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Gloria Deluxe
Club Helsinki, Thursday

Gloria Deluxe

New 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)

The Skills of Ortega
Artie’s Lansingburgh Station, Saturday

Habitues 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)

Neil Diamond
Pepsi Arena, Saturday

The 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)

Irish 2000 Festival
Altamont Fairgrounds, saturday

For 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)

Super Furry Animals
Pearl Street Nightclub, Northampton, Mass., Sunday

We 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)

Of Montreal, Stars of Rock
Valentine’s, Monday

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)

 also noted

P.L.O.A.D., 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 . . . 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).

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