish-Americans.
On Saturday, the tradition continues in Altamont with more
than 25 groups offering nonstop entertainment all day on three
main stages. On the Guinness Traditional Music Stage will
be the sounds of Maura O’ Connell, Cherish the Ladies, Danú,
Four Men and a Dog, the John Whelan Band, the Irish Descendants
and Seamus Kennedy. The Coors Light Contemporary Music Stage
will have the Eileen Ivers Band, Seven Nations, the Prodigals,
Off Kilter, the Fenians, the Glengarry Bhoys and the Highland
Rovers Band. The Killian’s Red Stage will host local and regional
acts Hair of the Dog, the McKrells, Kilbrannan, the Spain
Brothers, Kevin McKrell, Curragh, Barrett & Byrne, Yvonne
Mahar, Steve Gray and Frank Jaklitsch. There will also be
music and dance throughout the day on the Grove Stage, and
look for the Celtic Kids family fun area, new this year. (Sept.
21, 10 AM-11 PM, $10 advance, $15 door, 888-414-3378)
Pearl Street Nightclub,
Northampton, Mass., Sunday
could tell you all about how Super Furry Animals were one
of the better post-college-rock, pre-grunge bands of the early
’90s; we could blather on about their no-holds-barred combination
of neo-psychedelia, prog-pop and noise. But, really, all we
want to talk about is how this Welsh band showed up to a season’s
worth of U.K. pop festivals in a tank, and how their debut
EP—sung entirely in Welsh—was titled Lianfairpwllgywgyllgoger
Cnwymdrobwlltysiliogoygoyocynygofod (In Space). Any band
who would so title an EP has got to be worth a listen, don’t
you think? Also on the bill, Boom Bip. (Sept. 22, 8:30
PM, $12.50, 800-THE-TICK)
Montreal, Stars of Rock
Of Montreal’s leader, Kevin Barnes, formed the band for as
good a reason as any available: Seems a girl—from a certain
Canadian city—broke his heart. Killing time and nursing emotional
wounds, he put together a handful of offbeat tunes and laid
them down with some collaborators on four-track. The results
of these bedroom sessions—“an eclectic mix of vaudevillian
show tunes and art, psychedelic pop”—caught the attention
of indie label Bar None, which signed Of Montreal pronto.
Five albums, a label jump and numerous lineup changes later,
Barnes and Of Montreal are still at it, still turning out
their blend of trippy tuneful pop styles—think Robyn Hitchcock,
or Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd if the LSD had flowed just a
tad less freely—and still recording in the comfort of home.
Opening for Of Montreal will be the Stars of Rock, with special
guest guitarist and former User Greg Adams. (Sept. 23,
8 PM, $10, 432-6572)
or Protecting Loved Ones Against Danger, will
hold a fund-raising show at Valentine’s tonight
(Thursday), with Lynch, James Scott, DJ Cheez
Burger and School for the Dead performing.
The event also features a bachelor auction, with
the area’s most eligible on the block. P.L.O.A.D.’s
first project will be to lobby to get a fence
around the Empire State Plaza wall that dogs keep
jumping over (8 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . Tomorrow
(Friday) at Valentine’s, the Stryder will
perform, with Breaking Pangaea, the Switched
On and the Last Year (8 PM, $10, 432-6572)
. . . . Jazz drummer Darren Lyons will
bring his band to Saratoga’s One Caroline Street
Friday (7 PM, 587-2026). . . . G Love &
Special Sauce play Northern Lights Friday;
Standing Wave will open (7:30 PM doors,
$18.50, $17 advance, 371-0012). . . . Hatebreed,
Six Feet Under, Death Threat and Mastodon
will play Saratoga Winners on Saturday (8
PM, $17, 783-1010). . . . Lincoln Money Shot,
Struction and Madeline Ferguson will
play Miss Mary’s Art Space on Saturday (9 PM,
439-0041, http://miss marysartspace.tripod.com).
. . . Singer-songwriter Katie Haverly and
roots-rockers knotworking will play Zuzu’s
Wonderful Life on Saturday (8 PM, 426-1269). .
. . Hiphop-influenced roots-rockers Spookie
Daly Pride will play Club Helsinki on Saturday
($10, 9 PM, 413-528-6308). . . . Andy Sink
and Seamus McNulty of the Sifters play
Changing Spaces on Saturday (9 PM, $5, 433-1537).
. . . Marty Wendell & His Band play
the Hilton Center for the Performing Arts Saturday,
with Chest’r opening (8 PM, 453-1048).
. . . Jerseyband are back in town, and
they’ll play the Fuze Box with boneoil on
Friday (10 PM, $5, 432-4472). . . . EN~DoR~PhiN
play at Valentine’s Saturday, with Arrow
Down, Pile of Heads and Click (8 PM
doors, $10, 432-6572). . . . Singer-songwriter-pianist
Sarah Slean will play the Larkin on Wednesday
(8 PM, $10, 463-5225).